Daily Archives: December 3, 2009

399 Samantha’s Bookcase Pt. 5

In today’s episode we wrap up the solid wood edging on the base. I chose to attach it via biscuit joinery and then to make it flush with the shelf surfaces and sides I ran a flush trimming bit along the edge.

The result sounds like a lot of work, but in the end the extra time and effort were worth it. The key to successful flush trimming involves reading the grain direction and avoiding tearout. Unfortunately, that’s something I still need to work on apparently.

On a different topic, the end of the year is quickly closing in on us and of course that means less time for the show and shop and more time for the family. As I’ve done in the past around this time of year, I’ll be taking the last couple of weeks in December and the first in January to celebrate with the family and friends.

But before the holiday hiatus, we have a couple of big events happening. 1st, is a different kind of show with our very own Guest Expert Hendrik Varju. We’ll be going live with a show to take your questions on December 16th. It’ll be broadcast live from my website and I’ll have more details in the next week. This is a great opportunity to pick Hendrik’s brain of just about any topic, whether it’s covering his DVDs or any of his articles.

The 2nd big happening at the show is the upcoming Schwag Giveaway Extravaganza!! You may have noticed there was no November drawing. That’s because I decided to combine the November and December schwag into one big pile and draw names just before the Holidays really kick in. So if you’re already entered for November, don’t worry about December, but if you haven’t entered at all yet what are you waiting for? The drawing will be December 18th so mark your calenders!

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Reclaim Memory with Google Chrome’s New Purge Memory Feature [Chrome Tip]

Chrome is a speedy little browser, but that speed comes with a tradeoff: It also eats tons of memory. If you’ve got plenty of RAM, that may not be an issue; if not, you can reclaim that memory with a simple click.

As Lee Mathews over at Download Squad discovered, the most recent Chrome dev builds come with a command line switch (--purge-memory-button) that, when run with Chrome at startup, adds a Purge memory button to Chrome’s task manager.

Like other browsers, Chrome and Chromium can get a little RAM-hungry after extended browsing sessions. By adding the —purge-memory-button switch to your command line, you'll get exactly that — a purge memory button on the Task Manager screen.

Press shift + ESC after you’ve been browsing for a little while in Chromium top bring up the task manager. Press the purge button, and you’ll notice several of your memory figures drop (some quite drastically).

To put it to use, just edit your Chrome shortcut like so: Right-click the shortcut, select Properties, and paste —purge-memory-button at the end of the Target field in the Shortcut tab. Then just launch Chrome using that shortcut, hit Shift+Esc to bring up the Chrome Task Manager, and you should see the shiny new Purge memory button.

StylePix Image Editor Packs a Big Punch In a Little Package [Downloads]

Windows: Labor-intensive image editing jobs need heavy-hitting applications to get the job done. If you’re just looking for a lightweight tool to slap on a netbook or thumb drive for quick photo editing, StylePix might be just what you need.

StylePix image editor has plenty of bells and whistles to help you easily manage and edit your photos, no matter what your level of experience. It supports all major image formats, including .png, .tif, .gif, .bmp, and more. Zoom in and out, adjust colors and hues, batch process, and, transform your pictures in loads of different ways.

Use the included drawing tools to erase, spray, brush, and add shapes to your pictures, or use one of the image filters to morph, sharpen, or blur it. StylePix can lighten or darken your image, and even remove red-eye and dust.

StylePix a terrific little app that offers a lot of editing options but doesn’t take a degree in computer science to work with. Weighing in at only 20 MB, its small footprint makes it an ideal portable tool to take with you on the go.

StylePix is a free app that works on Windows XP or higher. If you’re looking for a similar tool, don’t forget to check out one of our favorite Photoshop alternatives, Paint.NET.

Google Public DNS Aims to Speed Up Your Browsing [DNS]

Google today launched a new, free DNS service—called Google Public DNS—aimed at making your web browsing experience even faster. Here's how it works:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with DNS (and it's cool if you are—as long as DNS is working, most people never need to know what's going on), Google offers an explanation:

Most of us aren’t familiar with DNS because it’s often handled automatically by our Internet Service Provider (ISP), but it provides an essential function for the web. You could think of it as the switchboard of the Internet, converting easy-to-remember domain names – e.g., www.google.com – into the unique Internet Protocol (IP) numbers – e.g., – that computers use to communicate with one another.

Google Public DNS, then, aims to replace your ISP’s default DNS with a (hopefully) faster, safer, and more reliable alternative. Google Public DNS isn’t the first freely available alternate DNS we’ve seen. Previously mentioned OpenDNS is an excellent DNS alternative (it boasts keyboard shortcuts, parental filters, and more), but—for better or worse—we're guessing that even more people may be interested in Google's offering.

To set up your computer or router to use Google Public DNS, hit up Google’s instructions (they’ve got specific instructions for Windows, Mac, Linux, or your router).

I swapped my DNS to Google’s service earlier today and so far my page loading seems to have a spring it its step, but you know how these things go. If you give it a try, let’s hear whether things are feeling snappier for you in the comments.

Update: Reader Manu writes in to share the results of his Google Public DNS testing, and Google’s DNS looks pretty blazing—particularly for international users. For folks in the U.S., OpenDNS looks like it may still be a touch faster—at least according to Manu's results.

BugCamSmash – Motion Detection with Silverlight 4 Beta

At PDC09, we released Silverlight 4 Beta and announced one of the availability of, one of the most requested features, Web Cam Support.

Wanting to have fun with the new feature, I thought of a fun sample to create – smashing bugs with motion detection. First step was to get bugs to crawl across the screen. Next I added the WebCam with frame diff calculation, which was intensive so took advantage of the multiple thread support. And finally I added a little Mantis Boy avatar to visualize the smashing of the bugs.

Over the next few days I will post about how the code works and improvements made for performance. You can check out a video to see Mantis Boy in action, run the demo or download the source.


Learn how it was written:


*(warning this is Silverlight 4 Beta code, if you’re not currently setup to run the beta stick with the video)

Greene & Greene Frame – Viewer Project

This is one of two Greene & Greene-inspired projects we’ll be posting this week. This beautiful frame is from Clark. Let’s check it out:

IMG_4962 The inspiration for the frame was borne directly from Darrell Peart’s website (The frame is a gift to my wife). I intended to duplicate his frame (on a much smaller scale) for this project but decided upon a continual radius for the bottom rail. All frame joints are mortise and tenon with solid Ebony plugs. The smaller ebony plugs on the face are simply glued in place. The finish is 7 parts green dye stain (GF) : 4 parts medium brown dye stain (General Finishes) with 7 coats of General Finishes semi-gloss Arm-R-Seal Topcoat and finalized with Renaissance Wax.

The most enjoyable aspect of the project was the fabrication of the panel as I had just built a vacuum press (using the plans provided by Joewoodworker.com). Building the press was an entirely separate but equally enjoyable endeavor (more of that some other day, though). I found the sheets of veneer via an online website and was immediately taken by the Maple quilted crotch pattern. This was my first attempt at jointing and applying a veneer to a substrate via the press so the process was a little more time consuming than was probably necessary. Though I had difficulty exacting the joint I think the result was certainly acceptable. I used 1/4? MDF as the substrate and Better Bond™ Veneer Glue (also purchased from Joewoodworker.com).

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