Aunsoft Video Converter Review

•November 22, 2011 • 1 Comment

Some of my friends have asked me what I use to convert videos to place onto my Droid X, Xoom and my wife’s Ipad. I always tell them Aunsoft Video Converter.

I have tried other converters, but found Aunsofts to be the best one I have used.

It’s intuitive to use with the simple drag and drop interface. You then select the profile you would like to export the video out to, in my case, it’s usually for either my Droid X or Xoom. If you are a Apple user, not problem there either, it has plenty of different profiles to work with many different devices. After that, you simply tell it where to save the converted file and hit the large convert button. I’m not sure if it could be any easier to use.

It does allow you to tinker around with the settings if you are comfortable doing that. The profiles are all editable and allow you to change the resolutions, bit rates etc… I have created different profiles to get the most out of certain movies and then use the standard ones for everything else. It’s great having the option to do that.

I also like the look of the software. It’s easy on the eyes with windows where you would expect them. You don’t even need to read directions to get going, the conversion steps are laid out in the interface in an intuitive way. You install it, click, click, click and your video is ready to be played on the device of your choice.

I think a good question to ask yourself when you evaluate software is, would you buy it again? I certainly would.

New Rubber on the DT250!

•September 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I set a goal for myself this week to try my hand at getting the tires onto the DT250.

I initially started out the day working on my portfolio, but that seems to be going no where. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing and couldn’t seem to get it right. In these cases, the best thing to do is stop, let it go and try again in a few hours. I shut down the computer and headed to the garage. I figured I would think about it while trying to get the new tires onto my DT.

I have a NoMar tire changer set up. However, I don’t have the dirt tire “dogs” for it yet so all it ended up being used for was a table like top for me to work off of. The NoMar clamps onto the rim keeping it from moving, but dirt knobby tires are to round so the regular “dogs” can’t reach it so it won’t clamp on. I just rested the tire on it so that I wouldn’t have to work on the ground.

Getting the front tire off was no big deal. Disconnect the front brake and tach cable and remove the axle. The tire slid free in no time. I took the opportunity to clean everything I touched, re-grease and put new brake pads and brake arm on. Then, over to the NoMar stand to tackle the old rubber.

Getting the old, rotten, hardened and stiff rubber off was a real challenge. I had two spoons already but really needed another. It was a good fight, but eventually, after much grunting, groaning and swearing, one wall of the tire was free of the rim. I removed the tube and then had round two with the tire to get the opposite side out. It was far easier then the first side. I cleaned the rubber rim strip, the rim itself and the bead lock. Once I put the rubber strap back onto the rim I once more greased up the tire and had at it! I almost needed another arm, but with a lot of grunting, holding spoons with my stomach and tire lube, the new one slid onto the rim. I carefully worked the new tube into the rubber and worked the remaining edge of the tire onto the rim. It looked pretty good! I took it over to my air compressor and filled it up!

DOH! While I was working the remaining edge of the tire onto the rim, I pinched the damn tube!! Darn it!! There wasn’t much I could do at that point, so I put everything away to tackle the next day.

The following morning I went to RoadRider and got a new tube and one more tire spoon.

Back in the garage I took the tire off the rim once more, tossed the rubber rim band and replaced it with a couple spins of duct tape. I had gotten advice from others saying that is what most of them do. Its water proof and cheap, so I figured what the heck! I had also gotten advice to half inflate the tube to lessen the likelihood of pinching it so I did that as well. Fast forward to some more hard work and the tire was firmly seated on the rim with the tube and bead lock in place! I filled it half way with air, bounced it a few times around the circumference of the tire to make sure the tube was seated properly and then filled it up to spec! It held!

With the tire finished, I took off the old cracking and dry rotten fender and tossed it into the junk bin. I had redone a better pair of forks I had gotten off of EBay ages back, new seals, bushings and fresh oil in them. Off came the old nasty forks, into the junk bin with them and I put on my redone ones. I also replaced the old rusty cable guide with a new shiny one. I had to use the old rubber cushions on it, but its hard to tell. The tire was put back on and the brake and tach hooked back up. It looked pretty darn good.

Time to tackle the back tire.

