Tuesday, March 31, 2015

End of March

Ok, so it's been a long time since I've posted an end-of-month post on here.  In fact, my posting is, in general, far too infrequent.  I've been busy.  Work has been busy, the commute still cuts into the day, and I've been busy with stuff at home.

I'd become dissatisfied with my progress in a number of areas this month, so I built a dashboard to quantify things.  It formed a rudimentary system.  Keep Feedly below 100 unread items, deduct points. Otherwise, incur points. Stay under my calories for the day, deduct points, otherwise incur points. Keep my inbox under control, deduct points. Otherwise, penalty. Every 5 minutes of reading? Bonus.  No reading in a day? Oooh... bad.  So, it's helped me stay focused on a few key areas and cut down on wasted time. It hasn't completely freed me or completely cured me of some of my bad habits, but it's been helpful to focus. I'll continue to tweak over time.  The latest thing I've considered adding is what time I went to bed. Aiming for 11.  Probably my biggest problem right now is that a day with bad results doesn't actually result in a penalty beyond a red score.

Work is almost done. The contract ends soon and they're not able to get a new headcount. Not sure what's next.

This is ending up being shorter than I thought. But, at least I actually posted something this time.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Idea: Car Chase Channel

Back in college, we'd occasionally catch a car chase on TV, but they're pretty rare up here.  But my roommate was from California and he'd tell me the tales of the chases he'd seen.  When I moved to California after college, I got to see quite a few.  Eventually they made evasion a felony instead of a misdemeanor and it cut down on them.  That is a good thing, as thrilling as they are to watch, they're very dangerous.  Today, the car chases are broadcast over the internet and so Kevin will send me a Facebook message when there's one on so I can watch it, but after two decades, that's all we have? Internet? The chases are usually accompanied by the audio of a helicopter pilot talking to himself or to other pilots (so we only hear half the conversation) or by babbling news anchors who add almost nothing as they argue with each other and the pilot all the while asking repeatedly "where are they now?"

Way back in college my roommate and I imagined a cable network dedicated to car chases.  It would need to be a careful balance - provide entertainment to the viewers without glorifying the criminal. You want to make the most of the ones that occur but certainly not encourage people to do it for the fame.

For awhile there Fox had a dreadful show.  It was was scripted, full of fake sound effects and while the off-screen voiceovers did paint the runner in a negative light, it was so over the top that eventually all of the viewers of the show learned to watch it with the sound muted.

But I've never understood why no L.A. station bothered to differentiate itself by adding useful information that would make the broadcast more interesting and informative while taking advantage of modern advances in design, mapping, video games, etc.

To that end, I present a quick idea I hacked together.  (When did Photoshop get so complicated and counter intuitive?)

click to enlarge

Feed Sift (03/27/2015)


ENGADGET -- NASA wants to build airship cities in the Venus sky


HOUZZ -- 14 Bathroom Design Ideas Expected to Be Big in 2015


ADDTHIS -- How to Make a Successful Infographic




SETH GODIN -- But what if this was your only job?

Happy Friday!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Book Review: The Gliding Flight

I saw a video of one of John Collin's world-record-winning planes and the article talked about how he had a few books that showed how to make some really cool planes. So I put this on the library request list and when it arrived, I pulled out some copy paper and got to work. The book starts with information about aerodynamics and then moves in to the best kinds of paper for making paper airplanes. I skipped over all that - let's fold some planes.

I probably shouldn't have skipped all that. Some of these planes were really complicated. As you can see, I didn't end up folding that many. I did make a lot of Crumple Ball Specials. For some complicated folds that are used regularly, there are flipbook-style animations built into the borders of the book. Even still, I had trouble figuring out some of the folds. I probably could have gone online to figure them out, but that just felt like too much work.

Not pictured - additional crumpled balls

In the end, I folded quite a few over December and when I'd throw a bunch of them at family gatherings at our house, the children were impressed at how far the planes flew and would run to fetch them so that I could throw them over and over again.

Someone with sufficient time and patience will create some really neat looking planes that fly amazingly well using the guides in this book.

The Gliding Flight by John Collins (Amazon.com)

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Question of the Day: #word

What's your favorite word (right now)?

In 2014, I answered: Serenity

What's your current #hashtag?

Monday, March 02, 2015

Question of the Day: Swalty

Salty or Sweet?

In 2014, I answered: Both. Dark chocolate with sea salt. Embrace the and, baby.

And you?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Review: Halting State

Halting State
by Charles Stross

I really enjoyed The Apocalypse Codex but had started with book 4. So I saw this author had another series on my library's website and I downloaded book 1 of this series. Unfortunately, after one drive I decided enough was enough. The narrator used a very thick and deep Scottish accent for narration (with his characters all having less of an accent) and it's in, I think, the second person, and the lead character is a woman, but you don't find that out for awhile because the character's name is Mac and it takes place in Glasgow. The individual pieces I list here aren't a problem on their own (I've rather enjoyed the last series I read with a female Deputy Inspector with the Glasgow "polis") but it was just too hard to follow-along and I sadly gave it up. The book did feature the same great turns of phrase (and I don't mean "the same") as the other Charles Stross books I've read, so perhaps this is more a review of the audiobook than of the book itself. Someone who lives in Scotland would probably appreciate the accent and find the book really easy to listen to.

Question of the Day: Redo

How could today have been better?

In 2014 (on 3/2), I answered: Lori could have been well. She was sick and missed church and the combined me/Jeff/Jim birthday.

How about you? What would you have waved a wand and improved about today?