Tag Archives: Filter

Getting a pool from green to blue

I swear the pool looked fine 2 weeks ago! 

But last week, I noticed it getting greener and greener.  During the week, I did do a manual vacuum of the whole pool, but it didn’t make much difference.  I think when I manually vacuum, I tend to be impatient and do it too quickly which results in the particles churning back up into the water instead of being sucked through the filter.

So, on Saturday morning, I was faced with trying to recover a green murky pool.

Pool on Saturday

First I checked the whole filtration system.  Yep, the Klever Kleena hadn’t been doing its job.  It seems that it was stuck on the incline down to the bottom of the pool.  I cleaned out the filter baskets and did a backwash.  Checked the timer settings on the automatic filter and seems that it was set to run for only 4 hours a day – my winter setting.  I bumped it up to 7 hours a day.   OK – that bit done.    Unfortunately I didn’t take a “before” photo, but just picture the pool above BEFORE the cleaner went through it – gross!

My home water test kit seemed to think the levels were all fine, but I took a sample to my pool shop just in case and the guy said the same thing.  I bought a container of Chlorine to shock the pool anyway.  So in theory, any algae that’s floating around should be killed and then sink to the bottom of the pool, and then the Klever Kleena should suck it up.

So, back home, poured in the Chlorine, then turned on the filter to run for the rest of the day.

By Monday morning, the pool was starting to look better.

Pool on Monday morning

And this morning, it was looking much better.  Visibility was great, but there’s stil a bit of sediment at the bottom of the pool in sections – might need to do a manual vac.   Chemical levels still seem OK with chlorine on the high side.  

Now the challenge is for me to keep it this way so the kids can swim through summer!

Pool on Tuesday morning (today)
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ADSL2 but not ADSL2 speeds

12 months after signing up for ADSL2, I have finally got ADSL2!  Yep it’s taken that long!  No, not iiNet’s fault – but it seems that my local exchange actually didn’t have enough physical space to add more lines – so I was basically waiting for someone to leave or Telstra to renovate the exchange.

But when it was all switched over, my speed increased from about 1Mbps to just below 2Mbps.  What was going on?

I knew I had phone line issues.  Whenever people call us on the land line, it would cut out the internet.  That definitely points to a filter problem.  But I thought we had a central splitter installed.

After some reading on Whirlpool, I got a professional communications installer in and we found that there was an internal wiring problem – my ADSL modem line and phone line were both filtered!

So he fixed that and suddenly I’m getting 5.5Mbps. Much better than before, but still less than the theoretical maximum of 24Mbps – but enough to stream videos and use the PlayStation Network with less delays.  And no more cutouts when someone calls us!

The proposed optical fibre network should help in the future, right?

Note to self – in the future, don’t let the installer go until you check you have a good data speed and it doesn’t cut out when people call in!

Keeping the internet safe for kids part 2

I’ve recently found a way to configure Internet Explorer as a whitelist filter.

This will basically block all websites from being accessed except for the sites in the whitelist.  If you don’t want to buy or install extra software to set up a whitelist, then follow my steps below.

But please note that a clever computer user could just install another web browser and circumvent the filtering in Internet Explorer.

Step 1 – Enable Content Advisor

In Internet Explorer, browse to Tools -> Internet Options.  Go to the Content tab and click the Enable button under Content Advisor.

Step 1 - Enable Content Advisor
Step 1 - Enable Content Advisor

Step 2 – Define whitelist

The next step is to define the sites that you will allow your child to access.   Just click on the Approved Sites tab and enter new sites like below.
I started with a general set of Club Penguin, ABC Kids, Mathletics, the school website, etc.
Step 2 - Specify approved sites
Step 2 - Specify approved sites

Step 3 – Lock it down

By default, a user would still be able to access any other site or add other sites to the whitelist.
Click on the General tab.   Under User options, clear the setting Users can see website that have no rating.
 
Then under Supervisor password, create a password and REMEMBER THIS!   This is the password to disable the Content Advisor, or to add sites to the whitelist.
 
Step 3 - Configure General Options
Step 3 - Configure General Options

Step 4 – Try it out

Now when you try to navigate to a site that is not on the whitelist, the user will see the following screen.
The kids, not knowing the password, will not be able to access the site.  However, since I know the password, I can choose to add the site to the whitelist.
Step 4 - Site blocking in action
Step 4 - Site blocking in action

Keeping the internet safe for kids

We recently bought a Lenovo S10 netbook for our Miss 10.

