• How Important Clamping Is For Woodworking

    A little story about Car-Carpentry.

    In Short

    • Starting a new woodworking project is all about getting as close to a perfect square, plum and level square to work off. The straightness of the entire project is severely limited by how well you join your initial pieces of wood together.
    • The key thing I was missing in getting this started was my ability to hold the first two pieces of wood firmly up against eachother when first joining them.
    • Clamps are exactly what you need here.
    • Buy several
    • Buy decent ones
    • Get used to the patience required to clamp and unclamp several clamps EVERY single time you need to join two new pieces of material.

    I think about people that are skilled carpenters the same way I hear people describe software developers.

    Carpenters do some sort of black magic to make things we interact every day with. Most of the time the black magic they perform is so potent that we don’t even notice how impressive somethings build quality is, or the elegance with which it was put together until it breaks.

    I really enjoy trying my hand at the odd bit of wood working because it seems endlessly creative, keeping your mind and hands engaged. This is sadly not something you get these days with most office jobs, so to me it is somewhat of a luxury to get to say I am using my mind and my body at the same time.

    My workshop on the road.

    messy interior of a van covered in miscellaneous wood working equipment.

    This might not be the most flattering image to share as its just the back of a van, however I think its representative of my attitude towards order during my woodworking projects – or lack thereof.

    A spirit level on what looks like a barely level wood platform inside a vans interior.

    You might not be able to tell it from a distance. Behind the camera was a very, very exhaust and elated Jonah. I was grinning ear to ear. I really, truly, felt as though I had reached one of my personal performance peaks in life at this moment. Don’t worry I know the platform was barely level.

    This post is a work in progress and will likely grow over the next few days as I flesh out the rest of the lessons I learned wood working from my humble setup on the road. I like to publish these as I work on them as motivaiton to finish them and not end up with 1000s of posts that are half written. I appreciate your patience of reading this far.

  • How to Fix Your Sleep Cycle

    In Short

    • Set an alarm as early as possible.
    • Ideally use the “Alarmy” App or another alternative that takes your control away from snoozing.
    • Do not nap.
    • Sleep when tired
    • Repeat for 2 – 3 days until the new pattern sets in.

    The Current Situation

    Its not unusual for me to stay up to 1am largely by accident having been gripped by some late night motivation to work on some project, normally on my computer.

    Its also not unusual for me to wake up somewhere around 9am and feel like right from the get go I had a late start to my day and feeling like I’m only just catching up.

    During all this I generally have a strong sense that I’m not as clear headed as I could be, and in general just performing really sub optimally in all areas of life that are most important to me.

    Sure I have had worse sleep patterns during University where it was not unusual to be up to 4am and then sleeping till midday. Despite this I think there is still some improvement to be made.

    Sleep is King

    If you have read any literature about sleep, or even tried it yourself, you will know how much it can impact your ability to do anything.

    I recently read “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, to spare you 10 hours of reading he reckons sleep is pretty important. If there was a drug that could give you the positive effects that mimic a good night sleep it would sell out.

    Here are just some of the reasons that connected most strongly with me:

    • Heightened Productivity – Specifically ability to focus for longer.
    • Increased Emotional Capacity – Being able to handle your feelings more rationally.
    • Improved Recover & Performance – Your muscles seem to do way better after a good night sleep.

    How Did I Fix My Sleep?

    In Short:

    Every morning at 5am I have to run down stairs to my kitchen to take a picture of my Fridge. There is no other way to physically disable my alarm.

    Doing this for a few days without letting yourself nap will make you so tired by the end of your day that you won’t be able to help but fall asleep closer to your ideal time.

    Getting up early gets easier the longer you go.

    Most importantly, admit that you can’t force yourself to get to sleep. Sure you can try and put your phone down, brush your teeth and generally get ready for bed, but this alone won’t knock you out. At the end of the day the only thing getting you to fall asleep is if you are tired enough to let your body shut down.

