Netflix + Roku = HBO Killer?

I’ve been very happy with DirecTV’s service here but the monthly bill is like a car loan. Or at least mine is thanks to my soup-to-nuts Platinum HD DVR package. Over the past year I’ve been on a mission to trim the monthly nut. Quitting tobacco products in May 2009 was a great start. So was dumping my $119/month aDSL service with Speakeasy.net in December, moving this server to Panix.com and installing Roadrunner at home. Okay, I didn’t really save anything with that but I got a lot more bang for the buck. Next on the plate was my crippling […]


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DOT sidewalk inspection scam?

My doorbell rang this afternoon. It was my cheerful postman, Kevin, and he had a certified letter for me. Certified letters are almost always buzzkillers. The envelope said it was from NYC Dept of Transportation so I knew it wasn’t congratulations from Publishers Clearinghouse. Kevin said that every house on the block, except one, got certified letters from DOT. What the hell, I’ve got nothing to be concerned about. My sidewalk and curb are in excellent condition. I signed for the letter and opened it up. Inside was a Notice of Violation that my sidewalk had been inspected and was


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Doesn’t it always work like this?

Sunday morning, a neighbor down the block called the fire department for what was apparently a minor fire. I saw FDNY parked down the street as I returned from walking the dogs. One of the firefighters was flushing out the hydrant as another rolled up the hose. They weren’t there long. The water pipes in the street here are very old and they also supply those hydrants. Whenever one of those hydrants gets flushed the houses on the block get brown water for hours afterward. I don’t mean rusty looking water. There are literally flakes of rust and (for lack


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Insteon, Apple style

Since moving to this house, I had gone from running one 24/7 computer server to three — actually four if you consider a hibernating laptop. The web site you’re looking at right now ran on one of them — a FreeBSD Unix server. A Windows box ran my home automation set up. The other computer, running Ubuntu Linux, was mostly work related. Thing is, the juice needed to run these servers and the related hardware was killing me, including the air conditioning needed to counteract the heat they produced in my small office. The three computers together drew about 700


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Some DIYer I turned out to be

During the heating season — from late October until April — I run a large humidifier 24/7. It’s something I’ve done since music school. I had a 115 year-old Czech flat-back double bass that didn’t like steam heat. By the time spring arrived I would have spent anywhere from $300 to $1000 at the luthier getting glue joints fixed, new cracks repaired, the sound post reset and so forth. Running a big honkin’ humidifier was a lot cheaper and the bonus was learning that it was healthier for people too. The humidifier, a six gallon Bemis, is located in the


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Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.