October 2012

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Wed 10/31/12 8:58pm # | tweet this

Happy Halloween

It was a cold, damp and chilly night but we managed to have 48 trick or treaters knock on our door.

Jennifer's motion activated pumpkin that said "I see you" as soon as the kids stepped on the porch was a big hit with the little ones. Many jumped back, and one little girl was afraid to come back to the porch.

It was a cold enough night that it was hard to see alot of the costumes under the winter jackets, but there were a few that were cool. There was a cute litle SWAT team cop, an even cuter little girl in a homemade pink box transformer costume and quite the run of masked serial killers.

Our candy held out, but I think I'll buy more for next year just in case there's nicer weather that brings out more boys and gouls. Nice Halloween night!

I want to hear your

Tue 10/30/12 8:27pm # | tweet this

Lucas turns to the Darkside

So many consider George Lucas to have killed the younglings awhile back (with the release of the prequels), but today he rose clad in black fully becoming Darth Vader.

Lucas has sold his company and Star Wars to Disney.

Watch this excerpt from a video conversation George Lucas had in 1971 before he created Star Wars.

The interviewer in the above clip goes on and on a little idealistically about the freedom that will soon be provided by video cassettes. That didn't really materialize, but feel free to insert Youtube or Internet sold or streamed MP4s if that brings the idealism more up to date for you.

In anycase, LucasFilm was created because George Lucas wanted to control his own filmmaking and properties and didn't want to be beholden to the studios. It's sort of appropriate that this franchise that was supposed to be the chosen one ends up in the hands of the Sith isn't it?

Lucas is mortal. Selling Star Wars to Disney is one way to ensure it's existence for decades to come after his soon (even if not for a decade or more) demise. And selling to Disney hasn't worked out too poorly for the Muppets or Pixar afterall, so Henson and Jobs have set a precedent of sorts that makes a certain amount of sense for Lucas to follow.

Star Wars is big, and if George Lucas isn't going to be around, and sadly he doesn't look to be the healthiest person, and even if he is, 67 is not a terrible age to start getting your affairs somewhat in order, then it does make a certain amount of sense that he has put this "thing: Star Wars" into the care of probably the largest corporation that could cradle it.

People are finite. Corporations seem to exist much much longer. For 36 years, George Lucas held onto Star Wars. He built a studio larger than many of the studios he originally railed against, and then in the end he sold the whole thing to one of the largest studios of them all. When he started he was but the learner, now he is the master, as they say.

He kept control of Star Wars during most of his lifetime, but now it's fitting in some sense for Star Wars to take it's place at Emperor Mickey's side.

May the force be with you. Always.

I want to hear your

Tue 10/30/12 12:51pm # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters


I read about the the Google Nexus device launches yesterday. Google has a nice line-up now with the Nexus 4 phone, Nexus 7 mini-tablet, and the Nexus 10 full sized tablet.

There finally seems to be solid, full ecosystem alternative to Apple's iOS offerings. For most people I'd still recommend the Apple devices, but if saving a few bucks is key to you, the Google Nexus line is a solid offering.

Windows Phone 8

I read through the Verge's live blog of the Windows Phone 8 event yesterday too. Overall, nice looking tech and it looks like Microsoft now has a solid full ecosystem as well in Windows Phone 8, Surface Tablet, and Windows 8 on the desktop. I'm a little less excited about Microsoft than I am about Nexus though. Give it another year though. It's hard to count Microsoft out. I don't think the desktop or the laptop is quite dead yet and Windows 8 on the desktop will be a powerful advocate for Microsoft's tiled "Metro" interface. Come late 2013, they might be a contender.

Tech in general

There's just some really great affordable tech out there. If you don't have a tablet, it's probably not price holding you back anymore, as there are some great cheap options available. Netbooks don't get much press any more, but there are some great low prices on those still out in major retailers as well. Smartphones really are becoming ubiquitous now as more and more people bite the bullet and take on the monthly data plans. Games, books, video, music, if it can be digitized it's getting easier and easier to acquire, legally even.

AppleTV, Roku and Xbox are doing very exciting things in the tv space. Roku just announced a cross-service search engine that helps you find shows whether they are on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix or others. Next year will probably be an even more exciting time for TV tech.

Social is becoming a utility and weaving itself into the everyday. Facebook and Twitter seems to be all the online social connection that most people need. But Skype, Dropbox and Google+ Hangouts are filling in some interesting niches. It's probably never been easier to organize a group of people if you need to do such a thing.

There are some disruptive technologies on the horizon.
  • Google Glass with Google Now or something like it looks promising to bring an omnipresent HUD and digital assistant to the masses over the next few years.
  • 3D printing could break out as a popular Hobbiest fad at anytime if an ambitious company were to get behind making a low cost unit. The technology is there, we're just waiting on the will.
  • Raspberry Pi and Arduino are just fantastic platforms for people who want to build their own intelligent and interactive electronics. And the price for the pwer you can purchase and growing wealth of code and examples you can copy from the internet, really is amazing.
  • Devices like the Pi, and Arduino as well as some of the nich IOS complimentary home gadgets like Next and Belkin's intelligent switches, as well as the growing ubiquity of home wi-fi seem poised to make the long overdo promise of home automation a reality.

