Jeff Sexton

Friday, October 27, 2017

New Feathers?

It looks like Harlan may be growing in some new, adult, tail feathers. The adult tail feathers will be all bright red, without the dark edges the lower feathers have in this photo.

ASUS 7" ZenPad Z170C-A1-BK Won't Charge

We had an Asus tablet quit working.

It wouldn't start up, obviously, but also wouldn't charge, it seemed. Dead.

When it was plugged in there was no indication, and the screen stayed black. Holding the power and volume up button also did nothing.

After some looking around, it sounded like the thing to try was to disconnect the battery inside.

The front separates from the back by undoing a series of snaps. I used a watch case knife to slowly pry open the gap along the silver trim that goes around the bezel. Working the knife around the sides separated the back. A butter knife would probably work.

The battery connector comes off straight up and away from the motherboard. This wasn't clear at first.

I had the thing disconnected for just 2 or 3 minutes. Reconnecting it, and plugging in the USB resulted in immediate charging. After a couple minutes it had enough charge to boot up.

The key with these things seems to be to never let them really go to dead zero charge. I know even my Nexus table behaves badly if that happens (although I have never had to open it up).

We don't we design better consumer electronics?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Even More DIY Bird Toys

One thing you have to do to keep birds happy is provide a steady rotation of toys, particularly toys they can destroy. Ed and Olive, the cockatiels love to chew up balsa wood for example.
Harlan really goes for brightly colored acrylic parts like these. He'll chew up the sections of plastic straws I put in between them.
And a few other chewables...
Harlan approved.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bird Cookies Number 5

This bird treat is similar to this one, with a couple variations.

First, instead a mix of several vegetables, I dehydrated a bunch of kale and used that only. All our bird love kale. And second, instead of banana, I used a smallish to medium sweet potato, cooked.

Oh, and I ground up all the seeds almost to a butter.


1 sweet potato
6 tablespoons flax, chia and hulled hemp seeds ground almost to a paste
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons-ish of dried kale, crumbled up
4 tablespoons of cooked brown rice
1 egg
Cinnamon to taste

I microwaved the sweet potato, 4-5 minutes (poke hole with a fork first), removed the skin and cut it up into very small pieces.

No fancy process. The dry ingredients, egg, cooked rice, and all just get mixed together into a dough. This takes awhile, to mash the sweet potato mostly. I used a big spoon, but a food processor could probably do it faster.

I added some cinnamon last and mixed it in, about a tsp I think.
I made the dough into balls about one inch and fried them in coconut oil. The cooking is slow because you can't heat coconut oil much before it burns and probably sets off your smoke alarm. Use heat significantly lower than you would for olive oil or butter. I set the burner on our stove to 3 to 4. Your mileage may vary.
While frying I flattened the balls into thin patties, as thin as I could.
 All done! With left over rice...
These cookies received 6 wing up, bird approved by Ed, Olive and Harlan.

(Humans seem to like them too)

Another Bird Treat Recipe

Ed the cockatiel likes Wheat Thins. A lot.

In fact he knows the word, and he recognizes the yellow box. Nothing will get Ed to do what you want him to faster than a Wheat Thin.

If you look at the box, Wheat Thins are not an awful treat for a bird. Yes, there's probably too much salt, and fat, and other things. But they are a quite simple snack, with very few ingredients.

It would be nice if we could give him something like Wheat Thins that were better for him.

The internet is loaded with sites about creating good imitations of pre-packaged foods at home. It seems to be a hobby for a lot of people. It was easy to find several recipes for making your our Wheat Thins. I read a few and came up with the following interpretation.

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
A bit of flax and millet seed to sprinkle on top

This is close to what you'll find online, but with reduced salt, no sugar, and coconut oil instead of butter.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, paprika and butter in a food processor, pulsing until the oil is evenly disbursed in the crumbs. Slowly add 1/4 cup of water and mix until the mixture begins to form a dough ball.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the dough on to parchment paper.


But next comes the part we learned is really tricky and the critical step in getting something like a cracker.

The dough has to be spread thin, really, really thin. Spread it as thin as you possibly can.

Not thin enough - make it thinner.

We used a stone rolling pin and dusted with more whole wheat flour. It has to be really, really thin,

Then cut the (thin) sheet of dough into squares, like, you know, Wheat Thins.

We then scattered a little flax and millet on top and pressed that it.

The cook time will depend on how thin you get the dough. Ours took about 10 minutes. I'd set the timer for 6 first and start checking then each 1 or 2 minutes after that.

If they are really thin, they will get crispy fast. The exact cook time seems pretty critical.

Did Ed approve? He did. But truth be told he liked these about as much as he liked the "healthy" version of Wheat Thins we got at Whole Foods once.

He liked them, but they weren't the same. They're good, and easy to make,  crackers though. We ate most of them ourselves I think.

Try this, for your birds, or just for yourself. It was quick and easy, and they did taste remarkably like a very low salt wheat Thin.

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