tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-18 06:11 pm

Feels so nice to be offically official. :)

After a week of playing with the merchant account, testing all the setups and making sure transactions processed correctly, the rep from my bank contacted me to thank me for getting all set up. Along with the handshake came the official stickers:

IMG_1158.JPG

photo.jpg



Nothing's really changed, but it feels so much more like a real business now. :) Next up: finally get a respectable web page on the air so I can have an online presence to match with the real-world one.
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-17 05:44 pm

Eeee!

"Can you fix it?"



<3 <3

A gift from the finely talented and fun-to-meet [livejournal.com profile] ursulav. Thank you for the wonderful artmakings. :)
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-17 01:28 pm

Input needed: collaborative projects?

Two years ago we produced a limited-run set of wooden tikis for FURtherCONfusion's "Surf Safari" theme. Ten artists were included; each did one tiki design. As payment we produced a 10-pack of their own design for them to sell (or keep). The rest were sold or given away through the con and were a smash hit.

Now and then I get contracted by various conventions to do ID badges or tracking tags for them to give away. More often than not they're looking for artwork in addition to the actual production part -- but as I'm no artist myself, production is the only part I really do. This and the success of the tikis have me wanting to do more of these collaborative efforts just to see where it can go. What I'm not sure about is what's best for the artists involved.

For example: next year's FC theme is "Down Under". They may or may not ask me to make ear-tags this time around (hopefully they do!). Either way, I wanted to get a group of artists together to submit small boomerang designs to be used as eartags. If I could get ten different designs (just like with the tikis) I'd produce 50 of each, numbering the total batch from 1-500. If FC decided to buy them, the convention would give them out like the year before. If not, then my friends and I would give them out and hopefully sell a few to cover our costs. Either way, more cool schwag for con-goers.

The question is: if you are an artist who'd be interested in participating, what would you want in return for the art? If payment, how much? If you wanted a batch of the tags (like we did with the Tikis), how many? Simple recognition? Anything else?

My goal here would be to do this as a regular thing for multiple conventions: groupsource the designs, produce them on my own dime, recompense the artists in a fair way and then pitch the results to the conventions. If they bought, hey, costs covered. If not, then sell them ourselves or just distribute for fun.

Good idea or bad idea?
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-16 05:52 pm

Accidental supercooling

I keep the soda machines in the shop finely tuned. The goal is to have them as utterly cold as possible without actually freezing the drinks. On a hot day there's nothing nicer than a cold cola that's so cold it almost hurts.

However, I can't do sugared sodas any more; I had to fill a few slots with various diet colas and sugarfree lemonades. I don't even drink those very often as I mostly stick to iced tea these days. Still, the occasional Coke Zero is a welcome thing.

I forgot that sugar-free soda and sugar-full soda have different freezing temps. What is a perfect thermostat balance for a standard coke is about 1.8 degrees too cold for Coke Zero. And with how still the machines sit (and how cleanly Coke packages them), it's quite possible to get the cans below freezing temperature without anything actually crystallizing. That's exactly where the machine is now.

Take out a Coke Zero. Crack it gently. Nothing happens -- it's liquid -- until you take a sip. Touching the surface is all that you need to seed the ice crystal formation. The feel of something suddenly turning into ice on your lips is WEIRD. And you'd better drink or pour fast. If you don't get about 1/3rd of the soda out of the can real quick prepare to run for the sink... *CANFOUNTAIN*

As long as they don't go ker-splodey in the machine, this is kind of neat. I had to crack and pour a 2nd can just to confirm what was going on and watch it foam-freeze in the glass. :)

EDIT: As per Spotweld's request, here's an attempt to film it with the iphone:

tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-16 12:43 pm
Entry tags:

Writer's Block: Brush with stardom

[Error: unknown template qotd]

I've never done one of these, so figured I would for once.

Back in 1981 I lived in Boulder City, NV. I was in 6th grade at the time. We often went down to Lake Mead to go boating or swimming. One of our common visiting spots was the Lake Mead Marina, where we'd go feed stale popcorn to the carp.