    Here is where I found most of my success, attacking the problem at the other end.

    You can’t force yourself asleep, but with modern technology you can force yourself awake. I found that no matter how much I “wanted” to get up early I would always hit snooze. My solution? Getting the “Alarmy” App.

    Specifically the “Take Photo” mission as they call it is the most useful to me. This is available in the free version of the App.

    Set this up by taking a photo of something that will force you to move a bit across your house. For me I conveniently end up near the sink downstairs which means that I might as well have a glass of water to start my day while I’m there, which is another one of my goals for my morning routine.

    From here on out the mission is really all about not smashing your phone to deactivate the alarm, keeping some clothes near the bed so that you aren’t forced to run downstairs naked (this has happened a couple of times), and resisting the urge to nap during the day.

    Where Has It Got Me?

    Nowadays I consistently get up around 5 am. Despite being a bit groggy for the first 30 minutes or so, I find that after the glass of water hits and my brain wakes up I am still ready to attack the day a good few hours before anyone else is.

    An added bonus is that you get to feel superior over everyone else as they slowly crawl out of their corners of the house in the morning, knowing that you got up so much earlier.

    The extra time you have between 5am and roughly 7am when more people start to get up is amazing. I find the clarity you get during this time leads to some of the most productive and focused work I have achieved so far.

    Good luck on your journey and let me know how you go if you try this for yourself 🙂

  • Min/Maxing WordPress Hosting

    The Challenge

    Getting as close to completely free self hosted wordpress by combining the cheapest tiers of AWS offerings.

    I run two WordPress sites, and I thought why not use this as an opportunity to learn somethings about self hosting WordPress. Most importantly I was bound to save money on getting as close to fr by trying this.

    My Hosting Journey – The Summary

    • AWS Lightsail free tier → then 5 USD per month.
    • AWS EC2 – Hell yeah lets save money and do this ourselves. They are selling us Lightsail on EC2 anyways, right?
    • Okay that was confusing – Many hours of work later
    • Move to VPS from – turns out AWS EC2 is still kind of expensive if you want more ram and CPU.

    AWS Lightsail Free Tier

    This one was simple enough, I followed the prompts and signed up to the free tier. Pointed my DNS records to Lightsail as instructed and I was up and running.

    The Process of Setting Up AWS Lightsail for WordPress

    Selecting operating system for AWS Lightsail

    Selecting instance specs:
1 Gb memory
40 GB SSD Storage
2 TB Transfer
First 3 months free

    The Pros

    • It kind of just works out of the box
    • Its free (to begin with)

    The problems

    I really couldn’t get CDN to work nicely via Cloudfront. I am sure I could by revisiting this but didn’t have the energy to push through after the initial easy setup set the bar for how easy I was expecting things to be moving forward. That bar definitely tripped me up here.

    Why didn’t I settle for AWS Lightsail?

    In short: Ego of a Software Developer and not having CDN working out the box irked me.

    I’ll be honest, in hindsight I’m not entirely sure. It has something to do with the feeling of buying something that is ready out of the box. As a software developer I have such a strong gut instinct telling me that whatever resources are bundled up and sold as this package will have a great profit margin and that if only I was able to bundle those resources up myself I could save that difference.

    Why Not

    After a lot of research they really do seem to have great value VPS, If you are based anywhere near the European continent I would recommend going with them. Unfortunately I am half way around the globe from the nearest hosting locations that they offer (Germany / Finland / USA).

    Hetnzer VPS pricing sheet, from 4.17 Euro all the way to 26,94 Euro for the

    Why is this distance a dealbreaker for me? I like to edit files on my VPS directly via Visual Studio Code Remote extensions. The latency between your input and the file updating really slows things down when working for extended periods. Not to mention that the WordPress interface itself will be slow when updating posts, installing plugins and generally navigating around.

    Maybe one day when I can afford to run my own private CDN nodes I will go back to them to serve my European traffic directly from my own server!

