Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: November 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Eco-Friendly Painting, Safecoat

head_logo.jpgTammy has wanted to change some colors in our house for a while. If you’ve been to our place you know we are not afraid of color in any way. Our living room is orange, yellow and red.

There are a couple of rooms that she wanted to change and keeping with the green theme she searched hard to find a No VOC paint option that would work. What is VOC? Volatile Organic Compounds. I really don’t know much about this world, but as I understand from her the fumes from VOC’s in paint are really bad for you. And it’s not just the fumes from when you are painting, those chemicals continue to be present for a while and leech into the air in your house.

After much searching she found Safecoat. Safecoat is a No VOC paint, but it goes even further and contains nothing bad. You see, some No VOC paint is only that by label, in that it contains some chemicals that are not good for you but aren’t labeled as a VOC so they can still have the label. Safecoat is pristine in it’s health and eco credentials.

Over the last three days the kitchen has received new paint on the walls and ceiling. Using the Safecoat product was an eye-opener. We didn’t have any windows open while the painting was going on, and there was absolutely no smell in the house. If you didn’t see the paint, there is no way you would know painting was going on. It was really amazing.

If you’re going to do some painting do yourself and your family a favor and use Safecoat. In the Minneapolis area head over to Natural Built Home to get it.

Refill Products, Reduce Plastic Waste

Restore the Earth Logo.jpgTammy drives a lot of our green decisions in the house. For a long time she’s been using all natural cleaning products. She doesn’t want the chemicals in typical cleaning products in the house, and we all benefit from it. Nearly all of our cleaning products are from Restore Products. I wasn’t even aware of one of the most impressive things that Restore Products does until a recent trip to Lakewinds, our co-op.

Walking down the aisle with household products Restore Products has put a refill station there. We took the three containers that we had of various cleaners and put them into the refill station. It spins the container and when it finds the bar code it knows what product this is and what size. It then lowers a filling tube into the container and you’ve got new product and no plastic waste.

I love this. First, the system is fool proof using the bar code system. A side benefit of using the bar codes is that if you do insert your product and they don’t provide refills for it (happened with one of our bottles) they can collect that information and add it if there is enough demand. Mostly I just love that we can now get dozens, or hundreds, of uses out of the one plastic bottle. We’ve worked hard to minimize our plastic waste and this helps out greatly.

It’s great to see the co-op as more of a refilling station than a typical store. Bring your empty container for cleaning products, oatmeal, flower, sugar and just top them off from the various bins. Reduce waste and keep costs low.

Improved Updating of Apps in iPhone 2.2

I didn’t see this covered in any of the reviews of the iPhone 2.2 software but I’m really excited that they really smoothed out the process of updating applications that you’ve installed. The first great thing is that the “Update All” button has reappeared, and with 2.2 it actually works. I’ve updated as many as five applications in one swoop and had zero problems, including some big applications.

The other great touch is that you no longer get the new version installing in another window, and then jumping once the old version is out of the way. It now occurs “in place” where the current application is. It’s a small thing, but really makes the updating process feel solid.

Joining M4V Files is Painful

I’ve been processing my entire DVD library in the background on my Mac Pro using Handbrake, moving all the content into iTunes so that it is accessible from the three Apple TV’s that are connected to each TV in the house. I’ve now hit a some of the videos that are on two discs due to length, and joining M4V files is a bigger pain that it really should be.

One of the easiest ways to do it is with QuickTime Pro, and since I’ve got the Pro version I figured I’d use that. A simple copy/paste of one video to the end of the other followed by an Export to Apple TV creates the combined M4V file. With one big problem.


Huh? 205 hours and 44 minutes? Did someone forget to hit the “turbo” button in QuickTime Pro? What’s really crazy is the two source files are M4V H264 files already! Recoding is not necessary, but it seems determined to recode anyway. I guess I’ll just see what happens, but I’m worried the joined file will be poor quality due to recoding.

Any better options?

Under 300 – First Milestone Complete

Today I hit the first milestone on my fitness program. I stepped on the scale to do my weigh-in and was under 300! I’m just under two months in and I’ve now dropped just around 25 pounds.


I hit this goal much faster than I expected. I had originally targeted 300 by the end of the year and I did it in about half the time I had allocated. I know that can easily be a bad thing, but I think it’s fine. I’m eating comfortably, and even am having desserts from time to time. I’m not working out crazy. I’m doing my walk with the dogs every morning, and now 2 spin classes a week. I’m feeling great, and the weight has come off pretty quickly.

In addition to the numbers on the scale my belt has notched way down and my jeans are too big. I’m very excited to also be able to put my wedding ring back on.

My 280 goal date is January 31st. I’ve got Thanksgiving, Christmas and my birthday between now and then, which will slow things down some, so 10 weeks for 20 pounds seems aggressive but achievable.

Garage Shelves, Awesome

One of the earliest posts on this blog was a celebration of the installation of 6 inch rain gutters on our house. By the way, those rain gutters have rocked. It seems only fitting that I should comment on the very small project that we had done in our garage that made me just giddy yesterday.

We had a row of shelves installed on the back wall of our garage. In a period of 6 hours, including moving stuff, having the shelves built, and then putting everything back away the garage was transformed from a disaster scene to a soothing zen experience.


If you come to my house in the next couple of weeks, expect to get a tour of my garage shelves. :-)

Twitter Down for Database Maintenance

Lately Twitter has actually been reasonably reliable, at least compared to it’s previous daily (hourly?) issues. But can this really be right? I pulled up the page at 10:22 am CT and apparently they are down for database maintenance? First off, you should be able to do maintenance without going down. Secondly, why on earth would you do this during the day when you are swamped with traffic?


Parent Poll: Bath Time

I’m curious to hear from other parents out there on a bath time poll.

[polldaddy poll=1112307]


Lately Mazie has really been into letters and trying to figure out what letter a word starts with. For example, she’s figured out that “Mazie starts with an M”, “Apple starts with an A”, etc.

Today she declared that “eyebrow starts with an I”. Tammy explained to her that while eyebrow does sound like an i, it is really an e, and that sometimes words are a little tricky. I suggested that if Apple were to describe eyebrows they may in fact start with an i.


Contribution to High Resolution Album Art

I’m a big fan of high resolution album art. It improves the overall music experience for me. I like having a high-quality album cover while listening to Apple TV. It’s a must for cover flow in iTunes. I recently went through and tried to close to 100% coverage of album art, which meant scanning some covers that I just couldn’t find anywhere on the Internet. I figured I should share that work, so that others can more easily put the right art on their music. Here are 11 covers all at 1,600 by 1,600 pixels that I scanned for my collection.

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