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Wed 11/28/12 3:44pm # | tweet this

I was reading this article on Subcompact Publishing which is really good, but within it was a quote from a book that I thought was really great:
The basic idea is that people don’t go around looking for products to buy. Instead, they take life as it comes and when they encounter a problem, they look for a solution -- and at that point, they’ll hire a product or a service.

Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
I'll probably have to look into the above book as well, but that's a really good piece of thought to think on.

I want to hear your

Wed 11/28/12 3:12pm # | tweet this

Comfort's Birthday and Rainbow in the Dark #8

Today is my good friend Comfort Love's birthday! Yes her name really is Comfort Love, and no Google doesn't believe it either and won't let her register a Google+ account under her real name. But in anycase... It's also the release date for the 8th issue of her and her husband Adam Wither's modern bohemian fantasy fairy tale: Rainbow in the Dark.

If you haven't read their Superhero book: The Uniques or Rainbow in the Dark yet, get thee to those links and read the first issues for free and then read each oversized single issue thereafter for only 99 cents each.

This is Harvey Award and Shel Dorf Award Nomineed comic book character driven action like you won't see from the big two, Marvel and DC.

So get reading, and if you're so inclined, wish Comfort a Happy Birthday over on Twitter.



I want to hear your

Sun 11/25/12 8:01pm # | tweet this

I don't always wear scarves...

...but when I do, I make sure they're genuine Jennifer knitted originals. Stay toasty my friends.


Tonight, Jennifer finished the scarf she started for me back in the beginning of the year. It's very cool, er, very warm, in anycase, it's great. Bring on winter!

I want to hear your

Sun 11/25/12 7:45pm # | tweet this

Kindle Weather Display

Jennifer has a very cool, and very detailed post on her blog about the hacked Kindle Weather Display project she's been working on. I posted a little bit about this on Friday as well.

In anycase, it's really cool, and the eink display of the Kindle is really perfect for something like this. There's alot of tinkering that went into turning the Kindle into this weather station. Read Jennifer's blog post if you want all the geeky DIY details and links.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/25/12 7:35pm # | tweet this

Simple TV Stand

I got a chance to fire up the space heater and do a little work in the garage today building a TV stand for what I'm now calling the hobby TV.

This is the TV I've been tinkering with and writing various posts about this week in lieu of messing around with our main tv. (scroll down further on this page for some of this month's earlier posts).

Anyway, I needed a thin tv stand with a bit of height, that could be rolled around on casters that so that I could use this tv either in the front livingroom, bedroom, dining room or likely next summer, out on the deck.

Inspired by some standing desks I saw on Pinterest, I decided to do a simple stand out of 2 boards, 4 lengths of black pipe, and some flanges. Mostly I just cut the board, mapped out my drill holes, and assembled with bolts and wingnuts. For now, I'm probably using a little more wingnuts than I'm likely to in the final where I'll probably switch to regular nuts, but the wingnuts make it easy to take back apart when I do the stain.

It's fairly sturdy, the pipe gives it enough weight that it doesn't want to tip over. For the several places I'm using it, I'll be placing it up against a wall anyway, so it was the slenderness of being able to move this around that was more key than maximum stability. That said, when you do push against it, it's more likely to push away from you because of the wheels than want to push over.

There are probably more elegant solutions I could have done, and the industrial look isn't necessarily for everyone, but I think in a day or two when I stain the wood, it should finish off nicely.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/25/12 12:24pm # | tweet this

Sometimes personalization doesn't feel very personal.

I'm going to pick on Amazon, but they're not the only retailers doing this. I've started seeing retargeted ads for alot of retailers now.

For the average web surfer this might not be a big deal either as banner ads mostly get ignored in their periphreal vison. I however am a heavy user of Google Reader, and ads in Google Reader are very noticible and also highly targeted.

In any case, here's the point of my rant where personalized retargeted ads fail.

Two weeks ago, I did some online research into some gaming chairs for the the TV room. I ended up buying some locally in a big box retailer. For the last two weeks, I continue to see banner ads for gaming chairs. It's annoying, I'm no longer in the market for these items and likely won't be again for years. Yet wave after wave, ad after ad pitches gaming chairs at me.

One week ago, I did some online research into Crockpots and once again I ended up going out to a local big box retailer to buy one in town. Yet for the last week it's nothing but a mix of Gaming Chair and Crockpot emails and banner ads coming across my screen.

Retailers, some of these searches have a limited window of opportunity. Also many purchases are utilitatian and represent a need that once fulfilled will no longer be a need again for many years. The retail ecommerce space needs to find a way to weight these products as things that represent an area of interest and things that represent a "one-time" need, otherwise, they're just wasting their ad dollars and my patience.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/25/12 12:41am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

How Walmart uses medicaid and foodstamps to avoid paying its workers a living wage
source: Boing Boing

Well... you can complain about Walmart, or um, you could just lobby your congresspeople to raise the minimum wage and get single payer health care passed.

The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index

Neat interactive map where you can see various country rankings.

Zoomorphic Buildings
source: Neatorama

Seems like a house suburban, chibi Thundercats would live in.

T-Shirts & Apparel : Officially Licensed Star Trek Boxer Briefs
source: ThinkGeek

May not be a good idea for away missions.

Get the right screen resolution with Window Size
source: BetaNews.Com

Very nice little 20K freeware program that allows you to precisely resize your Windows windows.

The decline of fascination and the rise in ennui
source: Seth\'s Blog

Every now and then Godin actually does a post that seems actually well thought out and not just posted for the day for the sake of posting something for the day:

A generation ago, a clever idea could run and run. We talked about Space Food Sticks and Tang and Gilligan's Island and the Batmobile for years, even though there certainly wasn't a lot of depth. Hit movies and books stayed on the bestseller lists for months or even years (!)

Today, an internet video or an investment philosophy or a political moment might last for weeks or even a few days. It's not unusual for a movie or a book or even a TV series to come and go before most people notice it. Neophilia has fundamentally changed the culture.

