March 2014

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Sun 3/30/14 10:21pm # | tweet this

Automatic Cat Feeder

Hooked up an automatic cat feeder this weekend. We tried a cheaper model a few years ago, but the cat managed to break into it in fairly short order and start feeding himself when he wanted to.

This model is a little pricer and a little more sturdy.

So far it's working fairly well, and although he spent some time working on it, he hasn't broke into it yet. We're hoping that over the next week or two it stops the cat from begging us for food so much. We've already been telling him, "Don't ask us, go talk to the machine!"

As with most new toys, the box was just as interesting for him

I want to hear your



Sun 3/30/14 10:13pm # | tweet this

Stepper Motor Covers

I did a marathon 3D printing session today. Four stepper motor covers for my Dad, who is using them to convert a lathe to CNC.

Each one of those little guys took 3 hours to print.

Good thing Jenn was also hanging out in the computer room all day for the opening day of Elder Scrolls online.

I want to hear your



Sun 3/30/14 10:05pm # | tweet this

Grand Rapids Toy Show

Saturday Jenn and I popped into the Grand Rapids Toy Show. There are a couple of them a year. It's a small venue, but worth dropping by, especially since it's only a couple streets south of us.

I didn't get anything this year, but it's always fun browsing. There was one booth that had a really cool 3.5" Walking Dead Diormama recreation of part of Division Street in Grand Rapids. Really nice work.

And of course, there were a handful of Star Wars cosplayers as always, besides these kindly dessert folk, there was also a Stormtrooper and a prequel style Jedi.

Neat stuff.

I want to hear your



Sun 3/30/14 9:53pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



Songza taps Weather Channel data to suggest mood-enhancing music
source: Engadget

This sortof stuff is cool. Taking more of the environment and the current situation in account and adjusting presented options.

An Examination of 3D Printing Patents
source: fabbaloo

Interesting.




I want to hear your



Sun 3/30/14 11:24am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




Class-1 Drone by fnoigy
source: Thingiverse


Marvel Legends Infinite Superior Spider-Man Third Party Add-ons
source: TheFwoosh.com

There is an action figure customizer that goes by the name Strangefate that has been creating some excellent 6" and 7" action figure custom figures and accessories available on Shapeways for 3D printing.

There's some really top notch stuff, like these spider legs for the Superior Spider-man.

For those that don't follow comics closely, there is a storyline that has been running for awhile now in which Doctor Octopus has taken over Spider-man's body, naturally he also created some Doc Ock style mechanical spider-legs too. The new "Superior" Spider-man action figure does not come with these accessories, but Strangefate has created some that are available for 3D printing for under $30.

Neat stuff.

Google Now finally comes to desktop Chrome browser
source: The Verge

Hasn't come to mine yet, but I'm looking forward to the rollout.

Cardboard Marker Holder
source: Instructables

Neat.

Marvel Plans A Crisis Of Infinite Spider-Men In Spider-Verse
source: io9

This sortof Crisis thing infecting Marvel, probably not a good thing. There's something to be said for Marvel's slow rolling forgetting of it's own continuity, and this bringing multitudes of failed or weird storyline offshoots back into the main storytrunk doesn't seem to fit with their Universe structure. Of course, I haven't been reading many of their books anyway so maybe it's not as bad as it looks from the outside.

I want to hear your



Sun 3/23/14 10:48am # | tweet this

Still lots of snow

Approaching the end of March and still lots of snow in the backyard. Drifts that are 2 to 3 feet high in some spots near the retaining walls and such. More snow on the way and temperatures staying below freezing at least through this coming Thursday.

It's probably been four or so months since I've walked in my backyard.

So far Spring is off to a very slow start.

I want to hear your



Sat 3/22/14 3:47pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



Project Skyborn - short film on Vimeo
source:

Interesting 8 minute short Sci-Fi film.


Microsoft's OneNote goes completely free, launches for Macs
source: Engadget

Been very much enjoying this app on my work mac.

Samsung Gear 2 Tizen SDK now available | Android Central
source: Android Central

This looked moderately interesting a week ago but after the Google Watch demo release it looks positively archaic looking now doesn't it?

Apple's Jony Ive: 'We're surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects'
source: Engadget

Look into his eyes, look how sad the the anonymous poorly made objects of the world make Jony Ive. Look how sad. The next time you make something, think of Jony, think, is this thing I'm making going to make Jony even sadder? And if it will, and it will, then stop, stopping making that thing right now. Don't make Jony Ive sad.

Gandalf with a Mac
source:Blastr

Think different.


LG announces G Watch, powered by Android Wear
source: Android Central

The round Moto 360 is getting much more press due to it's round shape, but so far I prefer the clean square design of this LG. I'm hoping though that I can just update my Google Gear with the Android Wear OS and still be able to use the camera though.

