Chris on Twitter


DIY Solar Pool Heater- My Summer Maker Project

I've been tossing this idea around for about 20 years, ever since we moved into our current house, a house that included an above-ground pool. I'm not really that fond of swimming pools, unless of course the water is exceptionally warm. The first time I put my foot into that pool and felt how cold the water was, I started thinking about ways that I could warm up the water.

Very soon after getting it set up for swimming, when adding water to that above-ground pool, I noticed how hot the water was that had been sitting inside the garden hose which was laying out in the sun. I mulled over an idea of how I could use the sun and water to heat up a swimming pool. The initial issue with this solution was a lack of recirculation. If I continued to add hot water from the garden hose, eventually the pool would be overfilled. At that point I would have to remove some water from the pool (wasteful) in order to continue adding hot water.

Fast forward twenty years. I woke up Saturday morning and had to remove a submersible pump from an old stone well. As I was pulling the pump up, I suddenly realized that if I put a submersible pump in the pool, ran a couple of hundred feet of garden hose out into the yard and ultimately back into the pool, and was able to automatically turn the pump on and off once the water in the hose had been heated up by the sun, I would finally have my solar heated pool solution. But how could I automate the pump turning on?

This turned out to be the easiest and most cost effective part of my entire plan. You can now buy programmable power outlets/timers. These outlets allow you to program power on and power off events. Here is a timer similar to the one that I picked up from Menards:

Here's a link to a pump like the one I used:

The entire schematic looks something like this:

Programmable Timer->Pump in Pool->Hose to Yard->Hose to Pool

I set the timer to turn on at the hour and half hour, all day from 10 AM to 7 PM. The timer allows the pump to run for 3 minutes and then automatically turns off. This provides enough time for the hot water to evacuate from the hose, while refilling the hose with cool water off the bottom of the pool. 27 minutes later, the pump turns back on and again pumps hot water heated to 110F by the sun back into the pool.

Last evening we soaked and lounged in our pool with a water temperature in the mid-high 80s. Water temperature courtesy of the sun. :)


WARNING: Remove timer from power and pump from pool before swimming! Electrical hazard.


Apple Watch Messages Reply Glitch/Bug/Mirroring Issue

I've had an Apple Watch now for nearly two years. Overall, I absolutely love it. One little glitch with Messages on the watch has been bugging me though, and I believe that I have finally figured out the issue (after a suggestion from my wife that I actually look at the Messages' settings, which incidentally, are on the Apple Watch app located on the iPhone).

Let me first start by saying that I'm not sure if this was a bug, a glitch, or a configuration error on my part. All I know is that frequently I would receive a message on my watch, and then immediately hit the "voice to text" button to create a reply. The reply would immediately default to being sent via my Twitter SMS feed rather than the active incoming Messages thread. Normally, I would catch it prior to sending crazy messages to Twitter. Today, I did not. NOTE: If you don't have Twitter sending updates to your phone via SMS, you probably haven't noticed this issue.   

Here is what I think is going on. By default, Apple Watch Messages are set to mirror Messages on your iPhone. Whatever messages are at the top of Messages on your iPhone move to the top of Messages on the Apple Watch. After a number of Twitter updates posting to Messages on my iPhone and Apple Watch via the Messages app, if I would receive a text message from someone, the following would occur:

If I didn't manually make sure that I was posting a reply on the correct thread and instead just hit the voice to text button, I think the Twitter thread at the top of the iPhone Messages app was causing the Apple Watch to (mirror) switch to that thread in the middle of my dictation. If I clicked send at that point, the message would go to Twitter instead of the Messages thread I was trying to respond to. I realize that Messages on the iPhone should have switched to the incoming chat thread and stop this behavior, but I think this could potentially be a bug. 

Turning off Mirroring, switching to Custom, in the Messages section of the Apple Watch app on my iPhone seems to have corrected this issue. If there is another explanation that I am missing, please add it to the comments and I will update this blog.


Internet Safety Resources

Over the past few weeks we have been taking an ever increasing look at web resources that we can share regarding Internet safety. Here are some of the best ones and a brief description of the contents of each link:

“Finstas,” are "alias" accounts created and used by teens to hide more provocative behavior from parents, educators, and potential future employers. See:

"Vault apps" are apps that appear to be one thing, but actually have a hidden, secret function: is a good resource for internet safety training, especially for younger students. and are both fantastic resources for students and parents regarding Internet safety.

This website, found on, has done a great job putting together a list of the top 17 apps that students might be involved in:


Twitter/Personal Learning Network Presentation 

If you are an Anthony Wayne employee and are interested in seeing the slides from today's session on creating a personal learning network (PLN), please click here:

Twitter Slides

A huge THANK YOU to my wife Carrie, and her co-worker Mary-Jon for allowing me to modify their existing presentation.



OETC 2017 Presentation- Web Resource Parent Consent and Approval Process

Thank you to all of you that attended our presentation at the 2017 OETC Conference. You can find a copy of our presentation here:

Here is a copy of the document that details how to evaluate privacy policies and terms of service:

TOS_Guidance Doc

Here is the tool at that Becky Shiring shared with us. It can be used to get a quick assessment of online web services with respect to their privacy policies and terms of service:

Thanks again!