Robbed. During broad daylight. At work. By the mailroom guys.

At least, this is what it felt like

At least, this is what it felt like

I was waiting to surprise you with this, but last week I bought a MakerBot and had it shipped to work. 1

Well, it arrived today… and really… I suppose this is my own fault… but… you see… I was just robbed.

One of the best and most irreplaceable things about getting an awesome new robot is unboxing it.  The mailroom guys at work, well intentioned though they are, opened my MakerBot box.  I suppose I could have told them in advance that the robot should be arriving soon and to be on the look out for it.

Nevertheless!  Tonight I have to clear a space in my Robot Work Area so that I can add my Replicator to the line of robot workers.  But what to name it?  My MakerBot Cupcake CNC is named “Bender,” the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic is named “Flexo.”  There are so many Futurama robots to choose from.

I suppose I could chose a non-Futurama name for my new robot, but it really seems such a shame to break a streak.

  1. Photo courtesy of Timo Newton-Syms []
  2. She’s also a bending unit! []

Swing States and Farming

Swing State: The state of being on or near a swing

Swing State: The state of being on or near a swing

This election has been an interesting one to watch – especially since following the analysis on Nate Silver’s 538 blog at the New York Times.  It seems like there are really two different kinds of campaigns going on right now.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure this has been happening every four years – I’ve just been too oblivious to notice).  Living in California, I only see one kind of campaign – a half-hearted attempt from the GOP and Democratic parties to vie for votes, but a lot of political fundraising.  I’m sure that those living in a swing state like Ohio or Nevada see an entirely different election – because this is where the money raised in other states gets spent. 1  All of this makes me think of a national campaign in terms of a RTS video game2 – you farm and defend in one area so that you can fight in another.

Which makes me think, why should I be the plankton?  Why shouldn’t I be the one whose vote is being courted?  And, really, shouldn’t one vote count as much as another vote?  Of these three the less petulant question is about the worth of a vote.  If a presidential election comes down to the opinions of 11.5 million people in Ohio, this means that a single vote cast in Ohio has more of an impact on an election than 300 million other possible votes. 3  So, it seems that although Ohio only 3.69% of the population, their votes mean more than the 96.31% of us.  Fully admitting I have no idea what I’m doing with these numbers, and someone else please correct me, it would seem an Ohio vote is worth 26.10 more than the vote of a non-Ohio voter.

This makes the very cynical part of me want to move to Ohio for six months every four years.  What responsibility and what power!  Imagine being able to cast a super-vote for the presidential election.

  1. Photo courtesy of Bernat Casero []
  2. WarCraft II and StarCraft I being prime examples []
  3. Admittedly, I’m leaning heavily on Google here.  Google tells me that Ohio has a population of 11,544,951 and the U.S has a population of 311,591,917 circa 2011.  Clearly, these are not all people who are eligible to vote.  But, making the totally unfounded and unresearched assumption that Ohio has a roughly similar proportion of voters to general population, we can estimate with wild inaccuracy, or at least flagrant disregard for a scientific method, a rough proportional impact of an Ohio vote versus a non-Ohio vote. []
October 23, 2012 | Comments Closed

So THAT’S why I’ve been a bastard each morning

I AM smiling

I AM smiling

I made a large pot of coffee on Saturday, more than I would drink in a single morning, specifically because I’m lazy and thought I would just drink the second half of the pot the following morning. 1  Saturday morning I didn’t see any of the white mugs we’ve been using lately, so I switched to one of the Impressionist-artist themed mugs in the back of the cabinet.  I drank my coffee, had a good day, and all was right and well with the world.  The following morning I poured another mug of coffee, drank that and went back for a second – to discover there was barely any coffee left.  I had just made enough for four cups, so what gives?

It turns out that the white mugs are smaller than the Impressionist mugs by about 1/3.  After making more coffee it slowly dawned on me…  very slowly…  I had been under-consuming coffee2 for almost the last year by about two-thirds of a cup.

Totally unrelated story of this morning.  The coffee shop near my work is apparently undergoing a remodel.  Which explains why no one was there to serve me coffee.  Back across the street to a restaurant that I generally don’t frequent to get coffee. 34  I go in, ask for coffee, and the woman behind the counter5 asked me if I had been there before.  “Yes, a while ago, but I usually get my coffee from Pete’s.”  She went on to explain they have all fair-trade organic coffee, it doesn’t have an aftertaste, and it’s very good.  I said something polite and non-committal – but, really, I would have still bought it and drank it if she had told me their coffee was made from baby seals and brewed with orphan tears.

It occurs to me that I could have done a “This is not normal.  But on meth it is.”-meme style joke. 6

  1. Photo courtesy of patries71 []
  2. That’s a thing, right? []
  3. I’m a simple man and this is an unreasonably complex cafe.  You walk up to the counter, order your meal, then sit down, if you want water you go get it yourself, someone brings your meal to you, and then you go back to the counter to pay.  It’s this weird hybrid between self-service and service that I’m just not comfortable with. []
  4. Plus, they were kinda rude to a friend of mine. []
  5. She had the air of an owner about her []
  6. If you’re not familiar with the meme, you could click through – but some of it is NSFW []
| Comments Closed

Mailing lists that eventually become spam

SpamBot 3000 is ready to... serve

SpamBot 3000 is ready to… serve

Occasionally I will opt into a mailing list – but very very rarely will I do so with a real e-mail address. 1  One of the domains I own allows me to specify a “catch all” e-mail address where mis-addressed e-mails will be sent.  The most useful part of this is that I can give out an e-mail address of any sort I want and the e-mail will be redirected to the account I actually check.  Later if I discover that it wasn’t such a good idea to have given out an e-mail address like that, then I can always forward all e-mail to that address to trash.

For the most part as long as you’re not giving your e-mail address to really sketchy websites or posting them in plaintext somewhere, I’ve found many newsletters/e-mail marketers are pretty ethical.  What’s interesting are those companies that have passed on my (fake) e-mail addresses.  What I’ve found is that they tried to market to me at that address for a few years – and then apparently gave up – at about the same time that I began receiving spam to that address.

Which brings me to a minor rant.  The company I work for2 posted all of the employees’ e-mail addresses online in plaintext.  What a colossally bad idea.  Although I’ve asked the IT guys to at some level of obfuscation3 to our addresses, the requests have gone unheard.  My work e-mail, which is managed by Gmail, does a pretty good job at catching spam – but this seems an unnecessary step.  Even with these protections, I’m still getting phishing e-mails, Nigerian scams, “medications” over the internet, offers to purchase plaques commemorating awards, and all kinds of nonsense.

Uh, yeah, I don’t know where I was going with this one.  :)

  1. Photo courtesy of Tinkerbots []
  2. During my day job for a company you’ve never heard of doing something far less interesting than making awesome robots that make awesome things []
  3. Which would be easy since the company website is on WordPress and there must be a dozen plugins that do exactly this []
October 18, 2012 | Comments Closed

Making may have just jumped the shark…



I just saw a commercial for canned biscuits with the tagline of “Let the Making Begin.” 1 More amusing – the bottom of the screen has “#makernation.”

I suppose it’s inevitable that popular trends get co-opted by marketers.  Given that the maker-trend is about actually diving in and making things for oneself, generally from scratch, it seems at odds with “making” by just opening a can and putting the contents in an oven.2

  1. Photo courtesy of Theron LaBounty []
  2. This reminds me of when Wal-Mart began carrying “grunge” clothing. []