Using Retirement Savings for a Home

It is often pretty hard to come up with the money for a down payment on a new house purchase so it’s natural for people to look to what is often their largest savings account: their retirement. But which types of retirement accounts can be used for a down payment, and should you do it?

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My First 6 Months Swimming = 100km Total!

On January 11th, a new gym (VASA fitness) opened in my area and I finally had an affordable option to swim again and started going fairly regularly. I’m hoping that somebody might find this useful or it might inspire them to start swimming. I swim for cardio and have absolutely no interest in ever competing. Pool is SCM, three lanes, for what it’s worth.  Here’s the story and some tips: Continue reading “My First 6 Months Swimming = 100km Total!”

Arduino Battery Gauge – Input Voltage Measurement Board

Here’s a short little post to show something I made a few years ago.  It’s a simple, tiny board with a couple of resistors that is used to measure the input voltage.  It uses a simple voltage divider to reduce the voltage from the raw input pin and allow the conveniently close analog pin to read it.

Continue reading “Arduino Battery Gauge – Input Voltage Measurement Board”

EagleCAD PSA – Use the schematics

This is a super simple post to encourage you to use schematics when you use EagleCAD.  When I learned, the person who taught me didn’t use schematics so I learned to not use schematics and just design the board using packages.  At first I didn’t know any better and blindly accepted the occasional error that happened because I switched pins.  It was especially difficult when the chip package is rotated from the documentation and gets even worse when it’s also on the bottom of a board.  But in the last few months I’ve been burned several times by this and I’ve seen the light.  From now on, I’ve started using schematics for all my boards.  Compared to just designing a board from packages, doing the schematic first is a lot more work.  But if you verify the package and schematic when you make it, it eliminates almost all of the errors.  And while making the schematic and device is a pain in the butt, it makes laying out the board a lot faster because everything is already connected by airwires.  Anyway, that’s my advice, take it or leave it, but I hope it helps somebody avoid the mistakes I made.

Homekit Geolocation Door Lock Workaround

I started to get into home automation in the last year and because I’m an Apple fanboy I went with Homekit from Apple.  The good part is that Apple tests every product to make sure they are high quality and don’t have vulnerabilities.  But, this also means you get fewer products and you are at Apple’s mercy for abilities.  Generally I like this walled garden approach but the most glaring problem is using geolocation triggers to unlock/lock a door. Continue reading “Homekit Geolocation Door Lock Workaround”

Engagement Ring? – Don’t get the Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage Card


As some of you know, I recently proposed to my long time girlfriend (and she said yes!) during a trip to London and the hunt began for a wedding ring.  I didn’t dare pick one out for her since I know she had very specific ideas on these things, so I proposed with a cheapish Tiffany’s silver ring and told her we’d pick out a ring together when we got back to the states.  We found one relatively quickly that we both liked but it was way more than I had budgeted.  It wasn’t her going crazy but more an issue of me not realizing what jewelry costs.  Luckily, the store had 0% financing through Wells-Fargo so I thought I was all set.  This is what I wish I’d known then. Continue reading “Engagement Ring? – Don’t get the Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage Card”

First Post

Woo! First post!  I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to posting on here, but I made this blog for two reasons: 1) to reserve the mwwalk name since that’s the name I use for everything and I may want it in the future.  2) to occasionally blog about the projects I’m working on.  It’s a way for me to document what I’ve done without having to worry about backing it up while also sharing it with others.  No promises on the frequency of updates but here’s hoping.  I’ll leave you with this quote by my favorite webcomic XKCD:

“The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I’m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out before us. We see the same things every day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us And no, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn’t involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of some day easing my fit into a mold. It doesn’t involve tempering my life to better fit someone’s expectations. It doesn’t involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up.  This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.”  –