  • Min/Maxing My Internet Provider

    How Many ISPs are Actually Selling You the Exact Same Thing?

    Sure there are a lot of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), what I want to know is how many of them are actually able to sell me something that is fundamentally different in terms of service and not just marketing and customer support.

    My hunch. Say you buy a can of beans for $0.99 cents from BeanBrandCo that offer cheap beans, you notice the nutritional information and ingredients list is EXACTLY the same as “Premium Bean Boys” $3.49 luxury bean mix. Wait were these beans harvested from the same field and packaged in the same factory? Are they just selling one with a fancier marketing label attached and expensive price tag to give you that premium feeling? Maybe.

    At the end of the day I don’t know because I am not interested in researching these things. What I can tell you though is that I know that there is a difference (In Australia and New Zealand at least) between who you buy your internet contract from. For example ‘Leaptel’ and who is actually working behind the scenes to get the internet through those digital tubes and into your computer.

    The two types of internet sellers in Australia explained

    In Australia, there are two main types of internet service providers (ISPs): those that own and operate their own network infrastructure, and those that resell access to other providers’ networks.

    1. Network owners and operators: These ISPs have invested in building and maintaining their own network infrastructure. They have more control over the quality of service and can directly influence factors like speed, reliability, and network capacity. Examples include Telstra, Optus, and TPG (which owns iiNet and Internode).
    2. Resellers: These ISPs purchase wholesale access to network infrastructure from the owners and operators, and then sell internet plans to consumers under their own brand. They have less control over the network’s performance, as they rely on the infrastructure of the network owners. Examples include Dodo, Exetel, and Leaptel.

    In the case of Leaptel, as a reseller, their ability to improve your internet speed is limited. They can optimize their own systems and routing to ensure the best possible performance, but ultimately, they are dependent on the network infrastructure they lease from the network owners.

    However, resellers like Leaptel can still influence your internet experience by:

    1. Offering plans with different speed tiers and data allowances
    2. Providing good customer support
    3. Optimizing their own network routing and systems
    4. Choosing to resell access from network owners with better infrastructure in your area

    In summary, while resellers like Leaptel have some influence over your internet experience, they are limited by the network infrastructure they lease from network owners and operators.

  • Everyone Uses Super Glue Wrong.

    How to Use Super Glue Properly

    1. Open the glue container carefully, ideally wearing gloves.
    2. Puncture the seal (if present) using the back of the glue lid.
    3. Apply to both pieces of material that you want to glue together.
    4. Press the pieces together to make the glue spread evenly across the contact surfaces.
    5. Seperate the pieces again carefully right after pushing them together.
    6. Let the solvent in the glue evaporate for about 10 minutes
    7. Combine the pieces again, ideally with a weight or clamp holding them together.
    8. Wait the recommended wait time normally 30 – 60 minutes.

    Things Everyone Should Know About SuperGlueing

    • Just one drop should cover 1 square inch
    • Superglue works best on harder surfaces that can have clean edges such as metals, plastics and ceramics. So think solid things that have shattered or broken.
    • Use on porous materials such as paper, fabric or foam can weaken the bond by 50 – 90%. You might as well be using tape or paper glue at that point.
    • Proper use provides tensile strength of 1,000-5,000 psi; misuse lowers it to 100-500 psi
    • Was discovered by in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover trying to make transparent plastic gunsights. ( Ironic he was trying to make something to help people tare each other apart but made something they can stick themselves back together with.)

    Why Should I Care?

    If you are anything like me you probably have just been dumping enough glue to feel like its going to get everywhere (including your hands, somehow always sticking part of your hand to itself) then sort of holding the pieces together. Bonus if I have the patience to place the pieces under some sort of rock or something I grabbed last minute from the garden.

    Well if you do it anything like this you may have also noticed that unless the thing you are gluing is light and flimsy, such as two pieces of paper, they will almost certainly struggle to stay together. For example our beloved toilet seat I sat down on too quickly after consuming food from a certain Tex-Mex food chain.