That’s my girl!

My wife and daughter were at the grocery store today.  My daughter tends to get chatty when out and about.  She volunteered that she was from California and that her dad had two robots.  Gotta love it.

June 30, 2011 | Comments Closed

And afternoons that make me sleepy

Cigarettes, and carrot juice
And get yourself a new tattoo
For those sleeveless days of June

I’m sitting on the Cafè Xeno’s steps
With a book I haven’t started yet,
Watching all the girls walk by…

Could I take you out?
I’ll be yours without a doubt
On that Big Dipper

And if the sound of this it frightens you,
We could play it real cool
And act somewhat indifferent

And hey June, why’d you have to come,
Why’d you have to come around, so soon?
I wasn’t ready for all this nature
The terrible green green grass
And violent blooms of flowered dresses
And afternoons that make me sleepy

But we could wait awhile
Before we push that dull turnstile
Into the passage

The thousands they have tread
And others sometimes fled
Before the turn came

And we could wait our lives
Before a chance arrives
Before the passage

From the top you can see Monterey
Or think about San Jose
Though I know it`s not that pleasant

hey Jim, Kerouac
(The brother of the famous Jack),
Or so he likes to say.
Lucky bastard

He’s sitting on the cafe Xeno’s steps
With a girl I’m not over yet
Watching all the world go by

“Boy you’re looking bad
Did I make you feel that sad?
I’m honestly flattered.”

But if she asks me out,
I’ll be hers without a doubt
On that Big Dipper

Cigarettes, and carrot juice
And get yourself a new tattoo
For those sleeveless days of June…

I’m sitting on the Cafè Xeno’s steps…
I haven’t got the courage yet
I haven’t got the courage yet
I haven’t got the courage yet.

Cracker – Big Diper

June 26, 2011 | Comments Closed

This would undoubtedly work on me

"The safe is empty except for an unsolved 5x5 Rubik's cube."

"The safe is empty except for an unsolved 5x5 Rubik's cube."

And, here’s the reason why – finding a method for opening that safe is infinitely more interesting than your crap.  :)

Sooo… what’s going on with you?


  • I’ve got a meeting out in Monterey today at 10:00AM and then I have to swing by San Jose back to the office.  Just the driving alone will end up eating most of my day.  I’m hoping to be able to get back to the office by 4-5:00PM.
  • Day 2 of my diet.  My diet basically consists of not eating like a pig and monitoring what I eat using  It’s basically a free online food diary where you enter the food you’ve eaten and your weight and it tallies the calories, fat/protein/carbs, and gives you all kinds of nifty graphs.  Finding the food can sometimes be an adventure, but overall it’s quite easy.  I first used the site about six or so years ago and every time I’ve stuck with it longer than about two weeks, it’s helped me lose weight.  The problem for me is that right up until the one or two week mark I’m always hungry.  :)
  • Eating a big bowl of oatmeal with raisins and honey right now.  I’ll grab some coffee on the way down to Monterey.  I’ve got a bunch of music burned to an MP3 disc for the trip and will probably end up listening to NPR most of the way.

Okay, go go go!

Accidental Experiment #371

Hypothesis: If you leave a bunch of green-yellow bananas in a hot car on a hot day for five hours will the peels turn blackish-brown and the insides mushy and slimy.

Conclusion: Yes.


MOAR CUPCAKES! Or, am I being a glutton?

MakerBot just announced they’re dropping the price on the MakerBot Cupcake CNC Ultimate kits to a ridiculously low $455.00.

I already own a Cupcake CNC, named “Bender.”  He’s been fully upgraded with an automated build platform, MK5, and a few printed upgrades as well.  (Right now it has a Unicorn instead of the MK5 installed.)  I already own a Thing-O-Matic, named “Flexo.”  My Thing-O-Matic is fully upgraded with a MK6 stepper extruder and a few minor printed upgrades.

Do I really need more plastic printing production capacity?  I don’t know.  Do I have a new name for a potential new robot lined up?  No, I really don’t.

Do I really want another 3-axis CNC robot?  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Citigroup – URL hacked? Seriously?

Apparently the hackers who stole all kinds of personal information to Citigroup’s website did so by URL hacking.

This is just unconscionable.  Even before you get to cyber-security 101, SOMEONE should have figured out that putting the account number in plain text in the URL was a terrible idea.