The result is that there's an increasing desire, almost a panic, for something new. Yesterday was a million years ago, and tomorrow is already here. The rush for new continues to increase, and it is now surpassing our ability to satisfy it.

When that need can't be filled (which is not surprising, if you think about it) then we're inclined to declare that it's the end, the end of new ideas, the end of progress, the end of everything that's interesting. Spend a week or two watching TED videos and once you catch up, you might find yourself saying, "sure, but what's new now?"

If you're in the business of making a new thing, this churn may be an opportunity, because it's easier now than ever to send a hit up the pop charts, whatever sort of pop you make. But it comes at a price, which is that it won't last, and you'll quickly have to go back and make another one.

The real opportunity, I think, is in trying to build longer arcs. Now that the cycle of new is eating itself in a race to ever-faster, there's a bigger chance to make long term change by consistently focusing on what works (and what's important), not what's new and merely shiny.

What's important, what's always important, is useful change.

S.F. supervisors back micro-apartments - SFGate

Interesting small space usage.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Baby is the Ghostbusters' most adorable foe
source: io9

What a great action figure shot.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/24/12 10:48pm # | tweet this

Shopping and decking the halls

Spent most of the day today shopping, searching and decking the halls.

Early in the morning we went out and hit some stores and picked up some lights for our Christmas tree. I also picked up all the materials and hardware I should need to build this rolling cart for the hobby tv I picked up.

After an afternoon nap, I went back out solo to hit a few more stores and crossed a little more errand shopping off the list. When I came home Jenn and I pulled out decorations from the tree and such, but one box was missing. We probably spent two hours searching over every inch of the house, garage, every drawer and closet, to no avail.

Giving up the search for the missing xmas box, we commenced with decorating the tree, we got about 2/3rds down the tree though and needed more lights. So we headed back out to the store to pick up another box. Returning home, we pulled the car into the garage and for whatever reason, Jennifer upon getting out of the car looked inside a large summer cooler chest and therein inside for some mysterious reason was the missing xmas box we had spent so much time earlier looking for.

Extra strand of lights in hand, we finished decorating the tree and then put the living room back together.

Unlike yesterday's leisurely day, today seemed to go by way too fast. But, the tree looks nice, now let's just hope the cat doesn't try to climb it.

I want to hear your

Fri 11/23/12 9:10pm # | tweet this

Quiet relaxing day off

Had a nice quiet day off today.

Didn't do a whole lot, but nice day all the same.

We avoided the the Black Friday shopping madness, and avoided venturing out in the first fairly light but still slightly accumulative snowfall of the season and hung out at home.

I had a couple more slices of pecan pie that Jennifer made made from my grandmother's recipe Wednesday for Thanksgiving.

We hung out in the computer room a good portion of the day. Jennifer made a lot of progress with the Raspberry Pi as a web server for the hacked Kindle weather station she's been working on, and I got a chance to play with it as well, tinkering with python for the first time and using it to custom write modify some svgs. I can really see python's appeal now, nice easy to use language and I'm sort of itching to work more with programmatically building svgs. Basics of python were really familiar to other languages I've done much more in but for many purposes it seemed a very clean language.

We also put up/put together the full size tree we picked up last weekend. It's ornament less for now as we gage the cat's enthusiasm and the tree's safety level from him potentially for messing with it. So far, so good as the cat mostly is content to lay under it. And most of the day he was more interested in the box it came in.

I did some link blogging and rss feeder clearing earlier in the am/afternoon.

Later, I played around with some Instamorph and made a little plastic insert for the mail notifier's led. It was a delightful surprise that the Instamorph diffused and amplified the led into a much larger area. Jennifer soldered some longer leads onto the LED and now you can easily open and close the lid to hit the device's reset button. All that's really left on the mail notifier now is to make a final design on how We want to decorate or decoupage the box casing itself.

And while I mentioned earlier, that we didn't go out shopping, I did manage to snag a couple interesting purchases online, nothing too exciting though, but decent enough deals.

Again, nothing too exciting, but a nice relaxing day off indeed.

I want to hear your

Fri 11/23/12 11:09am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Is Windows 8 already a failure?
source: BetaNews.Com

I don't think Windows 8 is a failure. I think Windows at this point, no matter what veneer you put on it, is just infrastructure. It's like asking if water pipes are a failure just because people aren't going out to buy the latest.

For most people, the Windows they have does what they need it to, so there is little need to run out and get the latest version, no matter how cheap.

source: swissmiss

Really cute.

Urban Shelf
source: Likecool

Neat. Something like this would be cool for 6" action figures too.

DC Comics Issues Statement On Digital Distribution Timing
source: Bleeding Cool

Really interesting that now, you can buy weekly comics online, before in store. Tiny turning point.

Keep Money Out of Politics
source: Obey Giant

Neat production values on this video. But you can't get money out of politics. They talk about Liberty, Freedom, and Opportunity in the video, but money is a proxy for these things. Money is not liberty, freedom or opportunity, but it is a proxy for them and for most people the proxy is good enough. Because of that fact, you can not get money out of politics. And you can't get rid of money either because I'm not buying an iPad by taking a dozen chickens to the store.

Objet's Flexy Materials
source: Fabbaloo Blog

Interesting. 3D printing with a rubbery material. It's possible to CNC or carve plastics or wood today, but 3D printing in this rubbery material seems like a unique differentiation to me.

Timothy Ferriss: Cheat Sheets for Everything
source: Boing Boing

Making effective decisions—and learning effectively—requires massive elimination and the removal of options.

The easiest way to avoid being overwhelmed is to create positive constraints: Put walls that dramatically restrict whatever it is that you’re trying to do.

In the world of work, a task will swell in complexity to fill the time you allot it, a phenomenon often referred to as Parkinson’s Law. How does so much get done just before you leave for holidays? It’s the power of the clear and imminent deadline. Though vastly simplified, in the world of cooking, Le Chatelier’s Principle is invoked to remember that a gas will expand to fill the size of its container.