I unhooked the back brake and the chain. I had the rear off in no time and sitting on my NoMar “table”. I greased it up and started prying at it with the spoons. It became apparent very quickly that this was going to be much, much harder then the front tire. The rear was thicker and very, very stiff. The old rubber wouldn’t budge at all unless you went at it with some serious force. The spoons had a hell of a time getting under the old bead (this was even after I broke the bead all the way around on both sides) and when they did, the rubber just didn’t want to move at all. I worked at it, moving the spoons a tiny bit at a time, trying to get the rubber to be a bit stretchier and then greasing it up again and again. Slowly, with much swearing, sweating and then a lot more swearing, it started to give way. It took a heck of a lot of work but eventually with a final push, the first bead came free. I had to sit down for a breather after that. The tube came out along with the bead lock and rubber rim strap. Once I had one side of the tire out, the second came out much easier. With it off the rim I had a bit of a moment, savoring the victory.

The rear rim was then cleaned and the duct tape run around it a few times over the spokes. The battle to get the new tire on was then on! Thankfully, it went one easier then the old one came off. It was a heck of a lot of work but eventually it was sitting half on the rim. The rim lock was then slid on along with the half inflated tube. The tube stem didn’t want to go into the rim hole, but with more lubrication and persistence, it popped in. With the three spoons, both hands, a leg and stomach all in use, I managed to carefully get the rest of the tire on without pinching the tube. Several bounces around the circumference of it to make sure the tube was seated properly and it was time to air it up! Thankfully, it held! No holes!

Back onto the bike it went and then adjusted for the chain and brake arm. ALL DONE!

I have to say, it looks far better with the new rubber one. Much meatier and more dirt hungry then the old worn out tires. It was my first tire change and I’m pretty pleased with the results!

The XRs Front End.

•August 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today was more work. Hot stinky work. It reached 96F in the backyard, (That’s 35C for you metric people) it made the garage like a sauna. It least the garage door gives shade so I could work outside, but it was still insanely warm. I kept wondering what the horrid, horrid corpse like smell I would occasionally get a whiff of was. I eventually figured out it was the garbage bin in the other corner of the yard giving off the rancid stink. Turns out the slow roasting dirty diapers in there were the culprit. Gah! Anyhow…

I am still waiting for the wheel oil seals, so the bearings had to wait. I started out by taking the right handle brake lever off to make getting the front brake cable off easier. The cable came off easy enough and was cleaned. I wish I had bought a new one now though. All new cables would have been nice.

The front tire was next and came off easy enough. I put all the parts for it in a pile. The front brakes weren’t to bad, but they smelled burnt and were pretty rusty, so they were tossed into the junk bin and the new pads went on. The wheel assembly was given a nice cleaning and then put into the corner. The ugly front fender came off next and was cleaned and put aside as well.

I then took the forks off. I thought the bolts for them would be a bit of a battle, but like everything else on this bike, they were fairly loose. I slid both fork tubes off the bike and looked them over. They have the usual amount of wear on them, but they aren’t to bad. The tubes are pretty rusty though. The old aluminum foil rub trick took most of the surface rust off. They’ll have to do for now. I drained the oil from both of them then flipped them over to have a look at the bottom bolts. Turns out they were Philip head bolts and looked like they were pretty soft material. I tried removing one but could feel the screw driver start to slip. I needed better tools then I owned if I wanted to get them out with stripping them.

Into the car and off to San Jose BMW! They had a good laugh over the wee forks when I came in. They are cute little things. One of their mechanics was nice enough to have a go at them and got the bottom bolts off no problem. My impact wrench never seems to be able to break them loose, but the big boy shops never seem to have a problem. They had them off in a few minutes and I bought the mechanic lunch for his troubles.

Back home I started disassembling them. With some work the circlip came out along with the ring, at this point they should have separated. I couldn’t for the life of me get them apart. On the DT, they slid apart no problem, but not with this little one. I put them into a large vice and hauled on them, but they were stuck solid. After about 30 minutes of trying different things to get them apart with no luck, I figured it was time for plan B.

