Quick, Free Apple Time Capsule Mount

Our house is wired for gigabit ethernet in almost every room of the house. This works out great for streaming media from our home theater PC. When our faith router finally died we decided to get an Apple Time Capsule as we have as few Apple devices in the house and the automatic backup would be a nice bonus. Additionally it’s a nice small all-in-one that will fit in with the new life in Bermuda.

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Victory! Analytical Dieting Success

On June 28, 2012 I reached my weight loss goal! Meeting this goal meant I had dropped by body weight by 12% and reduce my body fat by 29%. And I’m still this weight today almost a month later. Details on how I did this can be found in in my other article Analytical Dieting but I just want to highlight some final numbers as it’s always about what we can measure. Here is what my weight loss looked like over these 126 days:

As you can see a lot of ups and downs but there is a long term trend, just like the stock market. In fact losting weight is a lot like personal finance and it’s easy to look at the short term but you have to stay focused on the long term. Here are some other highlights of my change in those 126 days:

As far as weight, I am only 89.9% of the man I used to be! Woot! I went from 187 pounds down to 166.2 pounds which is a change of 20.8 pounds. Now, ideal weight is a hard measurement to make and it will be different for everyone. If you want to find your own ideal weight forget the internet and do what I did to find mine which is to work with your general practice physician to determined where you should be. For me, we settled on between 162 and 167 as the ideal for my body type, age, and activity level. One other measurement of interest is that I did drop 3 inches off my waist which means nothing I own fits me anymore.

Moving on to percent body fat, my starting body fat was 22.4% and after this quest it now sits at 16.0%. This means of the 20.8 pounds I lost, 15.3 pounds, or 73.5% of my weight loss, was fat. Unfortunately this is the one goal I didn’t meet as I was targeting a body fat percentage of  less than 14%. The reason why I didn’t lose more fat is simple, I didn’t exercise at all during these 126 days. So now I’ll be adding some weight lifting (the best way to convert fat in to other tissue) and getting that in line.

The last key measure was my Body Mass Index (BMI). Starting out I was at a BMI of 25 which put me ever-so-slightly in the overweight category. By the time this experiment was done my new BMI was 22.5 which is solidly in the normal range.

One last thing. I know I can get on a rant sometimes but you can do this too and the secret is simple! During this time I did read a lot on healthy living and on weight loss and it comes down to two major factors in life that shape our bodies. A lack of understanding of what even constitutes good diet and exercise, common sense is so wrong, challenge it! Also having the psychological control to resisting the urge to do things we know are bad, it does take willpower and strength. If you want to know more, I found a great video during this time that sums this all up nicely. If you can spend 60 minutes do yourself a favor and check it out and watch all 6 ten minute segments.

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cakes

The kids are out of school for the summer so at the Geek Dad HQ we’re going to be doing a lot of smart and fun activities that won’t break the bank. First up is conquering the afternoon snake with a quick lessing in “from scratch” microwave cooking! Today the kids are going to learn the classic five minute chocolate mug cake!

First up is the list of our software, we’re going to need this for each mug cake:

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • A small splash of vanilla extract

For our hardware we will need

  • 1 large coffee mug
  • 1 microwave
  • Measuring spoons

The process is as follows and does take a bit of supervision but my 5 year old was able to measure everything except the vanilla herself.

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
  2. Add the egg to the mixed dry ingredients and mix well again.
  3. Add the milk and the oil and mix well one more time.
  4. And vanilla extract, and yup, mix it up again.
  5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 to 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

My 17 year old 1000 watt microwave took about 2:20 second to cook the cake. While cooking the cake will really rise, don’t be alarmed! When done, allow it to cool a little which will take a long time if you leave it in the mug so feel free to  tip it out onto a plate if desired.

One last note, you can add almost anything to the batter, try experimenting. Add some chocolate chips, freeze dried coffee, or nuts to liven it up. Put it in a bowl and serve it with ice cream, chocolate sause and whipped cream. Have fun!

Microsoft SkyDrive on OSX

What’s not to like about Microsoft SkyDrive? Anyone that signed up for a free SkyDrive account before April 23rd 2012, can keep their 25GB online storage forever if they ask for it and new users still get 7GB. That much more than DropBox or other providers.

As a Mac user, I was happy to see they launched a MacOS X compatible client application for SkyDrive so I could use all that space. There was just one little thing that bothered me, I couldn’t stand that client has the SkyDrive icon sitting in my Dock and menu bar at the same time! That’s just bad form from Microsoft on this one.

Being this is OSX there is a quick fix however, just open up a Terminal window and type the following to modify the SkyDrive clients settings:

defaults write /Applications/SkyDrive.app/Contents/Info.plist LSUIElement 1

If SkyDrive was already running, just close it and start it again and the Dock icon is gone !

Analytical Dieting

So two months ago I changed the way I ate, worked, and exercised. Simply put, I started paying attention to what I ate and how much physical activity I expended. This change was brought on by a visit to my doctor and his not so subtle way of telling me that the numbers don’t lie, you’re overweight! Right on the line, I indeed had a BMI of 25 which put me in the overweight category.

So this is a progress report of sorts and we’ll focus on the numbers since the numbers started this whole journey and numbers is how I am succeeding.

In the first two months, I have lost 13 pounds (5.9kg). To track my progress and get this information I record my weight everyday, first thing in the morning. As you can see it is an up and down journey by the trend is what is important not the daily successes or failures.

This weight loss is result of my activities and what led to this was methodical tracking of everything I ate. To set my baseline I crunched some numbers online and I set myself a goal of 1537 net calories a day. Net calories are important as this is what it would take for me to just live my normal day. If I exercise in any fashion I get to add calories to this total to make up for the extra energy expended. So this is my last two months of eating by weekly intake.

As the chart shows, I often have ended the day or week eating less than my net calorie total but this eating less is how you end up losing weight. How much is good but what you eat is also important. So to track this goal not only did I log how what I ate and how many calories, I also logged the carlorie distribution from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As you can see, like more Americas, I do have a high carbohydrate diet. It must be the beer! The top five foods I’ve logged were tea, Fiber One bar, beer, onions, and chicken breast.

The other side of the equation is the extra energy expended. Here is my exercise log from the past two months. This is everything I’ve done the past two months other than living. Everything here is the result of physical activity and represent extra calories I can consume. The top five activities I’ve logged were walking, yard work, house cleaning, carpentry, and hiking.

So all this diligent data collection on myself has allowed me to know exactly how many calories I need to eat and when to stop in order to lose weight. Today my BMI is 23.8 and falling. I don’t record my percent body fat every day but when I started it was 22.4% and today is was 18.2%. My goal is 167 pounds (76 kg) and given the current trend I’m on I should be reaching that in about 4 more weeks!

It’s said that in order to make any change you need to be able to measure that change. By tracking my eating, exercise, and weight loss I have enabled myself to make better decisions to direct myself and my health.

A Quick Art Project

One day on Facebook a friend linked to a image of the Seven Lovely Logics. I thought it was neat and it instantly gave me an idea for filling that blank space on the bathroom wall. On my next trip down to Ikea, I picked up VIRSERUM picture frames, three white and four black. Yes, seven in total.

I created the right size printouts for the saying and placed them in the picture frames and arranged them on the wall. Simple but it looks great! That and no more big blue wall.