So…all we have to do is create a tiny container: the wonderful one-pager.

The goal here is to make something intimating unintimidating, so you don’t quit. You have the rest of your life to seek out and master the exceptions, to be comprehensive, if you want.

I use two different types of one-pagers:
1. The first is the Prescriptive One-Pager, which lists principles that help you generate real-world examples. In short: “Here are the rules.”
2. The second is the Practice One-Pager, which lists real-world examples to practice that indirectly teach the principles.

It's Black Friday, Charlie Brown
source: Neatorama


Sony to Most People With DSLRs: You Are a Bunch of Imbeciles
source: Gizmodo

It's an ad, but a humorous an good ad.

1343/365 - Apple Pie In An Apple
source: Jennifer\'s 365 Project

Jenn made these apple pie's in an apple for Thanksgiving.

Del Toro's Production House video
source: Bleeding Cool

Batchrun: A Free Program To Create Batch Files
source: MakeUseOf.com


I want to hear your

Fri 11/23/12 9:23am # | tweet this

Hanging with the Cat watching a locked up iPad

Had to restore my iPad from backup Wednesday night. It was an old back-up. It's the second time I've had to restore my iPad. Seems like I need to restore it about once a year. Thanks to most data being in the "cloud" you really don't lose much, but it's still a little annoying.

As an added bonus thought for awhile last night that I'd have to restore my 7" Android tablet too. Turns out that one popped back to life after a long reset button push. So that worked out better.

I want to hear your

Wed 11/21/12 5:27pm # | tweet this

LCD TV Heroclix Board

More on the a cheap 32" LCD I picked up that I posted about yesterday.

As mentioned I have several projects I've wanted to play around with that I wouldn't want to do with our main tv.

One of those projects is the fabled digital Heroclix board, that I first started musing about a year ago.

This 32" TV has a screen area of 15 1/2 x 27 3/8 which translates to an 11x21 square board. Not a bad tournament board size at all. (about half the size we played on at my place previously, when we used to play). I cut a clear sheet of acetate and put it over the screen, to give the screen abit of protection, hooked it up to a laptop, fired up Photoshop and away you go.

Some things you could do digital...

A scrolling dungeon with multiple zones to clear, you could put start zones on the different areas. once opponents in one area were cleared you could scroll the board to the next zone.

Another idea. When we used to play on a paper board, we had random board events, where we rolled dice and place markers on various squares. With the digital board, you could put obstacles and random board events on various layers (I'm displaying this board in photoshop) and then turn on and off the layer sets based on random rolls. Opening and closing doors, or crevices or volcanic eruptions etc. It could make for a visual and dynamic gamemap.

In theory you could probably also just put ruled squares on the acetate and do a brawl on the google satellite view of your own street.

Anyway, it's nifty, not sure when I'll play, but it's fun to tinker with.

Also another thing I eventually want to do is a more generic, custom board game experiment. Think a crazy Sorry or a more adult Life or Chutes and Ladders. Could be fun, especially since you don't have to worry about printing or storing the boards themselves, and if you put some scrolling mechanics in the game, the actual size of the board becomes pretty infinite. Even larger if you use pieces smaller than the rather chunky Heroclix sized figures.

I want to hear your

Tue 11/20/12 10:40pm # | tweet this

TV/Monitor Play

Got a 32" TV delivered today. I've wanted an extra tv to play with, without messing around with the main one in the tv room.

Jenn's been playing around with the Raspberry Pi's quite abit, so that's one use for it. I've wanted a larger tv that I could use in the upstairs living room on occasion, I've wanted to tinker with one as a larger head for the 7" android tablet, and I've also wanted to experiment with using the TV flat as a horizontal screen for some use cases I've been wanting to experiment with.

In anycase, new toy to drag around from room to room, plus I plan on building a little rolling stand for it. It's amazing how relatively cheap these things have gotten in just a few short years.

This evening also marked my first direct messing around with the Raspberry Pi (other than using the one that Jenn has set-up as an XBMC). It's an interesting device. It's been several years since I've seriously played around with Linux. The Raspberry Pi doesn't exactly run the latest version of Ubuntu either, which is probably just as well since what it does run doesn't look much different than what I was tinkering with back in the day. I had to get my command line fingers dirty adjusting a config file to get the display to work properly, so there was that. Mostly entertaining on that level, but sortof annoying on another.

I fear the Raspberry Pi may be a little underpowered for some of the graphical things I want to do with it, but I'll be tinkering with it more, In the mean time having the extra largish tv for various projects looks to be cool though.

I want to hear your

Tue 11/20/12 12:48pm # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters

  • Yesterday I was sick.

    Barely made it through work, came home and crashed, more or less sleeping for 13 straight hours. I'm not 100% today, but I feel worlds better.

  • I've been looking at Over the Air DVRs lately. Haven't really seen any good solutions yet. It's kindof surprising. It's not hard to record to a harddrive. Cable DVRs have been in homes for years and years. But the space of non-cable owned DVRs are all but empty.

    You'd think with the new clear digital signals, such a device would have an audience, yet there's almost nothing available in the space.

    The things that are available, charge a monthly fee $10 to $15 for use of their cable guides. The area is ripe for innovation. An over the air DVR coupled with a a browser that can play web content would be ideal. It just seems not to be happening. Hopefully Apple does something, if for no other reason than the cheap copycats that it will inspire.

  • Is social media devaluing sharing? Was social media a big hit 5 years back because it gave us the ability to spontaneously share with a large audience at all times. social media filled a sharing void that we didn't know we had. Is it less relevant right now? Now that we don't have a void on how to share and reachout spontaneously to a group, do we not have as large a void in this area that we need to fill?