I got a small thin bladed standard screw driver and gently pushed it into the seal around its perimeter, being real careful not to damage the bottom of the fork. After going around the outside of it a few times, I put it back into the vice and got out the persuader; also known as a hammer. I gave the bottom a whack and it slid free! Once all was free, I took it apart and cleaned it. It was full of nasty black gummy stuff. The new oil seal went on and it all went back together. Rinse and repeat for the other side. Interestingly, it didn’t take fork oil, but transmission fluid instead. I’d never heard of that.

They went back on the bike easy enough and then the wheel followed. Everything went back on nice and easy and looked much better then when I started. The brake cable was hooked back up and adjusted. A quick pass over the spokes to make sure nothing was loose and it was done!

Everything turned and worked fine, no leaking oil from the fork seals either. It looks much, much better then it did a few days ago. It still has a long way to go, but at least it’s getting there. I’m not worried about it falling apart or not stopping if someone uses it now.

I still need to redo the grips and throttle cable, but I think I’ll save that for later. I want to paint a bunch of the parts and handlebars so it’ll be a bit of work and I don’t have the time left this week. Still waiting for those points and oil seals as well.

I think this is a little milestone for this newbie! No extra screws, bolts, washers or pieces either!

The XR’s new rear.

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today I had a chance to get onto the XR75. I started it last night, but it got to dark before I could finish so today, I wrapped things up.

First thing to come off was the rear tire. I was very surprised to see that the rear tire was only barely being held on. The axle wasn’t even finger tight and the cotter pin to keep the castle nut on was missing! Thank goodness that it hadn’t come off when Issac’s boys had been riding it! The chain tensioners were also only finger tight, the entire rear wheel could move back and forth with no problem!! Even the brake arm cam was loose, they could have lost their rear brakes with a jolt. There were also a good number of very loose spokes.

With the rear off, I cleaned all the parts I came across. I was planning on replacing the rear wheel bearings, but I forgot to order new oil seals… DOH! I have them on order and will get back to them once they arrive. I tightened all the loose spokes, and cleaned off as much rust as I could from the bolts, tensioners, swing arm and frame. The rear brake pads weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, but they still looked like they needed replacing. I tossed the old rear sprocket into the yuck parts bin and put on a shiny new one.

The bolts holding the crank case cover over the front sprocket took a lot of work to loosen and get out, but eventually they gave in. I gave the cover a good cleaning and replaced the front sprocket and lock washer as well.

While I was at it, I took off the rusty banged up chain guard and had a go at it. I cleaned it with soap and water first, then went at it with some steel wool to get off as much rust as I could. I put on thick layer of rust stripper over it and let it sit for twenty minutes, washed it off and then cleaned it with TPS. Once all that was done, it was clean as a whistle and showed no visible rust at all. I sprayed it with Rustoleum primer and then two coats of semi-gloss black and two coats of clear coat. It came out looking really nice!

While the chain guard was drying, I put the new chain on. I have finally figured out how to get the master link on and off easily. Naturally, I didn’t figure this out until I had stabbed myself in the thumb with a small screwdriver. I put the master link on backwards first… DOH! Then took it off and put it on in the proper direction. I then set up the rear wheel with the proper tension on the chain and hooked the rear brake up.

Once the chain guard was dry, I went to put it on and realized, it can only go on with the rear tire off. When it’s on, there isn’t enough clearance to slip it over the chain. Oh man…. Out came the tools I had just put away and all my careful prep on the rear wheel was out the window. Off it came again, the chain off the rear sprocket for a bit more room and the chain guard slid back into place. Once more, I reset the back wheel to it’s proper distance and made sure everything was good again.

The final thing for today was to get the new air filter in. Easy as pie, removed three screws and then wasn’t the least bit surprised to see there was no old air filter in there. It had been running with air going straight to the engine with nothing to filter out the dust and debris. Sigh.

I figured while I was at it, I might as well give the bike a cleaning with a degreasing agent and check all bolts I came across. I took off the seat and was pleasantly surprised to find the old tool set still under there. When I was finished the careful cleaning, I aired the tires up to spec, opened the backyard gate and started it up!

I zipped to the end of our street and back, reaching third gear no problem! WOOT! COOL!