While tearing around the walkways with my visiting cousin right behind me, I turned a corner and ran into Hervé Villechaize. As in -- literally -- ran into. Just about knocked us both into the lake, in fact.

And I'll tell you what... that little dude could swear. Holy cats could he.
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-14 05:40 am

Usin' up the iTunes cards

Recently I found myself with a credit in my iTunes account: a few free $25 gift certificates that I'd gotten as banking perks over the last few years that I never cashed in. To my surprise none of them had expired; typing in all the little numbers turned into music-money. Score!

I really don't buy that much music. Most of my collection is lost in early electronica with a smattering of vocal trance and 80s blended in, surrounded on multiple sides by ambient and experimental things. There's some guilty-pleasure classic rock in there too. But new stuff? Eesh. No clue. Anything popular I already get assaulted-to-the-point-of-burnout on, be it via YouTube, television re-re-reuse or local radio overplay. Why buy it if you've already heard it that many dang times? The few bits I do go buy are single tracks that I pick off here and there.

So, why not be a little completionist, then? First I started going back over my old standard bands to see what gaps I had in my collection. I bought an Art of Noise import that I've not had since college (long since lost the casette), a remix Enigma collection that I didn't know was out and a few things that were missing from some favorite 80's albums. A few Mika tracks, a few trancy things that I liked back in the late 90s and then a music video or two (some old Gabriel classics, a few Moby vids and even that funky animated version of 'Land of Confusion' that was out last year).

I did actually find one new album (from an already-favorite artist) out: "These Hopeful Machines" by BT. On the plus side, wow, I really like it. BT keeps exploring new ways to edit up his unique style; I love the experimentation. On the slight minus, buying the online version you only get two hour-long "Side-A" and "Side-B" tracks, to 'preserve the album feel'. Bah. I have a gapless mp3 player setting; let me use it! If I'd known the physical CD version actually had the tracks separated I would have gone and bought it at a store... something I've not done since 2002 or so.

What's surprising me is how much music and video I got for those little gift-cards. My daily headphone listening at work will now have a good chunk more variety. Now if only there was more newly-released music that was to my taste...

This just means I need to get out more, music-wise. I'm sure there's a ton of stuff I've simply not stumbled over yet that I'll completely adore. Or, heck, a ton of old genres to re-discover. I still expect that someday I'll trip and fall into a pile of, oh, I don't know... maybe experimental jazz or something... and end up thinking "why have I never heard this before? I gotta get more!"
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-11 06:18 pm

Sellin' the stomper

Due to various upgrades and changes in how I'm setting up my mobile data infrastructure, I'm selling off my Cradlepoint CTR500 and Sprint 3G EVDO Rev.A card.



Cradlepoint cellular broadband router




Novatel EVDO REV.A card for Sprint


I'm looking to sell the two of them together for $220/obo. All you'd have to do is activate a new sprint account and you're ready to rock.

For those of you who have an EC/34 or USB broadband card already, I'd sell the cradlepoint by itself for $120.

If you just want the card, that's $100. It'll work in mac or PC, as long as you have an EC/34 slot.

If you don't know what this is: think of it as a mobile hotspot. Plug it in (wall socket or 12v socket in the car, adapter for both included) and within 30 seconds it boots up and logs into the 3G card installed in it. It then re-shares the cellular data connection with any device that joins the WiFi on the device or plugs into its hard-wired ethernet port. Put in a car it turns you into a roving hotspot. Set on a desk at work and you have your own private internet to get out without the boss or IT department snooping all over you. And, since it's WiFi, it works in all the places that a straight broadband card won't -- like when you need to use custom VPN clients on your PC that hate cellular broadband.

Give me a holler if you have any questions!
tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-09 06:09 pm

The laser is now properly equipped.

A laser just isn't complete...


