Happy Thanksgiving 2014

turkey is good

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family, readers and visitors.  I really enjoy having this blog and sharing what I have done and what I am planning to do.  I appreciate all the encouragement, feedback, and dialog that this forum has generated.

I hate apologizing for not blogging more regularly.  However, I feel like I should since I have had so many kind words about my articles on the BeagleBone Black (BBB) and my increasing interest in woodworking.  So, to all of you, thank you.

Over the past year, I have been as busy as ever and it is only just starting to calm down but as soon as I say that, I am sure that it will wind right back up again.  In October 2013, I was asked to assume the team lead and system engineering responsibilities for one of my company’s web sites.  We use Adobe CQ/AEM for our CMS solution, running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  When I was first asked to start building components for the CMS a few years ago, my experience centered around Microsoft technologies and this made for a “K-2”-like learning curve.  One of my decisions was to fully immerse myself and this is why I “burned the ship” by installing Linux on my workstation.  This forced me to figure out how to work out the mechanics in this new environment and it has been a fun, frustrating, exciting and very rewarding experience.

Without that, I would never have dove as deep with the BBB and plan to continue projects with it.

This year, my wife and I stubbled, quite literally, into a what may become a business endeavor.  While chatting with some neighbors on our community’s Facebook group, someone asked if anyone had or could make a Corn Hole set.  My wife said that I could build a set and then informed me.  By the way, I had never built a set before.  That was March and since then, I have built over 50 sets for friends, family, and neighbors.  It has been great for me because I had just finished building a work bench and was slowly working on some other projects but I really didn’t have any direction.  Building Corn Hole sets has really forced me to focus on the basics and the details of woodworking.  They are easy to build but take technique to build flat and straight, especially when building from box store lumber.  I have acquired good tools, experience, and confidence to begin building more complex projects.  I hope to share many of them with you.

I am what some would call a “changing imager.”  This is a type of person that can plan and start many projects but may take a while to finish.  I also have many different types of interests including audio engineering, guitar building, electronics, programming, general computers, and building and making things.  I try not to blog multi-part articles anymore because I may not finish them for a while or at all and I drives me crazy to get half-way through someone’s walk-through on something to find out that it was never finished.  Since I discovered Breaking Bad only on it’s final season, I waited until it was over before starting it on Netflix.  So, I just don’t want to do that to you.

If you have ideas for projects, please let me know.  I will try to share with you what I am doing on a more regular basis so you don’t feel like I have abandoned this blog.  To start off, I started listening to podcasts on the way to and from work.  Mostly woodworking but some guitar and generalized subjects.  Right now, my favorite is Fine Woodworking’s Shop Talk Live (iTunes & i-heart-radio).  It runs about an hour (the length of my commute) and the guys are funny, knowledgable, and down-to-earth.  It’s NOT a Festool commercial, so if you’re a woodworker, check it out.

I will probably put up some more articles on what I am up to so check back.  If you don’t hear from me, drop me a line.  I get distracted trying to keep my boys from burning down the house and keeping up with my Corn Hole orders but I will try to respond it a timely fashion.

Thanks for listening.  I look forward to getting back here.

PS.  Here is a couple if pictures of what I’ve been up to.  Building Corn Hole boards and finally getting my Dust Deputy cyclone working.

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Projects Update: It’s been crazy

CrazyWell, it’s been a rather crazy and chaotic few weeks.

First, I want to say thank you to everyone that has visited my blog.  I don’t make money from this.  I do it to share the knowledge that I accumulate.  For the 2012 calendar year, I had a total of 333 hits… for the entire year!  I must say that wasn’t really trying for an audience.  Rather, I started blogging just to document some things that I wanted maintain in a way that I could share with others.  However, in 2013, I actually gathered somewhat of a following and logged over 6000 hits, the lion share of those came after August.  It is humbling and an honor to have not only so many visitors but regulars that come back and reference my posts.  Thank you.

Now, I want to quickly let you know what I am working on and some of the projects I will be documenting in the near future.

