Voice Parrot

Voice Parrot is a small side project of mine. Voice Parrot listens to your voice and repeats everything you say. It’s very simple to operate. Just open Voice Parrot and start speaking. Voice Parrot will repeat right after you finish your sentence.

Download on the App Store

Salary Fairy

Salary Fairy uses crowdsourcing to predict your fair salary. It’s a side project we built as a social experiment. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Jo

Jo screenshotJo is a simple Facebook feed reader where posts go away after you read them. Read each post just once!

Posts are marked as read after you swipe them to left or you spend a few seconds reading them.

Just press refresh to hide all read posts.


Busimix

I have been busy building a new customer reference and referral service called Busimix. If you are interested in leveraging your current client base in order to get new clients, check it out at http://wwww.busimix.com

My New 20G Nano Reef Tank

 
Filled with saltwater(SW) and added Live Rock(LR)
October 1th 2009

After keeping a 12G freshwater tank over a year, a 6G saltwater(SW) tank over 6 months, and a long time studying reef keeping online, I finally decided to upgrade to a new 20G SW tank.

I got my setup from a local fish store (LFS) in Bellevue, Saltwater City (Great LFS).  Gave me a very good price for a full reef kit (with 16 lbs of live rock(LR) and even 25G premixed SW).

I filled the tank and added Live Rock(LR) on October 29th. I went bare bottom for this tank, meaning no sand. Tested the water daily. No nitrite/nitrates. After 3 days, my Eclipse 6G SW’s pump broke down and forced me to transfer a clownfish, a red legged hermit, 3 cerith snails and 9lbs of LR. At first I was hesitant to put them in a newly setup tank but I guess it’s fine since I didn’t expect a cycle anyway, with the live rock coming from the 6G and 16lbs fully cured LR from the LFS. They seem to be doing fine after 9 days.

One of the challenges I faced was the high noise and vibration. My setup is in my living room and it is crucial that I have a silent tank. I have an AquaC Remora skimmer, a Danner Mag 3 pump for the skimmer and a Maxi Jet 1200 pump for the spray bar. I moved the pumps around a few times, positioning them in various orientations and padding them with sponges with no luck. Then I got some rubber sheets from Lowe’s and padded the two pumps and the other end of the spray bar. to my dismay I still got the vibrations even though there was no contact between the pumps and the glass whatsoever. I must have re-arranged the pumps 5 or 6 times. When I told Andy at Saltwater City that I was unhappy with the noise, he gave me a sure grip for the maxi jet, free of charge! That miraculously solved the vibration problem for the Maxi Jet, making it whisper quiet. Skimmer’s manual says that the noise level will decrease in a couple of weeks after it “breaks in”. Still, I wanted to muffle it a little bit and I placed a dry towel on top it. That worked and saved me from the noisy break-in period. The only noisemaker left in the Tank, Mag 3, was more challenging to silence. I placed 3 sheets of rubber under it and positioned the skimmer and the clear tubing to force it in place on top of the rubber sheets, which helped with the vibrations  a lot but didn’t get rid of it entirely. Still, it was way better compared to my previous attempts and I was out of ideas. So I left it like that and rearranged my LR for the last time, finally a silent tank.

My other problem was temperature which varied between 82F and 84F. Some say that 84F is not too high if you keep it stable and there are no big swings in temperature but it’s too hot for me. Chillers are very expensive, noisy and out of the question. I read people use cooling fans (those used for computers) to get the temperature down. The fans cause more evaporation, which cools down the water. I didn’t want the small computer fans though, I knew for sure it would have a lot of noise and maybe vibration. So I got a clip on fan, Air King 6″, and hung that on the wall behind the tank, blowing air directly on top of the water. That took the temperature down at least 5 degrees, at which point I could stabilize the temperature with the help of the heater. Since its blades are way larger than the small computer fans, it makes virtually no noise at all. I even turned the fan for the canopy off, since it gets some air from the Air King as well. A little warning about Air King though, its blades are 6″ and with the housing it is 8″ wide and there was no way to clip it on the tank, have the canopy in place and still direct the fan to water surface. It isn’t designed to be used for aquariums. That’s why I hung it on the wall behind. But I suppose this isn’t a problem for larger tanks.

Findik is into reef keeping.
Findik is into reef keeping.