...without whirly warning beacons. *nods*

tugrik: (Default)
2010-03-05 01:09 pm

Finally, a digital frame I like

So digital photo frames are, what, a decade old now? More, less? Who knows. They've been out for as long as companies could make a buck selling a sub-standard TFT display for grand'ma-ma to put on her countertop to show those new fangly 'digital fo-tos' her grandkids would send. For the most part I've found them all pretty lackluster and have successfully avoided buying any.

There were a few specifics I wanted all in the same device that I've been waiting to have come together:

  • Network connectivity
  • No pay-subscription required
  • Ability to remotely insert pics (email, client, etc) without requiring a local computer hookup or memory stick
  • Decent color quality, viewing angle and resolution
  • Low cost


My goal was always to buy one for my mom (and possibly other family members). I wanted something that she could set up without any great fuss and then us kids could just send it pictures whenever we wanted. That way there'd be new pictures on her living room table all the time.

It was always a "pick 4 of 5" problem. If it had all the features I wanted it was crazy-expensive. If it was affordable, it was crap. And if it was both affordable and looked good, it had a deal breaker in there like requiring a desktop computer or a pay-every-month account to use. I got so jaded about them that I simply stopped looking after a while. I'm not exactly sure what brought the Kodak Pulse 7" frame to my attention, but I'm glad some form of marketing did.



After reading the specs and reviews I ordered one for myself to give it a test-out. While not super-cheap, it's cheap enough: just over $100. The screen is of good quality: bright, decent resolution (800x600) and surprisingly good color. The off-axis is good left-to-right so it works fine as a desktop frame (not much tilt/up-down which isn't as nice). Most importantly, though, it comes with a free service from Kodak that lets you email it pictures.

The frame joins up via WiFi and registers with Kodak's service. From there it can get pics direct from the web-client, auto-download them from Facebook, or (the feature I like the best) has a direct email address. Email a photo and it appears; perfect for kids to send snapshots to their parents. It'll also link to the Kodak gallery if you use it, but that's not a big thing for me. Hopefully an API for it will open up to allow other custom sources.

Physically it's very nice: a gloss black frame with no obvious markings or buttons. There's a power button and a troubleshooting button on the back, out of sight. The primary interface is touch-screen. For you cube-dwellers who want one for the office it also has a handy Kensington lock port on the back. Huzza for deskchains. It weighs very little and the power supply is your standard wall-wart, though the cable for it is nicely slim.

photo.jpg


Having set it up a few times now, I can say that it's definitely grandma-safe (and thus mom-safe too): 3 very easy steps with good hand-holding built into the interface. Join it to the WiFi, let it update itself with the latest firmware, and then it spits out a 'registration number'. Go to http://www.kodakpulse.com, create a free account and put in that number. The website is very mom-friendly too; Kodak is good at interfaces. Now you pick your email address, (optionally) link it to Facebook and/or Kodak Gallery and you're done. From that point on the frame just runs.

You can pick automatic on/off times so it'll not run all night and keep you awake with the light, or you can just use the power button on the back. You can choose how long each pic displays, how it displays (single, fade, collage and ken-burns effect), trash pictures or manually skip between them. Since people can email/facebook pictures to it, you can choose to view by friend or 'recent' if you don't just want it to run random pics. It holds about 4000 pics at any one time, depending on image complexity.

Lastly it has generic memory slots on the side - USB, memory stick, SD, etc. Put one in and you can copy the pics to the frame's memory (or just leave it in to use that as the memory instead). You can also use the web-client to directly upload pics to it.

If you're looking for a gift for the non-super-techie picture-lover in your family, I highly recommend this. A new one has been ordered for my mom; she'll get it Monday or Tuesday. I'm keeping this one on my desk at work I like it so much.

For the curious, I bought mine from Amazon.com for about $108 on sale. I think it's back up to over $120 now though.
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-22 04:19 pm

Oh, yeah, audio

Just realized that I never did post in LJ about the audio work on the van, save some moblog pics here and there.

The TC had a 'work van' sound system: two cheap speakers in the doors, nothing else. The head unit was kind of a pain to replace, but I got it and the speakers swapped out two months ago. Still, it sounded really lame. I've not been lucky enough to own a properly-audio-equipped vehicle since my old white van some six or seven years ago.

