August 2013

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Sat 8/17/13 9:25pm # | tweet this

Mail Pocket

Jennifer and I made a Mail Pocket today. We pulled out one of the tiles in an end table tha sits next to the front door and sewed a little pocket/sling that hangs from a rectangle insert.

It should help keep most of the mail from piling up across that table now.

Read more about this on Jennifer's blog

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Fri 8/16/13 9:55pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




In Dangered Species on Vimeo
source:

Cute short cartoon.


TypeWonder - Beta

Cool site, enter a page from your site, and try a bunch of different fonts.

Seth's Blog: An end of books
source: Seth Godin

READING FOR PLEASURE was largely extinguished by four generations of not-very-good teaching philosophies. By treating a book as homework and a punishment, we’ve raised people to not look forward to reading. More than once, friends have said, “you should be really pleased, I even finished your new book.” My guess is that no one says that to Laurence Fishburne about his new movie. There’s no real ebook piracy problem because most people don’t think books are worth stealing.


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Thu 8/15/13 10:16pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



How Technology Has Innovated Loneliness
source: Gizmodo

Neat animations.


Sharing Is Caring
source: Neatorama


Leo Laporte on unboxing his Double Robotics (YC S12) at TWiT


Leo Laporte navigating an iPad based telepresence robot.



DIY Magnetic Locker Pouch
source: Instructables


Dog Plays Game with Himself
source: Neatorama



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Mon 8/12/13 7:33pm # | tweet this

Action Figures

Some action figures I've had for a little bit, and have been meaning to take some pictures of.

First up... Nite Owl:

Nite Owl Watchmen action figure box


Nite Owl is the only DC Classics/Signature Watchmen figure I've gotten so far. I have the movie versions, which I think were all extremely well done. But Nite Owl's costume was the most changed from the Comic to the Movie and as a kid I really like Nite Owl's original design so this is a fun figure to finally have.

Crazy amount of packaging with this figure though. I'm sure there are people out there that love to keep their boxes, but boxes take up an awful lot of room, and if it saved a few bucks, I'd be happy to go without the insane packaging these Matty Collector SC Signature series figures come with.

Nite Owl Watchemen action figure in package


Nite Owl Action Figure




Love the cape and cowl on this figure.

Nite Owl and Blue Beetle Action Figures


Here's Nite Owl with his inspiration: Blue Beetle. For those that don't know the history behind the creation of the Watchmen characters. Originally Watchmen was supposed to be a story that was starring a group of heroes DC comics aquired from a defunct comic company: Charlton Comics. At the last minute, more or less, DC got cold feet on doing the dark toned Watchmen with the Charlton Heroes, and instead Alan Moore recast the book with all newly named and costumed, but essentially very very similarly powered "original characters". the Blue Beetle shown here is the first DC Direct version.

Movie Nite Owl and Comic Nite Owl Action Figures


I really like the Movie Nite Owl action figure, but I've always thought his design came across more as a Batman parody than a Blue Beetle alternate.

Movie Nite Owl and Comic Nite Owl Action Figures


Movie Nite Owl, Comic Nite Owl and Golden Age Nite Owl


Three Night Owls!

Crime Syndicate Owl Man, classic and Modern, with Nite Owl


And here's a shot of Nite Owl with both the Classic and Modern Crime Syndicate Owl Man figures.

Next up... Monseiur Mallah and the Brain.

These figures also came with a healthy amount of Matty Collector packaging, not shown here.

Monsieur Mallah and the Brain action Figures


These two are Doom Patrol villains. Who doesn't like a gorilla in a beret with a machine gun and a brain in a skull shaped jar?

Monsieur Mallah and the Brain action Figures


Not alot of articulation on The Brain :)

Monsier Mallah and Grodd action figures


Monseiur Mallah and the original DC Direct Gorrilla Grodd.

Monsier Mallah and Grodd action figures


I was surprised to see how much larger Mallah was than the DC Direct Grodd. I never completed the DC Classic's Gorilla Grodd Build-a-figure on which Mallah is based, so this is the first time I've seen both side by side. Grodd doesn't look nearly as menacing as he should in comparison to this Mallah.

Monsier Mallah and Grodd action figures




A DC Direct Brainiac and DC Signature The Brain.

Nice figures all around.

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Sat 8/10/13 10:55pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing






The Ecuadorian Library
source: Medium




Roku's updated iOS app now lets you stream video directly from your iPhone
source: Gizmodo

Well, that's something I suppose.

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Sat 8/10/13 10:11pm # | tweet this

Tools and Gadgets

Random scribblings mostly as I think about gadgets and tools. The Google Glass and 3D printer on the list are premature I think but I think they'll be likely to join this type of pantheon at some point.

A good smartphone is probably the king on this page. A desktop or Laptop in second, A modern big screen tv has many uses so I 'd put that in third and perhaps the tablet in fourth. On a good many of the others, there is considerable overlap and likely bent toward my interests in design and making.

