Martens Woodshop On Instagram

I’ve been using Instagram a lot more than Facebook. I get more interaction with random people who are interested in the same things as me, and it generally feels like a happier place.

I want to use Instagram even more to connect with the woodworking community, but I also don’t want to bombard friends and family who don’t care about that stuff. So I’m segmenting my posts under two accounts. The @benwmartens account will still be normal day-to-day, family-life pictures. The new @martenswoodshop account will have lots of pictures all related to woodworking and will show day to day progress along with the finished project.

If you like it all, it’s easy enough to just follow both, but I won’t be offended if you don’t like seeing lots of progress pictures for my projects.

Some day I dream of supplementing my income with woodworking and maybe this is the first step down that path. For now, it’s still totally a hobby but maybe I can start building a brand.

WiFi Channels

If you could see inside my house when I’m trying to fix network troubles, you’d see me walking around staring at my phone running an app like WiFi Analyzer. It shows all the different WiFi signals and their strengths. A quick glance at that app around my house quickly shows a lot of neighbors with improperly configured routers.

Here’s a tip: Your router probably lets you choose from 11 different channels for the 2.4Ghz radio. You should never use any channel other than 1, 6 or 11. Each channel bleeds over into it’s neighbors and that overlap causes interference for people on the other channels. So if you use channel 3, you’re messing up the spectrum for twice as many people as you need to. This chart shows how the channels overlap:

In most cases, you can randomly pick 1, 6 or 11 and be ok. If you want to go the extra mile, use an app to analyze your wireless spectrum and then pick one of those three that have the least amount of usage.



My love for UniFi WiFi points from Ubiquiti is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I installed it at church and at our house. The church system is rock solid. The one at our house has caused me a lot of pain and I was pretty convinced one of the two access points had hardware problems so I unplugged it and put it on the shelf.

Recently, Tyla has been having WiFi troubles on her laptop. My first reaction was that the other access point was probably going bad so I started looking into the new distributed wireless (or mesh wireless) network devices like Eero, Orbi and Google WiFi. Those systems aim to simplify the deployment of multiple access points around your house.

I realized that they aren’t generally targeted at me. They lack some of the advanced features that I like and they generally use a wireless connection to sync up the access points. I have my house wired with CAT6 ethernet and want to have everything wired, if possible, including my access points. WiFi has been around since the turn of the century and it has been causing me pain ever since. If a device in my house doesn’t move, it gets a hardwired network connection. Wireless is reserved for laptops, phones and Internet of Things devices that don’t have a wired option. So that’s my long way of saying that I don’t want to have access points that connect to the mothership via wireless.

Before plunking down more money on some replacement hardware, I decided to give the UniFi system one more try. After a fresh look, I realized I should check the network cable that runs downstairs into the living room where I had the “broken” access point hooked up. Sure enough, one of the 8 wires is not connected! Duh. I used a different jack on the other side of the room and it worked fine. I’ll have to go back and figure out why that one jack doesn’t work, but for now, I’m up and running.

I flashed the firmware on both access points to the latest version, adjusted the placement of both access points to provide optimum coverage around our house, and now I wait to see if there are any more wireless networking reports from Tyla.

Spotify is some of the best money that we spend every month. It’s awesome to have easy access to “all” the music. A while back, I clicked the button in the app to keep a history of all the songs that I listen to on my account.

Now that i’ve been using this for a couple months, it’s fun to see my listening trends. You can actually view my profile too, but here are some of the stats I picked up.

Top artists:

  1. Ben Folds
  2. Jonathan Coulton
  3. Amos Less
  4. The Senat
  5. John Mayer


Top albums:

  1. The Senate – Live at Solstice
  2. Ben Folds – The Best Imitation of Myself
  3. Jonathan Coulton – Best. Concert. Ever.
  4. fun. – Some Nights
  5. Howard Shore – The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring


Top Tracks:

  1. The Shins – Caring is Creepy
  2. Matt Nathanson – Come On Get Higher
  3. Tyrone Wells – Use Sombody
  4. The Barr Brothers – Even the Darkness Has Arms
  5. Matt Hires – Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song


I don’t quite understand how they do these calculations. For example, if I’ve listened to the “Live at Solstice” album 40+ times, why aren’t those tracks in my “top tracks” list? But regardless, I can wholeheartedly recommend all of that music. It’s a pretty good cross section of what I listen to at work. I don’t have that feature enabled when I play music at home or on my phone since then I would be flooded with Elijah’s music.

Coldest Winter

We have only been in our current house for 5 winters, but this is by far the most we’ve ever paid to heat it during the winter. One month was 40% higher than our previous max and we’ve even had the thermostat turned down lower than it was in previous years.

Cliff Mass has a post up showing that this is the coldest Seattle winter in 32 years! It hasn’t been hard to notice the extended periods of colder than average weather. I hope that it breaks soon and we can start getting some spring weather, but there’s no end in sight.

This cold wet weather has made for a pretty spectacular ski season, or so I’ve heard. I think I’ll be finishing up the year with 0 ski days.