Our cat loves to watch fish and was into reef keeping (literally) when I first put the clownfish. After seeing that he’s interested, I got an eggcrate panel to cover the aquarium in order to avoid any mysteriously gone fish (MGF). I couldn’t have used a full cover because of my temperature problem. Anyway, eggcrate is really easy to cut. It fits perfectly to my aquarium and I can easily cut patches of it to make space for the skimmer, cables, fish feeder, etc. I simply used pliers to cut it. Since the material is designed to go under ceiling lights, it’s great for this purpose, no deformation due to heat from the lights. It turned out to be perfect for my needs, just make sure you don’t sit on it 😉 

Eggcrate close-up

Eggcrate close-up

Eggcrate

Eggcrate

Latest full tank shot.

Latest full tank shot on October 9th.

 

Cat / Kitten Adoption and Breeders Around Seattle

While Gozde and I were looking for a kitten to adopt a couple of months ago, we learned a bit about the process and I wanted to share it with unsuspecting future cat adopters. This all applies to winter time where only a few kittens are available at shelters. So, if you are looking for adopting a kitten off season (a lot of kittens are available early spring), continue reading.

Adoption Centers

There are quite a few adoption centers/shelters around Seattle. We live in Kirkland, so our first stop was Meow Cat Rescue. Very helpful and friendly volunteers. Every shelter requests you to fill out an application form, just to make sure you’re good people! They didn’t have a kitten available at the time but they gave us a list of nearby shelters (along with driving directions from Meow). We have visited a number of shelters during the following 4 weeks to no avail. Of course we’ve made pet adoption rookie mistakes, which you won’t hopefully make after reading this post.

First of all, most probably you won’t be able to find a kitten through the online services like petfinder.com, since kittens go FAST off season. They get adopted in the first hours (even minutes) they become available at the shelters. Your best bet is to visit local shelters, early in the day, probably when they open in the morning in case a new batch of kittens arrives. That way you’ll get to be the first ones to pick. We’ve been to shelters and pet adoption events later in the day and all the kittens were long gone and already enjoying their new homes. You can always call ahead of time and check if they are getting kittens soon. We had a not so nice experience with Forgotten Felines, where they promised my wife that they had kittens available, kept postponing to give an appointment to see the kittens (every day) and by the end of the week they just said that there were no kittens left. When I called the same day, the same lady (that told my wife that they didn’t have any kittens available) told me that they “might” have kittens available. So, don’t wait for a whole week if somebody promises that they have kittens for adoption and will give you an appointment soon. Keep looking.

Most shelters won’t let you adopt a single kitten younger than 6 months. The first six months are very important for kittens’ behavioural development and they need to be around other kittens during this time. So the shelter will pair up kittens for you.

Of course, you need to do your homework before all this. Try to learn about different cat breeds since every breed has their own characteristics, health, upkeep and behaviours. The breeds and ages (kitten or adults?) that will be most suitable for you will depend on how much you’ll leave them at home alone, whether you have children in the house, if you can groom them daily and exercise them enough. All of this reasearch will also give you an idea of how much there is to being a cat owner (or a cat-owned human) and how much you can actually commit to your new cat. This is a very big commiment to take on for around 20 years in your life. The initial cost of adopting a cat is not even comparable to the actual commitment. So choose wisely.

Below are some of the shelters we visited around Seattle. Knowledgable and friendly volunteers all around. The average adoption fee is around $100. It includes neutering/spaying  and shots. By the way, you can count on spending $100-$200 for the litter box, litter, scoop, cat shampoo, nail trimmer, comb, bowls, kitten food, toys, scratch pad etc. Vet visits are not that expensive. We went to My Pet’s Vet Clinic for our general check-up and initial shots. If my memory serves me right, a shot costs about $15 and a general check-up by the vet is around $40. Oh, forgot the list of shelters we visited:

After spending so much time trying to adopt a kitten off season and after a bad experience with an adoption center, we have decided to get a kitten from a cat breeder.

Cat Breeders

Below is a alphabethical list of up-to-date cat breeder websites that we visited before we found Fin, our adorable seal point Himalayan, from Wisspurrs. He has been with us for only a month now and he’s already the head of the house and we love and obey him.

Don’t worry, your eyes kinda get used to the bad web designs after a while. This post is already way much longer then I intended, so I hope this was helpful. Good luck!

Friendly Screensaver

Friendly Screensaver is a simple screensaver that connects to your Facebook account and displays photos from your/friends’ albums.

Installation:
Right click on Friendly Screensaver.scr and choose “Install.”

Requirements:
.NET 2.0 Framework

Features:
Slide show of your and friends’ photos.
Shuffle
Friend filter

Download Friendly Screensaver

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