Either way it's nice to see the Google Glass OS making it's way into a watch.


'Okay Google, take a photo' comes to Search for Android app
source: Engadget

Hopefully this little feature "was really" just added to support cameras on Android Wear devices.

Is Twitter Getting Rid of @-Replies and Hashtags?
source: Twitter

Let's hope not. Twitter isn't nearly as interesting as it used to be, but it's not because of it's format. Twitter isn't as interesting as it used to be mostly because it's so public now that people behave on it exactly like they would in public. And people are pretty boring with pretty safe opinions is public. At symbols and hashtags are part of Twitters charm. Take those away and replace them with something more form based and basically they'll be on their way to creating forums.

FireChat lets you text friends, even without a signal
source: The Verge

Adhoc networking. Cool.

These Eerily Accurate Mugshots Were Created From DNA Alone
source: Gizmodo

Ok, now that's crazy creepy.

Kalas Kolorfull Quizbuttons
source: IKEA Hackers

Cool quiz buttons made from keyboard keys.

Let Oculus Rift Take You to the Supermarket
source: Mashable

This is the kindof thing that I'm most interested in doing the Oculus Rift.


I want to hear your



Sun 3/16/14 5:01pm # | tweet this

A sense of things at the moment

I do these every so often.

Social Media

I still check Twitter and Facebook fairly regularly. I don't read Twitter as close as I used to. Alot of it is out of the same idle moment filling that would have been satiated by mindless channel surfing a decade or more ago. Real world conversation rules more or less apply in the space now, and they are about as interesting as such short/brief conversations with casual acquaintances are too.

Facebook has made an interesting turn in the last few monts, killing off the organic reach of Pages. For corps, it's largely pay to play now, or if not pay to play, then pay to be seen.

The Web

This week celebrated the anniversary of Google Reader announcing it's shutdown. I've been using Newsblur for the majority of the past year in it's place. Newsblur has been a good replacement, and the beat goes on as it were.

There hasn't been much change other than the Reader switch to my web activities. Reddit seems like the largest disrupter to the format, but Reddit hasn't captured my interest much and only check it from time to time for some very niche things.

The Media

Streaming still feels like it's picking up steam. Since Christmas we've had the Xbox One, and it's a pretty great streaming box too. Cable feels archaic at this point, yet saddly the Cable DVR is still the easiest way to hold onto and watch current recent past shows. Not everything is always available on the various streaming services reliably back more than a few weeks. Plus the DVR still let's you fast forward through commercials which Hulu does not.

Cable News is completely worthless now. There's plenty of news on the internet now though so CNN, MSNBC and Fox being beneath relevant isn't any great loss at this point.

Devices

My goodfriend loaned me his Google Glass at the end of last month. I did a write up on my experience with it on the 6th. I'm glad I got to try it, but it has left a tech anticipation hole. Having wron the Glass there's not much else I'm really anticipating playing with.

Oculus Rift seems the leading wow contender. But while I'm bullish on the eventual prospects of the space, I imagine the first generation of the device will largely be a Wii-like novelty. Long term, it should be pretty revolutionary though (assuming one can wear it for a period of time without getting a headache.)

After having played with Google Glass, I am interested in seeing if Google comes out with a Google Now/Google Glass OS type smartwatch. Pebble just updated to 2.0 and is killer for notifications, but I continue to be very interested in seeing what a Google Now/Glass type experience on Galaxy Gear type hardware would be like.

I got an improved replacement stylus pen for the Dell Venue Pro 8 inch Windows tablet a week ago. Not perfect, but close enough now. Very nice device. iPad has deservedly-so had the tablet space locked up for a while for people's casual computing needs. Windows now has some nice cheap devices out there for the minority of users that need or want more traditional productivity apps in the format.

I'm still enjoying the 3D printer. There are some interesting devices on the horizon in the space coming this year, but nothing at a terribly mass audience adoption pricepoint.

Laptops

My workplace is finally making the final push to more or less a 99.9% switch to laptops. Later in the game then many places, but it's a very large office and ships of size take awhile to turn. It's been interesting to see how that conversion to laptops has changed different behaviors.

Meetings have taken on a very different nature, and having large groups of people all with their own little laptop worlds to occupy them even when they are physically present with one another has presented interesting new dynamics. Many meetings almost take on a study group type dynamic, less about discussing an agenda and more about co-locating for a time around a shared topic.

Next month, my workplace will move to a brand new office completely designed and built from the ground up around this new (for us) paradigm, and It'll be very interesting to see how the proliferation of those laptops and open workstations function in a massive space specific designed with them in mind.

Games

We've had the Xbox One for a few months now. Neat device. A very solitary device though. Not really enough games for two people to play at the same time-- in the same room. Gaming apparently is something you now do in your own living room with other people over the net who are in their own living rooms. Maybe if consoles were more like laptops they'd encourage more people to co-locate and play in the same space. That doesn't look to be the case anytime soon though as the 3 majors seem bigger and more grounded/connected to home networks and fixed place living room use than ever.