There's just so much great tech out there at such reasonable prices for hardware and free or near free prices for software. It's really quite amazing.

So with such a rosy tech picture, what's left?

Well mostly my thoughts go to societal issues

  • What do you do with people from 9 to 5? People and businesses are becoming so efficient, you really don't need most of the jobs that are out there now. So how are we going to structure the work week? Stay with 40 hours and have more unemployment? Lower the work week to 30 hours and have more employed, but more idle time? I think this will become a serious issue over the next 20 years?
  • Education. We're educating our citizenry very inefficiently for a world that no longer exists. We're also saddling our educated citizenry with tremendous debt right out the gate as well. There will need to be new ways to educate people, and certify people and we're going to need to stop taking over the entirety of our population's 20s with it. We can't push adulthood into the 30s, it wastes too much time.
  • Health Care. Needs to be decoupled from work, and instead become a human right. To deny a person basic health care should be tantamount to denying a thirsty man water. It should be unheard of with our society's current level of wealth.
  • The rights of people that contribute to a business to it's profit, vs the rights of the business's investor and ruling class. There's no need for the rich to keep getting ever smaller in number and more concentrated in wealth. It's not redistribution that needs to be addressed, it's proper distribution of rewards.
  • Wealth and Leisure time. If we get the wealth distribution right, and reduce the hours required, we'll need to figure out how to organize educational, hobby, political and social groups to deal with that extra time and money. We've been going in the opposite direction for a good many decades, hunkering down and focussing on select friends and core family. As a society we need to figure out how we widen our social relationships in a positive way. People are social creatures and we'll need better structures (especially secular ones) for large groups of people to interact without allowing politics, and domination by majorities to takeover.

The above is by no means completely thought through, mostly it's just lunch time musings and thoughts to throw onto the net.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/28/12 8:23pm # | tweet this

I see you

Jennifer has been working on the guts of an Arduino microcotroller controlled pumpkin. The Arduino is coded to control some flickering LEDs and when it's connected motion detector detects someone in front of it... it plays a spooky: "I'll see you" audio file from some powered computer speakers under the stool.
Jenn did some real cool stuff cobbling together and customizing the code and hardware. I did the far more analogue cutting of the styrofoam Funkins pumpkin based loosely on a pumpkin design she saw in Guild Wars Halloween Event.

The Window Silohuettes are blatantly copied from a post I saw on How to Geek they were easy and fun to make.

Watch a quick video (with some awkwardly added Game ur video effects)

And then be sure to read Jenn's blog post, which has more pictures, the source code of the project, and is far more detailed.

I want to hear your

Sat 10/27/12 9:29pm # | tweet this

Two weeks, four movies

There are 4 good movies coming out in the next 2 weeks.

Man with the Iron Fists, Wreck It Ralph, Skyfall (James Bond), and Lincoln.


I want to hear your

Sat 10/27/12 1:22pm # | tweet this

Blackboard Basement Cat Door

On the lower level of our house around the corner toward the office door is the basement door.

Our cat's litter box is in the basement. Because that litter box is located there, it's been very important to always keep the basement door open.

It's a small hall though and keeping that door open all the time gets in the way and blocks alot of light from the office from reaching the hall.

Since we've moved in, I've wanted to put a cat door in that door so that I could close it all the time.

As the doors in our house are fairly old and hard to replace (color-wise at least) I didn't want to cut into one of the existing doors, so we picked up a cheap door at Lowes. Being that the basement door is right outside our office, and being that I've spent too much time on Pinterest of late, I thought it would also be fun to try painting the door with blackboard paint so that we could leave notes, reminders etc. right outside the office.

So Thursday we picked up the door and I primered it and carved the hinge recesses. Friday I did three coats of blackboard paint, and Saturday morning I hung the door.

The actual hanging of the door proved the trickiest, I ended having to take the door out and carve out the hinge recesses a little deeper and then I need to oh so slightly adjust the door frame in a couple spots, but after a couple hours of hassle the door was opening and closing smoothly.

I then did some training with the cat using his favorite mouse with bell on a string. I pulled the toy in an out of the door until the cat finally figured out he could push his way through the plactic swing door.

Quirky project. And it took a little longer than I thought it would to do, but I'm happy with the results. And now I have a big chalkboard to list a few more projects on :)

Jennifer has more pictures on her blog

I want to hear your

Sat 10/27/12 12:31am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Wreck-It Ralph "Vintage" Commercials
source: Action Figure Insider - Best Toy News on the Web!

Cute "viral" marketing of faux vintage video game commercials.

How to Make Candy Corn on the Cob
source: Neatorama

Great idea. Candy corn and cookie dough to make candy corn on the cob.

Why Did It Take So Long For Companion Cube Ice Trays?
source: Gizmodo

I bought this. It's cool. (get it. heh.)

50 Years of James Bond Mini Mix Compilation - A.Skillz & Krafty Kuts
source: YouTube

Cool. I'm looking forward to the next Bond movie.

Sound of Cylons
source: YouTube

This is fantastic. Spoilers abound if you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica yet, but if you have seen Battlestar Galactica... this is a must watch.

Tiny, simple, automatic Memoto camera captures you in still life
source: DVICE

Interesting camera designed to clip onto your shirt and record your entire day in a series of pictures. Sadly there seems to be some completely unnecessary Cloud component to this offering. Not sure how well the device works without the service, and this is a Kickstarter so to that extent, it's not necessarily real, but if it did work well without the service I'd be interested in a device like this.

Jordan and Roberts: Carpool Buddies of Doom creators of doom
source: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

What a cool 3 page comic.

Musink: Free & Automated Sheet Music Composition Editor
source: MakeUseOf.com

This looks neat.

LEGO A Hobbit Halloween - YouTube

Cute stop motion Lego animation.

G4 announces the end of Attack of the Show!, X-Play
source: Boing Boing

These two shows are G4 TV. If you get rid of these two shows all you have is a network of really weird reruns.Neither of these shows has been good for a long time, but it's a bummer that they're just going away instead of somehow getting better.

Gungan Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
source: Funny or Die

Video. Not what you think. Stick with it past the first 90 seconds or so.

Cow & Co: Emporium of Unique Gifts Store Profile
source: Apartment Therapy - Chicago

Neat idea.

DIY Multi-Pot Plant Hanger Design*Sponge
source: Apartment Therapy - Chicago

Neat plant hanger.

University of the Future
source: swissmiss

Nice shirt.

First Look DC Club Infinite Earths Uncle Sam and Doll Man
source: thefwoosh.com

I have little ineterst in the Uncle Sam figure, as I already have a DC Direct One, but the Dollman accessory is cool.

NYCC 2012 The Watchmen Club Black Freighter Nite Owl
source: thefwoosh.com

I have the movie figure, but this comic version, is way cooler.

Amazon Sold the Most Kindle Fire HDs since Launch the Day After the iPad Mini Was Announced
source: Gizmodo

I'm sure there wer a fair amount of people waiting to see what Apple's Price was and then pulled the trigger on the cheaper Fire.

I want to hear your

Fri 10/26/12 2:06pm # | tweet this

Jenn and I just saw Cloud Atlas.

I won't give away any spoilers per se. I'm not sure I could if I wanted too.

What I will say is this movie does not have a conventional 3 act structure. The movie is not a conventional narrative, and if you like your films neatly constructed and wrapped up, well you won't like this film at all. And it's a long film, so if you like the traditional 3 act structure and "arty" films are a chore for you. Skip this movie.

Now, if you're looking for something different, something that both reaches into the past, present and future... and if you do like odd indy/slice of life/portraits of humanity then this movie is certainly worth seeing on the big screen. It's a beautiful film, and it has an interesting message to reflect on even if you have to dig just a bit to figure out what that message is.

I'm glad I saw it, but it's not going to be for everyone. The Wachowski's do deliver on the visuals, and for that alone, hardcore sci-fi fans should go see it. (even though the movie itself is not necessarily sci-fi.)

I want to hear your

Tue 10/23/12 9:47pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

2 Minimalist Text Editors You Have Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]
source: MakeUseOf.com

I've been using Caderno for a couple weeks and I've been digging it.

Upcoming Watchmen, Batman, and Club Infinite Earths figures
source: Super Punch

Looking forward to completing my Metal Men soon with these figures.

source: xkcd.com

Modern Ride-On-Toy
source: swissmiss

Kindof cool in its simplicity.

Pixel States
source: swissmiss

No longer available. But probably wouldn't be hard to make.

Animal Clothes Hangers
source: swissmiss

Cool idea, might be fun to make.

The Second Test
source: Rands In Repose

The Second Test

In your company, there are three kinds of people. There are those you are aware of, but who don't immediately affect your world. There are those who mildly affect your world and upon whom you have a lightweight dependency. And there are those who are an active part of your world. You depend on them.

I don't want to depend on you. It's nothing personal, it's just that as an engineer I irrationally believe that anything I don't build with my own hands is going to get fucked up by someone else. I believe this because I've spent a good portion of my life watching other well-meaning people sit down at a computer and simply... make things harder for themselves.

It's an irrational, unfair, and annoying perspective, but when you're sitting there across from an engineer who has been forced to depend on you, he or she is wondering, "How are they are going fuck up my shit?"

NYCC Arrow Trailer Brings Huntress, Deadshot, Deathstroke, China White and John Barrowman
source: Bleeding Cool

That is not a scary looking Deathstroke. Too bad.

FoodSmart App Guides Consumers to Make Healthy, Delicious Choices
source: Mashable!

I'm not sure you are going to see alot of people shopping with iPads. iPad minis maybe :D but not iPads.

SnackMan Motion-Activated Treat and Candy Dispenser!
source: The Red Ferret

Neat looking device. Very tempting. I put the Amazon listing for it on my watchlist for a price drop, but even $40 ain't bad. Video at the top link.

Pre-Orders are Open For Mattel's MOTUC Castle Grayskull
source: Action Figure Insider - Best Toy News on the Web!

Pretty hefty priced at $250. Direct to collector, preorder. I'll be surprized if enough people pony up that kindof cash in advance when they only have a drawing and not even a sculp yet.

There is a Reason For Individuals To Have A 3D Printer In Their Home
source: Fabbaloo Blog

I think 3D printers will be hobbiest things for a really long time. I would think at somepoint there will be a cheap Easy Bake Oven style type toy version that will be a fad for a Christmas or two as kids print out Lego and little army men, but alot of home nolonger even have 2D paper printers, so I don't see the average Joe printing his own cheap plastics. Now set up a few with some order online, mail to home type companies and I think you'll see a mini-maker boom on the net along the lines of the ubiquitous T-Shirt sales web sites, but a 3D printer "Chicken in every Pot?" probably not anytime soon.

