Category Archives: Blog

Blog

Screwdriver Selection Criteria

Everybody needs some screwdrivers, and in fact everyone needs a very small, basic tool kit at the very least.  A screwdriver, pair of pliers, and a crescent wrench will save your day at some point.  This blog entry is for the people that just need some basic hand tools and to provide a thing or two to think about before you spend your money.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching tools in the last week, and I’ve learned a lot about them.  Who actually owns the companies, where they are made, and how they hold up.  I’ve seen comparison videos where devious engineers design devious tests and then stack them up against each other.   While I greatly appreciate the study, thought, and application of those tests,  it just isn’t relevant to 95% of the population.

I’ve seen untold forum posts of “What Screwdriver Should I Get”.  Believe it or not the most common answer seems to be………..”Get something you can afford and don’t look back”.

The reality is that uber quality just isn’t necessary for most of us.  Then again, I’m not most of us.  I made my living using tools and a lot of people do.  I subscribe to the theory of “That Many People Can’t Be Wrong” when it comes to tool recommendations.  So let’s get on with the recommendations.
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More On Tools

I’ll get off the tool train soon and back to my regularly scheduled programming soon as I managed to FINALLY snag a Raspberry Pi 4.  They’ve been next to impossible to get for about a year or more now.

Anyway, you can’t be a Tech Blog Geek without good tools.  That’s really all there is to it.   Over time my tool needs have evolved in several different directions.

After my first stint in the Navy I got a job at an FAA Repair Station.  Obviously my mix of tools were aviation related and we had one specific issue where tool handles needed to be chemical resistant due to the use of a commercial hydraulic fluid called Skydrol.   Even if you had a decent set of Craftsman hand tools those handles would get all sticky and melt.

Fast forward a few years and I’m working for the government who provides me tools at work but I’m starting a family and need basic home tools.  Not much use for a pair of safety wire pliers around the house.   So I retool as much as I can afford to.

Then I move to Japan and put all my tools in storage.  While I once was an Aircraft Structural Mechanic I somehow evolved into an Electronics Tech Rep.   Time to retool again.

Now I’m retired but I have lots of electronics hobbies, not to mention I have a camper, and all manner of Maker gear and by that I mean a Vinyl Sign machine, 3D printers, lasers, and a CNC machine.   My tool needs are way different again.  About the only constants along the way have been screwdrivers, socket sets, wrenches and pliers.

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Are You A Tool Rebel?

Wera Tools calls their users and fan base “Tool Rebels”.  I generally don’t fall into hype like that however, I recently picked up a few Wera Tools after having owned a screwdriver set for years.

I think it is safe to say that I’m a Tool Rebel!

Let me issue you a challenge.  Look at hand tools that your father used, or your grandfather used, or look at some antique tools.  Not a whole lot has changed.  Screwdrivers are roughly the same, socket sets are roughly the same.  No one has tried to improve upon these designs.  But Wera has some very unique engineering upgrades to these common items.

Wera Zyklop

Just look at this Zyklop ratchet.  This is the first ratchet I’ve seen with an ergonomic handle.  At best they usually have some rough pattern for grip.  Also the head detents at several different locations.  You can set it to 0 degrees and use it like nut driver then when you need to apply some torque you can detent to 90 degrees like a normal socket.  Or you can detent it to 15 degrees which gives you that little bit of clearance on the handle end just like a box end wrench.  Brilliant.

So does that make Wera the best tools on the planet?  My answer is very situational.  It depends on what you use your tools for.   You’ll get a very different answer from a lifelong auto mechanic  than you will get from the retired guy who just needs to honey-do a few things around the house.  Consequently an electronics repair man is going to have much different requirements than an appliance repair man.

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Building a Small Tool Bag

When I was among the employed I always maintained a small tool bag of my most used tools rather than carry the giant hard size case of crappy tools that work provided.   Now that I am retired I still need a go bag of tools but clearly the mission has changed.  I’m no longer the Aircraft Visual Landing Aid Tech Rep who worked on the light arrays that give your pilots a visual glide slope reference.