The sewing machine, disc sander, drill, table saw ans screw drivers might seem a weird inclusion, but it's nice to be able to make real things as well as things of bits and bytes too. (and that's mostly why a 3D printer is on here, even though there probably isn't one with an ecosystem of software and downloads that makes one terribly relevant at this precise moment.)

I thought about drawing things from the kitchen too. Cooking is very much a making sort of thing, but I wasn't sure. Kitchen gadgets? A blender? Knives/bols/mixing spoons? A microwave? certainly one wouldn't be without one, but are any of these more fundamental than a stove/oven? And as to a stove/oven, while certainly a tool, it's more the sort of thing that we just take for granite (in this country at least) like running water and toilets right? Not tools per se. And the more I thought of it, the more ethereal cooking seems when put in the category of making. Whereas the other tools above will let you make or make use of information over a long period, most things constructed in the kitchen, however wonderful, and very worthwhile, seem fleeting and perhaps are in a different category altogether. Cooking is more like dance perhaps and less like design or woodworking.

As I type this and meander into a conversational alley about cooking, and make mention of dance, I've also noticed I've left off any musical instruments. Certainly you could make music on the computer or tablet. But I could see a guitar or piano having a place in this pictograph. The recording functions of many of the other devices certainly would take the tools of music making out of the fleeting category mentioned above about cooking. As I have no musical talent myself, it didn't occur to me to scribble any such instruments until I started scribbling these accompanying thoughts. Although, I would like to have the talent to then have thought to initially included a guitar and piano above.

So, point or purpose to this post? Not really. Just doodling and musing is all.

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Tue 8/06/13 9:38pm # | tweet this

Vibe and Katana

Two recent figures. While I'd prefer to have the classic 80s costumes, I do like these C list character redesigns better than most of the New 52 A list character redesigns.

Vibe is taller than he needs to be (but not out of scale per se), but Katana is a nice sized figure that fits in well with the DC direct line.

Both are really nice sculpts.

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Sun 8/04/13 6:32pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing





Allergy forcast iOS App
source:One Thing Well


Glass, Home and solipsism Benedict Evans
source:

A few years ago I worked on a project to make a video-on-demand service for a big UK supermarket chain. All of the supermarket execs kept saying things like 'our customer' or 'the Sainsco customer'. After a while, I worked out what bothered me about this. I do indeed go to one of their shops - or at least I think I do. I'm actually not 100% sure if it's a Tesco or a Sainsbury. I buy food there every week, but I don't consider myself their customer - at least not in the sense they meant it. Rather, it's one of 10 shops I go to in a week, and one of 20 errands I might run.

In other words, your customers' relationships with you are the only relationships you have as a business and you think a lot about them. But you're one of a thousand things your customer thinks about in a week, and one of dozens of businesses. And they probably have their own ideas about how they want to engage with you (though they wouldn't put it in those words) - assuming they think about you at all.




Why Citizen Developers Are The Future Of Programming
source: ReadWrite

I don't believe they are, but I do think fewer and fewer programmers will support ever larger numbers of users.


Nothing is Foolproof
source: Neatorama

What a brilliant counter idea. Would be great for boardgames or keeping track of the last day something was done as well, etc.


Introduction To Photoshop Scripting
source: Smashing Magazine



Cat Sees Owner after 6 Month Absence
source: Neatorama

Video

How We Got "Please" and "Thank You"
source: Brain Pickings

Interesting.

Hasbro 6in. Star Wars Black Series Wave 2 Pre-Orders Are Up
source: ActionFigurePics.com

Han and Bobba Fett are must gets.


Google Argues Against Net Neutrality
source: Slashdot

Ah, remember the good old days of "don't be evil" too bad those are gone :(

The CW gives The Flash his own TV show, launched out of Arrow
source: i09

I've got a bad feeling about this.

Police don't need a warrant to seize phone location data, US court rules
source: The Verge

The nice thing about living in a the digital future, technically noone has to ask for your papers.

ETERNA

"Epic" gets thrown around alot, but this is a pretty epic trailer compilation.

Canon's New Tiny Video Camera Is For Filming Yourself Doing...Whatever
source: Gizmodo

$300 Vixia Mini weighs just 5.6 ounces

Perpetual Calendar
source: swissmiss

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Sat 8/03/13 6:24pm # | tweet this



Chromecast setup and first impressions

We got our Chromecast in the mail today from Amazon.

It comes in a nice box. Every new gadget comes in too nice of a box now, doesn't it? I always feel bad about throwing away these nice boxes. They don't really serve any purpose when you buy the devices from an online retailer either. It's not like when I picked out the item on Amazon that the quality of the box put me over the edge and made me want to purchase it.

But I digress.

The device is small. It looks like the picture. It's a little slightly fat USB sized stick. It has a charger, a usb cord and a short HDMI extension cord.