When Folf gave me an old subwoofer crate of his I figured it was finally time to at least try installing something. Reveille was hanging out and we were talking about audio stuff while he worked on a burningman project. We had to run back to his house to pick up some parts and it occurred to me that we could test out that crate on his already-wired noodledragon-mobile. The speaker actually made noise, though it sounded a bit odd.... but heck, it was all the excuse I needed. We headed over to the local stereo installer I trust with the intent of picking up an amp to install.

While I love good sound I'm really not a fan of 'exposed' audio. I like to make things as hidden/stock as I can instead of being all hey-lookit-my-mad-speakers-yo. That's why I found good fronts that fit in the stock speaker locations... and its' also why I picked out an Alpine PDX-5. Much-love for the new digital amps out there; tiny but powerful. This one is barely bigger than an Apple Airport Extreme router, yet it does 75w x 4 and 300w x 1 (Alpine's great about conservatively rating their amps: the actual test-out came to 104w x 4 and 422w x 1). More than enough power for my needs while fitting completely invisibly under the passenger seat. No bulky things or wiring hanging out everywhere.

The guys at AMS were in a good mood and cut me a real deal, doing the install with proper 4ga cabling for a mere $70. That's a steal, considering the cabling alone is almost that much. Revs and I chilled out and enjoyed a Happi House (fast-food teppanyaki) dinner while they worked on the van. When they were done the fronts sounded amazingly better... but the lack of rear speakers meant the low-mids were simply not there. Those will be added sometime in the near future, now that the wiring and amp channels are there and ready for them.

The sub, though... was odd. It's a good little unit for what it is: a bandpass enclosure with a 10" cone. It's designed to cover only a very narrow range of frequencies (thus 'bandpass') and needs to be put into a system that has coverage on the nearby ranges. It's also designed for a much smaller airspace, like a cute little hatchback or something. The moment you give it too much free air it tries to hide under the seat and not make a fuss. So, while I hugely appreciate the gesture, I'm going to return it to Folf for him to give to someone else with a properly sized car.

The solution was a 13" JL-Audio single-vented enclosure. It's big, sure, but it's done up in a basic, understated gray box which sits behind the rear passenger seat like any other cargo box in a cargo van. It's got a chunky wire with banana plugs so it can be lifted out and put back any time I need to, for cargo carrying; it'll be the only visible part of the audio system. The important part, though, is that it's right-sized to the amp and it's designed to move cargo-van-volume of air. I can wail on it with the amp wide open and it doesn't distort, wobble or flutter. Sure, I'll have to mat out some areas in the bodywork if I wanted to keep things at that volume, but mega-thumping down the road isn't my style anyway.

photo.jpg


Now things sound better, for the first time since I got this van. Even without the rears the audio is better than the Element ever had. The system can be turned up quite high without any distortion, which means listening at lower (but road-noise-covering) volumes results in very clean, enjoyable music. The tea-rambling-trip this weekend proved to me how well it works at highway speeds even in this half-done state. There are no annoying buzzes or case-rattlings until it's too loud to listen comfortably anyway. I'm running the sub a little high up on the crossover at the moment to cover for the lack of rear speakers. While this leads to a little over-rumblyness, it's an acceptable trade-off. I've still got that low-mid hole which will remain until I put a good set of 6x9s in the rear doors. Currently I'm looking at the Focal 690's. I fear the work, though, as I'm sure I'll have to dynamat the heck out of those back doors to keep them from becoming rattle-monsters. The results will hopefully be worth it.

The last step after the 6x9s will be to put in the Imprint system and see how well Alpine can pull off closed-loop calibration. Canceling out a little road-noise, trimming up the sub so it still pushes bass at lower volumes and getting the time delays right in that huge inside-van airspace should really bring it all together. Considering how much driving is a part of my daily life, it's going to be soooo nice to have a good audio environment in my vehicle again.
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-17 10:46 pm

Anybody need a media center PC?