Now I’m the guy who goes from the house to my workshop or who runs to friends or families houses to help with more household chores.  Bear in mind that this bag gets you from the truck to the house or shed.  You can always go back to the truck for the 10 lb. crescent wrench.

Red Oxx Lil Roy

In my opinion, canvas bags are the only way to roll for your tool bag.  Tools are heavy.  Your tool bag doesn’t need to add to that.   Even though this isn’t advertised as a tool bag, my favorite bag for a small tool compliment is the Red Oxx Lil Roy EDC bag.  It is almost perfect although I do wish it were an inch or two longer.  Are you listening Red Oxx?   Red Oxx bags are THE BEST.  They cost a few bucks but I have never had one let me down.  Carrying screwdrivers and other sharp things will expose a poorly made bag the first few times you toss it down or when it slides off the seat of your pickup truck.

My Lil Roy bag has nary a tear or defect after years of repurposing it as a tool bag.  I love this bag so much that I got a couple more of them.  The Olive color that I have the (stock) pic of hides dirt pretty well.  After years of use my bag still looks pretty snappy.  I’m not kidding when I say this bag has been through a lot and it still looks almost brand new.

Years of use.

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Best Screwdrivers

I lived in Japan a whole lot of years and didn’t really have a full compliment of tools with me over there.  When I got back to the US in 2015 or so I realized my tools needed an upgrade for the new house that I had built.

When I first moved to Japan in 1996 and again in 2003 I’d have been willing to bet the answer to the question “what are the best screwdrivers” had two answers.  Craftsman, and Snap-On.

Oddly enough when I stared doing the research for best screwdrivers in 2015 neither one of those brands was even in the top 5 or 10 of most websites.

I’ll spare you the research I did and tell you what I decided on.   Wera Tools.  But I bought them from Amazon, and specifically this set.  At that time the set was $45 and of course now it costs $53 because that’s the way life is.

Wera Screwdriver Set

I travelled the world with these hand tools and stored them in a canvas “go” bag and probably abused them as much as a fella can.

6 or 7 years later the tools are still in great shape and most importantly of all none of the tips are worn or broken.

And while I know this is very subjective the Wera ergonomics are exceptional for me.  Actually they are just a hair slick however with a drop of sweat or two on your hands they really begin to grip like no ones business.

I’ll keep this blog post short and sweet.   Wera Tool Screwdrivers are simply holding up after my years of use as a Field Service Tech Rep..  I like them so much that I just bought a Wera Ratcheting Screwdriver as well and I love it too.

John’s Tech Blog highly recommends Wera Screwdrivers.

A Pirate Looks At 60

Sorry for swiping your line, Jimmy Buffett.  Anyway, here it is.  2:40 AM on 5 September, 2022, sixty years since I was born in Evansville, Indiana to Ray and Nancy Hagensieker.

And what a ride it has been.  Sorry to those of you looking for a Raspberry Pi or computer dalliance but it is my blog  😀

I won’t bore you with a mass reflection backwards but I have a few things on my 60 year old mind. And I suppose before I start I should say that my time here has led me to a good place and without question I believe that I am blessed beyond belief.  And that those blessings come from God.  And what is even more baffling to me is that I probably don’t deserve any of them.

I’m 100% convinced in the God of the Bible and I’m 100% convinced in the presence of REAL and ACTUAL evil in this world.   And I can kind of plot how I got there which is kind of interesting in and of itself.  If you are inclined…..please read on.
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Myofascial Release

This may seem unusual for what most might consider an Electronics or Computer Tech Blog but this is Human Body Tech.  Let me preach on it…………..

Sometime around the year 2000 or so I was ridiculously fat and getting fatter.  I finally decided that it was time to knuckle down and do what needed to be done.  I was living in Japan and on a business trip to Pax River, Maryland and hopped on a treadmill for the first time.  I had to run in boxer shorts and dress socks but I ran a mile on the treadmill.

