Building An Economical Waterproof Shower

The last few years have introduced many shower systems, such as KERDI-BOARD. These solutions are expensive and unnecessary.

Here are the steps to produce a waterproof shower without breaking the bank.

Use mold resistant drywall around your shower area.

Rather than closing up the seams with drywall mud, use a product like LePage 2 in 1 Seal & Bond.

Apply 3 coats of RedGard® Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane.

You now have a waterproof shower, go ahead – take a shower.

That is all that is needed, you are ready for tile.
For tiles that are 8? to 16?, test coverage using a 1/4? x 3/8? U or Square notch.

A couple notes for myself:

3M 61 spray glue

TYTAN Drywall Pro Adhesive / Lepage PL 200

CertainTeed Premixed Texture “Spray-Lite” – Rona

Filling voids & mesh tape = (USG Easy Sand 20/45/90) / CGC Sheetrock 45
Final coat = CGC Classic Finish (must use 150+ sandpaper)

Ceph Cluster – A 2nd Try?

Back in August 2016 I wanted to try and build a Ceph cluster.  A the time one of the only Single Board Computer (SBC) with a SATA port was the Banana PI.

I bought a few 3tb hard drives (2.5 inch), 4 Banana PI machines and some Odroid C2 machines to use as controllers.

My Ceph cluster attempt in 2016.

It was very easy to setup the Ceph cluster, but the performance was terrible.  For Ceph to work you really need a high speed back channel for machines to replicate between.

I deployed the hardware for other purposes and called the experiment a failure.

Today I found this post on reddit.  Turns out Hardkernel has released a machine called Odroid-HC2.  It integrated a SBC with passive cooling and the ability to directly connect a 3.5 inch drive up to 12tb.

The guy on reddit deployed glusterfs on 20 of them, apparently glusterfs does not use so much bandwidth to keep the cluster in sync.  His performance numbers are impressive.

I’m not going to build out a cluster of these at this time, but it certainly looks like a fun project.

Syncthing

Everyone and their dog has used Dropbox in the past.  It is good, but commercial and your data is stored in the cloud.

Another option is Resilio, a nice application but I don’t find it stable enough for production use.

I have found Syncthing, open source and your data is not stored in the cloud.  I’m  testing it out on several Windows machines and a couple Linux machines.

Installing on Linux (Debian) from the Debian package was easy enough, but it does not complete the install. 🙁

On top of that the documentation is currently out of date and/or not correct on how to get the thing running as a service.

I found this page that goes over how to get it running, the instructions even work unlike a number of others I have found.

Another thing that is not clear, is where the configuration file is.  If you start it using systemctrl as per the instructions (assuming username is user1), the system creates a default config file at: 

/home/user1/.config/syncthing/config.xml

I assume this is all done so each individual user can  set it up on the machine and have their own configuration…  of course in that way you have multiple people using the same port but guess they can fight over that.

The following commands could be used to enable the service (assuming username is user1)

systemctl enable syncthing@user1.service

With the service enabled it will start automatically on a restart.

If you want to stop/start or get the status while running, use these commands:

systemctl start syncthing@user1.service
systemctl stop syncthing@user1.service
systemctl status syncthing@user1.service

Builing A Deck With No Screws

Well, not exactly no screws but how about no screws that can be seen?  I have viewed a couple YouTube deck builders who were making decks while screwing in from the sides.

Today I found the tool that can do this easily.  It is called the Camo Marksman, from a company called Camo Fasteners.  You place it over your board and it automatically spaces the board and allows you to screw in from the side.

The result is a very clean looking deck, love it.

Shared Space Temperature Controls

Doing some research on thermostats, specifically ones that can be ‘locked’ so people can’t mess with them. Ideal for landlords or shared spaces like hallways.

Here is what I found:

Chicago Controls (AKA landlordstat.com) – their stuff is a bit limiting in the temperature ranges they offer. Can’t be changed by a tenant as the temperature is burned into the motherboard.

King Electronics offers several models that are programmable, most are set by jumpers on the motherboard so easily altered by tenants. Available from Amazon, also found e-volt in Canada that sells them.

Accustat they market a product line that the temperature is controlled by installing different mercury-based thermometer ‘keys’. You order the thermometer that relates to the temperature you want to set. Interesting idea.

Crashplan Kicks Customers to the Curb

CrashPlan announced a couple days ago that they will no longer offer their services to consumers. If you were using their service, you have about 14 months to find an alternative.

I have already started – I uninstalled CrashPlan and looking at alternatives.

What are your options now? You may want to look at BackBlaze, they have a nice looking service.

OMG! Did she just FART?

You got married a couple years ago, living in an apartment.

Now you are thinking about starting a family, so the two of you save up and purchase a condo. A generously sized three bedroom in a good school district. Best of all, the building is quite new, only a couple years old.

