Category Archives: Personal

Replaced the gas cylinder in my Aeron and now it’s working like new

So I’ve had an Aeron chair for my home office for well over a decade and it’s been a great chair, but recently it started just sort of sinking from time to time. Turns out the hydraulic gas piston was giving out. So I ordered this replacement piston for $20 off of Amazon:

It came yesterday, and I found myself watching a multitude of videos on YouTube to try to determine how to remove the old cylinder, which after 10 years of my heavy ass sitting in it, was firmly in place. Turns out all I had to do was load the bugger up with WD-40 and let is sit over night. This morning, I took the pipe wrench to the thing and with a few twists it was free. Then rubber mallet to the bottom to remove it from the base. I slid the new one in, turned the chair back upright sat down and pffffffffffffff

It immediately deflated. I thought the new cylinder was defective at first and began a return for it, but then I noticed that the button on this model was a little taller than the one that I’d just removed. Popped the base of the seat off, loosened the little button depressor with an Allen wrench, and voila!

I put the seat base back on, sat down, and found my old chair sitting firm and tall like it used to back when I first bought it. Not too shabby for $20.

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Body & mind hacking

So as someone who used to help run Hackaday when it was under Mahalo’s wing, led Chaotic Moon’s Labs where we did innovative combinations of technology to think about existing technology in new ways, and contributed to and authored my own O’Reilly hacks book, I┬áhave mixed feelings about how the term “hacking” is applied currently across a large stretch of non-technological topics.

However, recently, I’ve been reading up on the science behind and trying out a few of the things that are currently categorized popularly as “body hacking” and “mind hacking.”

Several weeks ago, I began attempting to adopt intermittent fasting, after reading several blog posts about it that then led me to actually read some of the research behind it. Basically, I try not to eat any food between 6pm at night at 10am the next morning, compressing all my active intake of food to an 8 hour window. This is extremely hard to do, I’m only about a month into the experiment, and so far, I’ve been forced to break this several times due to social obligations, and broken it myself due to it being difficult. So I don’t think all my organs have had a chance to sync up all their internal clocks for me to see the best results from this, although I am still trying. We’ll see if I get better at it. I’d love to hear what others who have tried it have experienced.

Last night, I ended up watching this TED talk featuring Wim Hoff:

Then I watched some more videos on Wim Hof, his breathing method, and then bought Scott Carney’s book on Wim which I started reading last night on my Kindle. It’s all very interesting. I just practiced my first attempt at his breathing method this morning, so we’ll see how it goes. It felt relaxing for sure, but way too early to tell if it really works or not. I’d love to hear from others who have tried this, gave up, think it’s horrible, or swear by it.

In any case, I’m experimenting a bit with these things as I get older and get tired of always having colds and allergies. We’ll see what happens.

Continue reading Body & mind hacking

Texas Weather

Has weather in Texas always consisted of huge 30-50 degree swings one direction or another in a single day? Have storms always blown through like an apocalypse train? Or is this some newer tendency thanks to global warming and air streams shifting? I’ve wondered this since I moved here. I like that it’s generally warmer overall. I like that there are still seasons, although it would be nice for the kids for there to be a few days of snow somewhere in it all. My sinuses, however, don’t much like yesterdays that were bumping up against 80 degrees Fahrenheit and todays that are in the 30s.

UPDATE: It looks like it’s not just Texas…

Not Deceased

So I’m currently contemplating leaving iOS (at least for my phone usage; I’ll keep my iPad), and moving over to Android again. The motivator? I want to give Google’s Project Fi a try. Of course that means my cellphone options are limited since Fi only works with a few phones. So of course, I want the best of the options available, which means a Pixel.

Out of the gate, cash up front, those buggers are expensive. However, Google has a 0% interest financing plan available that divides the cost up into monthly payments over 2 years that alongside my Google Fi bill would still be less, according to my calculations, than I pay for AT&T currently. Cool. No problem. My credit score is awesome. Easy.

So I went online to apply and it said it would take 10 days to process. Yesterday, in the mail (like physical paper mail. Not email.), I received a letter from the bank Google has handling their financing and I’m told that the other entity that they use to run credit was denying my application because “The applicant is deceased.”

I’m not actually deceased (I think; I may be a hologram, but not deceased yet), so my best guess to what happened is this lazy bank confused me, being a III, with my deceased father, the II. Not sure how this happens, given that we don’t have the same birth date or social security number, but it looks like that’s what happened. So I call the only number or point of contact available on the form to straighten everything out and all there is is an automated system where the only options available are to request a free copy of your credit report or pay extra to also get your credit score included.

So anyway, I could simply finance the purchase myself now, but I’m sour on the whole idea and decided to wait until there is a waterproof Pixel on the market. Also, I’m concerned that this clerical error by this one stupid service that offers no recourse to correct the problem will have some sort of odd ripple effect through all the similar services out there.

In any case, despite digital and fiscal rumors to the contrary, I am still alive and kicking.

So I bought a mechanical keyboard *clickety clackity*

So after several months of noticing one of my coworkers, Alex, using a Das Keyboard at work, and needing a basic USB connected keyboard that I can switch back and forth between my personal computer (Microsoft Surface Book that I use for things like writing on this blog, creating music in Ableton Live, and drawing doodles and comics in various art programs) and my work computer in my home office, I decided it was time to grab a clickety clackity mechanical keyboard. #oldschool

New mechanical keyboard clickity clacking all day long

A photo posted by C.K. Sample III (@cksample3) on

At first, I was looking at ridiculously priced options like the Das Keyboard line of mechanicals, but ultimately I ended up grabbing the “budget” AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard for about $60. I’ve had it for about a week now and am loving it so far. It’s very loud when I type, which I have found has the added benefit of forcing me to pay attention to people when I’m dialed in to meetings. I’m finding myself less often getting pulled into “Oh, I’ll just reply quickly to this Slack someone just sent me” while I’m having a conversation with a coworker via Hangouts. That’s a definite positive. Also, the RGB functionality of this keyboard is cool. There are several different default settings you can toggle through. I currently have it set to trigger a rainbow pulse of light from each key as it is pressed that spreads out across the keyboard as if you’ve just caused a ripple in a stagnant pool of water. Neat. Also, you can program the keys individually via the keyboard itself, although I have yet to figure out exactly how to do that following the somewhat sparse instructions in the manual that came with the AUKEY.

One other cool thing: I think this is the first time I have used an actual full-sized keyboard in over a decade, but hello highly useful dedicated number keypad! I love you.

Here’s a relatively okay video overview of the AUKEY that I found in a few minutes of searching YouTube, because I’m too lazy and beleaguered with kids to actually attempt recording something to share with you: