Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 2014 Links

Ambient (some with music) soundscapes @ TableTop Audio. I've been playing Alien Machine Shop at low volume in my office all week. All that anyone has said thus far is "feels busy in here!".

I know what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year: a Spot My Bag with my picture on it. Rejoice!

Want to calibrate a monitor or TV? You need the Langom LCD monitor test images. You'll never look at a monitor the same again...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stars & Stripes: Mailsail Trimmer


Had the pleasure of being the Mainsail Trimmer on the Stars & Stripes 87 (US 55) for a race on Saturday. S&S 87 was the 12 Meter challenge boat sailed by Dennis Conner in his successful bid to reclaim the America’s Cup from the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia in 1987. No rope burns!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Dernier Bar, Paris


Opened in 2012 in Paris: "Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde,"  ("The Last Bar Before the End of the World."). It's a Science fiction themed bar, that serves SF themed food and drinks. The menu has some interesting items:



Don't mess with the Machete Chicken! But fish fingers and custard, yum! it's now on the list for 2014.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Matchbook goes live! Super proud of Digital Store Platform and the teams we worked with across Digital to bring this to market. I'm buying!

Today, Amazon launched Kindle MatchBook, a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy--for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free--the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon. Over 70,000 books are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook, with more being added every day. Now customers can visit www.amazon.com/kindlematchbook to see all of their print books that are eligible for the Kindle MatchBook edition. Customers can also see when a book is eligible for Kindle MatchBook on the book's detail page. 

The program was announced on September 3 with over 10,000 titles. Since then, thousands of popular books like Heaven is for Real, The Things They Carried and The Way of Kings have been added from major publishers such as HarperCollins, Macmillan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amazon Publishing, Wiley, Chronicle Books, and Marvel, as well as thousands of titles from Kindle Direct Publishing authors like The Walk by Lee Goldberg and Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Inner Critic Inner Success - Stacey's Book Hits the Streets!


Inner Critic Inner Success: Claiming Your Success While Taming the CriticsInner Critic Inner Success: Claiming Your Success While Taming the Critics by Stacey Sargent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Outstanding book. Almost as good as being in class with Stacey. What I love about Inner Critic Inner Success is the very pragmatic way it covers key topics; the case studies are invaluable examples of real life situations we've all come across before. I found the book to be a great refresher on a number of topics that Stacey has taught me and my team. I'm also recommending the book to friends and colleagues with little formal background in the areas cover by the book as it's a *very* approachable read. Makes my stocking stuffer list very easy for this year's holidays! Congratulations Stacey - an awesome book filled with your personal passion!

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Boomzilla Occurence in the 4 billion digits of Pi

search string = "boomzilla"
45-bit binary equivalent =   000100111101111011011101001001011000110000001
string does not occur in first 4 billion binary digits of pi 

:-(

http://pi.nersc.gov/

But there is an ass in position 130396475.....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Space Needle


Of one thing I am confident; the Space Needle has been photographed significantly more than 8 times. Notwithstanding the ubiquity of it's image across the city (heck I can even buy Space Needle imprinted underwear) I felt drawn to take my shot and awesomize the heck out of it. Behold!

Kindle Fire as Secondary Laptop Monitor





There are plenty of times when I need additional real estate for my laptop: when I'm on a call using OCS and want to have the controls front and center; Amazon Cloud Player etc. Rather than hauling a monitor with me Ive been using the Air Display app for the Kindle Fire. It’s $9.99 and works over Wi-Fi ( both devices must be on the same network). You also need to download and app for your Mac or PC from the Air Display website here.  If you don't have a Fire you can use any Android device, iOS device, Windows computer, or Mac as your second monitor.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

LAN Party?


Not been involved in a LAN party for, well, a very, very long time. Now, this is not quite a LAN party in the traditional sense. Evan and two other guys are playing League of Legends. All three showed up with their desktops. monitors, keyboards and mice - no laptops here and definitely no laggy wireless connections. I ran three cables from my HP ProCurve switch (yes - it's still running fine....) and off they went. Seem to be kicking ass last time I checked in.


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Eagle Scout Ceremony - Troop 222 Menlo Park



Video I made for Evan's Eagle Scout ceremony last year. Congrats Evan, Ian and Will!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013




Giving a lecture at HMC on March 5 are part of the Annenberg guest lecture series. Look forward to seeing you at Mudd!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Chickadee Trail Restoration

Evan's completed his Eagle Scout community project, restoring the Chickadee Nature Trail at Huddart Park.









Congrats!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zappos; Pre-M&A vist


During the Zappos M&A due diligence I took a tour of the offices in Henderson. Super group of folks there who really rolled out the red carpet. I found this picture from the tour. if you've been there you'll know what this is about. If not, I highly recommend that you take the tour.