    My telephone rings about twice a week. One of those rings is a call from my mother, the other ring is likely to either be another older relative or random business call. The telephone was a big deal. Such a big deal that wires were ran all across the country and connected every home. Yet I don't have a landline in my home. There's still a wire that comes down from a pole in the street to my house, but it doesn't do anything. My cellphone does very little too. Voice just isn't as necessary. Email, text, twitter, facebook, these technologies completely displaced the audio functions of my phone. Who has time for realtime verbal communication? And if you do have that kindof time, isn't it easier to email or text someone to meet up in realspace?

    But then again, with everyone following everyone on twitter and facebook, what's left to talk about when you meet up in realspace?

  • I saw a little bit of information about the next generation XBOX. Looks like it will be a very powerful machine. But if it's anything like the current XBOX, I doubt I'll be very interested. Microsoft's walled garden approach with XBOX live doesn't appeal to me. And there seems to be no reason to believe it will get better with their next console iteration. Apple feels more open than Microsoft, when Microsoft is purely left to it's own machinations. And that's saying something.

  • It's been a fairly quite fall on the tech scene overall this year. Small refinements, but nothing really new. the march toward ubiquity in certain tech areas appears to be marching forward, but no real major disruptions this year. Don't get me wrong though, there's lots of cool stuff out there. Very few voids seem unfilled at the moment.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/18/12 8:04pm # | tweet this

Weekend Misc

Here's a cool picture of the cat I snapped today. He has this little carpeted scratching post-ring with a hanging ball/bell in the middle. He had climbed up on top of it and was pawing at the ball underneath. There's a neat play of light that comes through the front door, which is always good for an interesting shot in the afternoon.

Here's a neat picture I shot inside JCPenny Sunday night. Right at the entrance way they had in interesting set of mannequins with outfits that I can only imagine are for discerning Doctor's of the Galifrey variety I think.

Saturday I went to Meijer to pick up some groceries. As you can see below, there was quite a run on Hostess products.

I imagine it's only a matter of time before someone picks up the license for the brand and starts reselling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Cupcakes again though. Those are way too recognizable brand names to leave off the shelves for long.

I did however manage to grab a loaf of Wonder Bread (Italian variety anyway). Wonder Bread is also owned by Hostess and is being discontinued.

Wonder Bread is by no means the best bread out there, but there is something about a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich on Wonder Bread.

I'll probably miss Wonderbread more than Hostess snack cakes in the interim until it too is resurrected.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/17/12 10:43pm # | tweet this


Saw Lincoln tonight. One of the oldest crowds I'd ever been in a movie theater with.

Alot more humor than I would have expected. Dialog was like a hundred and fifty year old period speak Aaron Sorkin wrote it. Smart, snappy and some of the most eloquent put downs and insults ever put on film.

No real surprises in the film. It is historical after all.

Once they do a version to bleep out some specific language, I'm sure this movie will become standard viewing for high school history classes across the country.

In anycase, see it on the big screen. It's a very intelligently written and beautifully filmed motion picture with a fantastic cast.

Great stuff.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/17/12 4:07pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

ABC Cancels Both 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort
source: io9

Bummer for Last Resort, while not a great show, it was decent. We've got several on the DVR that we plan on catching up with.

Tiny Metal Fitness Tracker Is Sleek Enough for Any Occasion
source: Mashable!

Why not wear yet another tracking device? Probably in 10 years, if we don't get single payer, and maybe even if we do, you'll need to wear one of these to get a "wellness discount" off your health insurance.

Dumb Ways to Die
source: Neatorama

Cute cartoon and song.

Apple Patents the Virtual Page Turn
source: Mashable!

At a certain point it's just fnckin ridiculous isn't it?

What happens when a Twitter client hits the token limit
source: Marco.org

I'm really not a fan of twitter. I'd be happy to use something else, like Google+. But the people I interact with, are on twitter. If those people go somewhere else though, I'm pretty much out of there.

Friday Link Pack
source: swissmiss

A trippy little song along the lines of the Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross auto-tuned stuff.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/17/12 11:07am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Hand made FOOT STOOL
source: Instructables: exploring - featured

$12 Desk
source: Instructables: exploring - featured

Kee Klamp Shelving
source: Instructables: exploring - featured

Cool. Simple shelf design.

A Truly Responsive Image Gallery with jQuery
source: WebAppers

Looks interesting.

Art roundup
source: Super Punch

Really cool Skyfall Anime drawing.

Not Impressed
source: Flickr

Everytime he vetos a bill from congress, they should staple this picture to the top.

30 Small Bedrooms Ideas To Make Your Home Look Bigger
source: Furniture, Gadgets, Inspiration and More for a Better House

Neat little desk area.

Small-Scale Student Housing: Sweden's 130-Square-Foot Cozy Cottage The Local
source: Apartment Therapy - Chicago

I really like the idea of these small homes. There's really no reason in a country our size that we should have anyone without a home when you can build something small and fully functional like this.

Pub Quiz!
source: Raspberry Pi

November Is Here...Yay?
source: Neatorama


The trailer for Iron Man 3, sweded
source: Boing Boing


source: One Thing Well

This is really fricken cool looking.


Watch the above video. Jump to the 1:50 minute mark. Cool "Choose your own adventure" roleplaying type story editor. Creates HTML files that you can do on any webbrowser. Really neat.


It'd be really cool to try creating business workflow documents in this choose your own adventure style too.

Netflix original series House of Cards gets its first trailer (video)
source: Engadget

Kevin Spacey. Political Thriller. This looks good.

Will Lytro Ever Go Mainstream?
source: Mashable!

I doubt it. Neat though. But the special viewer required is just too, too.

Why doesn't MTV play music videos anymore?
source: Boing Boing

The definitive video about MTV no longer playing Music Videos. Honest and hilarious.

DC and Marvels new digital releases available ahead of print editions [Updated]
source: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

They're still too niche. Too expensive. And they haven't found a way to generate weekly buzz in the mainstream like movies and hit tv shows do. They need a netflix style $8 a month subscription format, and they need radio and tv entertainment shows with a weekly regular upcoming comic section. They also need to promote more than just superheros. Superheros no matter how well written aren't for everyone. It'd be like only having Cop dramas on TV. You need Lawyer dramas, hospital dramas, family dramas, reality shows and more. If all they promote is Superheros, they're going to stay niche. And if they charge anything more than a minimum amount of money a month, they're going to stay niche.

