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Intex Salt-Water System – A year later

May 13, 2012 19:16 by ckincincy

Last year I blogged about a purchase I made for my pool. I was overall pretty positive about the Intex Salt-Water system that I had installed.  After that summer of use, my opinion never changed.  The system worked like a champ and let us have a great summer of use during one of the rainiest seasons in local history.

I was looking forward to this year as I would have an “opening of the pool” to go through.

Here is where the pool started on April 15th:


Yep, that is pure green and nasty.

I initially messed up and put WAY too much salt in the pool, but once I got that figured out the pool started to clean up over time. 

Here we are one month later:


That is ready to be swam in!  The best part is the amount of chemicals I put in this pool.  Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I’m 100% sold on the Intex Salt-Water system.  Would recommend it without hesitation.

Becoming a consultant

May 7, 2012 05:00 by ckincincy

Today marks a new day in my career. 

I’m not a wordy individual and don’t want to make this some big dramatic post.  Today I start with Fusion Alliance a consulting firm with locations in Indianapolis and Blue Ash. 

This is a major change in my career in that I am now a consultant. 

I’m looking forward to the new adventure that awaits.

Categories: General | Personal | Work
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Request.URL Values

January 23, 2012 14:23 by ckincincy

Many times I post things on this blog that are for my benefit, more than yours Smile.  But if you’re here, then it must be benefiting you.

I always need to know what values are in each Request.Url.* property. 

Start URL:

Request.Url.AbsolutePath: /RequestURLValues.aspx
Request.Url.AbsoluteUri: http://localhost:52186/RequestURLValues.aspx?myvalueishere=true
Request.Url.Authority: localhost:52186
Request.Url.DnsSafeHost: localhost
Request.Url.Host: localhost
Request.Url.HostNameType: Dns
Request.Url.LocalPath: /RequestURLValues.aspx
Request.Url.OriginalString: http://localhost:52186/RequestURLValues.aspx?myvalueishere=true
Request.Url.PathAndQuery: /RequestURLValues.aspx?myvalueishere=true
Request.Url.Port: 52186
Request.Url.Query: ?myvalueishere=true
Request.Url.Scheme: http

Categories: ASP.NET | .NET | Tech Tips
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My App List WP7

January 2, 2012 21:25 by ckincincy

Inspired by @sadukie I am going to list out my applications on my Window’s phone.

I’ve had a Windows phone for over a year now, I’ve actually had 3 different models.  I first had the HTC Surround, while it was a good phone I just didn’t see the need for the speaker setup.  Then I went to the LG Quantum because it has a physical keyboard.  Now, after my move to Verizon I am on the HTC Trophy. 

I’ve owned an iPhone for 2 years, and when the commercial says “there is an app for that”… they aren’t kidding.  The application list for the iPhone is impressive.  Unfortunately the same could not be said for the Windows Phone 7.  It had an OK list of applications, but not one that would blow you away.

However, the applications available have seemed to hit a level to where it does everything I need a phone to do.

I love the way the phone works.  It just seems to flow so much better than the iPhone.  I grew to hate my iPhone by time I got rid of it.  I’ve had the Windows Phone for over a  year and have no real complaints about the operating system.

Enough of the chatter.  Below is my list of applications.

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Adobe Reader – Pretty much a must own if you want to view PDF’s.

WinMilk – A nice little to-do list for the phone.  Though the upgrades to OneNote in Mango somewhat make this a little less needed.  I do prefer the UI on WinMilk though.

BandWidth – Allows you to see how fast your internet connection is. 

QR Code Reader – Ever see those crazy blocks with all the lines in them?  Yep, this decodes them!

Flashlight-X – Ad supported flashlight application.  Uses the camera’s flash for a true flashlight experience.

CardStar – One of my favorite apps.  Allows you to get rid of all those pesky reward and membership cards.

ConnectivityShortcuts – One of the new things available with Mango.  Allows you to create a shortcut directly to a few settings.  Great if you find yourself turning them off or on

Remote Desktop – So I’ve yet to try this, just downloaded tonight… but if it does what it says, it is pretty much the only one available.

