Welcome, new visitors….

I’ve realized that I’ve been meeting a lot of new people lately, as I’ve been more social.  Here are more of my pertinent details, and places to find me, if you’re interested in that:

Facebook

Google+

Pinterest

Society6 (where you can buy prints of some of my photos, if you like)

Stuck in my head song of the day….

Heh, NO idea where this came from, but this was FIRMLY stuck in my head this morning.


Download YouTube Video | YouTube Converter

Gotta love the Harto.

Introduction to Arduino Class this Saturday!

Hi, all.  I’m a little bit late with this, but, hey, I wanted to get it out there….

Coming up this Saturday, 1:00 p.m. at the Denver Hackerspace, I’m teaching the “Introduction to Arduino” class. (Click that link up there if you need a map or directions.)

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s Wikipedia’s first paragraph on the Arduino:

Arduino is a popular open-source single-board microcontroller, descendant of the open-source Wiring platform, designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of a simple open hardware design for the Arduino board with an Atmel AVR processor and on-board input/output support. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and the boot loader that runs on the board.

In short, though, it’s an incredibly useful little critter for people who are looking to get started with a number of different kinds of hacking, including hardware setups, programming, art projects, costumery, and many others, really.

If I’ve intrigued you just enough to have some interest in joining us, feel free to just show up, there is no charge to attend and learn.  However, there are some recommendations, which I will list below:

  • If you have a laptop, bring it.
  • If you bring a laptop, and have time, download, and ideally, set up the software, from here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software, although part of the class will, indeed, be to provide assistance with that.
  • Bring any Arduino hardware you already have, and other electronics, if you’ve got ‘em, to connect up.  Yannow, blinky lights, buzzers, whatever.  We’ll find something cool to do.
  • There will be a few loaner boards, as well as, I hope, a few available for purchase, so come even if you don’t have your own hardware, to learn.

Please drop me a message, in whatever form you like, if you plan to attend, and don’t already have an Arduino of some sort, but would like to purchase one.  I intend to get several of these to make available for sale: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10817 Pricing is unknown yet, but should be at least a moderate discount from the price on the website, and definitely not more.

Crazy Addictive Chip Dip

Recently some friends ran into a dip I make occasionally.  It is crazy addictive, and ridiculously easy to make.  It’s a version of “French Onion” sour cream-based dip using good spices from Penzey’s.

I actually feel a little silly calling it a “recipe”, even, since it’s such a tiny collection of things, but I suppose that’s what a recipe is….  Anyway, here it is:

ACR0′s Chip Dip, as recently deployed at Denhac

  • Large tub o’ Sour Cream (I think it’s 16 ounces?  Might be 24.  I’ll look when I get home.  Heh.)
  • 4 Tablespoons Penzey’s Chip & Dip Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Penzey’s Toasted Dried Onion (the toasted part is important, that’s what gives the “French Onion” flavor)
  • Any other spices you might want to alter general flavor a bit.  I think I added a bit of Penzey’s garlic powder, just to kick it up.   Cayenne or other peppers are delightful.  Might even think about a bit of curry, just to send the flavor that direction.
  • Couple tablespoons “light” olive oil (whisked in to become mayonnaise-like)

Whisk everything together, until  spices and olive oil are thoroughly integrated.  Serve with your favorite chips or veggies.

New Sharp Pointy Objects!

Once again, the podcast I work with has posted an amazing story.  It’s a two-parter with our friend Betsy.  I don’t really have the words.  Go read, and listen, here:

Episode 5 – Part 1: Betsy -Taking the Girl Out of Wyoming

Episode 5 – Part 2: Betsy – Taking the Shrapnel Out of Girl

Something’s growing in my basement….

One remnant of my marriage, I’ve discovered, is a certain fondness for having lots of green things growing on my porch.  Additionally, with some of the hot sauces I’ve played with in terms of homemakery, I think, would be increased, both in terms of pride and flavor, with freshly grown peppers.

That being said, a month or two ago I decided to get serious about sprouting some seeds to end up growing in full glory out front.  Given that it was the end of February, or early March, I had to start indoors.  Here’s the rig I built, admittedly a wee bit over-engineered, for that purpose.  Additionally, I can’t lie, I way overdid it with seedlings.  So, if you’re local, and want to grow some of these for me, let me know.

Coming down the stairs, a strange glow emerges from the utility room.

The growth space is set up on a 6′ steel shelving unit that was previously holding random boxes in “long term storage”.  Several boxes got removed, with ultimate plans to declutter and eliminate.  I picked up remarkably inexpensive shop lights and “sunlight” fluorescent bulbs to provide light.