Next on the list is a tune up with new points and an oil change. I know I should have done that very first, but I couldn’t resist the lure of getting it out onto the road. I am still waiting for the new points and couldn’t stand the wait any longer.

I also have to replace the oil and seals in the leaking front forks. The front brakes and wheel bearings, the throttle cable and new grips. Once those things are done, the bike should be in pretty good shape. At least, good enough for now.

Onward for this newbie!

Yet another Project Bike. A 1978 Honda XR75

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Catherine surprised me around two weeks ago with a bike that I have had my eye on for a while.

Bug, Catherine’s brother had come across an old XR75 in great shape. Cosmetically, it was rough, but the frame was only lightly rusted and the engine seemed sound. He and his two sons had been bombing around the hills on it for a little while, so I mentioned to him my interest in getting it for JL when he was bored with it. Heck, I mentioned it to him almost every time I saw him.

Catherine convinced him to sell it to her for my 40th birthday. She got it a bit early though and had him drop it off in our backyard. I was mighty surprised to see it and very pleased to have it in the garage. The bikes look cute all lined up, the 75, then the 250 and then my GS.

I have ordered a bunch of parts for it just to make it safe to ride again.

New wheel bearings and Oil Seals for the front and rear wheels.
New Brake Pads for the front and rear.
New Oil Seals and dust covers for the forks.
New front and rear Sprockets along with a new chain.
New Air Filter.
A new Throttle Cable to replace the broken one and new grips to replace the almost disintegrated grips.

I still have to pick up a new spark plug and points.

Here are a couple of pics of it. I gave it a basic cleaning and surprisingly, most of the rust and band-aids seem to disappear in the photos. Trust me though, they are still there. It looks far better in the pictures then it does in person.

The Great Spider Hunt!

•July 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Our backyard is a mess. The former owner of our place used it as a junk heap and tossed all the crap from their odd jobs back there. When we moved in, we took three truckloads of crap out from back there. Eventually we want to clean up the back yard and make it into a nice place for the tot to play, but right now, that’s not real high on our list of things to do. It’s pretty wild back there, grass knee deep, holes and lots, and I mean lots, of spider webs. They are on the fence, all through the grass and in the cactus’s. You can’t find a square foot in the back that doesn’t have a web in it.

About two weeks ago, the apricots on our tree in the backyard became ripe. Man, are they good! Catherine’s father had come over to visit JL and he loves apricots. So I braved the yard to fill up a bag. Once the bag was full, I went and got the hose to give the tree a good watering. He had told me that if I did this and then came back in a week, the apricots would be even better. So while standing there, giving the tree a good hosing, I had the time to really look at all the webs everywhere. There were all kinds of webs, but a lot of them looked like Black Widow webs. The window to the garage was really covered in them, so when I figured the tree had enough water, I turned the hose on the garage window!

Webs came tumbling down! I turned the hose to the jet setting and really gave the window a good what for! I was almost finished when I saw what looked like a dark ball drop about a foot down the window sill and then stop itself.

“Hmmm, most interesting!”

I walked over to it and had a good look! This is what I saw.

She was a big girl! In fact, it was the biggest Black Widow I had ever seen! Her abdomen was about the size of quarter and with her legs extended, she was a formidable sight, almost the size of my thumb! Most people would have squashed her, or got the bug spray, but not this idiot. No way, a bug this big needs to be part of the family for a while! So even though I hate spiders, I headed inside to get the proper poisonous spider hunting gear!

I grabbed a big red oven mitt and a single plastic chopstick from the kitchen! I also went and got our nine year old nephew, Ruben, who was staying with us for a few weeks.

“Hey Rub! Want to go catch a huge Black Widow spider I found in the back yard with me!”

“Sure!”

JL had gotten a wooden bug cage from his Nana a few months back as well. It was sturdy, covered with mesh and had a large enough opening on the end of it that I figured I could get the spider in without to much damage to it, and hopefully, me.

We headed into the back yard again to the garage window. Ruben, being the smarter of the two of us, decided to stay about 7 feet back from where I had spotted her. She had vanished from the spot I first saw her so I started poking around under the window sill and then along the ground with the chopstick, putting thoughts of it crawling up my pant leg out of my head. After a minute or so I spotted her again! She had wedged herself into a crack under the sill, but she was so big, some of her legs couldn’t get in. I had spotted her because she had two large legs hanging down in plain view. I heard Ruben mutter behind me, “Holy crap!”

I asked Ruben if he wanted a try at getting her out of the crack and into the cage.

“No way!”, and then took another step backward.

I took a deep breath and the game was on!

I started gently prying her out of the crack. She wasn’t happy about that. She reluctantly gave it up and ran up the chopstick! I dropped her to the ground before she could get to far up! Thankfully, Black Widows aren’t the fastest spiders around. I opened the trap while trying to avoid her on the ground. With the oven mitt on the chopstick hand, I realized how vulnerable my bare hand was holding the trap open. To late now!

She was pretty determined that she wasn’t going into the trap without a good fight. I chased her around the ground for a while, moving my feet to avoid her while knocking her away from the safety of the garage wall. With a quick movement, I got her onto the trap and close enough to the opening that she crawled right in thinking it was a hole. I slide the door closed and it was done!

Ruben and I headed to the front yard to show off our mighty catch! Catherine was grossed out when she saw it. Her father stated, “Yep! That’s a big one all right!”

Little man thought it was pretty interesting and would point at it and proclaim, “Bug! Bug!”

We named it Charlotte and kept it on the front porch for a few days. It settled into the cage and built a cool little web. I eventually let it loose across the street from us in some bushes. Getting it out of the cage was far easier then getting it in. I watched it crawl across the rocks and under the bushes before disappearing. It had been a great piece of entertainment.

It turns out she wasn’t the only big Black Widow I would see that week.

A few days later, Catherine’s brother Mo came over and weed whacked the back yard. We could finally see what was going on back there. While he was working, I moved a board the was against the house and saw another large Black Widow. Unfortunately for this one, I was armed with a can of Bee Nest killer. (I was taking out some tiny nests on the back of the garage) The spider got a large blast of the bee killer.

A few days after that, I was in the garage, cleaning it up. I had recently finished putting up storage platforms and new supports for them in the rafters to move the boxes on the floor up into storage. After I had moved an air conditioning unit, I noticed a large Black Widow squashed on the side of it. I looked at my shirt and thank goodness, nothing was there. I had been lucky enough to have had the corner of the towel that had been covering the air conditioner between my chest and the spider.

Gross.

Three large Black Widows in a short time frame. I’m hoping the cleared back yard and tidy garage will help drop their population now. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

My Morning.

•May 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

My morning so far with the little terror.

He wakes up and immediately dumps the bedroom tv remote into a glass full of water.

We go through three diaper changes, he fights me every step of the way like each diaper change is a battle to the death.

I take a ultra fast shower with one foot sticking out trying to keep him from climbing in, he still manages to throw in several electronic toys and turns the water off on me several times before I manage to get shampoo out of my hair.

We go into the living room where he finds a half full slurpee Catherine had last night and forgot about. He dumps it over himself, the couch and the end table, somehow managing to even get it into the end table drawers. While I try and clean it up without exploding, he grabs the roll of paper towels and runs across the house with it unrolling half of it. While I desperately try and soak up orange slurpee before it stains the rug, he’s trying to stomp it into the carpet. I try and interest him in his toys so I can finish cleaning up the huge mess, but he’s more interested in taking his books and trying to mush them into the slurpee mess. I bribe him with goldfish to keep him busy, but he dumps them on the floor for the dog to eat.

Once clean(ish), we have another battle to change his clothes. I contemplate building a small prison for him. I figure a bit of fresh air will do the both of us good so we hop into the car and go get the dog some food.

We get into Petsmart and he pitches a huge fit because he isn’t allowed to go nuts in the dog treat section. We leave the store, one angry kid in one arm struggling to get down and a 30lb bag of dog food in the other.*sigh*, into the car again.

Once in the car we have another fight to the death over getting him strapped into his car seat. Luckily, that uses the last of his strength. He flops over two minutes later, fast asleep. Once home I sneak him into the house and onto my bed for his nap.

He’s beautiful sleeping and it makes it all worth the effort.

 
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