SkyDrive – Gives you some access to your SkyDrive.  Not a bad application to have, even if much of the functionality of this application is already built into the phone.

VNC Connect – Standard VNC application.

Shuffle Party – A fun game to waste some time.  You can bowl, play the classic game, or an obstacle course.

Xbox Companion – This integrates with your XBox and allows you to control the main screen a bit.  While a cool thing to try out once, not something I found incredibly useful. Especially since I have the Kinect.

Backgammon Pro – An ad supported version of Backgammon.  Fun game to learn!

Flush – I was a little hesitant to put this on the list as I found it an OK game, but some of the levels just don’t seem possible!

Physi Bricks – A fun game that takes gravity and certain dynamics of the different types of balls you have to throw at the bricks.

Blocked In Free – The “classic” boxed in game.  Just a fun way to waste some time.

Minesweeper – The classic Minesweeper game with a few twist.  Loved earning achievements.

Amazon Kindle – Just your basic Kindle application.

ESPN ScoreCenter – An application to allow you to monitor scores and sports news.  The navigation can be a little bit hard to grasp, but it does the job.

iHeartRadio – Access to all of the Clear Channel radio stations. 

INRIX Traffic – This is a really well thought out application.  It combines user reported crashes with crashes reported through official means.  Has helped me avoid problems several times.

Last.fm – Your typical Last.fm application.  If you use Last.fm, this is what you want.

Spotify – Spotify is the new kid on the block in the USA.  It is a nice application to interface with their service.

The Weather Channel – Out of all the weather applications, this is the one I liked the best.

Amazon Mobile – A nice way to interact with Amazon.  Allows on the fly price comparison along with a lot more.

eBay – This application was one of the most surprising for me.  Just an all around good application to work with eBay on your mobile phone.

Pizza Hut – This one is relatively new.  I used the iPhone version several times and the Windows version appears to be a good port.

Bible – LifeChurch.tv kind of owns this market and its no difference on the Windows Phone.  Top of the line application.

Google Integration
Flux – I’ve tried a lot of Google Reader applications.  This one has been the best by a lot.

GoVoice – The best Google Voice application around.  It went through a moment where I thought it was going to be abandoned by the developer, but he has started to work on it again recently.  It just works!

Social Media
MoTweets Pro – I’ve been giving this a shot.  It is a paid application, but overall I like it.  It is really for heavy Twitter users as it allows for support of multiple accounts.  It also seems to have Facebook integration.

Twitter – The official Twitter application. More than sufficient!

Developer Unlocked
I recently “developer unlocked” my phone using ChevronWP7.  Unfortunately the “jailbreak” story in Windows Phone is still very new and not well developed.  Once this is a bit more mainstream the ‘black market’ applications available will rock.  Since I am unlocked I am able to “side load” some applications onto my phone.

Screen Capturer – One of the things I really missed from the iPhone was the ability to take a screen grab.  This fills that gap.

Built In
The podcast setup is really nice.  I have subscribed to many technical and personal podcast and they just show up on the phone when new episodes show up. 

Chipotle – Enough said!

Facebook – There is actually a Facebook application, but it is buggy when you scroll down.  When I moved to Verizon and my new phone I didn’t bother to install the app.  I just went to the mobile version as my primary method.  There is, however, extensive integration with Facebook on the main operating system.

Charles Edward Wilson

December 31, 2011 19:38 by ckincincy

Dear Eddie,
09082222395410Its been over 15 years since we last talked.  I remember that day, honestly for some odd reason… it wasn’t like I knew what was ahead.

You called to talk to my mom. You needed your birth certificate and since you lived in Florida and us in Ohio, you asked her for help.  You were short, and relatively mean toward me over the phone.  You had no interest in talking to me at all.  I think that is why it stuck with me, here was a guy I looked up to not wanting to talk. 