Weather

Six months of absolute intense winter, we've had a couple singular days here and there where it gets above freezing, but for the last couple months a day in the mid twenties with some sun, like today, is about as nice as it's usually gotten.

Comics and fandom

I've been largely checked out of comics for the past 5 months or more. I read an occasional issue of something here or there, but lately not more than a handful of issues in a month, if that. DC, my preferred superhero publisher has just been unreadable for an older fan like me since their new 52 reboot a couple years back.

As to the rest of it, Long Tail problems abound, many people read many different things, but even people who like similar things may be experiencing different stories at radically different points or in different order. Watching Doctor Who or Sherlock several years ago is very different from the experience of watching it for the first time right now. It's not the hipster "I was watching it before it was cool" effect, although there can be some of that-- but different stories work differently in different contexts and effect you differently if you see them at the time they came out or after watching/reading things that were after/inspired by them. Time and a story's place in it has a weight and moving stories and their consumption around in time, changes subtle things about their experience.

It's not enough now just to seek out people who are fans of the same things you are. What is not enough. When and "How far into" are now equally connecting questions for shared fandom.

People, careers and jobs

The laptop rant in the Devices section above skewed off into a workplace discussion more or less, so jump up there if you're just hitting topics that strike your interest in this TLDR post.

I haven't been swirling around too many people related concepts in my head lately. Perhaps something in a future post about Positivity and it's downsides, but nothing really fully formed on that.

I've also been swirling around ideas about "Millenials" hitting their 30s and what that's going to mean over the next 5 to 7 years. I'm also sortof wondering if the generational boxes and monikers might be done with, or at least lose most of their utility, after that generation.

Do things get too individual and do tribes get too randomly constructed and sorted more on family/interests/workplaces/environs/economics than age ranges going forward? Sure High School and College has a certain amount of similarity for people of the same age. But after those closely homogenized experiences, do things just randomize too much now? Do what people/marketers think of as "generations" over the last 100 years or so-- going forward do those touch points lack consistency now, for a "generational" grouping to have much real relevance? Or do you start to think about people less in terms of when they were born and more in terms of the situations they are in? Those situations will still have an age component, but it'll likely be a longer sliding bracket or vastly non centered venn diagram circles than how it's been thought of for the last half dozen decades or so.

I want to hear your





Sat 3/15/14 10:13pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




#SELFIE (Official Music Video) - The Chainsmokers
source: YouTube

Basically the whole song is done in the style of the opening voice over before Sir-Mix-a-lot's I like big butts.


TableTop Terrain Buildings
source: Instructables

Nice Instructable on making some model ruins. I thought the dying sawdust with green food coloring for the grass was a nice touch too.

Google Wallet's new 'Orders' feature lets you track online shipments
source:

Useful. Like Google Now pulls your shipping out of gmail, but it goes back in time too.

This incredible fan-made Matrix-inspired short will free your mind
source: Blastr

Not bad, reminds me a little bit of the old Batman vs Predator video.

I want to hear your



Sat 3/15/14 9:51pm # | tweet this

Remote Stand

I have an LCD TV as one of my computer monitors. I have to use the remote to turn the tv on. I made this simple cap with an arced slot in it in Tinkercad and printed it on the 3D printer. Works well enough capped onto a soup can and keeps the power button easily in reach.

I was thinking I might try something similiar as a cellphone holder for one of the car's cup holders too.

I want to hear your



Tue 3/11/14 8:35pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



Papyrus - Natural Note Taking
source: Android Apps on Google Play





Official Website, Logo And Blurb For Fox's Gotham Series
source: Bleeding Cool

Growing up in Gotham City’s surrounding suburbs, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, “Southland,” “The O.C.”) romanticized the city as a glamorous and exciting metropolis where his late father once served as a successful district attorney.
Gotham City has suburbs? This can't be good.

I want to hear your



Sat 3/08/14 12:51pm # | tweet this

Cord Armor

Bought a 100 feet of plastic cord tubing a couple weeks ago. Was only $12 at the time.

This morning I armored up all the power cords the cat enjoys chewing on.

I want to hear your





Thu 3/06/14 10:32pm # | tweet this

Too long of a TV queue



Finished House of Cards, season 2, a couple weeks ago. Watched all the episodes in about 8 days after it came out.

This burned me out a little on TV in general.

Have been keeping up with Arrow and Marvel Agents of SHIELD either live or within a week of air time.

Been working through Fringe on Netflix (but have been on a break from it for a bout a month), watched a lot of it during the months of November, December, January though.

Also watching episodes of Tiger and Bunny on Hulu here and there.

