With great pool comes great towel mess! This is a simple DIY project that uses inexpensive PVC pipe, a few screws and a shade umbrella stand to make a very practical towel tree for summertime poolside organization. I think it took me all of an hour, maybe two, to assemble and paint. Total cost, a hair over $50. If you don't paint it, less than $50.
An unintended consequence of placing glue traps around the garage: A desert spiny lizard, which is very beneficial to our yard as a pest control device, stuck itself to one of our "research" glue traps. These glue traps were intended to catch the various little bugs that might wander in through the space between the garage door and the door frame.
This is the short story about how I rescued her with a drizzle of olive oil.
For a luau-themed software launch party at meltmedia, we wanted to be able to play Cornhole. I don't know that Cornhole is a regular game played at traditional luaus, but at meltmedia luaus it is. As I am the Chief Tinkerer (see proof on Instagram) at meltmedia, I volunteered to build the game parts for the festivities. If you're not familiar with Cornhole, it's a very simple game: Toss little corn-feed-filled cloth bags at a 6" hole in 24" x 48" board that's about 30' away from you. For all the official rules, go to (I'm not kidding, here) the Official Cornhole Rules page at the American Cornhole Association website. It's hard not to giggle.
If you have even the most basic of woodworking skills and tools, you can do this.
At the meltmedia office we're making a video podcast once a week. Our design team made a cool backdrop for the little studio area we use. It's a big-ass inkjet direct-print on a full 8' by 4' sheet of foam core. As you can guess, it was a bit floppy and needed some kind of support behind it. It also needed to be lightweight because we wanted to be able to hang it on the whiteboard behind us so we could easily remove it and replace it when we needed the whiteboard. I looked around the garage and all I had that was long enough was an 8' 2x4. So, the entire frame is made from that single pine 2x4. I ripped three 1" strips from it. to get the top, bottom and sides. The sides are just a long piece cut in half.
If you are writing code for your Arduino on a Mac and you've previously written code using Apple's FREE Xcode IDE, you know that the standard Arduino development environment is lacking in functionality, especially those which professional software developers have had in their IDEs for years. My personal favorite is Apple's Xcode IDE, which is the primary IDE used in developing applications for the OS X on the Mac and for iOS applications on Apple's mobile platforms (which are technically ALSO running Apple's OS X operating system). Find out how easy it is to use a professional-grade IDE to do your Arduino code using embedXcode from Rei Vilo Hobbies.
It's been a while since I posted the article on building my backyard fire pit. A good portion of the traffic to this site is because of the fire pit, so I thought I'd post an update with some new photos and tips on how the fire pit has been improved since it was built. Here is the completed fire pit sanctuary in the back yard, complete with 400-lb. steel pergola and new fire rocks.
I use git to protect myself from myself. When I write code for AVR, Arduino, iOS, OS X or even the web, I stick it in a git repository on bitbucket.org (it's free to have many private repos, so check it out) (thank you, Atlassian!). At the meltmedia office, we use the gitflow process of source code management to manage our projects and it works wonderfully. So, between home and the office, I use both github and bitbucket. Source code management ("SCM") is s-m-r-t smart and easy as pie (assuming making pies is indeed easy) with git. If I mangle the source code in my project, I can roll it back to a working state. If I want to try something out that will require major fiddling with the code in a project, I branch and fiddle. If it works, I merge it back in. If the experiment fails, I dump the branch like it never happened.
If you're like me, and I know I am, you have spools of wire or solder sitting around. I generally put mine in the cabinet above my desk. Lately, with more projects going on, I find myself pulling them down out of the cabinet constantly. I had a collection of the most used spools sitting on the workbench cluttering it up. Well, no more, I say! Here's how I organized them and made it easier to pull pieces from them quickly.
I built a machine to walk my FitBit for me. I call it the FitBit Cheat-O-Matic! Why? Our office is having a FitBit competition this month (November 2013). In preparing for the competition I overworked my Achilles tendon and could not participate. So, I adopted the mantra:
If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
The FitBit Cheat-O-Matic is a machine that shakes my FitBit for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and does it faster than my normal walking pace. I suppose it's actually faster than most people can run, for that matter. Sure it's cheating! Not only is it cheating, but it's cheating at a level that's so blatant it can't be mistaken for anything else! It's fully disqualified from the competition, of course. But the point is no longer to win the competition, but to be totally ridiculous and to rack up outrageous FitBit stats and make people laugh or maybe shake their heads.
iPotti #2 is the latest incarnation of iPotti, the custom bathroom availability monitoring system I built for my employer, meltmedia. I started designing and building the original iPotti in 2010 and it went into operation in early 2011. At the time, there wasn't anything like it that we were aware of. Lately, some other similar systems have popped up and their inventors have done some pretty cool stuff with them. I've found inspiration to reinvent iPotti. Plus, at meltmedia we'd like to use the device for marketing purposes in the near future.
Since 2011, meltmedia has outgrown its original office where iPotti ("number one") is installed. At that time there were about 20-some-odd meltmedians. Today, there are over 60 of us and we now occupy TWO different office spaces on the same campus. On the plus side, with the growth in the number of meltmedians came a growth in the number of pottis at meltmedia to service those meltmedians. On the not-plus side, there is only ONE iPotti #1 and it only watches TWO of the 9 or 10 pottis across two buildings. This situation needed to be rectumfied. [snicker]