Tech Friday: Checking for Heartbleed safe sites

Posted By on April 18, 2014

chromebleedwarnings140418No doubt you’ve heard about the latest vulnerability on the Internet known as the Heartbleed bug, but like most web users are pretty much helpless to do anything about it. You can change your passwords, run protection and antivirus software, but until the HTTPS sites correct their SSL sites … you’re spinning your wheels.

For some of us, it would just be nice to know when sites have been updated and fixes installed. Enter the ChromeBleed extension for Google Chrome browser users. Add it and watch for warnings, or set options to “show all notifications” to see the “All Good” note. (see CNET tip)

Back to running some biodiesel after a long time away

Posted By on April 18, 2014

mtgileadbiodiesel140417Let’s call this a follow up post on tracking fuel economy (or “non-economy”) as I took the opportunity to fill the 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel with B-20. My station of choice between Mansfield and Columbus Ohio is a Sunoco at the I-71 exit 151 and has carried a variety of domestic renewable fuels including B-2, B-10 and B-20 (biodiesel). The convenience and price are both reasons this station is preferred as I drive by going north and south (station could use a clean up and some relabeling). On Thursday evening the $4.04 price for B-20 was 6 cents per gallon higher than the dino-diesel making it “fairly” priced for an Ohio grown substitute. My advocacy has waned in recent years, but I’m still a supporter of domestically renewable options … sure would love to see it succeed on its own without government intervention … but the convoluted nature of politics and energy are too complex for the average Joe to figure out.

Although I missed a few Fuelly fills, the old Mercedes is going to need an overdrive gear in order to hit 30 mpg. (last 70+ mph all highway 360 miles was 24.81mpg)
Sad smile

Thoughts on my Honda Pilot and a check engine light

Posted By on April 17, 2014

my2006hondapilotI’ve been plagued off and on over the past few years with a check engine light that the computers say indicates cylinder misfiring. It seems to come and go, to the point I begin to ignore it until someone points it out again.

A few years ago, I suspected that I might have had a batch of bad fuel since it seemed to go off after a second or third tank. Then a couple years ago I had my buddy Tim at Mr. Godwrench replace the plugs and wires (not like the old days … or a diesel – grin!) thinking having so many miles on the original could be part of the problem. BUT … it appeared and disappeared off and on again.

patgossmw_enginecleaner2014 bgenginecleaners

Then it hit me after watching Motorweek’s Pat Goss discussing cleaning out the throttle body, injections components and build-up on pistons and cylinders, that it might be the fuel.

Since Shell Oil  loyalist, my wife Brenda, was in the car on a recent 2200 mile drive, we ran almost entirely Shell’s Nitrogen-enriched gasoline — PDF. Unlike my better half, I tend to shop for the cheapest regular unleaded that I can find … Brenda on the other hand will only burn Shell gasoline. Interestingly, the light came on after running another brand of fuel and now has been off since I’ve only filled with Shell. Maybe there is something to the quality of fuel being sold by different companies or the “cleaning and protective barrier” claims advertised by Shell? My situation has me once again rethinking my position on what I suspect is just a snake oil  additive business.


Katelyn looks good in her new 2014 Nissan Juke

Posted By on April 16, 2014


It is official … my daughter Katelyn is no longer driving a Volkswagen, let alone a TDI. She made the decision to go with a Nissan Juke which has her really excited. So far she loves this little cute CUV, although definitely will miss her little diesel. The new Juke has all the features she was looking for and was at a price point that made it more affordable than the Tiguan. Great technology, good gas mileage 27/32 mpg, sporty turbocharged engine, all wheel drive, great quality fit and finish along with snazzy youthful styling that appeals to Katelyn … and did I say is was RED?

Katelyn2014NissanJuke_insid Katelyn2014NissanJuke_rear
I can’t wait to see it … but also worry that my wife Brenda will want a new car. Smile

Happy Tax Day — April 15th! Where does the money go?

Posted By on April 15, 2014

The winter that will not end adds another inch of snow

Posted By on April 15, 2014


From weekend spring brush clearing to snow. It doesn’t look as if the 2013-1024 winter wants to leave?

I was out feeding Tootsie this Tuesday morning in just a sweatshirt, and although it wasn’t necessarily springtime warm, it wasn’t really “wintery cold” either. The fresh overnight snow was wet enough for packing so it gave me one more chance to make an “I’m BAAACK!” reminder.
Winking smile

Spring is here along with paleontology and brush clearing

Posted By on April 14, 2014

dinosaurbones brushclearing

I found some dinosaur bones while clearing brush on Saturday … as I joked on Facebook (photo above left). Actually it is probably a raccoon or possum 300 bush lifts logs crawfor1363033686and it is much better finding the fully decayed bones rather than gagging while having to bury the dead carcass!
Winking smile

It is amazing at just how invasive the Honeysuckles, Poison Ivy and wicked “rose-stem-like” vines are when they take over a woods or fence line. I could work every day and still have to start clearing all over again in another year. I’m feeling a real kinship with our “brush clearing” President George W. Bush. I do miss his integrity and down to earth personality. Maybe we’ll get a few of those attributes back with our next president?

A Volkswagen TDI concept based on the 2015 Golf Sportwagen

Posted By on April 13, 2014

2015-Volkswagen-Golf-SportwagenAccording to the folks at Autoguide, Volkswagen will be following the  VW Jetta Sportwagen with Golf SportWagen in 2015 and is teasing us with a diesel variant. The new TDI concept proposes an all-wheel drive 2.0-liter powerplant called the EA288 diesel. This new diesel would offer 10 more horsepower over the current diesel and could come in both a six-speed manual or 6-speed DSG automatic. The  1.8-liter gasoline model is slated to hit dealer showrooms in early 2015 and will be available with LED daytime running lights, Xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and 12-way power driver’s seat. The larger than a Golf, but smaller Jetta SportWagen could be the ideal car for many Americans who love utility of smaller all-wheel drive SUVs, but want their next car to have improved fuel economy. Volkswagen has not published any MPG numbers for the new concept, but one would think they should be close to VW’s other TDIs (click image for larger chart).


Wow, already? Happy 1st Anniversary to Katelyn and Drew

Posted By on April 13, 2014


Congratulations to Katelyn and Drew on the first anniversary of their wedding day. It is hard to believe a full year has passed since their wedding. The two of them are celebrating by looking for a place to live in Minneapolis and enjoying time together. Besides normal hotel accommodations (and an inside father-daughter chuckle about their SOUPper 8 stay — good memories!), they booked a night at a Stillwater, Minnesota bed and breakfast … what a great way to celebrate their first year as husband and wife.

The photo above (not Katelyn and Drew) is from a St. Paul, MN photographer called Pretty Geeky Photography … how fitting for the two of them!

Video: Girls having fun doing a 4 person chair trick

Posted By on April 12, 2014

It’s about time to include a “just for fun” video from the female perspective, rather than YouTube clips from guys (1, 2, 3). Might be worth trying at a teen sleepover or birthday party?

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.