I’ve heard that installing and configuring Rails is a pain in the ass; Install Rails promises to help do it easily and without fuss (and with explanation). Nice!

Date posted: October 7, 2013 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

A couple of years ago, I got obsessed with finding a large-format laser printer for our home office, and I bought a used HP ColorJet the size of my Jeep off Craigslist. A few months earlier I had the opportunity to horsetrade a Xerox Phaser 790 from a consulting client, so for a short while, we wound up with two huge printers at the house. I couldn’t get the HP to print reliably with fluctuations in humidity and temperature (whenever we opened the office windows), so I decided to bring it into work where it sits in a dry, A/C-regulated office. It’s been a workhorse ever since, printing design flats on 11×17″ paper every week. The 790 was also sensitive to humidity, although the prints we got were richer in color, and after I brought it to the office and cleaned the fuser drum myself, the output cleared up.

Last week my client emailed me to ask if I would be interested in his Phaser 7300, a circa 2004 large-format unit he was storing in his basement. I remembered the quality of output it was capable of, so I quickly agreed to come and pick it up. It’s a big SOB, weighing in at about 160 pounds, so it’ll be tricky to get in the house, but not as hard as the HP was. And it’ll be a great replacement for the B/W unit we’ve got which is refusing to load paper correctly (and which requires a print server to be available to OS X machines). Perhaps the biggest problem will be where to fit the damn thing.

Big New Honkin Printer

Date posted: September 23, 2013 | Filed under art/design, geek | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been using a Moleskine for the last three years to keep track of things, jot down notes, sketch ideas, and hold important things close. I take it literally everywhere I go. I’ve worked out a crude system with it, but this site lays out a fantastic framework for note-taking. I’m going to switch over this week.

Date posted: August 20, 2013 | Filed under art/design, geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

For a while, I’ve been thinking that iPhoto has been messing with my head. I have it set up to display images in descending order (newest first), and every time I pulled photos off the D7000 I couldn’t find them. I’d have to scroll all over the place to hunt them down. This morning, frustrated, I rebuilt the iPhoto database to try and fix the problem. When it had finished chugging through all the photos (I have to bite the bullet and disconnect iPhoto from Flickr at some point soon so that I can remove a ton of photos from my hard drive) they were still all screwed up. Then I peeked at the EXIF data on some recent photos and realized the problem: My camera’s date was set to 2012.

Now I’ve got to find a way to

  1. Comb through EXIF data to find all the files shot with the D7000
  2. Replace 2012 with 2013.

There are several applications that can do this, most of which are for sale. I’m told Lightroom can do it easily, and I’ve been considering an upgrade from iPhoto for about, oh, five years.


On the positive side, one of my shots from last summer (a tossed-off iPhone pic) may wind up on a poster for a client. I’ve requested a full-size copy as payment.

Date posted: August 7, 2013 | Filed under geek, photo | Leave a Comment »

This Incredible Full Scale Lego X-Wing Is the Largest Model In History.

I like that it’s a repro of the small X-Wing kit, but would have been more geeked if it was a model of the real thing.

Date posted: May 23, 2013 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Our good friend Linda sent her old Kindle up to Maryland when she upgraded. I pulled it out last week and looked it over, trying to figure out how to get new books on it without erasing what it already held. I’m new to the e-book thing, only having loaded some ePub files on my iPhone a few months ago. Kindles use a different format, so I had to find a way to convert and transfer my books: enter Calibre.

It’s a cross-platform app meant to do a lot of things, so it resembles an OS X app from 2001, before UI standards really got nailed down and people were porting things over from UNIX. It’s cryptic, so it takes some time to sort out what can be done and what will blow things up, but once I sorted out the UI and what I wanted to do, it was pretty straightforward.

The Kindle itself is really nice; I like the fact that it’s got wi-fi and it feels good in my hands. I’ve only played around with it a little bit, so I have no idea what its total capabilities are yet. Jen and I are looking into setting up a house Amazon Prime account so that we can buy more books, as well as stream movies and take advantage of free shipping, and I think that will make it even better. And apparently there’s some way I can access my New Yorker subscription on the Kindle too.

I think eventually I’ll take the plunge and buy an iPad variant, but right now I really like this thing.

Date posted: May 9, 2013 | Filed under friends, geek | Leave a Comment »

Here’s a great little article about Old School Dungeons & Dragons and the changes made after it was bought out by Wizards of the Coast.

Child psychologist Donald Winncott describes the pure play of youth, where an unboundedness is the required work of a healthy developing mind, and continues to be an vital part of being an authentic self into adulthood. Is this was role-playing is about? Authenticity? And is someone supposed to find authenticity imagining they are, say, a magic-user in search of arcane lore?

Date posted: May 6, 2013 | Filed under entertainment, geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

On the ride home, a segment about trademarking Idaho Potatoes on NPR got me thinking. So naturally, I sat down and registered Finn’s domain name. I wonder if I should grab the short version too…

Date posted: February 18, 2013 | Filed under finn, geek | Leave a Comment »

I did some surgery on my Powerbook 160 last night. Apple, in its wisdom 20 years ago, soldered the clock battery to a daughtercard, and from all I’ve read the machine won’t boot if the batteries are dead. So I busted out the iron and got the original battery off (with some difficulty), then put a new one in. Unfortunately it still didn’t come on. No bong, no whine, nothing. I have a working G3 Pismo in the basement for any OS 9 needs, but it would be fun to have an working monochrome Mac in the house, for old time’s sake.

Rooting through the basement a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a tupperware full of unused black and white film. Never one to waste money or pass up a challenge, I dusted off my Minolta X-700 and found it, too had dead batteries. With the clock battery order I got two new cells for the camera, and dropped them in. It fired right up and I started shooting pictures again. Having practiced about 10,000 digital shutter actuations on the D70, I knew exactly how to use it, and I’m hoping the film is still good so that I can develop some film. I have a scanner at work with a negative attachment, so I’m going to plug that in tomorrow and try it out. If I get good results, I’ll start scanning boxes of negs we have sitting around the house.


This Minolta is actually my second. My father has always been a camera nut, and he bought me the first when I left for college. I used it through most of my freshman year, until my asshat second-semester roommate invited a homeless thief to stay in our apartment for a few days. Predictably, it went missing. My dad replaced it that summer with a new one, and it served me well through four years of college and afterward as my primary camera until I bought my first digital. It’s a shame I didn’t learn to master it then as much as I wanted to, but I hope I can now use my digital experience to improve my film skills.

Date posted: February 12, 2013 | Filed under apple, geek, photography | Leave a Comment »

I like Safari’s Reader feature for decontenting web pages and making things easier to digest; however I use Firefox exclusively. Readability is a plugin for Firefox that adds Reader’s functionality plus adds an Instapaper read-it-later-on-your-phone feature. I skipped the registration step (I don’t need another app on my phone right now) and it works beautifully.

Date posted: February 12, 2013 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »