On February 10th, 2020 I flipped my diet 180 degrees and switched to being vegan. The goal was two fold at the time, 1) lowering my blood pressure, and 2) lowering my weight.

Somehow it has taken me way too long to add a doorbell camera to our home automation tools. Last week I decided it was time to do that, and add a few couple more cameras to the system. This post will cover the door bell setup, and a future post will add the other cameras as I haven’t installed those on the house yet.

A little background, our home automation solution here is built on a few different technologies, the backbone of my system is Insteon based, for lights doors and other triggered items, but I also have Google Home devices, Nest thermostats. I’m able to easily trigger a variety of lights in my house by voice, simply saying “Hey Google, turn on X light”.

I also have a couple of Foscam cameras powered by POE (power over ethernet) that I have hooked up as well. They are not connected to the Insteon system, but I think technically could be. For DVR I have a blue iris system running that connects to both cameras and records any triggered events, and also takes a specific photo every hour for my @Gardentoc bot on Twitter.

One camera was for the back yard, specifically taking photos/video of the garden, and one currently sees SOME of the front yard, but doesn’t have a great view of the front door visitors. Both cameras are older tech, while they say they are 1080p, the quality leaves a bit to be desired.

For a front door camera I wanted to get something that had the following qualities

  • Good quality
  • Monitorable
  • Notifications
  • Harder to hack

I think most solutions can provide the first 3 options, but my concern with “cheap” cameras is that they aren’t necessarily supported and potentially open to hacks, more so than hopefully some of the better supported, higher dollar cameras. With that in mind it came down to the Ring and Nest camera line up. I wasn’t sure which one to choose, but because I already had Nest devices, and Google Home devices in the house, I decided that the Shop Nest Products at Smarthome.com - Nest Hello camera would be the way to go.

I was able to easily setup that camera in our house, with a quick install. What I ended up finding out during my install though was that my Nest account, was not tied to my Google account, where all my Google Home devices were. So I ended up setting up the camera twice, and setting up the Nest devices again, by removing them from the Nest account, and adding them back to my Google account.

From there I was able to add the Nest Hello to my Blue Iris system fairly easily. This does require that you make the camera public, and then add the public Url into Blue Iris, once I did that things were up and running simply.

For now I have the Nest Hello notifications enabled, I might end up not paying for the Nest subscription, we’ll see. With Blue Iris I think I can ultimately setup some notifications, but we’ll see if it is easy, or worth just paying for the Nest subscription. I’ll post some future updates on the quality of the camera after we have it running for a while. As of now, Nest seems to notify us quite often of “people” outside, especially at night, when there is no one there.

Shop Nest Products at Smarthome.com

A quick blog post here, to hopefully help the next person who runs into this problem. While trying to run my first Meadow F7 application with Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2019, every time I would go to DEPLOY the app, the Meadow would disconnect and the app would fail to deploy. The error would ultimately come back with Couldn't initialize serial port
It has been almost two and a half months since I posted about leaving ClubReady, my employer for the prior seven years. In that time a lot has changed. I’ve gone 100% vegan, lost a bit of weight and lowered my blood pressure to a very healthy level, and held it there. I wonder how much of that was diet, and how much of that was leaving my role ;) (It was diet, my BP was still high after leaving CR). In the 2.5 months I’ve had a lot of time to spend with my family, a little time to spend catching up with friends and former coworkers, and a little time to try to figure out what comes next. My last day at CR I actually had a phone interview scheduled with a local St. Louis company. That interview led to a few more calls, all conducted remotely, and ultimately led to a job offer back mid/late February.

The other day we were talking about the coronavirus (covid19) pandemic and the rush on toilet paper at most stores in the United States. Then the topic of Bidets came up. If you're looking for a bidet, to remove your dependancy on toilet paper, be sure to check out some of the bidet options on Amazon

A bidet is a great way to "feel fresh" and clean your netherregion after using the restroom.

If you really want to get fancy, look for a Heated Bidet (hot water). No need to "wake" yourself up with a bold shot to the rear end if you can have some nice warm water there instead! 

So over the years I’ve uploaded ALL of my YouTube content to the same channel, so there is a mix of DNN Training videos, Racing videos, family videos, and even a refrigerator repair video. I’ve never had anyone actually complain about the mix of content, but I have always thought that the Racing and family videos kind of get in the way, as most of the views on my channel are for the tutorial type videos.

So it’s been another two weeks since my last post on my vegan life change, so I figured it would be a good time to follow up on progress, struggles, and plans.
Somehow, during two of my recent DotNetNuke upgrades, from 9.4.1 and 9.4.4 to 9.5, I started to experience some weird problems. The one I spent a few hours on this evening was that the Module Actions menu (module settings, export content, import content, help, print, develop, delete, refresh) was simply missing.

In November 2019, I took a Friday off to drive down to Memphis Tennessee to pick up some things for my Jack Daniel’s Collection, on the way to/from I listened to some episodes of The Forward, a podcast from Lance Armstrong. One of the guests on an episode was Rip Esselstyn, author of the Engine2Diet book, and the 7 Day Rescue diet. You can find him in documentaries such as Forks over Knives and The Games Changers, as well as at PlantStrong.

I wasn’t actually thinking that I would be changing my diet or trying anything new, but the conversation that Rip had with Lance was intriguing and motivated me to look further into what Rip was preaching. The short of it, Rip preaches the benefits of following a whole food plant based diet. Basically Vegan everything, but cutting back, or removing, processed foods. After my road trip I got back and purchased Rip’s book, The Engine 2 7 Day Rescue Diet on Kindle. This was Mid-November, right before Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I decided I was going to read the book, and once complete, I would give this diet a chance.

I’ve been threatening for months that I was going to have a whiskey tasting event, this past Friday I finally did it. This post contains an overview of how I planned, how the event went and what lessons learned for future events.



In the fall of 2019 rumors started swirling online of a new release available at the White Rabbit Bottleshop in Lynchburg, of a Before and After set. Two bottles of unmatured Old No. 7, one BEFORE Charcoal Mellowing and one AFTER Charcoal Mellowing, along with a small bottle of Hard Sugar Maple Charcoal in between the two bottles. The BEFORE bottle on the left, the AFTER on the right.


For 2019 Jack Daniel’s has brought their holiday (advent) calendar across the pond to the United States! They’ve also made it available elsewhere around the globe this year as well, where I believe primarily over the past couple of years it was only available in the UK (I could be wrong on that fact).

Chris Hammond

Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer, photographer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke (DNN) development, so you will find a variety of posts relating to those topics. For more information check out the about me page.

If you are looking for DotNetNuke consulting please visit my business website at https://www.christoc.com/

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