What I was too out of touch to know is that you were on your way to distancing yourself from your family members.  Honestly, I don’t blame you.  This post isn’t to try and change your mind.  I get why you’d want a break from things.  Your sister and I talked 090822175243113about this not too long ago and its hard for a women (yeah.. she’s a grown women with a family of her own) to understand how us guys can just cut ties like that.  I saw the life that you went through.  I lived some of it with you.  For some it pulls them closer together, for others it puts a rift in so big that you have what we have now.

I don’t know where you ended up with things.  Did you side with your dad and blame everybody else?  Its an honest reaction to a young man and his dad.  Did you just see problems all around and want a cut from everybody?  Including your dad?  Are you out there all alone?  With whatever family you have now?  I think back to some of what I saw and I shudder. 

Our families were tied at the hip for most of my early life.  Up until the 3rd grade we 090822175243118either lived in the same house or within a short walk from each other.  I think of you pretty often.  I have a Google search setup to try and find you.  I’ve found a lot of Charles Edward Wilson’s, most of them black.  I found one tonight that changed his name… is that you?

You and I fought a lot, but that is what young boys do to the older relatives they look up to!  You were my older cousin. In this post are three pictures, two of them the same day.  I don’t remember these days.  I assume the third picture was taken when you lived out in the “farm house” that I remember.  Why else would you need a BB gun? Smile 

Eddie, I miss you man.  I would love to just hear from you and have a conversation. You get no judgment from me.  

There is a saying that your cousins are your first best friends.  Yeah, that’s true with me.  And you were one of my first best friends. 

If you stumble upon this, please reach out to me.  I’m pretty easy to contact. I’m on all the major social media platforms. 

I’d love to hear from you, and until then… I’ll keep searching.

Your cousin, Clarence.

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Facebook Security 101

November 13, 2011 10:22 by ckincincy

Last night I got a notification that a friend has posted on my wall.  It was an explicit video. 

I know this particular friend well enough to know that his account was compromised so I sent him a text message and worked with him to clean up his account.

So how do you stop this?

1. Have a strong password.  “Clarence1” would meet most “strong” password requirements because it has an uppercase letter, and a number.  But look at that… is that secure?  You’ll actually find that a non-sense sentence is better to use: ISeeAYellowMoon is pretty hard to crack.

2. Make sure your security settings on Facebook are correct.

Go to the top right hand corner and hit the drop down and go to “account settings.”

Then go to the left hand side and hit “Security.”


  • Enable Secure browsing.
  • Enable Login Notifications.  This will let you know when new devices connect to your account.
  • Enable “Login Approvals.”  For this to work you need to verify your cell phone and email are correct within Facebook.  This will send you a six digit code that you have to enter when a new device tries to connect to your account.

This is a good set of basic steps you can take to protect your account and avoid the problems my friend had last night.

Categories: Facebook
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Goodbye Twitter, Hello Google+

July 25, 2011 19:40 by ckincincy

This is not another post about how Google+ works or another post about why Google+ is better than <insert social media platform here>.  This is, however, a note that I’m abandoning Twitter for Google+… for now.

I’ve “left” Twitter a few times.  Ultimately I don’t get it.  140 characters has always seemed way to small for me.  While many, maybe even most, updates are fine for 140.  What about the replies and post that aren’t?  It becomes some disjointed mess of last reply first reading. 

So do me a favor, come follow me on Google+.  I’d like to follow you.

Saltwater Pool Systems–Initial Take

June 18, 2011 19:51 by ckincincy

My family moved into our house just over three years ago.  It came with a swimming pool.

I happened to know the owner of the house prior to buying it and during a team party for our son’s baseball team he said something in passing that stuck out to me.  He mentioned all the struggles he had with keeping the pool clean and that a friend of his had some saltwater system that seemed to work well.

I remembered that conversation but did not act on it. 

Summer one with the pool was not to bad.  The weather was fair and the pool survived.

Summer two was a bit more of a struggle as it rained a lot.

Summer three was the same. 

The problem with tough summers is that chlorine cost add up quickly.  So this year we decided we’d install a saltwater pool system.