Google Rumored to Prepare $99 Nexus tablet for Q4 2012
source: Tablet News

That might be the sortof game changer that the iPad mini probably won't be.

Virginia Beach McDonald's adds free iPad use to its menu, McRib still seasonal
source: Engadget

Not that I don't already always bring my own device, but this sort of use is a good argument for Apple to keep making the cheaper iPad 2.

Tablet App Quality Checklist
source: Android Developers

App-Connected Toothbrush Tracks Your Habits, Rewards You With Free Stuff
source: Mashable!

The Beam Brush plays two minutes of music while you brush, so you can scrub your pearly whites the recommended amount of time, while the tracking sensor will let you track your brushing habits. Does someone really want to do this?

What Those Website Pop-Ups Really Mean [Comic]
source: the How-To Geek

Ha. True.

I want to hear your

Tue 10/23/12 4:14pm # | tweet this

He-Man and Battle Cat Packaging

I have the power!

I never got into the He-Man toys when the show was on the air, but I did watch it daily.

My brother had a few, but I stuck mostly with Superheroes as a kid.

Anyway this more recent line of He-Man toys primarily aimed at collectors have much nicer sculpts and articulation than the toys from the 80s, I've come close to buying a He-Man figure several times just to sort of put him with some of my other iconic cartoon figures, but I've always talked myself out of it. Until last week, when Matty Collector had a He-Man and Battle-Cat bundle for a very reasonable $30.

Battle-Cat and that low combination price put me over the edge and I bought it.

(I've also read a couple issues of the current DC Masters Comic series, so that probably helped too.)

The Battle Cat figure is very very nice. He's got multiple points of articualtion on his legs, his head raises up and down and swivels side to side and his jaw is articualted. Nice kitty cat.

He-Man and Battle Cat

He-Man and Battle Cat

Battle Cat

He-Man riding Battle Cat

That's an iconic shot don't you think and worth the addition to my toy shelf.

He-Man, Battle Cat and Bwana Beast for Scale He-Man, Battle Cat and Bwana Beast for Scale

As you can see, He-Man fits in great with the DC Classics scale too.

I don't plan on getting into the full line. I'll probably be quite happy to leave my Masters of the Universe figure collection at population 2. Although, it'd be a shame not to have someone for him to fight wouldn't it? (I might be on the lookout for a cheap Skeletor now, I suppose. lol.)

I want to hear your

Tue 10/23/12 2:21pm # | tweet this

iPad mini - an iPad that's smaller

I just watched the Apple Event where they announced the iPad mini.

Really nice looking device, but awkwardly priced.

They have it at $329 for the 16GB, but it's $429 for the much more usable 32GB version.

Same pixels as the iPad 2 but in a smaller package. (The iPad 2 by the way is still available at $399 in a 16GB version.)

It's smaller, basically.

I use both an iPad 2 and a 7" generic Ice Cream Sandwich Android tablet. At home, I mostly use the iPad because of the larger screen. 7" device is nice for traveling, but I don't travel very much whereby I need a tablet with me, so that use has been minimal.

I think it's going to come down to preference. Smaller people with smaller hands will probably dig the iPad mini form factor, and it'll be a good buy for them I think.

iPad 4

Buried in the middle of this event though was the fact that they just released a 4th generation full sized iPad. 'Buried in this event: 4th generation iPad." Process the fact that a 4th Gen iPad is something Apple can bury in another announcement now.

More than just the new lightning connector, they also gave it the 2X faster A6 chip at the same price as the previous iPad 3. Considering the iPad 3 is only 7 months old, that's kindof nuts. Talk about making people who buy Apple products even more anxious about the half-life of their purchase. And as for their competitors, well it sort of sucks for the few trying to go head to head with Apple in the 10" space, cause Apple is just killing the competition with fast iterations.

Other than the above, it was a by the numbers Apple Event as far as presentation goes. Let the speculation about February's announcements begin...

Apple Event video

I want to hear your

Mon 10/22/12 8:41pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

The Magazine
source: Daring Fireball

Interesting experiment. I've subscribed to this bi-weekly iOS magazine, at least for now.

How To: Make Vampire Pumpkins
source: Curbly | DIY Design Community

Neat idea.

Reasonable Prices? [Comic]
source: the How-To Geek

The problem with this cartoon is you can't sell the exact same steak over and over and over and over again. Pretty much you sell the steak once, the person eats it, and you can't sell it again. Software on the other hand... well how long have they been selling Tetris at this point? And when was it written?

Ghirardelli Chocolate Gaming Dice
source: Likecool


Gangnam Busters
source: Neatorama

Who ya gonna Oompa?

AT&T training document suggests ISPs are gearing up to beat piracy with internet restrictions
source: Engadget

Eventually they'll figure out how to turn this big open internet back into AOL. Just let them keep working on it.

Target Exclusive Avengers Boxed Set
source: Action Figure Insider - Best Toy News on the Web!

I saw one of these packs in the store a couple weeks back. If I collected this scale, it'd sure be nifty. But I'm sticking with the 6" figures.

