Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chihuahua Rescue Sites

Chloe is a rescue and  I believe pure Chihuhua.

This is a partial list of internet sites helping find forever homes for Chihuahuas. If you are looking for a small dog, your first stop should always be your local Animal Shelter.
Many homeless dogs—including purebreds—end up at these shelters only to be told later on there is no room or budget for them. Many local shelters also keep lists of breeds people want, then call them when dogs matching your description arrive.
When local animal shelters and rescue groups do not have the pet you want, consider adopting a Chihuahua from one of these organizations. Similar sites exist for all breeds.
Lucas (front) and Tinkerbelle came from shelters. 

·  Chihuahua Rescue states it has saved more than 5,000 lives to date.
·  Chihuahua Rescue and Transport places Chihuahuas and mixes in approved homes.
·  Adopt-A-Chihuahua allows prospective pet parents to enter their search parameters, including distance.
·  Chihuahua Rescue Shelter lists groups rescuing this breed by state. It also has lists of similar groups in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
·  Famous Chihuahua focuses on dog and puppy mills nationwide, helping to find homes for the many dogs rejected by these business as being imperfect and therefore unsellable.
·  NetPets has a list of Chihuahua organizations and contacts for people in those groups, including Chihuahua Rescue and Transport.
·  New Chihuahua Connection also has a list of various rescue groups nationwide.
·  AZ Chihuahua Rescue is an Arizona-based group dedicated to providing “big hearts for little dogs.”
·  Second Chance Chihuahua Rescue is based in Nixa, Mo.
·  Ay Chihuahua is based in Central Texas that fosters Chis needing homes.
Also consider checking out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and American Humane Society sites regardless of breed. They can help you find shelters in your area.
This posting is brought to you as a public service of the Posh Puppy Boutique.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hot Wire Makes Round Pens Affordable

A basic round pen using peeler core posts, wire and a metal gate.

Horse owners will tell you that small corrals and outdoor stalls are great places for your horse to stand. Arenas are perfect for larger activities and letting horses run, jump and burn off steam. But when it comes to having an area designed to work with a horse, both are inappropriate.
Stalls are too small and arenas are too big. The solution is an area between them: a round pen.
Round pens vary in size with the most common being 60 feet in diameter. Sizes range from as small as 40 feet to as large as 120 feet. Your diameter depends on your use: smaller pens work fine if you are only going to exercise your horse with a lead rope. Larger pens are better if you plan on riding inside it.
Opinions on sizes and materials vary depending on who you talk to. Your best sources are people whose horses are of breeds, ages and temperaments similar to your own. Fond out what they like and why.
Caution: Use these prices for comparison purposes only. Prices will vary depending on your location.
Close-up of the gate and capped core posts. 

Locating Your Round Pen

 You will need to find a good spot—preferably flat and level—for your round pen. If you are going to use hot wire, you will either need to have the pen close to an outdoor electrical outlet or use direct current or solar power to energize your wire.
Also ensure that you have good footing. Ideally have 4 inches of sand atop a material such as decomposed granite and/or rock for drainage.
It is also a good idea to have your round pen near your horse’s stall so they feel safe and secure.

Common Materials—Steel Panels

The materials used in building round pens vary, partly depending on the climate with cost playing a major role for many people.
Pre-made 12-foot by 5-foot steel corral panels.
Premade steel panels are the easiest materials to work with, but also the most expensive. The advantage is you can have a round pen set-up and ready to go—excluding the gate—in less than two hours. Attaching a gate to a wooden post set in concrete may take several hours to dig plus a day or more for your concrete to cure.
Using a 60-foot diameter pen (multiple by the diameter by pi or 3.14 to get the circumference) as an example, your circumference is about 188 feet. This translates to either 180, which actually means 15 12-foot panels or 19 (190 foot circumference) 10-footers. These measurements include a gate. Premade 6-rail steel panels about 5 feet tall will often run between $90-$120 each. Gates can easily top $120 alone.
These panels use an interlocking design making them impossible for a spooked horse to go through, which can be an advantage with some horses.

Common Materials--Wood

Many people use wood as an alternative to steel both for the cost and the ability to customize their round pen to the size and shape of the available space. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages.
The most common post materials are:
·  Peeler cores: These are round, typically about 8 feet long—which means 6 feet above ground—and relatively inexpensive. Four-inch diameter cores 8 feet long made with pressure treated wood run about $9 each at Home Depot. Six-inch diameter peeler cores cost $17 each at Home Depot.
·  Redwood posts: Square redwood posts come in a variety of sizes, including 4-inch by 4-inch ($19 for a 10-foot length) and 6-by-6-inch, and lengths up to 20 feet. Redwood is hearty, durable and will not poison your horses.
·  Pressure treated fir: This material offers a less expensive alternative ($9.97 at Home Depot for 4x4x8 hemp fir) to redwood. The drawback is most pressure treatments, which are designed to prevent insect damage, use highly toxic arsenic.
Using wood also requires wood or vinyl rails, wire fencing, electrified “hot wire”—which is the focus of this article—or a combination of the above.
Electrical tape is wide and more visible than wire. This displays shows several common arrangements.