Germination and initial sprouting, however, mostly require heat and moisture, so I used an old heating pad (without a safety shutoff), for two flats, and picked up another complete kit that had its own heating element.

The double-wide flat on the right has its own "heating pad", you can see the cord coming up behind it.

Reflectors were built in a way that I’m very proud of in a “hacker-y” sense.  I used the boxes the shop lights came in, spray glue, and silvered-mylar “emergency” blankets to put them together, then hot-glued little magnets on to hold them on the rack.

The little egg up top is still germinating, so it's getting its heat from the light below it.

Steel S-hooks and the chains that come with shop lights are perfect for controlling the height of the lights.

Tomatoes, Sweet Basil, Purple Basil, Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Oregano, Habaneros, Chives, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Cayenne Peppers

The whole bounty. If you count, yes, it's 144 seedling peat pots. Who needs seedlings?

The whole enclosure, with both reflectors in place.

I think it may prove to be a pretty bountiful year!  I’m excited to get so much successfully started in such a reasonable space.  Spicy tomato salsa for all!

The podcast where I host! Also, other teasers…

So, yeah, check this out….   Jane and I decided to do a podcast where I interviewed her, instead of her doing the hosting. It’s here.

We talked about what prompted the podcast, what’s coming up, and what’s keeping both of us excited about it.  Also, after the first two, it’s nice and short, at only 33 minutes.

Also coming up for this shindig, I have plans to document a bunch of the things I’ve been up to lately, including some of the fun things I did for CyberGlitz, which you can find a gallery from here: https://www.shapewerks.com/zenphoto/cyberglitz/

Not only did I act as an “official” photographer for that party, I designed a costume involving UV LED’s, and invisible ink.  You can see some of my amazing artist friend Mar’s work in this pic:

Additionally, I’ve been sprouting a bunch of tomatoes and peppers to try for a better front-porch garden this year, and I’ll be posting some pictures of that setup soon.

Sorry for being a wee bit scattered, but, I’ve been sleeping like crap since the time change.  Stupid time change.

 

Finally, a podcast!

After a good bit of delay, much of which was indeed my fault, the inaugural Podcast from Sharp Pointy Objects has been posted!

Find it here.

Some of the details, in photos:

Jane

Jane's getting serious

Microphones

A selection of microphones

The Recording Setup - MBP and Alesis Multimix 8 USB

The podcast was mostly fueled by cheese and wine:

Cheese!

Cesqua, going in for a refuel of cheese.

Keeping track, by name and color

The party in full effect

Denhac VD Show-n-Tell

As some of you may already know, I am a founding member of Denver’s Hackerspace, Denhac.  It can be found at www.denhac.org, if you are curious to learn more.  While there, you may note on the schedule that we have a “Show and Tell” night tonight, http://denhac.org/2012/02/12/valentines-show-tell/.

I, myself, am a little bit (well, maybe a lot) against “holidays” that artificially, to my mind, create some sense of obligation.  Valentine’s Day is among the worst of these offenders for me.  I believe it creates an extreme sense that there is some obligation to prove one’s love to another, as well as creating an extreme sense, usually, of wildly unreasonable expectation and angst.

In short, I believe that if two people are truly in love, you don’t need a special day for it.  And, if two people aren’t truly in love, this day creates a terrible stress that can break what might otherwise still be a pretty good relationship.

Also, it’s my Mom’s Birthday, another thing I’m not terribly good at.  Regardless, Happy Birthday, Mom.

Really, though, all of that ranting aside, I think using Valentine’s Day as a day to show off geeky projects, and hang out with your friends at your local Hackerspace is a pretty good choice.  It’s where I’ll be, showing off some of the stuff I’m playing with, and working on in a sense that is at least slightly more than playing.

It’s open to the public, I suggest you come on down. 

My Saturday Thus Far

Okay, I’m not moving QUITE as quickly as I’d like today, but I’ve still gotten some things done, even if they’re bizarre and silly, like my strange organizational tangents:

Lanyard Loop
A collection of lanyards that started as a snarled ball in a bag.
Legs and Batteries

Yep, legs and batteries. At least they're labeled.

I got a wee bit hungry:

Cereal

Sure, it's cereal for children, dry, but hey, titanium spork!

And finally, I found this, in a bag that had been to Defcon with me, along with those lanyards:

Pedobear Ping Pong Ball

Hey! Who the hell drew Pedobear in sharpie on my ping-pong ball?

I’m lookin’ at you, Spux….