Saturday, March 29, 2014

Smart Crow!

Crows can often be taught to talk (mimic really) human speech. But any midwest farmer can tell you that's not where their intelligence ends. They are incredibly clever birds! Just watch this one!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AutoCAD 2015

Today (27-Mar-2014) is the official release day for AutoCAD 2015! All restrictions on the beta testers are lifted, and for those of you on Subscription be sure to check your account now for the available downloads.

AutoCAD Civil 3D and many of the verticals will be released in the weeks ahead. But for those who like to get an early jump on the newest stuff (and we know who we are!) the basic version of AutoCAD (and LT) 2015 is now ready for you to install, play with, and provide feedback. Be sure to use the Autodesk Community Forums if you have questions or need help.

I'll have more to say once I get mine up and running. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Have you ever been told you have a "tin ear"? Or maybe you feel like you have no ability to make music? Can you only carry a tune if you have a radio? But even then you get static on it? (roughly quoting something my Dad used to say...)

Well, if you answered "YES" to one or more of the questions above, you have to see this.


Let the page load. Nothing may seem to happen, but type in your name anyway. It may be just about the coolest thing you've seen... in a few minutes.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Night Movie

... is not a movie tonite - but it's just as much fun.

This is West Coast Swing at its best. I used to watch this woman with her former husband dance and often win at dance festivals when I was into this sort of thing. And if and when I still do dance, this is the type of dance I enjoy the most... when I can find a partner who knows it. There aren't many where I live unfortunately. WCS is easily done to many blues songs as easily as swing or a lot of country tunes.

Doesn't it look like a lot of fun! When you get a partner who knows it, it really is!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Shameless Limited Artwork Plug

I'm a fan of artwork... especially limited lithograph or well conceived screen prints. And I'm somewhat particular about what I like, or will actually frame and hang in my house. So I don't buy much, or much very often. What I have however is quite nice. The last few years during free time at the Las Vegas Autodesk University trips I've scoured art print shops and have found a few things. But a couple years ago I got wind of a guy from London named Tom Love who was funding interesting things on Kickstarter and I knew right away he was in my ballpark taste-wise. He was in the process of doing things I'd spend money on.

His latest project is really up my personal (aviation) alley. It's a limited print set of vintage luggage tags from the old PanAm days. Tom's work is always first rate, on great paper, perfectly printed, well priced, produced in small limited runs, and individually signed and numbered. Delivery, as far away as London from me here in Hawaii has always been well packed in sturdy tubes, and protected with wrapping paper. And if something is damaged in shipping replacement is guaranteed.

As of today Tom's project is about 50% funded and halfway done with the funding period. Personally I'd really like to see this project go forward as a couple of these prints would look great framed and hung in my renovated airport engineering office. :) So if you're even remotely interested please consider committing for a print, two, the whole lot of six, or just the postcards. Every little bit will help!

To help... visit Tom's Around the World -Six Limited Edition Prints funding page on Kickstarter. The funding period ENDS on April 3!

UPDATE 3-Apl-14: The project got funded!!! Yea! So everyone who supported the project *will* be getting what they signed up for. In my case I funded all six posters plus a set of postcards. These will look really cool once I frame and hang them in my airport office. I can't think of any artwork down there that could be more perfect!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Johnny T's NYC Tourist Tips

Hilarious. Planning a trip to New York City? Yuzgatta see dis, yo.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Office Build Stool Design

I'm already happy with the stand up workstation I recently installed, but from time to time I know I'll want a stool to sit on. Unfortunately drafting stools/bar stool style chairs in the catalogs these days leave a lot to be desired. I confirmed that by looking thru a lot of catalog options this weekend. Basically I found that chairs in this category are, (1) way, way, way overpriced for what you get; (2) cheap looking in construction and materials; and/or even when you find something close to what you might want, (3) it's not built to the size you really need (if you can even find the critical dimensions listed). So it's leaving me but one option: Build my own... an option I should have realized from the outset.

So after looking around for ideas a bit I fired up Google SketchUp tonite (love that little program) and came up with a design very similar to something I kind of liked online. But this one will be sized for my height and the height of the workstation. And since I like quarter sawn red oak, and it makes great furniture, that's the material I'll most likely use. What I came up with is a very simple design using mortise and tenon construction and a curved seat with slats. The short animation below shows what I have in mind. It's hardly original but I like it.

In addition to this I also want to build a "cubby" of sorts for additional table storage eventually. That design will be similar to what might be found inside a roll top desk. But the stool comes first.

Overall dimensions: Leg Base 15 3/4" x 13 3/4". Seat 16 1/4" x 14 1/4". Finish height 32 1/2". About 5 BF of 8/4 and 2 BF of 4/4 material. I usually add a bit for waste and whatnot. Around here it should cost somewhere in the $50-$60 price range depending on what pieces I select. I go nuts in fine lumber establishments... :). But I'll get an accurate tally tomorrow when I see what my favorite specialty wood haunt has in stock.

Exploding these models is always a great help in grabbing dimensions and checking details.

03/11/14 Update on the materials. Sometimes my local wood supplier will have an odd piece of quarter or riff sawn material in the stack, if you're an old lumberyard kid and willing to dig. Since I only need a 7 inch wide stick of both the 4/4 and 8/4 material for this project digging was worth the effort. But all I found was flat sawn boards today, so I special ordered a couple pieces of quarter sawn white oak. I'll get exactly what I want and decided to order enough material to build two stools while I'm at it. It should be here in a couple weeks or so and was less expensive than I expected, all less than $7/BF $8/BF. Still Nice.

Mission Control... as I transition from the old Windows XP computer to the newer Windows 7 rig. What originally looked like a massive amount of desktop real estate is already filled! But it's temporary. Eventually the unit on the far left will go under the table and only two monitors will remain.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Office Build Install Day

It's embarrassing sometimes how long some of my builds tend to take. But I'm a completely over-tasked (and by nature) underpaid professional engineer working as a civil servant, so it's just the nature of things most of the time. But I do finish what I start, and today I finally reached the day on the calendar where I could actually install my office build project! When my recent airfield painting assignment ended it dawned on me that there was a window of opportunity to get my office repainted in preparation for an install to begin. So everything else was put on a back burner, I became an office gypsy, and the plunge was taken.

When I arrived at the office this morning the maintenance guys had completed the wall patching and the final coats of paint were done. Their stuff was all stashed neatly in a corner giving me the signal I was at the plate. So work began in earnest as soon as our regular Wednesday morning staff meeting was over just before noon. By 8:00 p.m. tonite I completed installing everything built to date. All that is left now is to build, finish, and install the last piece to tie the two tables together. In looking at it in place I not only got the final finish measurement between them, but I also decided to make this last surface a little less deep than originally planned.

A few photos follow this narration, but a full compliment of all the shots from the beginning of the build until now can be found on my 20/20 HeinSite PBase site. Now I'm tired. This is tough work for a guy normally wearing a white collar! But it's a satisfying tired tonite for sure. :)

Wordless Wednesday

Or... making a case for a case making itself. You be the judge.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How Wolves Change Rivers

Nature always knows best. It's foolish to think we know better.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Woodpecker's New Corner Jig

I've never purchased any of the specialized Woodpecker tools, although some of them have been tempting. This one is really tempting... but the cost is a bit steep. It's too bad it won't be available to purchase in more affordable increments. I might definitely think more seriously about it then.

World Outside a Window

Cool stuff!