Due to last year being so bad we had to completely drain our pool and start over.  After draining the pool and getting it cleaned out we started the process of filling it back up with water.  Being a fairly big pool it takes a few days.  We hooked up all the filter equipment and put 4 gallons of chlorine in the pool and let it run. 

During this time I went looking for a saltwater system on Amazon and found one at a good price and figured it was worth a shot.  The Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System was the winner.

Here we are 3 weeks later and my initial take is that this system is awesome and anybody who has a pool should convert.  During my last three seasons I could only get a positive chlorine test about 2 hours after I put the chlorine in.  Now I can get a constant reading… and I’m not adding an ounce.

The install of the system was easy.  You literally put it in between the house that goes from your existing filter to the pool.  After the water passes through the filter it hits this special system that generates the chlorine. 

The setup of the pool was a little more complex.  For the size of our pool the amount of salt to be added was not completely clear to me.  So I started off with a light amount of 240lbs (FYI, it cost me $50 for 400lbs.. we used 99.8% pure salt meant for water softeners).   After the salt had enough time to dissolve I took my water into Eastgate Pools and had it tested.  It showed to be light on salt and needing stabilizer.   We added 12 pounds of stabilizer and 80 more pounds of salt.  Gave it a few days and took the water in to be tested again.  This time it all tested OK.  Not great but OK.

Our Chlorine tested at 1.1, it is supposed to be between 1.0 and 3.0.  Our salt tested at 2600 parts per million.  This is on the low end for our system and the documentation was pretty clear that a number this low would generate less than idea results.  So we added 40 more pounds of salt.  Now the pool is rocking. 

After looking at the reviews on Amazon the one negative for this product is that its life expectancy can be short.  I look at this two ways.

1. If it breaks within 2 years, it is under warranty.
2. If it breaks after 2 years, I’m still saving a bundle of money.

Take a look at the Intex website to learn more about how it works.  I see NOTHING false about what they advertise. 

A few random links and saved pages

March 12, 2011 22:46 by ckincincy

I have a habit of bookmarking pages as I feel that I need to go back and review the content. 

So, I’m a bit too OCD to have that many random links in my book marks and I’ve had it happen more than once where stuff I bookmarked later disappeared from the web.  Let me share them with you… and at the same time give ma  point of reference!

PC Usability Hacks

Programming Tips

Fun Tips


Tech Links


Technical Interviews–The Goal

March 7, 2011 08:08 by ckincincy

For the last few years I have been one of the primary people to interview potential new hires.  Interviewing programmers is very difficult because what we do is so vast that knowing it all is impossible.  Over time I learned from the interviews and came down to answering one question.  I will even say that me and a couple co-workers at a previous job got really good at this process.  When we hired a person we knew exactly what we were getting.  If the person was senior, we knew it.  If the person was a mid-level developer that wouldn’t really get much better… we knew it.  If the person wasn’t worth hiring we knew it*.  The results of hiring each has proven our process.

What do you want to figure out about the person sitting next to you?

This can really vary from place to place, but ultimately I have two things I’d like to have answered.

How wide and deep is their knowledge?

How wide and deep is their experience?

What I’ve found is that it is easy for some people to memorize the text book answers.  However figuring this out is very easy, and ultimately answers the second question.  You ask a question and you let them give you the right answer, but then ask them a follow up or two about the same topic.  Generally in relation to how they have used or experienced it on the job. 

Ultimately I’ve found the following process to be very beneficial:

1. 15 minute phone screen.  Is this person worth bringing in for a longer period of time?

2. One hour technical interview that includes a technical code problem. 

I’ve also heard of companies, and I’ve yet to work for one that would allow this, that will give a programmer a simple project to do at home before the face to face interview.

I’ll cover a few things over the next few blog post.  I’ll give a list of programming problems that I’ve seen used and a list of questions that I’ve used.

* Yes, in spite of an entire team of programmers recommending a person not get hired our managers hired them.  Our reservations were soon proven to be accurate. 

Categories: Programming | Work
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