Carpet Dry Cleaning – Why did I never do this before?

We’ve had our carpets cleaned a couple of times in this house, but I recently did some reading on dry cleaning vs. steam cleaning. We own a “steam” (warm water) cleaner and have used it occasionally to put the facade of cleanliness on our carpets. Recently Angie’s List ran a Big Deal giving 4 areas/1100 sq ft. of carpet dry cleaning from a highly rated cleaner (A 1 Dry Carpet Cleaning) for $99. Since we have a new baby that will be on the floor more and more, I decided to have them come out and clean.

I met the owner (and only “field worker”) Miguel who is awesome. I highly recommend the company an am a complete dry clean convert. When he was working, I asked lots of questions and noted his cleaning agents, etc. Sarah was really happy with the way the carpet cleaning turned out as well.

So, I did more research and ended up at Lowes to purchase Capture Dry Carpet Cleaner, Premist and a deck brush.

Yesterday I went to work in our much-neglected and very filthy basement stairway with the philosophy that I would like to learn how to use the stuff before I have to use it on our other carpets. I did a side by side to compare:


I know the after doesn’t look awesome, but this carpet is in bad shape. And also I have only the brush and not a commercial carpet agitator like Miguel has.

However, for the short term, I’m really excited that I have a new weapon in my arsenal to fight whatever the three kids throw at us as far as messes go.

A couple of tips:

  1. Per the instructions (regardless of what you think), start with a fresh vacuum bag
  2. Go light on the premist or the cleaner will cake up


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Lidkid 3.0 graph – The first month

Here’s the next graph for the third round of data for Total Baby app.

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Lidkid 3.0 graph – The first two weeks

Here’s the next graph for the second round of data for Total Baby app.

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Lidkid 3.0 – Hazel’s first ten days

We used the Total Baby app for Anna and now for Isaac to keep track of misc. stats. I have a much greater interest in quantified self (quantified family?) and data collection at this point, so I figured I would throw up a graph of the first several full days of Hazel’s life. The missing data on sleep for the first few days is because it is really hard to track what counts as sleep when people at the hospital are interrupting you to check on something every 15 minutes.

So, the more we feed her the worse she sleeps, or the more she sleeps the less she eats?

Notes: poop and wet diapers are not necessarily exclusive, so 6 poop and 6 wet doesn’t mean 12 diapers (but it might…but it doesn’t).

Second note: The note above is absolutely a sentence I would have never guessed I would ever craft about 10 years ago.

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Lidkid 3.0 (Hazel) and my Basis watch

Today (12/10/2013) at 11:20AM our third child was born…Hazel Grace Lidbom.

She was 7 pounds 15 ounces and 21 inches long. Sarah will likely have a post up soon.

In the spirit of general geekiness, I pulled down some stats from my Basis watch and annotated some graphs for posterity.

Here is today, generally:Basis Graph 2013-12-10 Annotated


Here is the zoomed in portion showing what was collected when the heart rate didn’t show the jump that was there (the heart rate tracking doesn’t work well for me above about 105). No data is better than bad data I suppose.
Basis Graph 2013-12-10 zoom Annotated

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OSX Mavericks, IconServicesAgent and Quick Look Issues

I spent a good amount of time over the past few days trying to figure out why my Quick Look wasn’t working correctly. The following were my symptoms:

  • process was being very CPU greedy
  • Finder was very sluggish and tempermental
  • I couldn’t use Quick Look to preview files in the finder

I did a lot of googling and found several resources:

Most of these point to either a cache issue, corrupt plist files or kernel extensions being the culprit. I disabled the only kernel extension that I thought might have relevance, and still had issues. Next, the articles indicated I should run qlmanage -r && qlmanage -r cache to try to fix Quick Look. Whenever I would run those, I would receive terminal feedback that indicated (for example), “qlmanage: resetting quicklookd” but then the terminal would hang until I interrupted that process.

I checked the console and found the following:
12/6/13 2:42:54.986 PM Messages[5029]: [QL] Could not locate quick look ui service 1102 (Unknown service name)

When I looked for the daemon files in /System/Library/LaunchAgents I found NO files that started with

So, I had someone help me get the following .plist files from another Mavericks machine:


I placed them in the above directory then ran:
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchAgents/*

I got no errors back, so I ran:
qlmanage -r && qlmanage -r cache

And now all seems well with Quick Look.

I have no clue how or why those files disappeared off of my machine.

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OmniPlan, OSX Mavericks, dates and commas

tl;dr – An OSX upgrade to Mavericks caused OmniPlan to export CSV files differently than it previously did. This surprised me so I wrote an entry about it.

I’ve been working with OmniPlan for several years now, but recently have changed our workflow so that we are managing multiple (40+) schedules with it. It works much much better than our agency management software for managing the dynamic schedules endemic to an ad agency.