I’ll review the netbook in another post, but one concern I had was internet filtering. Our family computers are currently in the family room where we can monitor our kids computer usage. But we have also put NetNanny on our current computers to filter sites out.

Yes I know there are people who would argue to let kids roam on the internet free.  I’m all for the kids to learn and explore their sexuality – but it’s so way too easy to access XXX rated and really inappropriate material – stuff that I’d rather my 10 year old not see.

With the netbook, I wanted Miss 10 to be able to use it in her bedroom. I was first thinking of not connecting it to our home wireless network, and hence not to the internet. However, this would be most frustrating – especially since she needs to access the school’s website for homework details, and also other educational sites like Mathletics.

The option that parents have is to install a net filter, or in tech speak, a firewall.   There are 2 general types of net filters – blacklist or whitelist.

Blacklist

A blacklist filter will basically allow all sites to be accessed, except for a set of known “bad” sites (the blacklist).

The good thing about a blacklist is that it lets you access the internet freely without much effort.

The bad thing about a blacklist is the blacklist – it needs to be kept up to date as there are always new “bad” sites around. The software can be intelligent and block keywords too, but there is a possibility that your child could stumble upon a “bad” site.

Whitelist

A whitelist filter will basically block all sites from being accessed, except for a set of known “good” sites (the whitelist).

It’s much easier to keep track of the sites that you will allow your child to access.

The bad thing about a whitelist is that it’s restrictive, so free searches that may be needed for research on Google will not work. Also, you’ll find that a single web site will actually reference and load images and pages from all sorts of other sites. It will require some time to add these additional sites to the whitelist to make surfing the web a non frustrating experience.

Software

I’ve tried a few and love NetNanny.  NetNanny is basically a blacklist filter.  It seems to work really well and is not obtrusive.  This is currently installed on all our computers at home.

I like how NetNanny lets me check logs and change settings remotely and also set times of the day that surfing is allowed.  The 3 user family pack is a great idea too as more and more families have more than 1 computer at home.

And for a while, I’ve been trialling a whitelist filter using Internet Explorer on Miss 10’s netbook.   It’s a bit more annoying, and needs some work to set up, but at least it’s free with Internet Explorer.   I will post more details on this later.

Removing a stuck lens filter

So, on the first day of our Italian adventure, my Wifey picks up my camera bag and accidently drops my SLR with new lens attached onto the floor – lens first!! Aargghh!!!

I picked it up, turned it around to look at the lens and saw cracked glass.  It was devastating 😦 😦  Now, I do use filters on all my lenses, and this is one thing I can recommend to all.  A filter is basically another piece of glass that screws/mounts onto the front of a lens.  There are ones that change the image either by colour or amount of light coming through, etc.  But the most useful purpose I’ve found is to protect the actual lens itself – it’s much cheaper to replace than to buy a new lens.

So I tried to look through the cracks to see if the actual lens was damaged, but I couldn’t tell.  I tried to unscrew the filter, but it seemed quite stuck.  Eventually got out the pocket knife and proceeded to remove the broken glass of the filter by leveraging it off into the hotel bin (I wonder what the cleaners thought!).

It seemed that the actual lens was not cracked.  Whether it was warped or not, I couldn’t tell.  Once all the filter glass was out, I tried again to unscrew the filter but I still couldn’t.  I think it might have jumped a thread, or warped or something in the impact.

Anyways, lens back on the camera and it worked!  The picture looked fine and I used it for the rest of the trip.

Now I’m back in Perth, I googled how to remove the filter.  I’ve read some suggestions from using a rubber shoe sole, to rubber gloves, to using pliers to peel it off like a sardine container or buying a filter wrench.  The first 2 suggestions didn’t work and I was not going to try to peel the metal filter off with pliers so close the actual lens of the camera, so it was off to a camera repair shop.

It seems the official Nikon repairers in Perth are Hartland Camera Repairs in Brisbane Street, Perth.  Literally 1 minute later, the filter was off and for free too!  Excellent!  It made my day 🙂  I’ll have to get my gear serviced there one day.

So now to buy another 77mm filter…