I want to hear your

Mon 10/22/12 11:24am # | tweet this


Second attempt today using hamdogger press, was much more successful than this weekend's try.

Kept its shape, and kept it in one piece.

It's a hamburger in a hot dog bun, and it's what's for lunch today.

Kitchen Art Ham Dogger on Amazon

I want to hear your

Sun 10/21/12 8:22pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Music Video (Size Matters)
source: YouTube


Dredd fan film Judge Minty to premiere at Leeds Film Festival
source: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

I'm more interested in seeing this fan film, than the feature film that was just out.

Brent Spiner imitates Patrick Stewart... again. - YouTube

This is fantastic. Brent Spinner doing a Patrick Stewart impersonation.

Remembering the Tomy Mighty Men and Monster Maker kits
source: Boing Boing

I remember having this.

Txtr Beagle aims to corner low-end e-reader market for $13 (video)
source: Engadget

If they can really get these out for under $20, they'll be revolutionary.

Apple TV and AirPlay Fuel Rise of Dual-Screen Apps
source: Mashable!

I'm actually pretty surprised at how few people really do use more than one screen at a time. While people may be using their tablets and phones while watching tv, I wouldn't really say it's a dual screen use, it's most likely that their just not paying much attention to the TV, or the TV is primarily being watched by someone else in the room.

Monitors are cheap now, and still alot of people just have either a laptop or a one monitor set-up. I'm not sure most people are really looking for, or built for the sort of multi-tasking that multiple screens afford a user.

What if money was no object? - YouTube

Nice Alan Watts video. It's pretty idealistic. For most people it's near impossible to reduce their possessions to a point where money is not something worth some concern.

It's probably easier now than it's ever been before, to live minimally. And if you enjoy internal pursuits that require little in the way of material goods then something like a decent laptop can be a huge gateway to education, money and entertainment. But food still costs, shelter still costs, and in most of the US, transportation is a considerable cost; as well as health care in the US is a major cost or gamble if you go without.

Generally speaking then you can work part-time for minimum wage, or at a job with a 40+ hour requirement if you want a "living" wage. There are freelance opportunities, but long term you'd likely need to have a spouse or a partner also earning with you to even out the feast or famine of a freelancer's life.

Again, interesting video, but what it espouses is not easy, not at all.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/21/12 4:21pm # | tweet this

We've got real mail!

Jenn has been working on and off on an Aurdino mail notifier for some time now. The Aurdino, the simple programmable computer part, has worked for some time.

One of the longer hold-ups was have a way for the Aurdino to connect to the internet. Enter the little blue box above which is a tiny wireless router.

Jenn worked on the wireless router here and there, on and off for several weeks and finally got that working a couple weeks ago.

This weekend we finally ran a wire and switch from the Aurdino which is in the living room, out to the mailbox by the front door.

Now when you open the mailbox
  • a tiny switch signals the Aurdino
  • which turns on a green LED
  • makes a web page request via the wireless router bridge.
  • The php webpage, it requests, when served, changes a mail delivered time stamp on a web page on my site that we can check
  • That webpage also sends both Jenn and I an email: "You've got real mail!"
  • Jenn also has the Aurdino making a second request to Prowl an iOS app which sends a push notification to her iOS devices.

So hooray it's finally fully functional. It's a really neat thing that Jennifer has put together and I look forward to getting an email every M-Sa (with the exception of postal holidays) now around midday telling me. "You've got real mail".

PS. Now we just have to make a nice enclosure for the whole thing.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/21/12 12:44pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

LEGO The Lord of the Rings" Video Game Trailer #2
source: Action Figure Insider - Best Toy News on the Web!

More entertaining than the movie.

Amnesty for latecomers
source: Seth\'s Blog

Once someone makes a decision about your cause or your product or your resume, it's almost impossible for you to persuade them that they were wrong. You're no longer asking them to remake the first decision, you're asking them to admit an error, which is a whole other thing.

Greg Capullo offers peek at Batman Family from Batman #15
source: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

That's alot of sidekicks.

Chirp sends information from one smartphone to another, using electronic birdsong
source: Boing Boing

Interesting and potentially useful in a very limited case where you needed to share a picture and there was no wi-fi or 3G, I suppose. The only other use case I could see would be a presentation whereby you chirped a link from a stage and the audience could receive a link or something. TV seems useful to for a second screen experience.

13 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using
source: Neatorama

I'd actually like if the snark mark took off.

Kerry Callen finally takes a crack at Kirby
source: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

Cool. Classic Kirby FF cover given the Animated Gif treatment.

Toyota's mini concept car creates buzz with techie features
source: DVICE

I would really like a tiny car like this, although the gull wing doors on this one are very impractical.

Hex Colors: The Code Side Of Color
source: Smashing Magazine Feed

Great stuff on Hex colors work.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/21/12 10:04am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

He-Bro, Sintaur, and other custom Masters of the Universe figures
source: Super Punch

Some really fantastic looking custom figures.

INFOGRAPHIC: Rise of Coding : Why We Should All Learn A Little Code
source: MakeUseOf.com

I'm not sure most people really need to learn to code. What we really should be teaching is algorithmic thinking.

Recycled Tire Coffee Table
source: Neatorama

Would be a very cool coffee table for a very masculine den.