  • Beaglebone Black Santa-CAM (after-magic report) – I had some issues with this but things worked out in the end
  • Beaglebone Black Santa-CAM upgrade – adding motion detection on it so it will fire when there’s something happening
  • Hand-made Wood Bench Plane – I will be finishing that up soon
  • Bunk Bed Underbed Storage (IKEA Kura bunk bed hack)
  • SteamOS beta Virtual Machine Install (on Oracle Virtual Box – this is going to be a hoot!)

So, check back often because the updates will be coming fast and furious!


Trying Out a New Theme

wordpressI guess it was a little over a year ago that I started with the Choco theme.  While it was fun for a while, it’s become clear that it’s difficult to read, so I’m trying out the “Twenty Eleven” theme from the WordPress team.

So far, I like it.  Let me know if you think it’s easier to read, what you love, hate, etc.

Blogging with a Mac Part 2 – Blogo

So, last night, I started out looking for a great blog editor for use on my Mac. My first attempt was a bust but the second attempt was not bad. I wasn’t doing back flips for having to pay for an editor I’m not crazy about but the editor got the job done with minimal fuss. Tonight, I am giving my next candidate, Blogo from DrinkBrainJuice.com

Download and setup was pretty straightforward. The initial startup of the app helps you get your blog configured or will help you create a new one. You can also setup your YouTube, Flikr, and other accounts for easy import to your blog.

Basic blog entry is easy enough. The editor is a WYSIWYG with a button to toggle back and forth between html markup and rich text. Pre-configured categories can be easily added as well as adding new ones ad-hoc. Media can be easily added by dragging it to a drop box. A nice feature is that you can do simple editing on pictures that you add. Nice touch. Finally, all the buttons have tool tips making using the application incredibly intuitive.

This is really an easy application to use and I am very happy with it. With a 21 day evaluation period, you have plenty of time to kick the tires before plunking down $25 for the unnagged version.

Give them a try. Go to http://www.DrinkBrainJuice.com/blogo and check out all the features (most not mentioned here)l.

This blog was written using Blogo.

UPDATE: After posting, I had a little trouble aligning the picture at the top of the this blog. The picture edit feature didn’t really help me much. Instead of trying to fix it, I left it the way the app put it up. meh.

Blogging with a Mac Part 1 – MarsEdit

MarsEditIcon128.jpgWell, as many of you know, I accepted a new position with Bright House Networks. I was blessed with a new MacBook Pro and it is hands down the most powerful, versatile laptop that I have ever used or owned.

It is a big challenge getting used to a Mac again. Having owned one for a couple of years, one would think that I’d have it down. Well, the wife stole it for her business and I haven’t touched it since.

So, I really wanted to start blogging about some of my projects and things that I have been working on. A couple years ago I started using Microsoft’s Live Writer and loved it. So recently I have been looking for an equivalent editor for the Mac.

My first attempt was an app called Qumana. I won’t spend much time on this because it simply didn’t work. At least not with WordPress so I moved on. Maybe I’ll try it again another time.

This blog entry is written using MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software. My first impression is that it’s simple. Not in a bad way, it’s just simple to use. Adding my WordPress account was painless. Including graphics was a snap. Click the media menu item, drag your picture into the target area, and publish. Shake and bake.

The editor is pretty simple too. Not much mark up to start with and definitely not an in-line WYSIWYG editor but there is a preview window that pops um next to the editor to get that job done. Adding markup is easy to do for both the novice and expert alike. The only thing that could be an issue for the uninitiated would be that when formatting the text or adding a graphic, the markup is added right into the edit and might cause some confusion but not a problem for me. Adding Categories is easy. You just type the name of the category and click the Add button. It’s also easy to save drafts and publish the blog.

Finally, updating a published blog was easy. Also, once I registered my blog, all my existing posts populated in the main window along with date and categories.

A few things that cause me to keep looking. If this app were free, it would probably be fine. However, for an application that costs $29.95, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not a lot of money but there are plenty of Blog editors out there that do more for less (some for free).

If you are comfortable with working with HTML and prefer working in a text-based editor, you might find this app right up your alley. However, if you prefer to have an integrated WYSIWYG editor or you enjoy keeping your money in your pocket (or used to buy Mountain Dew), then you might want to check back for my next review — Blogo by BrainJuice