Andromeda. Military Inspired Tri-rail Lamp

Andromeda, the world's first ever, military inspired tri-rail lamp. It utilizes the picatinny rail system (aka the MIL-STD-1913 rail or "tactical rail") allowing customization of the shade and leg positions. It's the latest project to which I've committed funding on Kickstarter. Check out the funding page and join in!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

How much are three eggs?


If one egg is $2.50, and two eggs are $4.00, how much should 3 eggs cost. Hint: not $6.50.

Friday, April 06, 2012

It is difficult......

Upton Sinclair, the author, once said:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Monday, April 02, 2012

Emma in the New York Times


Emma made the New York times on April 2 in an article entitled Giving Women the Access Code that covers Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd and women in engineering and computer science. The irony of course, is that Emma is attending Harvey Mudd but is wearing a Cal Lair of the Bear hoodie in the picture...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Laser Cut Mikey Jewelry Box


Quick holiday project: Mickey-themed jewelry box. Pre-made acrylic box from Tap Plastics (why make one yourself when they do it cheaper!). I cut twin Micky heads with flat bases and acrylic-welded them to the box. A simple and swift project that looks rather fine. Could be scaled up to a full-size end table (although I'd have to manufacture the box component myself as Tap don't have an off-the-shelf version that large).

(Note: Not for commercial use/sale; personal enjoyment only)


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kindle Fire - Laser Engraving

Ah - the power (literally) of an Epilog laser. I dialed down the power to 15% and set speed to 100%; didn't want to wind up cutting my Fire in interesting ways! Took about 30 seconds to raster my name into the rubberized back of the Fire. Depth is about half a millimeter (or so). Nice compliment to the Kindle logo just above it. You see the detail of the rastering in the picture below. Click on it for a enlarged version.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Destruction of Time: The Videos (Finally!)

video

And a slightly longer video showing hours and minutes:


video

Facebook Video Calling: Fail


Facebook Video Calling was announced on July 6th. It's now July 9th and all I've seen so far is the "will be available soon - Please check back later" (and I'd much prefer that Facebook notify me when its available rather than me acting as an unpaid click farmer for them....). Is this actually working for anyone????

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maker Faire


Maker Faire this weekend at the San Mateo Fairgrounds showing "The Destruction of Time". Evan and I are in the Expo Hall location 10 (North east corner of the building). Hop over to The Destruction of Time blog to see construction details. I have a few videos I'll be uploading when the show is over). What is it? An over engineered, expensive, doesn't-tell-very-good-time, clock. (HM:MM) built from ink jet printers and paper shredders.....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chase Down Again......


Just when I thought Chase had a handle on the availability of their website they prove me wrong. Perhaps merely the act of thinking good thoughts caused the outage......

Let's decompose their message:

  1. "We're working quickly to restore access" - Now, if this is a 'planned' outage for database backup or the application of patches, then tell me when that process will be complete. If it truly is an unplanned outage then I presume you're working diligently (but I don't really know what 'working quickly' means). In fact I'd rather you tell me that you don't know what he problem is, but your on-call staff have been notified, the SLA for response is 15 minutes and you'll post regular updates. That would be much more valuable;
  2. "and we encourage you to log on later" - Well, duh. If I was trying to log on now and the site is unavailable then it's reasonable to expect that indeed I will be coming back. I don't need any encouragement to do that (late fees for not paying my credit card bill on time is all the 'encouragement' that I need...).;
  3. "Thanks for your patience" - rather presumptuous of Chase. I don't have a choice and I'm certainly not being patient.
So Chase, here's some advice. Drop the dumb message that one of your engineers wrote when told to throw up a Gone Fishing page. In fact they would have been more successful with a simple "Gone Fishing" message as that's about as useful as the message you are currently displaying.

What's the best Gone Fishing message you've ever seen?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Eagerly Awaiting my Desktop CNC Machine


Now that I have my Egg Bot and the build is underway I decided that i really need a small, desktop CNC machine. Low and behold, Kickstarter has such a project underway: The DIY Desktop CNC Machine. I kicked in a pledge for a fully assembled machine (and yes - I will do a tear down when it arrives so I know exactly how it ticks). More of the project details and history at mydiycnc.com

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eagerly Awaiting My Egg Bot!


I first met my new best-friend-to-be at the 2010 Maker Faire in San Mateo. The Eggbot is an open-source art robot that can draw on spherical or egg-shaped objects from the size of a ping pong ball size to that of a small grapefruit-- roughly 1.25 to 4.25 inches in diameter (4 - 10 cm). Super adjustable; designed to draw on all kinds of things that are normally "impossible" to print on. Not just eggs but golf balls, light bulbs, mini pumpkins, eye balls and even things like wine glasses-- with a bit of work.