Too much free and near free video entertainment to compete with now to do otherwise.

Mario's dilemma
source: Likecool

Nice. You never hear much about Pauline.

I want to hear your

Tue 11/13/12 7:13pm # | tweet this

Grand Coney

Went to Grand Coney in Grand Rapids on Michigan today for lunch.

It's the first time in 18 years in Grand Rapids that I've been able to order "Two Loose" and actually have the waitress know what I was talking about and bring it to the table.

They were great.

Very cool.

Grand Coney Grand Rapids

I want to hear your

Mon 11/12/12 9:38pm # | tweet this

36th street was closed off this afternoon. Someone hit a telephone pole which was leaning over the road. Pics were snapped with my Looxie as I drove by. Tried to look up the story on mlive and WoodTV 8 but didn't find anything on it, so no idea if anyone was seriously injured.

Firetrucks were already leaving as I drove by, so I imagine they were just keeping the road closed off until they got a look at the stability of the telephone pole and moved the car onto the tow truck.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/11/12 8:18pm # | tweet this

Innovation is a Fight
source: Rands In Repose

With Forstall's departure, I believe his former lieutenants have been distributed to Bob Mansfield, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi. While there is no doubt in my mind that these are talented and qualified leaders, are they disruptive? Are they incentivized as such? Because from where I'm standing, the guy in charge is possibly the most talented operational leader on the planet. And an operational leader's job is ferret out and exterminate all things that make their world less predictable and measured.

I want to hear your

Sun 11/11/12 7:42pm # | tweet this

Warm evening

Warm day today... sort of feel bad that I spent so much of it in a theater earlier.

The first week after the time change, you forget how fast it gets dark now.

At dusk Jennifer grilled us up some steaks and while they cooked we watched the light fade from the sky. It was warm enough to just be out in a T-Shirt, but the wind has been kicking up something fierce since the sun set.

If the forecast goes as predicted, we probably ended the last nice warm day for several months.


I want to hear your

Sun 11/11/12 2:39pm # | tweet this

Skyfall review

I saw the latest James Bond movie Skyfall today. I have a rambling SPOILER-FILLED review here. Short story I liked it. There were a few things that didn't work, but most of it did, and it's very well-done classic Bond.

So if you want lots of spoiler filled ramblings that will totally ruin the movie for you if you haven't seen it, click above. But I do recommend seeing the movie first and then come back and read my above incoherent thoughts, because it's a good Bond film.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 9:25pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Self-Balancing Unicycle V3 gives you all the fun of a Segway on one wheel
source: The Red Ferret Journal

If I lived closer to work, I think this would be a very fun thing to have.

Sharp Suits

If you like "Can you make the logo bigger", you'll love these. A coworker sent me this.

source: Likecool

Nice design.

James Bond Theme Vocal Cover (Nick McKaig & Trudbol)
source: YouTube

Acapella James Bond Theme.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 7:07pm # | tweet this

Blip and Gleek

Gleek I've had for awhile, but Space Ghost's monkey Blip is recent. Blip came with the JazWare's Space Ghost figure.

Unlike the fairly well articulated, for a pack-in figure, Gleek, Blip has 0 points of articulation. But hey, a 6" scale Blip doesn't come along and I was pretty geeked to pick him up.

I'd already had a previous and slightly superior 6" Space Ghost figure from several years back, so the JazWare's one didn't jazz me, although I thought it was a nicer figure that the reviews I'd seen of it. For $11 for the 2, you really can't go wrong if you are a fan of the character though.

Of course, now I really want a Jan and Jace. Probably would be pretty safe to make customs of, sometime down the road.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 5:04pm # | tweet this

Slow evolution of the mail notifier

We've been using the Arduino mail notifier that Jennifer built for several weeks now, and it's been working great. Up until now it's been just sitting out in the open. Last week we picked up a box from Hobby Lobby that could fit the device.

Today I drilled a hole for the cords and put the whole thing in the box. The unit sits atop a speaker stand I made a few years ago. The other 3 stands are in use still in the TV room, but the way the room is, it was easier to put one speaker on a ledge along the wall, so this stand was free to be pressed into mail duty.

Next eventual step will be to design and print a modgepodged covering for the box, as well as a little notification light globe at the top for the "you've got mail" LED.

Slowly but surely.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 3:48pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Google Glass
source: DVICE

You got to give it to this guy for trying on this. And don't get me wrong, I'd very much like to have one of these Google Glass set-ups, but I'm having a hard time picturing these devices being warn by everyone everywhere. Time will tell.

Xbox SmartGlass for iOS Is Now Available
source: Gizmodo

I tried this but since we don't have Microsoft Live, there really wasn't a whole lot you could do with this. Xbox IE doesn't even launch unless you are signed up for Microsoft Live.

Gelatin made with human DNA changes snack foods forever
source: DVICE

Gummie bears are people! Don't you understand? They're made of people!

Party Planning Vent: What's So Hard About RSVPing?
source: Apartment Therapy - Chicago

RSVPing is easy. But people neither need to or like to commit any more. Too much to do, too many options and other people or no people they'd rather spend their time with.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 3:11pm # | tweet this

Pi Cases

The plastic cases that Jennifer ordered for our Raspberry Pi's came today. They came flat packed and we needed to peel offthe sticker paper that protects the plastic. Then we assembled them, they go together with a nice slotted construction.

While they do hold together on their own, there is a little wobble once they are assembled, but nothing a couple rubberbands doesn't solve.

Nifty and now the Raspberry Pi's are much more portable.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 3:02pm # | tweet this

Targeted Christmas

Here's what I don't like about Target's Christmas branding, ads and signing this year: There's nothing Christmas about it.

It's pure shopping. It's pure capitalism. There is almost no nod to any traditional iconography at all. If not for the Christmasy phrases Fa La La and Deck the Halls, you could just as easily mistake this for a tween girl summer campaign.

Terrible, terribly badly done campaign visuals.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 9:20am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Use Your Keyboard To Make Notes: 10 Websites For Quick Note-Taking
source: MakeUseOf.com

Some Neat utility apps.

Doctor Who The Musical!
source: YouTube

Dragon Baby
source: YouTube


Rumour: Disney Discussing Takeover Of Hasbro Next?
source: Bleeding Cool

If they took Transformers and G.I. Joe from Hasbro and added it to Marvel Comics and Star Wars that they now own, Disney would be a pretty incredible boy brand powerhouse.

Autodesk Makes 3D Modeling Simple With 123D Design
source: Mashable!

I haven't tried the web version yet but the iPad version is very interesting. It took me a minute to figure out how the controls worked, but once I dei, it was pretty easy to manipulate basic primitives.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/10/12 8:55am # | tweet this

I wonder if the ratings for NBC's Revolution show about a post-apocalyptic world without power, have been up or down on the East Coast since they've actually been living that?

2012-11-10 05:57:36

I want to hear your

Fri 11/09/12 10:19pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Papercraft Monsters
source: Neatorama

Looks fun.

Gmail Rolls Out New Compose Features
source: the How-To Geek

I don't dislike this change, but I can't say I really like it either. They've certainly made email more like IM though.

Empathy vs Analysis - you can't do both at the same time
source: garry\'s posterous


Blackhawek Secretary Trunk is your office for anywhere
source: The Red Ferret Journal - gadgets, cool sites, freeware and tech trivia


xkcd: Cell Number


I want to hear your

Fri 11/09/12 9:09pm # | tweet this

Out of control berries

The ratio of Capn' Crunch to Crunch Berries seems abnormally high in this box.

Overall Crunch Berry quantity and variety of colors has increased dramatically since I was a child.

I wonder if a study has been done on the internet somewhere on this topic. While I have not googled such, I would be surprised if such a whitepaper did not exist.

I want to hear your

Fri 11/09/12 8:57pm # | tweet this

A blog mostly about nothing

I have a bunch of action figures I've gotten from online stores and ebay in the last couple weeks. Some time in the near future, I'll probably shoot some pictures of them.

We have a couple episodes of Walking Dead on the DVR now. I haven't felt much like watching that lately. It's a really good show but maybe it's the days getting dark so much faster, maybe it's just a case of some doldrums setting in, but that show just isn't upbeat enough for me right now, and not something I want infecting my dreams at the moment.

Very much would be happy if there was some new Doctor Who on instead. But sadly no new Who anytime soon.

Did some subtle little tweaks to this blog over the last couple days. I have the pictures automatically importing into a div with a gradient PNG over the top of them. It was fun to tweak some of my posting code as well.

It's just amazing the computer tech available right now isn't it? What can't you do for free to cheap online now? Collaboration is at an all time easiness too isn't it? I've seen some really neat stuff lately, but there's also so much cool that's becoming so blase, and that's a little bit of a bummer.

Speaking of cool. Jennifer played around with an Aurdiuno and a strip of LED lights this evening and basically made the equivilent of Phillips Ambilight system. She has some code taking the average light value of the video or game she is playing on her computer and making the LED light strip match the color accordingly. Really neat stuff.

Rambling end.

I want to hear your

Thu 11/08/12 9:19pm # | tweet this


So a couple days ago President Barack Obama was reelected to a second term. The house is still controlled by Republicans. And the Senate is still controlled by Democrats.

The Republicans still won't raise taxes on rich people.

We've got this Fiscal Cliff thing that's going to hit in January that should have the two sides bickering from now until then.

Very little changed.

On the upside, Elizabeth Warren is now a Senator. I look forward to her voice having more influence over the next 6 years.

All in all, it's a good thing. And oh yeah, hooray for Nate Silver and math!

I want to hear your

Tue 11/06/12 12:01pm # | tweet this


I voted today before work. New polling place since the move. Convienently still located down at the end of the street though.

Took about 40 minutes. There was a decent line, but not too bad. If they had more than one person checking people in, things probably would have went a tad faster. The two people checking people in couldn't check people in fast enough to keep the available booths full. (ie there were empty booths even though there was a snaking line, because the speed at which people were voting exceeded the speeed at which people were being processed through the line.)

Five Thirty Eight blog has Obama at a 91% chance of winning and a pretty solid electoral lead. It will be interesting to see if the "TV news" calls the race early in a desire to be first or strings along the viewers in a desire to keep people tuned in.

However it goes down, it will be fairly frustrating to immediately start hearing about the 2016 election tomorrow.

I want to hear your

Mon 11/05/12 10:30pm # | tweet this

Asus Windows RT tablet

I briefly played with an Asus Windows RT tablet in an Office Max over the weekend.

Overall impression: interesting device. Very thin, very responsive. Fun to navigate around and I thought the UI was pretty good.

The tile presentation of the home screen seems useful enough and more robust than iPad's homescreen UI. The tiled UI in the Windows App store really sucked though. Not a fun way at first glance to browse a store at all.

If your main interest in a tablet is Microsoft Office, this seems like a great solution. Other than office though, I'm not sure it was very evident what you'd exactly do with this "Windows-like, but not Windows app compatible" device that at the moment you couldn't better do with an iPad.

I'll be much more interested to see what the full Windows 8 devices and not the these current Windows RT devices look like next year. It'll probably also be interesting to see how the developer community embraces these devices over the next 12 to 18 months.

And while I have no compelling reason to even upgrade to Windows 8 on my desktop yet, it's not a bad looking OS, and I look forward to toying around with Windows 8 at home, eventually.

I want to hear your

Mon 11/05/12 10:04pm # | tweet this

Wreck-It Ralph

Jennifer and I saw Disney's Wreck-It Ralph Sunday. Cute movie, very much enjoyed it. It wasn't as layered as typical a Pixar film, and it had some inconsistencies here or there but it was populated with very entertaining characters.

