Make: Vol 2In the gaps between teaching, work, bloging and working on some pet-projects I have finally finished MAKE: Technology On Your Time, Volume 2. Chock full of home entertainment projects, I am yet again impressed with the quality and quantity.

Highlights include HDTV on Your Mac, Atari 2600PC, and instructions on how to build a twitchy little robot out of a computer mouse. I’m glad the magazine only comes out quarterly… I could spend three months working on the projects from just one issue!

While the quality of the projects outlined in MAKE is undeniable, I am finding the true value of the magazine is how it has changed the way I look at things. I can only equate this to when I learned how to pick locks. Once you have picked a Masterlock and a few door locks your attitude toward locked doors changes. What was once a barrier is now a challenge, even one to look forward to.

MAKE has changed the way I view the world. A broken answering machine, old mouse, dead entertainment system, even a cheap Commadore64 direct-to-TV game have taken on a new value. I’ve always been a hacker, never afraid to take the screws out and rewire, but this is going to a whole new level!

More than a book full of projects, MAKE is full of new ways to apply technology, new tools, and true “maker” attitude. The value of MAKE, and it’s true spirit, is realized when you view it not as a bunch of projects and reviews, but as 200 pages of raw information just waiting to see how the reader will put it all together.

Will I build a Lego robot controlled by an audio chip? Podcast a lecture for a class I will be teaching? Perhaps build a desktop linear accelerator to annoy and harm my cube-mates! (just kidding)

Well, one thing is for sure… I’m glad my girlfriend got me a subscription for my birthday. Time to dig into Volume 3. I’m afraid I’ve only got a couple months until Volume 4 will arrive.

For more information on what started this new obsession of mine, check out this article about MAKE, and this retrospective on Volume 1.

make, oreilly, make magazine, hacks, hack, hacker, electronics, electronic, entertainment, technology, electric, home entertainment, diy, do it yourself,

Thanks to w3schools.com for making the internet available for download.

If you’re tired of the internet, borkweb.com has provided this script to delete the internet.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

discountAll I can say is those discount cards are really starting to pay off!

In my database class I am currently teaching about integrity constraints and it occurs to me that this is a great example where an integrity constraint would have been of help.

Technorati tags: ,

I picked this term up from Make Magazine, which had an interesting article about yak shaving in Volume 1. Sadly I find it all too applicable in my everyday life.

Definition: Yak shaving refers to a situation where you need to solve a problem, which may seem frivolous, but is necessary so you can solve a problem, so you can solve a problem, so you can solve a problem, so you can solve the actual problem you set out to solve in the first place.

The number of levels of recursion are not important, but I’d say anything less than 3 does not even qualify as yak shaving. Sometimes it is possible to end up in a recursive loop such that without backing out and making a new start you will never accomplish the intended task.

Example: I need to patch a database with the latest patchset from Oracle. First I need to download it from Oracle. To do that I need an account there. I have forgotten the password to my account so I need to make a new one. When I try to make a new one it tells me there is already an account with my email address. Now I need to find out our account representative’s name so I can have them reset my password. Since we’re part of a larger university system I need to call the DBA who handles our accounts, and of course I don’t know who they are so I have to ask around to get that. Then I call the DBA who handles our Oracle contract and they give me the contact information for our Oracle sales rep. I call them and they say they cannot help me because I am not on their records as the contact person for our contract. I then have to call the system level person back and talk them into calling the rep themselves… etcetera.

Origin: The term Yak Shaving is generally considered to be a reference to a Ren and Stimpy short called “Yak Shaving Day”. For a full explanation of Yak Shaving Day, check out this Wikipedia entry on the subject.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Due for release on December 6, 2005, Season 9 of M*A*S*H on DVD is now available for pre-order on Amazon! This season spanned September 1980 through March 1981 and includes one of my favorite episodes, “Depressing News” where Hawkeye builds a tower dedicated to military stupidity out of thousands of tongue depressors. Things heat up when an army reporter decides to make it a story.

Additional features include a Sidney Freedman episode and a guest appearance from Patrick Swayze. For more details, check out the Season 9 Guide from my favorite MASH site mash4077.co.uk.

If you’re not familiar with MASH on DVD, the presentation is great. Fox has done a great job providing a quality transfer. While there are not too many special features, there is one that deserves mention. There is an alternate audio track which contains the English audio without laugh track! This feature alone is worth the price of admissions! You’ll catch lines you have never heard before.

You can pre-order season 9 from Amazon now. They ship it when they get it. It’s kind of nice to just have it show up in the mail when it’s released.

Earlier Seasons are also available through Amazon as well! Collect them all!

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

« Previous PageNext Page »