T-Posts And Hot Wire

Metal T-posts, named for their triangular shape, are an inexpensive alternative to wood or steel panels. You will still need at least one wood post for your gate, though.
The chief downside of using T-posts is that they can be bent easily. Using electrified wire that gives your horse—or if it gets touched, you—a jolt generally keeps that from happening.
A similar display using wire.
Assuming you want to build a 60-foot diameter round pen, and plan to install a 12-foot gate, your circumference is about 168 feet. Spacing your posts every 8 feet requires 21 posts. Spacing them every 6 feet requires 28 posts.
T-posts come in a variety of lengths. One of the most common sizes is 6 feet, which cost $5.38 each at Home Depot.
To drive in the posts you will need a sledgehammer or T-post driver, which is a heavy metal cap that goes over the top and has handles on both sides.
Hot wire comes in both wire and tape designs. Tape is wider and more visible. Wire is smaller but just as effective since both carry current.

Basic Equipment For Hot Wire

The simplest design is attaching insulators to each T-post with 3 to 6 rows of wire per post. Wires should be spaced about 1 foot apart vertically. Hot wire and tape typically comes in rolls of about 600 and 656 feet, requiring one roll for three rows, two rolls for more than three rows.
You will also need tensioners for each row to keep the wire or tape straight.
Pre-packaged gate kits contain all the essential elements you need to connect your fence to a gate.
You will also need a grounding rod regardless of your power source.

Power Sources

A solar panel power source.
There are several options for powering a hot wire fence depending both your electrical skill and the location of your pen.
If your pen is near an outdoor electrical outlet, you can purchase a power panel that will handle 2 miles of wire for about $100.
If your pen is not close to an electrical supply, your options are to use a direct current source (About $80)—some versions can use 4 “D” cell batteries or a car battery—or solar power. Solar power stations give you the most freedom of location but start at $169 to power 2 miles of fencing.

The Bottom Line

You can build a 60-foot diameter round pen for between $500-$600 using hot wire and T-posts. This figure does not include your gate nor any materials for footing, which is critical to your horse’s health.
A similar set-up using premade steel panels is about $1,500 including gate but excluding one post and footing materials.

A display of electric fencing components at a local feed store.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Comparing Image File Names Using Irfanview, Excel

A sample photo image directory.


Consider this common scenario for people working on commercial website projects. You have a bunch of product photos but not photos of every product. You need to create two lists: one of the images you already have and another with other images, some of which you might not have.
This “cheat sheet” uses Irfanview ® and Microsoft Excel ® to create these lists and compare the data.

Preliminary Steps

Your first steps are gathering your information. You should have a list of image file names, possibly already in Excel. If not, duplicate the following procedure on the folder or directory where your existing images are found.
You will also want to locate the directory where the new images—including the missing shots—can be found.
If you already have a list of image file names, copy and paste the list into a column in Excel under the header “existing” and save the worksheet.

Irfanview Steps

These steps work on a folder of images where you are using Irfanview’s thumbnail function to view them.
Start by opening Irfanview and the folder where the images are found. Hit “T” to view them as thumbnails. Next hit “A” to select all images.
Now right click on the images and choose “Save selected file names as text” from the options presented.
You now have your list of file names without the associated images.

Initial Excel Steps

The Long Way
Use this method at least once so you understand how to do it.
Open Excel then, under File Open, have it open All Files and select your text file. Open the images as Fixed width and follow the Screen import wizard.
Next, see how the image file names are presented. Assuming parts of the file name are spread across multiple columns, delete every column except the final one with the actual image name. An example is saving only names such as Test1.JPG instead of C:\My_Documents\project_image_files\Test1.jpg when all of the other text is stored in additional columns.
An excel list with original file names spread across several columns.
Now you should have file names like Shoes\redmens10m.JPG and Shoes\redwomens6.JPG.
Shrink those names down so they resemble those in the list of images you already have. One way of doing this is counting the number of spaces from the right—including the period for your “dot JPG”—for your longest length name.
Now use Excel’s RIGHT Function to gather just the text characters you want to keep.
Assuming your original filename with all of the data is in column A and you want to save the first 8 characters from the right, your formula (in cell B1) will look like this:
Delete or modify any file names where extra characters still exist. It’s far easier to delete unneeded text than add critical information back in.
Cell B1 should just have the characters you need for comparison purposes. Copy and paste special values (Alt+ESV) to replace your formula with the actual file names and that step is finished.
Use the same procedure on your existing images if their file names are not already stored in an Excel worksheet.
Use this method when  the text you want to delete is identical with every image file name.
The Short Way
Assuming you have the same set of characters at the beginning of every file name, use search and replace (Crtl+H) to search for them and replace them with nothing. Hit Replace All and the extra characters are gone leaving just the rest of your original file name. It’s a heck of a lot quicker than the long way.

Comparing Lists

Now you’ve got a list of new file names that looks identical in format to what you already had. Do a vlookup (hit the F1 key, type in Vlookup function and read the help article if you are unfamiliar with it) between your two spreadsheets and sort the results.
Assuming your new images are stored in Column A and your old images in column B on a different worksheet, your formula should look something like:
·         =VLOOKUP(A1,'test 2.txt'!$B:$B,1,FALSE)
·         A1 is your starting cell
·         ‘test 2.txt’ is the spreadsheet where you are looking for the comparison data
·         $B:$B is the column where the data can be found
·         1 is the number of cells you are comparing
·         False indicates you want an exact match. True would give you an inexact match, which is generally avoided.
Assuming your results are in Column C, do a sort and look for the #N/A’s. An N/A indicates your worksheet of existing file names lacks that particular image. The name will appear if you already have it.
All you have to do now is harvest the images listed as N/A and you’re done.

Editor’s Note: A detailed look at using Irfanview can be found in my archives. Email me directly at davereyn83@gmail.com for a copy.