My order will be satisfied from the first production run of the kit -- I know, liable to be snafu's along the way, but that's half (actually 99%) of the fun. When it get bored with imprinting my picture on Ben Wa Balls I'll send it down to Emma at Harvey Mudd to play with.

Honey, did I put the parking brake on....?

Even More on Chase' Outages

Datacenterknowledge.com has more information about last the outage experienced by Chase.com. One of the most telling comments is "The company said its web site crashed Monday evening when a third party vendor’s database software corrupted the log-in process."Now, where I come from if your web site blows up you take responsibility for it and don't go pointing fingers at 3P's (including CDN's - think you may have a problem with 1? Then execute agreements with 3). Pointing fingers at Oracle is just bad form. Chase selected the database and operates it - one would presume that (a) they would have at least one form of redundancy, (b) they would have done much better end-to-end testing and (c) would have been able to fail-over to their standby systems much faster than 12+ hours.

Still pisses me off their their CS folks vacillate between "it was a failure" and "it was scheduled outage".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chase Responds

With all the ups and downs recently with the Chase website I prompted the company to come clean - was the downtime scheduled or unscheduled? This is the response I received:

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you are experiencing trying to access our website.

Please be informed that from time to time we need to perform maintenance on our website. Since this maintenance is planned it is termed as scheduled maintenance.

Further, since your concern will require a more thorough review of your account and will require additional questions to be answered, I am unable to assist you by e-mail. Please contact us at the number listed below so that we may assist you in resolving this issue. Representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have any further questions, please reply using the Secure Message Center.

Thank You,

Pramila Fernandes
E-Mail Customer Service Representative

Bearing in mind that I also have e-mail from Chase that says:

I am writing in response to your inquiry about not being able to see your account information online.

Please be advised that we were experiencing technical difficulties with our website. Our technicians have corrected this issue and the website is now available online. If you still face any difficulties, please call our technical department on the number mentioned below.

Chase staff members appear to be rather conflicted. What confounds the imagination is that (a) Chase has to take their site down for hours at a time to preform "scheduled maintenance" and (b) why don't they tell customers ahead of time that the site will be down so they can plan accordingly? It's not like they have our money or anything important....oh, wait....

(I also love the fact that questions about site availability require a "more thorough review of my account" - I wish I made enough money such that my billions could cause them problems. Sadly not.)



Sunday, August 08, 2010

Chase.com down for > 12 hours

Going on now for at least 12 hours (point in time when I first tried the site -- but could have been much longer), Chase accounts are unavailable. They keep a rudimentary web site up so they don't get reported for being down - although to all intents and purposes they are down. Kinda rough if, like me, you signed up for their web-only account information and opted out of snail-mail communications ("to save money and be green") - looks like I'll be flipping that decison as soon as their site is back up for me to do so. Who takes as website offline for maintenance these days?

Update: August 9. Just received the following communication from Chase:

I am writing in response to your inquiry about not being
able to see your account information online.

Please be advised that we were experiencing technical
difficulties with our website. Our technicians have
corrected this issue and the website is now available
online. If you still face any difficulties, please call
our technical department on the number mentioned below.

I apologize for any trouble it may have caused to you.

If you have any further questions, please reply using the
Secure Message Center.

Thank You,

Vinay Shankar
E-mail Customer Service Representative


So Chase Customer Service says it was an unplanned outage; Chase Web-dev team say it was a planned outage. I asked them which one. I wonder if I'll even get the courtesy of a response ;-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Emma's Graduation - Book Now on Sale!

Emma's Graduation by Colin Bodell | Make Your Own Book

I'll be doing signings at locations around the US and in the UK, Romania and Ireland in the next few months. Hoping for an appearance on Oprah too!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beatbox Flute



Seattle native Greg Pattillio is lauded as the best beatboxing flautist - admittedly there is not that much competition (Ian Anderson excepted). I must hear him live!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Maker Fair - This Month

Look forward to seeing you at this year's Maker Fair. Evan will be demonstrating his laddervator!

See me at Maker Faire!




Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm Now A Professional Artist


And how do I know I'm a professional artist? Because one of my pieces available on Zazzle was purchased today. I don't recall my commission rate - but as soon as the check arrives in the mail the drinks are on me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Looking for Bureaucracy?


Yahoo is the place. This is what Sbroz saw when he was looking for the correct spelling of "Bureaucracy".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pocahontas Pronounced "Avatar"


Click on the image above to see the story of Avatar in all it's glory.

I did enjoy the movie - but it falls into the 'watch once' category. Too much fantasy and not enough sci-fi for me. The images were awe inspiring; just hoping that the same tech can be applied to something set in deep space involving a mining colony being attacked by aliens protecting their...something.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Black Friday Commeth


Black Friday is a week away. Cyber-Monday is the Monday thereafter. Few people know that the Wednesday after Cyber Monday is named "Innuendo Wednesday".