The actors doing the voice acting all very much played to type, and most were instantly recognizeable by their voices.

Wreck-It Ralph is a Donkey Kong/Rampage like villain of his video game: Fix-it Felix (A Mario-style charcter voiced by the Page from 30 Rock.) Ralph isn't really a villian though, it's just his job, he actually wants to be a hero and the first part of the movie centers on him wanting to earn his own game medal.

The second half of the movie is pretty much stolen by Sarah Silverman's impish sprite wannabe Sugar Rush (Think Mario-cart) racer: Vanellepee Schweetz. There's more time in the movie than I expected devoted to the Candyland-like Sugar Rush world.

Overall this is a movie that should appeal to 30 to 40 something parents that can recall real arcades in the 80s as well as most kids. Good family friendly movie. Great animation that looks nice on the big screen. Catch a matinee and go see.

I want to hear your

Mon 11/05/12 8:46pm # | tweet this

Election 2012

Tomorrow is the election. We've gotten alot of political postcards this year. Now a good percentage of them were bulk mail targeted at our house's previous owners. A very large percentage of them lead me to believe that our states children will die after the election. Because of that unlikelihood, I really don't place much stock in any of them.

As you can see the only person who really enjoyed this type of political coverage was our cat.

Instead of the ads, I looked up information on the Proposals on Ballotpedia and found my actual ballot at the State of Michigan Voter Information Center Site

Here are my thoughts on the proposals and positions and candidates:

Proposal 1 - Michigan Emergency Manager Referendum

This is a complicated issue, but it seems to me that State government should not completely take over and displace elected local governments, even if those local governments are incompetent. It seems in this case, giving States more power to eliminate local government is a bad thing to me, even if well meaning. States should govern state things, local should govern local things. If local government is incompetent, elect a new one.

I plan to vote NO on this.

Proposal 2 - Michigan "Protect Our Jobs" Amendment

So this is a right to unionize amendment to the Michigan State Constitution.

I'm generally pro-union. My Dad and most of my uncle's were UAW workers. The union and the automobile industry allowed my family have to have a great middle class life growing up. While there's probably a company size that's likely small enough that a union isn't warranted, for many national and international corporations, unions seem fair to me. There was a nice point-out by Jon Stewart in his Rumble with O'Reilly: Our declaration of independence starts with the line: "We the people in order to form a more perfect union".

A union with leadership elected by it's members can be a very democratic institution. (I realize that some are as large and unweildy as the corporations they try to balance against though.)

While I'm generally opposed to elevating things to a constitutional amendment, this seems like a topic worthy of that elevation.

I will likely vote YES on this.

Proposal 3 - Michigan Renewable Energy Amendment

This amendment to the state constitution would require 25% of the states electricity to come from renewable resources.

I have no idea if that's a good thing or not. It sounds like a good thing, but it's not a "constitutional" thing. It's the sort of mundane law that legislators should vote on, and that should be wrapped into a state constitution.

I plan to vote NO on this on the basis it should not be a constitutional amendment even though it may make a fine law.

Proposal 4 - Michigan Home Health Care Amendment

This is a constitutional amendment that would specifically grant rights to Home Health Care workers to collective bargaining. Why should such a narrowly targeted group have it's own constitutional amendment relating to unionization? And wouldn't Proposal 2 more or less include these people anyway?

I plan to vote NO on this as it doesn't seem like it rises to the level of a constitutional amendment (and it even seems like awkward law.)

Proposal 5 - Michigan Taxation Amendment

This law says that to raise taxes you need a 2/3 majority in the legislature or public vote. Nobody likes taxes to be raised, but requiring 2/3 of the legislature for any tax increase seems unnecessarily difficult. How often can 2/3 of the Legislature agree on anything? Besides, this sort of crappy worded law is just going to force the Legislature to call tax increases that they can't get a 2/3 majority for: "fees" or something and they'll find a way to raise the revenue anyway.

A majority of the legislature should be sufficient to raise taxes. If the people don't like the taxes they can vote for people in the next election to lower them again.

I plan to vote NO on this amendment.

Proposal 6 - Michigan International Bridge Initiative

"Let the people decide". this is the ridiculous constitutional amendment that says people have to vote on any new international bridges. This is bullshit, this isn't a constitutional amendment level issue. it's not like we're building international bridges every year all willy nilly. We elect representatives to decide infrastructure type stuff like this. We don't need a constitutional amendment taking bridge building out of the hands of our legislatures. Building a bridge like this takes a long time anyway, if you don't like that a bridge is being built, vote for a representative to oppose it, but the general citizenry doesn't need to weigh in on this. That's why we have a republic so we can elect people that have time to study this sort of thing.

This is the stupidest of these "constitutional amendments" regardless of whether you want a bridge or not, this does not rise to being an "amendment" and because of that, I plan to vote NO.

Barack Obama (D)
He's not a communist. He's not a secret Muslim. In actuality he's a pretty center right Democrat that turned out to be more hawkish than anyone thought as well. As far as politicians go though, he seems pretty straightforward. He's practical for the most part, and while I don't think Mitt himself would be a terribly right leaning executive despite some of what he spoke about in his primaries. I would worry about what a Republican held executive branch and House would put forth. I don't see a centrist wing of the Republican Party anymore. If anything, the Democratic party is the new centrist wing of the Republican party now.

Debbie Stabenow (D)

Representative in Congress 2nd District
Willy German Jr. (D)
I know nothing about this guy, there seems to be very little about him online, he seems to only have 96 likes on Facebook. but I can't see voting for more Republicans in the House. If there's a reason I shouldn't vote for this guy, let me know.

Representative State Legislature
Scott Barton (D)
Again, it's hard to tell much about these really local candidates. This guy seems like a regular enough Joe as a CNC operator and a Union Rep.