I used my own larger 3ft HDMI extension cord and plugged it in to the tv.

It was already on when I flipped on the TV.

The sceeen tells you to go to a "setup url"

I went to that url on my Android phone. The set-up page, knew I was on an Android phone and presented me a link to the Chromecast app on Google Play. I installed the Chromecast app on my phone and completed the setup. I have two networks in my house, I chose the one I wanted the Chromecast to be on and entered my wi-fi password.

I already had the most recent Youtube and Netflix apps on my phone. I went to each, I chose a movie, I hit the Chromecast button in the apps on the phone and the videos streamed directly to the TV. Unlike AppleTV, once the videos started, I was free to do other things on my phone. Switching back to the Netflix or Youtube apps let me pause or move the scrubber bar forward or back. Easy Breezy.

I had the same experience from my iPad Youtube app to the Chromecast as well.

I went to my computer. I went to the same set-up up page and clicked a link at the bottom to install a Chromecast Chrome browser extension. The little "Airplay" like Chromecast button popped up in the browser header bar.

Toggling the Chromecast button on the Chrome web browser throws the contents of the browser tab up on the screen. I surfed to a few webpages, and I also dragged an mp4 video file to my browser tab. The web pages looked great and the mp4 video file streamed well to the TV as well.

Nearly fullscreen, there were two tiny almost unnoticible slivers of black on either side of the TV while streaming the Chrome browser content. The phone stuff all ran full screen. No idea if those tiny side letterboxes show up for all browser streams or just mine though. (Update: turns out the Chromecast mirrors blows up/shrinks down whatever your browser tab proportion is and tries to make it fit, quite nice actually.)

The Chrome browser tab streaming to the Chromecast is larger and full screen compared to the smaller square presentation of my iPad2 airplay mirroring to the AppleTV.

Do I like the Chromecast? Yes. It's very simple plug and play easy technology. Almost no setting screens, no complicated set-up machinations, in the best Arthur C Clarke sense it is technology indestinquishable from magic. It also works so well that the device itself feels a little unremarkable. You don't notice the device, you just watch your content on your TV.

Do I like the Chromecast better than the AppleTV or Roku? That's more complicated.

The Chromecast is similar but different than those two.

AppleTV and Roku follow a Cable TV box model. There is this box plugged in to your tv, you navigate menus and channels and you play things. The things come from the internet instead of a copper cable line but other than that, AppleTV/Roku are much like a 21st century cabletv model.

The Chromecast doesn't have any of that. The Chromecast is much more a bridge from your other devices, be it your phone, tablet or laptop to the TV. You really feel more like you are projecting content to the TV, more like if you've ever been in an office job where you plug your laptop into a VGA projector. You don't give much thought to the projector unless it's not working. Yes the projector (in this metaphor: the Chromecast) has it's own smarts and is doing things, but the center of your attention, for the controls at least, is the laptop (as well as the phone or tablet in this case.)

That said, I don't want to diminish the Chromecast. it's very interesting, and I do like how, unlike Airplay between the iPad and AppleTV, once you are grooving your content on the Chromecast, you are completely free to do other things with your phone/tablet/laptop device. Even from the desktop, it's only streaming the contents of your one chrome browser tab, so the rest of your computer's programs aren't being projected at all. That's very very cool.

Will I use it? Yeah. Honestly I'm probably going to use my AppleTV a little more, only because the full Airplay mirroring from iPad to AppleTV works better than the iPade to the Chromecast app by app approach. The primary device I use in the living room is the iPad, so the AppleTV is just tighter integrated with the iPad so that's all there really is behind that decision.

However, I do have a Samsung Galaxy S4 Android Phone and the Chromecast is going to work great with that. The Youtube experience (both from Android and iOS) with the Chromecast is also miles better than the pure AppleTV Youtube experience, so if there are a lot of Youtube videos I want to watch from my subscriptions, I'll likely be switching the HDMI input over to the Chromecast for sure.

The real loser is likely to be my poor Roku box. I really like the Roku box, but the poor guy is an island unto itself with only minimal and uneven app support with the phones and tablets. Roku works great as a Cablebox of the future. But Chromecast and AppleTV are Cableboxes of a sort and much much more. I'm not dissing you Roku users. Roku does what Roku does well, but Chromecast and AppleTV have that "plus" thing going for them.

So what do I think you should get?

If you are a mostly Mac based house, get an AppleTV (although at this point you may want to wait for a new model in Sept.).

If you are in an Android or a Mixed OS environment, get the Chromecast (Chromecast does and will work with various iOS apps afterall).

If you really like TV and internet video, get both. The AppleTV can be had for $95. And the Chromecast is $35. Think back 10 years or so on how much this sortof cutting edge tech costed. This stuff is cheap for how much you are going to use it if you are a regular video watcher.

Good Stuff.



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