Facebook to Marketers: Clicks Don't Matter, But Reach and Frequency Do
source: Mashable!

They're not wrong, but good luck to them convincing anyone of that. For most people "direct measurable action" is the most important advertising metric. It's really hard to get most people to believe in the touchier/feelier less measurable goodwill, branding and awareness aspects of advertising. Action reigns.

Jam Session - Neatorama

Batman and Spock playing drums.

Combination Dry-Erase Board and Clock
source: Neatorama

Cool idea.

I want to hear your

Sat 10/20/12 10:25pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

The Lion City
source: Likecool

Very cool. Time-lapsed, tilt-shifted series of scenes in Singapore.

Crossing the 180, obeying screen direction.
source: Giancarlo Volpe

Neat for comic folk or storyboard artists.

Dropbox teams up with Facebook to let folks share stuff within Groups
source: Engadget

Just tried this out. It's very interesting. Yet it feels weird to me to use Facebook+Dropbox to share files with people. Almost like too many corps are involved and watching. Probably would be great for very public groups though.

Second sleep: a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night
source: Boing Boing

I think if I didn't have to work, I would try this.

Trailer Park
source: Neatorama


Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

I've watched the Alec Baldwin and Ricky Gervaise ones so far.

Build an iPhone 5 dock for $1 - YouTube

Neat video. Like wooodworking jazz.

World's Smallest House? 1 Sq M of Mobile Living Space
source: WebUrbanist

I do want to build one of these for the backyard.

Sync contacts with your iOS device - Gmail Help

Here’s how to sync your contacts to your device:

  1. Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account...
  4. Select Other
  5. Select Add CardDAV Account
  6. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
  7. Server: Enter "google.com"
  8. User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
  9. Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled 2 Step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application specific password.)
  10. Description: Enter a description of the account (e.g. Personal Contacts).
  11. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  12. Make sure that the "Contacts" option is turned to ON.

Learn HTML5, CSS3, Javascript - video style tutorials
source: TheCodePlayer

Interesting... watch people code.


I want to hear your

Sat 10/20/12 6:38pm # | tweet this

Metal Men

The big guy, Lead, is new. The Metal Men are one of my favorite DC Classics teams so far. Great figures that work well in the DC Classics style too.

Metal Men

Metal Men

Can't wait to complete the team with Platinum and Tin (and dare we hope a Wil Magnus one day.)

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Sat 10/20/12 12:56pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Jeff Goldblum Stars in PayPal's First National Ad Campaign

Seriously, this is just a creepy campaign.

Don't Rake those Leaves. Mulch them into Your Lawn - Scotts Miracle-Gro

It's great to have big shade trees in your yard. But, come fall, you can start to resent them. Those big trees drop leaves, and that means extra work, hassle, and lost time. However, there's good news. A recent study done at Michigan State University shows that you can forget about raking, blowing, and bagging leaves. Instead, just mulch them with your lawn mower and feed your lawn with Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard®. It'll save you work, improve your soil, and add nutrients. Here's how to do it.

The FTC's holding an anti-telemarketing contest
source: DVICE

This is a fascinating story, only in that, in 2012-- who cares? Landlines are unnecessary, and telemarketing to a cell phone is already out of bounds. So what really is the problem?

It's Not All Doom And Gloom On The Web // Opinion Column
source: Smashing Magazine Feed

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

I want to hear your

Tue 10/16/12 8:45pm # | tweet this


I ordered this neat container of Instamorph plastic pellets on Amazon and they arrived today.

  • You take the pellets and put some in a container.

  • Then boil or even microwave some water until it's good and hot.

  • Poor the water over the pellets.

  • Let the pellets suck up all that heat for a couple minutes.

  • Then scoop the pellets out with a spoon.

  • You can now mold the pellets into a transparent silly putty-like blob of plastic.

  • While the plastic blob is cooling you can sculpt it into whatever shape you want.

  • The plastic will dry fairly quickly and turn from clear back to white. When dry, it has the consistency/feel of milk jug plastic for the most part.

  • You can then sand or drill hole in it etc, just like any other plastic.

Anyway, it's hard to see but in the picture above i have a binder clip on the edge of my table that keeps my tablet cord from falling to the floor. Thing is, sometime the cord would turn sideways and fall through anyway, so I molded a little doughnut onto the cord so it can't slip through any more.

Neat material.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/14/12 4:53pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Mark Zuckerberg: I Wear the Same Thing Every Day
source: Mashable!

I would totally do this if I didn't work. I already tend to buy multiple of any given t-shirt and wear them everyday when I get home. I have 3 identical red t-shirts and 3 identical gray t-shirts that I tend to wear every evening and weekend.

Revolution gets a full season pickup! [Revolution]
source: io9

We've been watching this show. It's not great, but so far, not the worse thing I've seen. Honestly it's pretty similar to Terra Nova just with no tech and no dinosaurs.

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government | Video on TED.com

I still haven't fully wrapped my head around *what* Git and Github are. I sortof understand it, but even when I watch talks like this, I realize I do not yet really grok it. There's a framing in my head that is preventing me from groking Git.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/14/12 12:20pm # | tweet this

Paperbak Writer

I just downloaded this program called: Paperbak it's a wordplay on Paper and Backup. It's very neat.