I don’t care who you are, the first thing you need to know about dealing with a website is that your server cannot trust a user’s input.  This can be for any number of, even very innocent, reasons – but primarily as a way to be ward against potential problems.  It just sickens me that their website had what amounts to zero security.  URL hacking isn’t even really hacking at all, it’s just a matter of tweaking URL address inputs.  It’s essentially the equivalent of dialing a company’s phone number and changing the extension by one digit just to see if you can escape phone-tree-voice-mail-hell. 1 2

I mean, would you, as a bank, put deposit or balance information into the URL?  NO.  Otherwise in 5 seconds everyone would alter their links to include “&currentbalance=100000000000”. 3  Why, then, would you ever include plain text bank account numbers in the URL and not actually verify that information on the server side?!  I mean, this is the kind of security you get with WordPress for free just by installing it.

The Citigroup website is very Web2.0, rounded corners, social-media and blogging links.  It looks great.  Did they just have their web designer handle security?  How the hell did this happen?!

Okay, Sony, Facebook, Twitter – these things get hacked because of lame or re-used passwords.  Those guys got hacked because their attackers were smart.  Citigroup got hacked because they are too stupid to handle a basic website, let alone someone’s money.

  1. Or purgatory? []
  2. Definitely purgatory []
  3. Or, better yet, “&currentbalance=pony” [] – why are you so terrible?

I’ve spent probably an hour today trying to give away an awesome sofa couch and matching stuffed chair.  I tried to list it on Craiglist, but they had this terrible system where you had to give a phone number and wait for an automated phone call or SMS.  It only allows you submit or try a phone number every five minutes.  When the automated phone call doesn’t come through, you’re stuck trying another number.  Oh, and you can only try up to three numbers in a 12 hour period.  I just want to GIVE AWAY some awesome furniture!  I’m not applying for a line of credit.  After futzing around for an hour or so, Craigslist apparently gave up and let me post anyhow.

In the meantime I tried out  What a fiasco.  It took me 60 seconds to figure out how to sign up.  To post anything you have to join a group – but joining a group was even less intuitive than the way to sign up.  Once you joined a group, you were punted to a Yahoo Groups page.  But, to do anything further you had to then sign up for a Yahoo! account – not that any of this was explicit.

I eventually just went old school – and wrote FREE on some cardboard and put them on the sofa and chair in the driveway.

June 13, 2011 | Comments Closed

Is a lasercutter for me?

After consideration, maybe not.  Following Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 I was again prompted to investigate the feasibility of a lasercutter.  Now, I don’t have any great big grand plans for one – I just think it would be awesome to have one and I would be able to think of some pretty sweet uses for it if I had one lying around.

In any case, from what I can see there are some small and very professional looking fully assembled models starting around $8000. 1  As a hobbyist with no actual plans for immediate use of a lasercutter, this is way way too much for random projects.

I’ve seen a few websites that purport to have models for around $2,500 or so with kit options starting around $1800.  The way I look at it, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with a 3D printer.  A laser on the other hand…  could blind, burn, and cut from an arbitrary distance.  Besides, if a company can’t put together a simple WordPress website, I’m hesitant to drop thousands of dollars on their product. 2

There’s also two DIY options – the open source and the promised-to-be-open-source Lasersaur.  It’s not exactly fair to criticize them for incomplete documentation. appears to be a collection of people documenting their laser cutter builds and aren’t advertising themselves as a complete tutorial.  Lasersaur started off as a very popular Kickstarter project but their site was almost devoid of information or developments until they re-surfaced at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011.  Going through the Lasersaur’s bill of materials I stopped tallying the cost once it hit $4,000.00.  At that point, it probably doesn’t make sense for me to try building my own.

For the time being, I don’t think I’m going to invest in a lasercutter, DIY kit, or open source project.  Besides, there are plenty of places in the Bay Area nearby I could have something cut or rent time on a machine.  If there was a project for up to, say, $2500 and had really great documentation, I might reconsider – but I don’t see that happening soon.


  1. I was thinking of the lowest Epilog model and one referred to as a “Turnkey Laser Business.” []
  2. And, really guys, come on. []

Is your significant other a knitter?

While at Botacon I had the opportunity to chat with other ‘bot operators – and a surprising number of them had significant others who knit.  I think there may be an entire genre of knitting accessories that could be designed and 3D printed.  So, how about helping out with this quick poll to the right?