Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rose Poster

This was one final piece I did while I still had access to my 40 rolls of duct tape before I moved out.

(I'm not dead, just at college. Sorry!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

1000 Blank White Cards Starter Kit

1000 blank index cards: $3.29
4 pens: $1
Games: 25
Price per game: 17 cents
Making a fool of yourself in public with your friends: Priceless

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Poster for Band Silent Auction

So every year the Fremont High School Band program holds a silent auction at their winter concert. They sell lots of average stuff like small appliances and baskets, but last year I was feeling good and wanted to give something back to the band seeing as how it was so important to my high school experience. So I took the poster I had made of the school mascot (Firebird) and framed it and put it in the auction with a starting bid of $15, expecting it to get to about $30, which wouldn't be that bad for the band. Turns out there was two Fremont alumni in the audience that REALLY wanted that poster, so it ended up going for more than $80!

So this year the band came to me and asked me to make them another one. Pictured above is what came of that request. The entire sheet is 8.5" x 11" and is all duct tape with the exception of my signature, which is sharpie. Let us hope it does pretty well in the auction this year. It will probably help that they know about it early; last year I showed up 30 minutes before the auction opened and plunked it down on a random table with a bid sheet, so many people I talked to never saw it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Kubb: an interesting yard game where you throw batons to try and knock down the other player's kubbs, then once they're all knocked down you knock down the king (the tall one).

I saw the plans get linked to on one of the craft blogs I read (I think it was Make Magazine), and it looked like an easy enough wood project and a fun enough game. I haven't gotten to do much with my dad this summer so this seemed like a good way to finish off the summer before I head off to my freshmen year at college.

The rules on how to play can be found here. Same guy who posted the plans, and did a very good job explaining it.

I did change a few things from what his plans said. The biggest change was that instead of trying to rip 1/2" off the edge of a 4"x4", we just ran it through a planer a bunch of times, so the wood started out looking really nice (Didn't really last past the first game that much). When it was all said and done I finished the wood with Danish Oil to give it a little bit of water protection.

When we were picking out the lumber we found one piece of closet rod that was the perfect length, but was all warped. It hurt a little bit to buy that piece, knowing it didn't matter since I was cutting it into short pieces, but still, the twitch.

This is going to be the perfect game to take to Davis. Having fields all over the place will be nice.

My New Toy

So the price of technology still ceases to blow my mind. For the last few weeks I had been tossing around the concept of thin clients, which is where you have all your software running on one computer, and then displaying on many. The primary application being in schools and libraries where you can have a bunch of old, cheap Pentium IIs and one big new shiny server running everything, pretty much making the PIIs as fast as the new server, depending on how many people are running it.

I've wanted to play around with this, but that didn't work too well when I was lacking one key piece of hardware to pull it off: an extra network interface. All new computer's come with a network interface build onto the motherboard, (in the old days, it was an extra PCI card) so I can't just borrow another one from one of my other computers and play with it till the cows come home.

I needed to go buy a PCI NIC (Network Interface Card) to add to my server so I can play around with this. I saw a whole box of these at Weird Stuff, a local surplus electronics store, for $5, so that was my plan, until I checked on Fry's website for the general price of a new NIC.

NICs come in three flavors: 10, 100, and 1000. This is just defining the speed. The normal NIC these days is 100 and is what I saw for $5 at Weird Stuff. (100Mbps = 12.5MBps either way) 10 is rather painfully slow at 1.25MBps. (Although still much faster than my internet) So imagine my surprise when I saw on Fry's a 1000Mbps NIC for $10! I had no concept that this hardware is that cheap.

So I ran over there that afternoon and picked up the one I saw on the website. But I discovered something really interesting when I was looking at the shelf. The brand name NICs; more like $70. That's a pretty crazy difference from brand name to generic. I'll take a generic, thank you very much...

So now my desktop has 2 network interfaces to play with. I installed Edubuntu x86 server on a spare hard drive and plugged my laptop into the second NIC. Turned it on, and like magic, I had Linux booting on my laptop from across the network. Now hopefully my dorm will have a Cat6 jack in it so I can run this card at full speed for once. (All of my other equipment is 100Mbps)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Swamp Cooler

So I'm at my grandparent's house right now trying to fix their computer/internet. It's one of those "treat the computer like a toaster" instances where the first thing I do is download the last 150 security updates and service pack 2.
Being the middle of the Central Valley it is rather hot around here. I've been especially impressed with one of their techniques to stay cool.

This is a real appliance, it says "Wisper Cool" on the top of it. It's a box fan with a cloth covering the air intake that looks and feels a lot like one of those textured kitchen sponges. It has a little water pump that circulates water up to the top of this cloth keeping it wet all the time.

What is really amazing about it is that in the last 24 hours I've poured more than a gallon of water into this thing refilling it. I find that an incredible volume of water to be vaporized at room temperature. It's kept the closet that is their computer room rather comfortable.

Just food for thought.