All posts by michael

With an interest in computers dating back more than 30 years, Michael is a Jack of many trades and designs Web sites and databases for fun. Currently employed as a systems/network engineer for a government subcontractor, keeps busy with his music collection, writing ( and excellent photography ( While he never quite fit in as a kid, he's grown to kind of like it that way.

Now this is just too much…

The folks at MIT’s Media Lab have come up with a Lover’s Cup. It’s got lights in the rim that glow brighter as the rim of its companion are brought closer to your SO’s lips.

I’m not sure whether to be weirded out by this or what. Isn’t there such thing as too much information. Next they’ll have a wireless enabled toilet seat with a remote monitor so you can tell when your sweetie is… Well, you get the point.

The Social Event part at the end kills me. It’s as if they think people just stand around at parties with their noses to the wall avoiding all interaction.

Can’t these people spend their time developing something useful like a Newton MessagePad 5000 (Color, WiFi, Bluetooth, same form factor as the 2100, decent sync software for Linux, Mac, and Windows.)

Competition for my PowerMate

A couple years ago I bought a Griffin Powermate. It was so cool that I actually bought two, one for home and one for work. I have it set up as a universal volume knob and mute button since I’m playing music all the time on the computer.

Today I discover (via Uncrate) the Logitech NuLOOQ Professional. It’s a combination jog wheel and tool button gadget that serves as an add-on to their NuLOOQ Tooldial application. Apparently it’s made to work with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign right out of the box, but it appears you can reprogram it for shortcuts for nearly any application.

Sadly, looks to be Mac only. I’d love to play around with the hardware side of it if it worked in Windows or (even better) Linux. The thought of having a programmable jog wheel at my disposal would be pretty cool. With as much photo editing as I’ve been doing lately, it would be a great add-on to my Wacom tablet.

A Huge Difference

What could be more near and dear to a geek’s heart than old-school computational devices: slide-rules, abacuses (abacii?), and the Babbage Difference Engine.

Found the site of someone who built a BDE #2 out of LEGO. Through that site, I found another where they have built a BDE #1, BDE #2 and even a Babbage Analytical Engine from Meccano. (The guy’s whole site can be found here.)

These are cool enough I want to build them for myself as geek-art around the house.

Only you, my bretheren, will understand why this is so cool.

(Yes, found the LEGO one via Slashdot, but it’s the Meccano versions that really caught me.)

Executive Decision

OK guys, I sort of made an executive decision. I found a template I’m happy with, so I installed it put it into action. I’ll still do the snapshots of a few other templates, but I have to say that I really like this one. Other than some basic fine-tuning, the only thing I think really needs to be changed is to replace the banner image, and even that doesn’t have to happen.

Personally, I like the current banner image, but certainly wouldn’t mind changing it to a suitably scaled picture of the Twin Cities skyline (can we get one with both Downtowns and put the title in between?), or other geekish image — although I really don’t want to go with the whole circuit board clichè. Whatever image it is, we should make sure it’s royalty free or properly licensed.

In other news, I added the email links where author names appear on the main page. I’ll go through the rest of the site design once we pick a final template layout. I also took Mr. Eian’s stab at the about page, made some (quite) liberal edits, and installed it. Edits/comments welcome/encouraged, especially when it comes to the “we’d like to see more chapters…” part. (I really like Scottie’s idea.) I’m working on getting author profiles in there to flesh it out a bit more. Give me some time on that one.

Things to do (in no particular order):

  • Set up the mailing list
  • Invite/notify the other geeks
  • Create the aliases for each author
  • Make a theme decision


Site Stuff

Obviously we’ll be changing the template in the next couple days. Patrick found a nice one that I hope to implement Monday some time.

One other thing we had talked about was a tag-line for the blog. Somehow “Just another WordPress weblog” doesn’t do it for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So let’s have some suggestions!