Finished Alpha House on Amazon last month. Also finished Sherlock last month.

Falling behind on Helix and Revolution. (would like to watch more the the Hulu series The Wrong Mans, which I've only seen a couple episodes of so far.)

Way behind on TMNT.

Have Intelligence, Almost Human, Bitten, Downton Abbey and Atlantis piling up pretty heavy on my DVR.

Vikings new season just started back up.

Fell so far behind on Tomorrow People and Dracula, had to surrender and delete all their episodes to make space for many of the shows above.

Gave up on Walking Dead a season or two ago, it was too depressing after a week of work.

Game of Thrones and Orphan Black are coming back on air soon.

The 100 and Resurrection looks interesting to try out.

Longmire should be back in the Summer.

There's a youtube series Caper I want to give a look.

Stephen Spielberg/Halley Berry Sci-fi show Extant is coming this Summer, as well as the second season of Under the Dome.

This Fall: Flash, Gotham, Constantine, Newsroom, Star Wars Rebels and Doctor Who.

There's probably other stuff I'm forgetting (and let's not even get into non-genre, non-drama like Daily Show, Colbert or the monologue or New Rules on Realtime. Or shows like Parks and Rec or Community that people say I should be watching.) Plus, I watch a lot of Jennifer's video games, and some of those storylines are like watching TV eps.

There are way too many shows. I like TV, but not this much TV.

I want to hear your



Thu 3/06/14 9:26pm # | tweet this

My week (so far) with Google Glass

My good friend loaned me his Google Glass, I've been wearing it for almost a week now.

Thoughts:

  • It's neat
  • It's the best spontaneous camera I've ever used
  • It's surprisingly not the most clandestine camera I've used (because it draws a lot of attention to itself. The Galaxy Gear watch is subtler as are some bluetooth headset shaped cameras I've played with in the past)
  • I wish I had a little button in my hand that would make it take a picture. Winking to take a picture is ok, but you feel silly winking and winking is not always reliable, plus winking often takes accidental pictures. And reaching up to press the button or voice commanding it isn't very subtle
  • It's only so so for notifications (Pebble Watch is better for notifications.)
  • It's voice recognition however is really good
  • You really can't use voice recognition in very many situations though (too noisy, not private enough)
  • You turn your head to the ceiling a lot (so that you can read the screen against a clear background)
  • Video playback on it is really good, if a little eye straining
  • It's the fastest way to take a photo and share it to the internet (Glass Twitter app)
  • The fact that you have to wait until it's charging and on wifi for it to backup photos is annoying. They could fix this easily though. (my android phone and Galaxy gear upload pics to Dropbox instantly after each shot, no reason why the Glass shouldn't too)
  • Glass is a very very good camera, and takes fantastic shots
  • People around you get used to it fairly quickly
  • It's voice recognition does make it pretty easy to do short replies to tweets and emails, provided you are somewhere you can easily talk out loud
  • It's card timeline metaphor is fantastic. It's something I wish was on my Galaxy Gear
  • I think Glass will be popular, but I don't think "everyone" will get one. I think more people will get a smartwatch instead.
  • While the mini games I played on it were a novelty, they did make me interested in seeing gaming on an Oculous Rift
  • I'm more interested now in seeing an Oculous Rift than before playing with Glass
  • Glass does strain your right eye after awhile. It's hard to use it all day without your eyes getting tired
  • I find little use for Glass when I'm at home. Pebble or Gear are less intrusive when laying around on the couch. Glass is more useful at work or out and about.
  • While Glass is on though it's not really any more distracting than the brim of a baseball cap
  • It's not very practical for driving directions, but I think it would be great for walking directions
  • I'd like to hook it up to a battery on my belt so that it lasted longer
  • It charges crazy fast though
  • It's not as private as the watch, people learn to look at your screen pretty quick and those with good eyes can see what you're reading
  • It's hard to know what to do with it when you go to the bathroom. I ended up wearing it backwards on my neck like a necklace
  • I really want the Google Glass card style OS on my Galaxy Gear smartwatch hardware
  • I think the AR possibilities Glass could have would be interesting, but right now, there aren't any significant ones in the store or on the device. Plus running the camera constantly would kill the battery quick.
  • If it comes out in the $300 range this year, I'll probably get one, but I probably won't wear it "all the time."

I'm really glad my friend loaned it too me, it's been very fun to test, explore and play with.

I want to hear your



Sun 3/02/14 7:36pm # | tweet this

Google Glass Holder

A friend of mine has loaned me his Google Glass for a little while.

First order of business for any new tech now is to use the 3D printer to print a stand. Thingiverse had a nice one above.

And I also printed a smaller one from Thingiverse to bring to work tomorrow.

I've only been using Google Glass for two days so far. I'll probably write up impressions in a day or so after I've used it during the work day too.

I want to hear your


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