I bought an ASUS EEE Box 1501 (black color) to try and make it into the new laser computer (the old one was called ENCOM and was an earlier version of the EEE Box -- this one was to be called Shiva). It's a kick-ass little box with HDMI, NVidia ION chipset that does 1080p nicely, DVD-RW drive, the works, all in a teeny tiny package. Even comes with wireless keyboard, mouse, and media center remote.



However, it's USB chipset isn't compatible with the laser. This is more common than you'd think due to just how horrible the Versalaser USB drivers are. I mean, seriously horrible. So I have to return it.

However, since it was at the low price of $475, the store I bought it from (Central Computers) won't take it back. Well, correction -- they'll take it back minus a 20% restocking fee.

I'd much rather sell it to someone who wants a great media center PC. I'd use it for that but I already have more than one video solution already! Anybody want this thing for $450 and no california tax? :)
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-15 07:45 pm

Monoceros Media

Giant sized prints?

Yeah, we do that.

tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-12 09:52 pm

Shop Rules

We've had a busy few weeks at the shop -- before, during and after FC. We've also done a major re-org of the interior layout, making it more functional and more social at the same time. This is having both good and bad effects. Unfortunately, that means it's time to start setting up a few rules. Until this point we've just kind of winged it.

This post is my first-pass attempt at some ground rules. This will get refined over time.

~~~~


The What and Where:

"The Shop" is a light-industral rented space in southern San Jose. While the location isn't exactly a secret, I'm not going to constantly re-post its address in LJ or other public forums. It's a combination workshop, warehouse and 'maker space'. It has tools for laser cutting/engraving, large format printing, automotive/motorcycle work, electronics prototyping/assembly, set construction, audio work and costuming. It's also capable of hosting some pretty wicked parties.

The Who:

When it comes to the actual lease and insurance, everything is in my name. All legal stuff, payments and such are my responsibility. This means I end up as the 'final say' on things should conflict arise.

When it comes to matters of access, permission to use the site, and the yes/no on events, all paying members of the shop have a say. The actual "Paying Members" of the shop: [livejournal.com profile] tugrik, [livejournal.com profile] revar, [livejournal.com profile] smackjackal, and [livejournal.com profile] reveille_d.

Two people, [livejournal.com profile] dustykat and [livejournal.com profile] cooner, have physical key access as well and can approve others to come use the space when needed. They can be overruled by the paying members if needed (but I seriously doubt that'd be needed).

The When:

Monday through Thursday it's a private office & workspace for the people listed above. Please get permission before coming over; if we're here we're most likely doing actual work and not just hanging out socially. Feel free to contact us about visiting at any time, but don't just show up and walk in without us knowing. Think of it as "by appointment only".

Friday after 6:00pm it's pretty much Open Shop if at least one of us is here. Feel free to just drop by and hang out if you want. Call first if you want to make sure we're here, though! If we're all out and about you'd find a locked door instead.

Saturdays and Sundays are much more open format than the weekdays, but we'd still appreciate at least some general scheduling. All of us and our friends are in-and-out all through the weekend, so you can usually knock on the door and find us here and willing to socialize. But unlike Friday hang-out night, no guarantees. If a big project is going on we may not have time to just chill with folks.

~~~~


And now, the Basic Rules. This is the list that will expand and refine as the others from the shop chip in. First, what you should keep in mind if you want to visit:

  • If you're bringing others with you, let us know at least roughtly how many. We enjoy friends-of-friends but need to know before a ton of folks just wander in the door because 'their buddy is here'.
  • If you're coming to work on something and not just hang out, please let us know the scope of what you intend to do. We've had problems with "can you help me with one small thing" turning into a 12 hour marathon session without warning, which impacts other schedules.
  • Always ask permission before using any tool. It's a shared space but not all the tools are everybody's to use. Just because it's out on a workbench doesn't mean it's up for grabs.
  • If you don't know how to use a tool, ask us to show you how first. The worst sin of the shop is to pick up a powertool you know nothing about and hit the trigger to see what it does. This can -- and will -- get you thrown out the door, bit, or both.
  • If you're visiting to use power tools, bring safety goggles and wear appropriate clothing. I don't care if it's a hot summer day; using the plasma cutter in sandals simply won't be allowed.
  • Rum Runner Studios -- located upstairs in the shop -- is off limits unless explicitly approved by [livejournal.com profile] smackjackal. It's not considered one of the 'shared spaces' of the shop. Smackjackal also wants to preserve the confidentiality of clients' projects.
  • in a similar fashion, the extreme NW corner of the shop behind the motorcycles belongs exclusively to [livejournal.com profile] dustykat. He keeps his professional gear there and it's not for general shop use. Get his permission before using any item from that area.
  • Most importantly: At least one of the people in "The Who" list above must be present while you're in the shop. This is for both security and insurance issues. If we have to leave, you have to leave.


Next up, general behavior things. This is pretty simple, common-sense stuff:

  • The most important thing: work and projects comes before hanging out and partying. Unless it's an event or a 'casual friday', don't show up just wanting to play rock band on the 15' projector wall. Others trying to get work done will ask you to stop. If you just want to visit to play games or watch TV, come visit us at our house instead! We love visitors!
  • Clean up after yourself. Many fine trashcans and full dumpster service are provided.
  • If you use the last of something (towels, chemicals, supplies, bottled water, TP, etc) let us know so we know to replace it.
  • If you're working on a project you'll be assigned a storage location for it and any of your own tools/supplies you brought. Please put all your stuff in that location before you leave, so the general work areas are clear for the next person.
  • If you're using a dangerous tool, make sure everybody in the shop knows before you fire it up. Shout it out; keep folks aware and safe.


~~~~


Revar, Smackjackal, Reveille, Dusty, Cooner: Please add your own input on this in the comments below, and I'll update/edit this post.

Heck -- does anybody think it's a good idea if I make an independent LJ/Twitter/etc account setup for the shop itself?
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-11 12:09 pm

CG Amusement

Worth the watch. Caught it off the gadgetblogs this morning. :)

Logorama

I fully agree. Ronald is evil.

(Edit: YouTube version here, thanks [livejournal.com profile] caerdwyn! The original seems to have been deleted. The YouTube version is lower quality but still worth a watch.)

(Edit #2: Thanks to the commenters over at Gizmodo, here's a better link: MovieWeb version )
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-08 03:49 pm

A backpack I can respect

Backpacks and I don't really get along; we haven't since high-school. I own one that I use like a carry-on suitcase for the extremely-rare airline travel moment, but even then I tend to carry it around by the handle instead of wear it. In addition to being overweight I've got an extremely broad frame and wide shoulders/back so even the biggest backpack seems to fit oddly at best. It can also be a bear to get it on and off to get stuff out of.

This past summer a friend of mine was visiting from the midwest. When he stepped off the train he tossed me his bag to watch for a moment while he went off to claim the rest of his luggage. Figuring it'd be helpful, I threw it over a shoulder to carry it to the car (a possibly unwise idea after the back injury, but I was trying to look good for a friend). It was a single-shoulder sling and fit perfectly. The pack hung nicely on the back, even though it was stuffed completely full. It's the first time a piece of luggage made me take notice. Weeks later when I pinged him online about it he told me what it was called: a Monsoon Gearslinger by Maxpedition.



A moment of full-disclosure here... )

The Monsoon is a single-shoulder bag with the beefiest strap of any of the Gearslinger line. It's got a waterbottle holder, a storage pouch and line-clips for a water reservoir (like the Camelbacks have), compression straps and more accessory webbing than you could ever ask for. This means that there are dozens of options you can get that'll lash on to just about any surface of the pack. There are a few pockets inside, a grommet for headphones (if you're still into the wired headphone thing) to pass through and an mp3 pouch in there as well. The lower around-the-side strap has a few pockets on both the inside and outside edges, as well as more webbing right up to the strap. It's big enough to take laptops up to (but not quite including) 17" diagonal screens.



While some of the pouches are suitable for concealed carry (and more can be added on due to the standardized accessory webbing), if you're like me and don't carry guns around those pockets don't get in the way. The bag is teardrop shaped, which means the contents tend to bulge to the bottom and rest nicely against the center back; it's easy to carry a pretty serious amount of weight with this bag. The downside is that this isn't a 'spin around' for chest access (or quick-draw) like their square bags are. Use a Monsoon to haul things, not for ultra-quick access without taking it off. Go for a Kodiak or Sitka instead if you need that functionality.

That being said, the bag is very easy to take on and off; moreso than any regular backpack or shoulder-bag that I've had prior. If you're seriously loaded down or in a tight pinch where you can't swing it around and over, just pop the buckle instead; good for freeing yourself if it gets trapped on something. The geometry of the wide-strap sling makes it so the load stays nicely centered and doesn't shift much, even when big-fat-me lumbers around with it on. This was my biggest complaint about a normal backpack: wear only one shoulder and the load would sway and swing with every step. The bag also has a nice carry-handle at the top of the teardrop to make it easy to pick up and toss into the van when not wearing it.

I picked up the Digital Camo colored one because I'm tired of basic black or khaki, and I detested their military-green color. DFC at least is an interesting pattern that doesn't look all deer-huntery. It's been a joy to wear so far. Walking with a cane (actually, I use a hiking stick as canes aren't tall enough) doesn't interfere with the bag and it's easy to put on/take off with just your left arm. This is good for removing it without having to let go of the stick (helpful when the footing is slippery, like with the rains here right now).

Downsides: It's not as waterproof as I'd like; just water resistant. Heavy-downpour walking would require a raincover, just like my camelback does. Also, it takes a while for the fabric to loosen up and conform to the body better; the first week or so with the bag is an adventure in too-stiff padding and cloth that doesn't want to bend right. Give it some time with a few heavy loads to start feeling right. It's also not as cheap as a normal backpack, but it's not too terrible if you buy it at Amazon.

Later this summer as I get more mobile I'm going to kit this thing out as a camera bag for hikes. It should also ride well while getting back on a bike or a motorcycle. I'll update this little mini-review once those seasons roll around and I get the chance to abuse this bag more. Mostly I just like that it's the first comfy daily-carry-bag I've had in ages that actually fits me. Now I just have to get a travel-sized laptop and start leaving the 17" monster at home.
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-05 05:00 pm

Doin' the focus group thang

Do you make a webcomic, graphic novel or orther online/print comic?
Have you ever sold (or thought of selling) a book of your collected strips?
Do you have time to chat about a few ideas via email?

If the answer is 'yes', please, drop me a line at tora@monocerosmedia.com (or tugrik@gmail.com). There's some pretty interesting industry stuff afoot and I'd really like to get your feelings and input on it. Thanks!
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-04 03:42 pm

raaaaaaeg-burd

I spent four years of my youth growing up on a farm. While we had numerous types of animals and crops, the most common critter was the chicken. We had to raise them, farm their eggs, kill 'em, pluck 'em, all as part of chores. It was vile. Such over-exposure made me avoid them like the plague for years. I'm better about them these days. My older sister has some as pets at her surburban house and they're actually quite cool. My dad raises them too, once again having some farm-ish property in Missouri these days.

So, mostly to amuse my sister and dad, here... have a Death Metal Rooster.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0zBvUZRBVY

(and as a bonus for parrot lovers, don't worry -- parrots are plenty Metal too!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWhxCB0ndJE

Both links are safe-for-work, funny, and should be played loud. :)
tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-03 06:51 pm

Itty Tug by Thornwolf

OK, this is insanely cute. :) [livejournal.com profile] thornwolf rocks!

tugrik: (Default)
2010-02-02 01:31 am

Giving In: Ask me Anything

I don't do many memes. But after seeing a dozen or so of my friends doing it (stares at [livejournal.com profile] thornwolf for the most recent), I figured why not give it a try.

http://www.formspring.me/Tugrik

Click and ask me questions! I'll do my best to answer all honest-and-blunt-like.