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Irony Thick Enough To Cut With A Chainsaw


Slashdot: "Spring Design Sues Barnes & Noble Over Nook IP" Barnes & Noble has been sued by a company called Spring Design over the design of it's Nook book reader. Notwithstanding the hilarity that that generates (and it looks like Spring Design has a legitimate beef), Yahoo! is running a Kindle add underneath the story! But that's not all. Refresh the page and the next ad in rotation is a Barnes & Noble ad. I couldn't have made this up if I had tried!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Designing Obama

The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, has collaborated with artists and designers to create Designing Obama, a chronicle of the art and design from the historic campaign. Get the inside story on how design was used by the campaign, and scope out the pieces, created unofficially, by grassroots supporters. The 360-page book is full-color and hardbound, highly crafted with an embossed sleeve and doubtless ships in a jewel-encrusted porcelain cask with winged angels atop.

What makes this doubly interesting (to me at least) is that it's a project funded by Kickstarter.com -- or rather a project funded by visitors to Kickstarter.com.

Kickstarter is a platform for all-or-nothing project funding. The project owner sets the value they they need to complete the project. Sponsors (you and me) pledge money. If the value set by the owner is met, the project is funded, you're credit card is charged and you get that for which you asked. If the project is not funded by the owner-set end date, nothing happens.

As of September 19 2009, Designing Obama has a target of $65,000, has 278 backers and $19,226 in pledges with 46 days to go. I kicked in $150 for the deluxe version of the book which includes my name printed as a "Gold Sponsor" (So I set my name up as "Colin Taumatawhakatangihangakoayauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukypokaiwhenuakitanatahu Bodell" we'll see what they do with that! (Source of the name is here;) (If you want to hear it pronounced, try here)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sorry - Nuevo Laredo



Shot during 2 gigs during summer 2009. I used the audio from the first gig for the video. Stephen swapped out the audio with the studio recording from the RSVP ep.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Clangers: The Intruder



Since there is not much to do on the Clanger's planet you'd have thought that they would have had the time to come up with a better name than "Baby Clanger".

Saturday, August 08, 2009

All Hands All Over


All Hands is All Over. Wonderful experience. I certainly didn't imagine how much work would be needed to prep for the all hands when I agreed to do it. But worthwhile nevertheless. The organization behind the event was first class. Sadly I didn't get the chance to wield the sledgehammer...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Carousel Commercial - Adam Berg, Stink Digital



Just amazing photography and digital composting. I've watched this 20+ times this morning and with each viewing I see something new, either within the video, or a technique employed in its creation. Home of the video: Stink Video ; You should also visit Philips TV home where you can see the video in much higher resolution than on YouTube.

Monday, April 13, 2009

DD-WRT

Spent Sunday afternoon flashing my Linksys WRT54G wireless router with the DD-WRT firmware. Since I use the story of Linksys being compelled to release their router code to satisfy the t&C's of the Open Source license that governed some source code they used, I though I should walk the talk.

DD-WRT is a third party developed firmware released under the terms of the GPL for many ieee802.11a/b/g/h/n wireless routers based on a Broadcom or Atheros chip reference design. It exposes a ton of additional capabilities that are generally not available from the pedestrian firmware released by Linksys (Cisco) and others. Being able to nudge up the transmission power from the paltry 28mw to which the WRT54G defaults was of particular interest.

The DD-WRT wiki is very clear and the forums valuable for those minor questions not covered by the wiki. I must say, the upgrading process was very easy. I did have to hit the forums to figure out how to tweak the settings to optimize for Vuze (P2P client) but overall it was a breeze. Highly recommended. And yes - I'm now transmitting at 100mw - significantly improving bedroom-access while not melting the antennas...


[UPDATE 24 July 2009: See the DD-WRT Site for information about an exploit and to download the latest, patched, version. Also on the site is a firewall rule that blocks any attempt to access sth that has "cgi-bin" in the url.]

Monday, April 06, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Conficker. April 1 Approacheth


Could be something, could be nothing. But do me a favor, download the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) and run it (quick scan will suffice in the majority of instances). You can read more about Conficker at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. More juicy conjecture at Gizmodo.

If you are not behind a proxy server Conficker eye Chart for easy identification of systems possibly infected.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something else lost


"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

-- Neuromancer, WIlliam Gibson, 1984

And what will become of the image thus conjured when all the world's tv is digital? Unnecessarily backlit-black or kaleidoscopic random, swiftly stuttering and Lego-like? No faint observance of ghosts in the distance, of partially formed transient stories around which you add your own dialog but never concern yourself of the ending. Pixelation is a poor substitute for the monochromatic-spectrum and white noise of that which cannot be further from the definition of 'static'. And how does it feel to awake at 2:00am, lying on a sofa with the tv tuned to a dead digital channel? Can you awake?