The big day comes, you get possession and move in – how exciting. You have not met the neighbors yet, perhaps you should take over an apple pie and introduce yourself? Maybe later in the week, once you have finished unpacking.

After a few hours of unpacking you are both exhausted and sitting on the couch quietly, looking over the mountain of unpacking you still have left but very content to be in your brand new home.

Then you hear it.

The neighbors upstairs must have just come home. You clearly heard them open the door and voices talking. They are talking about a new toothpaste they purchased while out getting groceries for the week.

Now they are unpacking the groceries, you hear the fridge door open and close, the cabinet doors banging. The voices continue, they just can’t stop talking about that new toothpaste.

Then you hear it, a massive FART from upstairs! There was no mistake, it was as clear as day.

A female voice says ‘excuse me’.

Your first thought OMG, did she just FART?

Your second thought, how can you be hearing every word and every FART from the unit upstairs?

Has your new condo not got any sound proofing between units? If you can hear them, can they hear you? Did the builder not follow sound insulation standards?

If your new condo is wood construction, odds are good the builder did follow the minimum sound insulation standards. Unfortunately, builders rarely do more than the minimum.

The end result is you end up living in structure that has very annoying sound issues and lack of privacy for everyone.

What can do you about the sounds from the neighbors upstairs, you can’t expect them to whisper and walk on their tip toes all the time.

There are two types of sound, the first is airborne sound such as speaking and the mids and highs of music or TV.

The other type of sound is low frequency, this is sound such as bass from music, your neighbors footsteps or dropping things on the floor.

To attack these sounds issues you must take a multi prong approach and it is not cheap, if you skip some steps you can greatly reduce or totally negate the benefits of your attempt to sound proof. Sound is like water; if you have any “leaks,” it will find a way in.

Lets take a look at what options are available to property sound proof your ceiling (their floor) to hopefully give you back as much of your privacy as possible. We assume that the unit on top is not willing to make any changes to their property, such as sound deadening or alterations to their flooring.

Step #1

Remove the existing drywall from your ceiling. Remove any insulation that exists (hopefully there was some!).

If you are careful when removing your existing drywall, you can recycle it. This increases the mass and will help reduce sound – a much better use for it than tossing it out. Cut strips of drywall to fit in between the ceiling joists. Apply Green Glue on the strips and screw into the underside of the sub floor, sandwiching the green glue between the sub floor and drywall.

You can double up by doing the same thing with another strip of drywall over the first.

Step #2

Install Roxul SAFE’n’SOUND which does an excellent job at stopping the mids and highs but does little to nothing to stop the low frequency sounds of footfall or items dropping on the floor.

Step #3

All light boxes or electric junction boxes that exist in your ceiling need to be encased with an acoustical sealant or sound will leak right through those boxes – negating all your hard work and expense. Consider products such as QuietPutty or ATS Acoustics Putty Pads.

If you have any holes in your ceiling for cables, smoke detectors or recessed lighting, everything must be protected with acoustical protection. Even one hole will allow sound to easily pass.

Step #4

Now comes the important step to block low frequency noise.

You need to install your ceiling again but it must be decoupled from the walls and floor above as much as possible. You can use a product such as Green Glue Noiseproofing Clips, The WhisperClip or Kinetics Wave Hanger. For those budget conscious, consider the Resilient A237 clip. All things being equal the Whisper Clip delivers an STC score of 60, A237 delivers 57 vs using no clips delivers a score of 42.

Install your choice of clip in conjunction with drywall furring channel, the clips are expensive ranging in price from $5.00 – $10.00 for each clip.

Next mount a double set of 5/8″ drywall onto your furring channels. If you have lots of cash available for this project, consider adding Green Glue between your 5/8″ drywall sheets or even use QuietRock 530 for maximum noise reduction.

Here is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART to stopping the low frequency noise. Your ceiling must not touch the walls – yep, you read that correctly. You must leave a 1/8″ gap between your ceiling drywall and your walls. Fill the 1/8″ gap using a non-hardening, paintable, resilient acoustical caulk such as QuietSeal Pro (it is blue) or OSI SC175 (it is white).

Do NOT tape or mud the ceiling drywall to your walls. The acoustical caulk must the the only connection, this prevents the low frequency sound from traveling down your walls.

The general consensus among sound experts is to use the lowest price clips and spend your savings adding more mass in the form of additional layers of drywall.

Additional Tips

  • You will need to lower any lights or fans that existed in your ceiling as your new ceiling will be several inches lower as a result of the clips, furring channel and double drywall.

At this point you should have a massive improvement in sound blocking, you are ready to tape, mud and paint your ceiling.

If you have access to the flooring above you, consider installing a product like Peacemaker or Rubber Underlay for Floors. In Canada Foam Solutions makes quite a few different underlay products.

With a little luck, you will no longer be able to hear your neighbor FART!