I’ll spare you the progression story but suffice to say I was a huge “runner” but a runner nonetheless.  And along with that hugeness came aches and pains.  I was highly motivated to run and read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on.  There is no shortage of motivational running literature out there.  And then the inevitable happened.  I got a mild injury, probably to my IT Band.  The IT Band is a thick bunch of fibers that runs along the outside of your thighs and knee.  While researching my ouch-ee I read a book called The Pain Free Runner, about Myofascial Release for the first time.

I’m no Doctor or Nurse or Physical Therapist or anything of the sort.  I was nothing but a fat, hurt runner.   But I’ll my best to explain this in layman’s terms.  When some muscle hurts in your body the actual site of the injury or “Trigger Point” is somewhere else.  The tension from the knotted muscles or tissue pull and stretch the affected muscle where you feel the pain.  Release the knotted muscle and the pain subsides.

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Super Old Tech – Fluorescent Lights

You’d think a modern Tech Blog would discuss modern equipment but the reality is sometimes tech that is still laying around gets forgotten about and in some sense this blog is about an attempt to upgrade some old tech.

Back when I was a pup fluorescent lighting was everywhere.  It was probably the most common way to light up larger spaces.  If you got your hands on a 4′ long lighting fixture you were living large.  My dad found a couple somewhere and painted them red, white, and blue and hung them in his office basement.  I’ll never forget that horrific buzz.

Recently my wife and I bought a mid 1980’s country home and the back yard shed had two 4′ long fluorescent light fixtures in it.  There were a couple of bad tubes in it and sometimes the lights would come on and sometimes they wouldn’t.  Being the tech savvy dude that I am I decided to upgrade the old light tubes to LED’s with drop in replacements.  Sounds easy, right?

It was not.
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Storm Preparedness. A Story of Failure

At my old house I had all manner of storm preparations in place.  We moved here in July of 2021  which gave me several months before the Winter Storm of January 2022 hit.

I, as they say………Screwed The Pooch.

Fortunately for me the power never went out because if it had I wasn’t quite ready for it.   My biggest indiscretion was that I own a 9500 watt, 50 amp generator.  That is essentially enough power to run your whole house in a storm.

At my old house I had a 7500 watt, 30 amp generator.  I ran my whole house EASILY with that.  And while this is a much larger house with mostly all electric appliances…………you pick a floor to live on.  Upstairs or Downstairs.  Actually the heating system downstairs runs on gas. So if we stay downstairs, which we mostly do anyway………….we’d never miss a beat.

So when we moved here I decided to hook a PBN50 Power Inlet Box up to the house.

  • 9500 watt, 50 amp generator – 
  • 50 amp power inlet connector – 
  • Cord to hook them together – X

Shit.
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Why Don’t We Encrypt Our Communications?

I’ve been on a security kick and asking myself, why don’t more people protect their personal communications?  Here’s the short list.

  • It’s hard.
  • Or it costs money.
  • If it costs money, it’s still hard.

If you use a web-based service like ProtonMail it is actually pretty easy.  It’s all built in.  But God forbid you use Mac Mail, Outlook, or Thunderbird to bring in encryption certificates.

I’m pretty tech savvy, and I’ve played with email encryption before and it just is beyond the scope of most average computer users.  People in corporate or government roles are most likely to use it, and then they have dedicated IT Departments to set it up.  When I worked in the government it was as simple as pushing a padlock button in your email.

At home, not so much.   First of all, I use Mac.  And while it is possible to add certificates to your store for free it is all command line stuff and again, it is beyond the scope of most users.  The solution is a program called GPGSuite but not only does it cost money, it seems to keep costing money as their upgrades cost money.   Mac goes from Big Sur to Monterey……..you’re buying a new encryption Suite.

What’s a boy to do?
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