Our increasingly Republican state legislature is getting nutty, anything that slows down their agenda is probably a good thing.

The State Board stuff
I'm not a fan of all these boards and regents and stuff. These seem like they should be appointed positions or something. I imagine I'll just be lazy and vote all democratic, as republicans don't seem to care much for departments of education and I can't see them wanting to administrate it for any purpose other than to dismantle or privatize it.

Prosecuting Attorney
Noone is even running against the Republican incumbent William A Forsyth (R)... He wins!

This is almost like the board stuff, who knows much about the Sheriffs? I suppose this is at least something that you can research, as sheriffs are likely to have served in other law enforcement positions and given quotes in news stories etc.
Lawrence A Stelma (R)
James L. Farris (D)
John Glen Stedman (None)

No idea really on who I should vote for here. Party doesn't seem like it would come to much into play in this position.

Clerk and Register of Deeds
Seriously who knows anything about this position? Why is this even political? I suppose if I was living in a small village where everyone knew everyone, this would be a nice thing to elect, but in a county this large? Sigh.

County Treasurer
What exactly does a County Treasurer do? And how political is this position?

Drain Commissioner
Another Seriously. Who knows anything about who would make the best drain commissioner? The drains in my area seem to drain, do I vote for the incumbent?

County Commissioner
This person seems to oversee alot of basic government functions, so I'm leaning Dem on this, since Repubs generally don't like government. This seems like the sort of position that you'd want someone who believes in positive government running.

None of these have little Rs or Ds after them so I'm actually looking up their positions/affiliations. But I'm totally voting for the candidate that pulled the West Wing commericial together, McCormack, that was fantastic.

As you can see, I'm leaning Democratic in most everything. I generally lean more liberal anyway. The last 4 to 8 years of Fox News has soured me on even what passes for a centrist Republican these days. I don't begrudge anyone else their vote though, and I generally look forward to hearing from people with opposing views as long as they're based on something other than Fox News or MSNBC.

If you really hate any of the above of my choices, get to the election booth tomorrow and cancel my vote out :)

I want to hear your

Sat 11/03/12 4:00pm # | tweet this


Also did a little shopping this morning. Took the chance to play with the Looxcie while out as well. It's a little bit big to wear on your ear to a store. But there is some efficiency in being able to pull it out of your pocket and while holding in your hand with a single button push you can start recording. Sure you could use your smartphone camera, but that would take two or three taps most likely.

In anycase the other fun thing about the camcorder is getting candid snaps of Jennifer, even if most of them are of the "what are you doing" variety.

I want to hear your

Sat 11/03/12 3:53pm # | tweet this


Raking, raking and more raking.

Spent several hours raking today. Good dry day for it. Chill in the air, but not too bad at all, once we got working.

In anycase we cleared the front yard pretty good.

The backyard given that we back up to a wooded area, is abit more of a challenge. We did alot of raking in the back. And a fair amount of mulching with the lawn mower. There's a pretty solid level of tiny mulched leaf cover over the backyard, but we really removed the bulk of it.

I'd say 80% of the leaves in the back have already fallen, so unlike this spring where there was a tremendous amount of leaves blown up under the deck, I think we'll be in alot better shape next spring.

Also a nice thing after uncovering the lawn, was seeing how bright green and thick the grass seed I planted this fall had got. With any luck it should really fill in nicely by next summer.

Experience the thrill of simulated leaf raking and watch the below video

I want to hear your

Fri 11/02/12 8:08pm # | tweet this

Looxcie Camera

Yesterday my first generation Looxcie ear mounted camcorder arrived. Bummer that it was one day after Halloween.

I haven't played with it too much yet, but so far I'm digging it.

Basically you wear the Looxcie on your ear like an oversized Bluetooth headset. You can use it by itself or you can pair it with your phone over Bluetooth. The Looxcie has 4 buttons. A power/call button, a volume button, a record button and a "save clip" button. All the buttons are distributed over the device and are easy to reach up and use without looking at them.

The Looxcie is a Camcorder that works like a DVR. You press the button and it starts recording. Depending on the recording resolution you set the device at you have a variable amount of video you can save. At the medium resolution it seems you get an hour of recording or so.

Resolution isn't smartphone great, think more along the lines of an older flipphone with video. But it's not the resolution that is the magic of this device, the magic comes in when you push the "clip button." Pushing the clip button saves the PREVIOUS 30 seconds of video. So if you see something, pushing the button after the fact allows you to instantly save the thing in the past that you just saw.

If you don't push the clip button, that's ok too. As long as you don't record so long that the device loops around and gobbles up your recording (remember it's like a DVR buffer.) you can still go back and grab a clip later.

The device also integrates nicely with iOS and Android. I've been playing with the Looxcie software on my Gingerbread phone and it works great. The Looxcie will actually live stream what you are watching to your phone over bluetooth, so you can use your phone as a view finder as well.

Since the device works over Bluetooth, it can be 30 feet or so away from your phone as well and you can "remote control" it.

I've had 2 or 3 cheap Hong Kong camcorders over the past several years that have been similiar to this, but none of them ever had the phone integration, so you never knew what you shot until after you got back home. The phone integration is a definite plus, since it's so easy to move your scrub bar back and see what you just shot.

I played around with the Looxcie at work today. People didn't pay it too much mind, but then again, people are used to seeing me with various gadgets on my person and don't tend to ask. Like the previous devices of this type, once people realize it's a camcorder, the hands go up to their faces etc. Generally as I've played with different types of video cameras over the years I've found people rarely want to be recorded.

The Looxcie isn't a Google Glass, but it's similar as far as the camcorder features go at least, so I think Google Glass will run into similar social acceptance issues when it begins trickling out next year.

I don't have any solid plans for this device yet, but that's part of the fun, tinkering around with and experimenting with the various use cases.

Below is a quick video I caught yesterday with the Looxcie

If you look close at the above, especially at
the end, you'll see the white tails of at least
6 deer run back into the woods.

I want to hear your

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