I recorded a quick audio file of me saying: "Hello World". Dragged the file to the app, which encoded it and printed in on a sheet of paper from my laser printer. Bunches and bunches of really tiny QR code looking blocks.

I then took the sheet of paper and scanned it back into the app using my scanner and the app reconstructed the audiofile, and saved it to the harddrive from the data decrypted from the printed page.

Now, it did take a couple scans, notably I had to disable some of my scanner's "helpful" autocorrect/autocontrast/etc. scanning features. But it did work.

I printed an audiofile to paper, scanned it back in and played the "Hello World" audio.

And that's pretty cool.


I want to hear your

Sat 10/13/12 7:18pm # | tweet this

Welcome to the New Target, same as the Old Target.

I checked out the new Rivertown Target today. It's pretty much a copy of the Alpine Target.

You know what's boring about a brand new store? A brand new store has no clearance endcaps.

Anyway, Rivertown Meijer is my prefered Meijer to shop, so it is convienent to have a Target near that one for those times where you want to browse more than one store. I still spend the majority of my dollars at Meijer a couple times a week though.

Viva the extra traffic down by Rivertown, it seems we moved further east just in time.

I want to hear your

Sat 10/13/12 9:56am # | tweet this

In the mood for some Songza

Lately my goto music streaming service has been Songza. Honestly, I'm not a big music person. I don't follow specific genres or artists. Most of the time, I just want some appropriate background music for whatever I'm doing.

Songza's home screen greets you with the time of day and makes some suggestions of activities you may want music for. After you pick one, you answer 2 more questions/clicks to refine your pick a bit and just like that, you have some perfectly good music perfect for whatever you are doing, streaming into your ears. They have apps for your mobile devices too. Songza it's it good thing.


I want to hear your

Fri 10/12/12 9:53pm # | tweet this

Twitter clips their RSS wings

For years Twitter has had a simple RSS feed that you could access people's tweets from. There were some Twitter feeds I subscribed to in my Google Reader using that method, but more useful, I used some javascript to pull an RSS feed of my own tweets and intermingle them with my blog posts on this very site. I was quite proud of that integration when I wrote it so many years ago.

Well it appears that Twitter has dropped support for standard RSS feeds. And the feed for my account appears to have stopped working late Wednesday night. Some more detail can be found on this site.

There seems to be a JSON feed that you can use, but I don't think I'll bother. If Twitter has it's heart set on walling up it's garden, well I'm slowly losing my heart for using Twitter. Blog of course will continue to be here, and Twitter which I'm still using will be on Twitter. And it appears that the two shall not integrate here again (or not at least anytime soon.)


I want to hear your

Fri 10/12/12 9:18pm # | tweet this

Gaming on a Quarter

A few weeks ago I saw this cheap $20, 240+ video game system for sale, online and bought it.

It arrived in the mail today.

The thing came in a ridiculous cheap looking box, with the sort of graphic design usually reserved for imported fireworks. No instructions or anything. Two Nintendo GameCube style controllers (that are about 75% of the size of the real thing) and a power brick.

Plugged it in and heard a little bit of music and then it went to static. Ended up unscrewing the the thing and took it apart. Anyway, we messed with it for awhile, poking this and prodding that, tried a different power brick. Long story short, got it working.

The system did live up to it's description. It has 240+ Nintendo level quality games, some in english, some in chinese, all delightfully late 80s, early to mid 90s.

Jenn and I played Contra, Tetris, Sno-brothers, some random side scrollers, a little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Galga, Lode Runner and more.

I've bought some of these all in-ones in the past and they were usually one player only and as responsive as crap, but this system is two player and the controls were actually responsive and fun.

What I'm more impressed with though is when you take it apart the whole system is abit larger than a quarter. This thing has 240+ games of my childhood, and the whole system is on a single chip the size of a freaking quarter with two other little boards for the controller input and rca and power jacks. That's it, there's nothing to it. A motherboard the size of a quarter. Insane.

I don't know when I'll plug it in again, but the 2 hours I messed with it today was probably worth it already. It's amazing how small and cheap they can make this stuff now.

I want to hear your

Thu 10/11/12 8:29pm # | tweet this

Last Resort

We watched the first two episodes of Last Resort a couple days ago. Haven't seen tonight's episode yet.

Really digging the show though. It's suprisingly good for a network show so far.

The whole sub crew and island setting almost gives it a Star Trek crossed with Alias crossed with 24 sort of vibe.

In anycase great start to the series. Catch it fom episode 1 if you can, cause it's one big continuing story and not an episodic thing you should just drop into the middle of.

ABC | Last Resort

I want to hear your

Thu 10/11/12 8:19pm # | tweet this


I watched CW's DC Comics Green Arrow TV show Arrow last night. It was the premiere episode. It wasn't awful. Pretty much on par with Smallville, not quite as melodramatic yet as that show anyway.

Hmm... maybe I want to rethink that, it's kindof hard to say a show is like Smallville and also say it's not awful I suppose.

Anyway... it's DC Comicy enough and there's enough name drops and easter eggs for DC Comics fans that I'm likely to keep collecting it only DVR and at least fast forward through them all.

If you want a TV budget/subnetwork quality Batman Begins type show and you don't want to think too hard. Check out Arrow.