We have a workflow where we manage shared schedules in OmniPlan, publish the resources and assignments to a shared server and then also export CSVs of the schedules. These CSV files are then parsed server-side by a web app that lets us slice and dice the information in aggregate (and to give useful task lists to others).

I’ve been running nightly builds from OmniGroup to try to deal with some crashing issues that I have been trying to work through with the OmniGroup support humans. They have been helpful, but I’m still having issues when keeping all of my schedules open.

Now, there’s a new issue that has cropped up. When I upgraded to OSX Mavericks, the web app started throwing errors while parsing the newest exported CSV files. It appears that whatever call OmniGroup is using to export to CSV is now inserting a comma between the date and time for exported dates.

An example line from a previous file:
1.1,Job Open,10/9/13 8:00 AM,10/30/13 5:00 PM,3w 1d,2h 45s,25%,,,,,,,8/28/13 8:00 AM,,,,,,

And a current file:
1.1,Job Open,”10/9/13, 8:00 AM”,”10/30/13, 5:00 PM”,3w 1d,2h 45s,25%,,,,,,,”8/28/13, 8:00 AM”,,,,,,

This comma also forces the exporter to, since it is a CSV, put double quotes around the entry as text qualifiers.

My import routine wasn’t built to handle this and therefore threw an error.

We’ve modified the routine to work but now can’t export from Mountain Lion and Mavericks to the same format files.

Per the good folks at OmniPlan support:
“We think the solution is to write to CSV as ISO 8601, which would require us to do this in an upcoming update since it’s not a simple workaround that we can perform with the current version.”

So, we’re stuck with just me outputting the files or writing our import routine the have some better error handling and importing (probably should have been done anyway).

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DIY Laundry Detergent Dispenser


Clarification: My wife does approximately 98.376% of the laundry for our family of 4. For this I am immeasurably grateful. I don’t know how she keeps up with it all and I was just trying to solve a mildly annoying problem (and I had an itch to “build” something, no matter how small).

The Issues:

  1. Space in the laundry room is at a premium
  2. We hate to use the messy detergent cups issued with most large liquid detergent dispensers
  3. To maximize available space, we would like to store the detergent in the pedestal drawer

Objective: Modify one of our detergent dispensers so that detergent can be easily dispensed straight into the detergent tray of our clothes washers.

The plan: Poke a hole in the dispenser and run some tubing to a valve. Let gravity “pump” the detergent. Refill as needed. Et voila, she is clean!

Items required:

The process:

1. Dilute (1:1 water:detergent) the detergent in one of the large dispensing containers you buy at Costco, etc.

2. Drill a 3/8″ hole near the bottom of the container in a spot that is relatively flat (so that your adapter won’t leak. You will need to move the drill around a little bit to widen the hole (just keep trying your adapter until it tightly screws in), then clean up the hole with the box cutter. I chose the side that is up when the container is put into the “dispensing” position, so I wouldn’t have to deal with leaks if this project failed… IMG_5606

3. Put the hose washer in place and screw the adapter into your hole. The picture shows no hose washer because I had to add after the fact to stop leaking.

4. Snap your tubing into the quick connector.

5. Place the container on top of your washer (or shelf) and measure out the amount of tubing you need. Then cut the tubing to length.

6. Snap the other end of the tubing into the straight valve. You’re done.


  1. Laundry detergent is thick. Fortunately, Google allowed me to justify diluting our detergent (we were already only filling it up halfway, so no problem with quantity)
  2. The connector I purchased for the detergent bottle wasn’t sitting firmly against the not-exactly-flat edge of the container (therefore creating a very slow leak), so I used a basic hose washer to fix that problem.
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Consumption Diagram – v2011-08-07

This post has been a long time coming.

I started this Content Consumption Diagram back in February (when I was trying to explain all my methods of consuming content), and worked on it on and off. I’m still not happy with the way you interface with it (would prefer tooltips over a lightbox), but I have to mark it off my list and get it out there. The plan is to see how it changes over time (already has somewhat with Google+).

Here’s the gist of this chart:

  • Arrow colors are intended to correlate roughly to either the type of content or the app.
  • The upper left area is published content that I consume daily from various sources.
  • The mid left area is email/social content.
  • The lower left area is video content.
  • The middle area comprises the devices and programs that I use to consume content.
  • The upper right (Pinboard and Read It Later) are two applications I use to archive/save for reference.
  • The mid/lower right are ways I store books or other non-web reference material (that I consume).

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Five minute mind map – July 3rd 2010

I’ve been using iThoughtsHD on my iPad to keep notes during meetings and thought it would be a unique way to post occasional blog entries in my journal.

I’m sure my thoughts on how to do this will evolve (or dissipate completely) over time, but here’s the first (start with the green):

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