Rspamd Tips & Tricks


Rspamd is supposed to be a high performance spam filtering solution. Of any project I have worked with, it has the worst documentation of anything I have used. Obviously this is the reason the product has not been widely adopted. You may have the best software in the world, but if no one can figure out how to use it…

View Stats

rspamc stat

Command will output some details, including how many messages scanned with a breakdown of classifications. Also lists details of fuzzy hashes and bayes information.

View Configuration

rspamadm configdump

Command will dump out the active configuration of rspamd. Very useful since rspamd uses a general configuration file, then has local configuration files that merge and also override configuration that replaces default configuration.

You can drill down and look at individual specific configuration element (there are many), here are a few examples.

rspamadm configdump logging
rspamadm configdump regexp
rspamadm configdump classifier

External Sites

The following links are places I have found with good general information or documentation on RSPAMD.

0xf8.org

Vernon Trades

Finding quality people to work on projects can be difficult, not everyone has a website to promote themselves and you often only learn about them through word of mouth. I am going to maintain a list of a few different trades that I have had good experiences with. If experiences have not been so great, that will also be noted here.

Handyman Services

Yes Dear Handyman Services – Use these guys extensively, everything from painting, AC replacement, building decks to light electrical work. They make quick work out of most jobs.

Broco Home Maintenance – worked with Brian on a couple jobs. They do plumbing, gas and handyman work.

Handyman Hands – This guy is the go-to guy for RE/MAX Commercial Solutions in Vernon. I would suggest you keep looking and avoid this one.

Plumber

If you own your own home, you know the value of a quality plumber. I have spoken to many
of them in the Vernon area most just don’t seem to care.

Fifth Generation Plumbing – 250-542-5052 – Used several times, very satisfied with quality of work and availability of staff.

Broco Home Maintenance – Primarily a plumber, but may also do handyman jobs.

Electrician

Rad Energy Electric – Jeff Radies – 250-306-4868. A few people around town mentioned Jeff.  I had his company do a few small jobs including, changing light fixtures, replacing some undersized wiring and adding new power receptacles.

Litzenberger Electric – Marcel Litzenberger – 250-309-1295 / 250-542-3217

Drywall
Before you get to the paint stage, you are going to need some drywall. Have not tried any of these companies, just putting them here for future reference.

Copper Fox Interiors – Mark Ward – 250-309-2831

Painters

Paint Special – Used these guys once to paint a condo. The actual quality of the painting was OK but they were very messy. I had to spend $200+ to have all the paint removed off the floor and electric baseboard heaters when they were done. Will not use them again.

Home / Garage Plans

If you are looking to have some construction done, maybe adding a garage or new home consider Accu-Rated. They are a small firm out of Kelowna. *UPDATE* As of August 2018, it looks like this company may not even exist anymore.

Trash Removal

If you don’t have enough trash to rent your own dumpster, check out Dump Runz.

Bagster, dumpster in a bag is a good option for small renovation jobs.

Cleaning Services

Twila Harsch – 250-550-8059 – Have used Twila a few times, she knows her stuff.

The Clean Gecko – Used only once, staff were slow and quality not very good. Your mileage may vary with this one.

SERIOUS Cleaning Services

If you find yourself with a disaster, such as fire or flood you are going to need to call in a professional remediation company.

On Side Restoration – After a flood in a condo I contacted these guys. Probably the best experience I have ever had with a company, anywhere. They worked directly with the insurance company and got the problems sorted out.

Pest Control

If you have creepy crawlers around Vernon, call The Bugman Pest Control. Young crew of friendly guys, they responded quick when I called them.

 

Mudjacking

Not a service most people need, but if you have concrete that has slipped or sunk the process of mudjacking or foamjacking can save you a bundle.

Accurate Concrete – Based out of Armstrong BC, worked with Russ to lift a set of steps that had fallen away from the house.

Property Management

If you are looking for someone to manage a property, there are not many choices in Vernon. The real truth is no property manager would ever take care of your property like you would. Unfortunately I can’t recommend any of the ones listed here, if you know of someone that does property management in Vernon, let me know.

RE/MAX Commercial Solutions – They currently manage one property for me, when the current tenant moves out the property manager will go with them.

Associated Property Management – I suspect they don’t really operate in Vernon, but they do list and office address and phone number.

Delaney Properties – Have heard nothing but bad things about these guys.

Century 21 Executive Realty, Property Management – I know nothing of these guys but they claim to provide property management in Vernon.

Testing the SSL Certificate on an Email Server

Have you ever tried to remotely test an SSL/TLS certificate on an email server?

It is no easy task, unless you know the simple command. Most online SSL testing tools that work against an email server will report if the connection is encrypted, if the cert matches the expected server name etc. However one piece of information they fail to check is if the certificate is expired.

I found OpenSSL has an easy command you can use to connect to an SMTP server and pull the details of the certificate in use on that server.

openssl s_client -starttls smtp -crlf -connect 123.456.789.012:25