Full pilot episode is watchable online at time of this posting.

I want to hear your

Thu 10/11/12 7:55pm # | tweet this

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a small $35 computer without a case that's about the size of a deck of playing cards. It uses an SD card as a harddrive. It has ethernet for networking, and it has HDMI out to use your TV as a monitor.

Jennifer has a detailed write up about it on her blog. The first thing she has placed on it is a copy of Xbox Media Center (which despite the name has little to do with an Xbox) which is sortof like turning the thing into an AppleTV or a Roku. The version of XBMC that is available for this device is actually pretty sweet. Not as elegant as Apple TV, but in alot of ways, better than Roku.

Anyway it's amazing the computing power you can get for $35.

The copy of XBMC that's running on this device also is mostly compatible with Airplay (mostly). I was able to airplay Youtube Videos, music and photos from my iPad gallery to the TV similar to AppleTV. Haven't been able to fully mirror the device though, but still, just those 3 things were well worth the small purchase of this hobbiest gadget.

Honestly we have enough computing gadgets in this house that it's a little silly, not sure if the Raspberry Pi will find it's own niche in our household after we get done tinkering with it, but hey for $35 if we get a few evenings entertainment messing around with it, which is very likely, it'll all be good.

Jennifer's write up of the device with more pictures.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/07/12 11:47am # | tweet this

Visit with Jennifer's parents

We had a nice visit with Jennifer's parent's yesterday. It was also Jenn's Dad's birthday. We had lunch at Maggiano's in Troy, which was the same resturant we had our wedding reception at 16 months ago.

Good food and good conversation.

I want to hear your

Sun 10/07/12 11:42am # | tweet this

Quiet Week on the Blog

I haven't blogged much this week or two but I do have a backlog of starred items in my Google Reader that I'll get around to eventually.

7" tablet

I've still been playing around with the 7" Android tablet. For the most part, I continue to use my iPad 2 as my primary device at home, the larger retina screen is more spacious and the overall device is just snappier, but the 7" Android tablet is a great mobile device, especially when coupled with the hotspot of my phone.

Usecases I've been toying around with--

7" tablet in resturaunts with others. Device really is still to big and largely it's use pulls you away from your company and conversation. People complain about other's phone use in resturaunts and the 7" tablet is worse socially than the phone in that case.

7" tablet over other others homes. Actually not as bad as the iPad. Device is small enough that it's not a barrier between you and the rest of the room. Interuption of the social space is similiar to a phone, but it doesn't have the effect of "opening up a wall of newspaper" (to reach back to an old media reference) that a 10" often tablet does.

7" tablet on the go. I have a leather-like-book-jacket-style case for my device and it's no more conspicutous or awkward to carry than a small journal.

7" tablet in car (coupled with a hotspot). Good size when riding as a passenger.


I haven't watched this past Saturday's cartoons (Green Lantern/Young Justice/TMNT) but I plan too tonight or tomorrow.

I haven't watched the Stewart or O'Reily Rumble yet either, but that's on the to watch list.

Jenn and I caught 666 Park Avenue last week. I doubt that show will be on too long. It could be interesting, but even before you get to the premise or plot issues, it fails from: "too pretty cast syndrome". Anytime the majority of a show's cast are "too pretty" you can tell that the studio has had too much involvement and you're in for a show that even if it starts out ok, will down fast.

We've also seen a few episodes of Revelution now. I put Revolution into the same general category as Terra Nova. The show appeals to me, but I wouldn't exactly call it good. (I really hate the main girl character at this point. I like Mile's take on Solo and the former google guy characters though.) This is another show that I fear will slowly get too pretty over time and completely colapse on itself.

I've got a couple episodes of Last Resort on the DVR, so we plan to check that out later.

No more Doctor Who until Christmas, but Walking Dead should be back soon I think.

Fall and cooler temperatures

It turned to fall this past week didn't it? Definite chill in the air today. May need to check on my hot chocolate supplies soon.

Been digging my Nest Thermostat since we switched over to heating from cooling too. Neat to be able to glance back over the week and see the exact running times of the furnace.

The Nest also updated itself to the newest 3.0 software, completely invisibly to me. I read about the update on the web and then logged into my Nest to check the version of the software it was running and lo and behold it had already done its thing.

There was also an update to the Nest Android software last week that made it compatible with my Tablet too, so that was cool.

Took a leaf blower that I got from my Dad last weekend for a spin on the back deck this morning. Pretty cool. Leaves were blown. Leaf blowers are sort of the Jedi of lawn tools.

That's all for now.

I want to hear your

Wed 10/03/12 7:38pm # | tweet this


This past Sunday, Jenn and I saw Looper. Interesting movie. One of the smarter sci-fi movies I've seen in awhile, even if I had some problems with their take on time travel and what happens when you change the future. (It's not much of a spoiler to say they're more or less playing by Back to the Future time travel rules)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job and does a believable younger Bruce Willis. And Jeff Bridges is delightful in his role (and a pleasant surprise, since I didn't know he was going to be in the movie when I went to the theater.)

While, I'd recommend sci-fi fans catch this movie, don't worry, it's ok if you wait for DVD. This is more "high concept" sci-fi than "high spectacle" and shouldn't lose much impact when watched on a 32" home TV.

I want to hear your

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