Curiosity is Safe!

It still blows my mind that we can fling a 1 ton robot from a spinning, moving rock to another spinning, moving rock and get it not only within a km target zone but have it not explode in any way. Like. Wow. So cool.

It was awesome watching the live feeds and simulations in one monitor and watching Twitter absolutely explode with commentary in the other. It was cool that we got to see the first pictures come back at the same time as the awesome guys and gals at NASA itself. It was cool that the New York streets erupted chanting “Science science science” as they displayed the feed on the huge screens in Times Square. It was cool to watch as the control room hushed for terrifying minutes and then poured forth high fives, hugs and tears as the systems were checked and good to go.

It’s cool to think about the implications of water on Mars.

It’s refreshing to see that there quite a few women in that control room, and the Twitter crowd favorite mohawk guy. Science isn’t just for 60 year old white men anymore.

Earlier today we saw Jamaica’s Usain Bolt utterly crush Olympic 100m records (which he himself had set previously in Beijing). We’ve seen a lot of fantastic things today. These weeks.

Then it hit me. I made a quick graph:

Please excuse the terrible kerning – I couldn’t seem to change that. Suffice to say, in order: American Military Budget, London Olympics and sending a drivable laboratory to another freaking planet.

We could send 680 Curiositys in exchange for one year of America’s defense spending. Imagine the things that we could actually do.

I don’t want to be a killjoy. I don’t want to seem unappreciative of all the awesome that happened today; quite the opposite: I want more awesome to come from not spending that money on useless things like war.

Man must explore. Why torture and kill people for having a different imaginary friend than you? It’s especially ironic since the Christian God and the Muslim God is the same guy.

Anyway, before this devolves into a politico-religious rant I do want extend my hopes for a better designed future. We get to make whatever we want! How awesome is that possibility. How much could we do. As a product designer my contributions are such a micro thing. I can improve the life of police officers with my designs. That’s really cool, but what gets me excited is the next generation of politicians. The ones that grew up on the internet. The ones who look at all these things and like me ask “Okay, wait. Why do we do this, anyway?” – that’s such a neat prospect.

Obviously, I’m ignoring the huge elephant in the room regarding debt, but what would you do with 1.7 trillion dollars? One million million dollars. Every. Year.

I smell a Brewster’s Millions sequel.

In Which I Wax Philosophic

Check it: the summer writing project is live.

While Acrylo is on hiatus, I will still be shamelessly reposting old content to the Acrylo Inspiration Tumblr and writing / recording new content for the Philosophic Wax Tumblr.

So, while I don’t care who reads (In a rare move I’m tracking no analytics; no statistics) I do want to follow up on my promise to at least make it available knowledge.

I must admit, as much as I love being a curator that’s mostly on topic, I’m growing increasingly excited for the non-format and no-holds-barred approach this will take on. Yin and Yang, I guess.

Photo via

Go Outside

Hey guys, I have something to say.

The internet has been pretty dull lately, and it’s to be expected – it happens every spring. We get excited and lured by the frolicking adventures to be had in that place that isn’t your desk.

For that reason, and because I too am human and feel it’s for the betterment of my own psyche, that I’m pausing the blog.

I’ll be back, rest assured. This isn’t one of those hiatus things that people “try out” and then never resume. It’s not that I can’t take the blogging – I’ve been doing it very happily for however many years now – it’s that I feel the need to not do it right now. I will probably break down and post things occasionally; there are cool things out there and they will be found and I will feel overwhelmingly compelled to share them, but the average will certainly drop. I say ‘pause’ in more of a mental sense for me: I refuse to let my lack of posts hold guilt over my head. The readership is taking it’s natural dip and I’m going to follow suit and enjoy the spring as well.

Now, I will still write, perhaps even more than before, but it won’t be limited to design and it won’t be posted here. I’ll make a Tumblr or something, I’m not sure yet, and it’ll be in a format that’s far more forgiving and far more workable for my out-of-the-house-ness. Supplementing that is the audio version: basically the same as the writings except narrated by yours truly. I say narrated, but there won’t ever be a script, just as my prose is rarely edited after the fact. I’ll be ignoring fan base and viewership entirely and doing exactly what I want to do, not what I think people will like.

As such, I’m cutting all the ad space so as not to disappoint them.

I’ll post an update when the writing thing goes live, but in the meantime: I appreciate you all and I’ll still try to answer your emails (albeit slower). Thank you for the past year, and I do look forward to seeing and hearing from you on the other side.

Have a good summer, build something real, make new friends, share everything. Stay awesome.

Snapstag Cider 001

It’s been a whole twelve days since we started the yeast a-going in the first ever batch of Snapstag Cider. Yesterday I racked it, taking it from the fermenting jug and siphoning just the drink part out into a new container so it doesn’t taste yeasty when it cures. At this point it’s entirely drinkable, but if you leave it there will be some mellowing over time.

Normally a very patient person, I threw that aside and bottled one for myself. Note: for the brewers who actually know what they’re doing, I’m not bottling anything else in twist caps – this is just for me and I’m aware it’s bad practice. I just wanted a temporary vessel to keep in the fridge for a while. The cap itself was dipped in my new favorite Zissou Blue (which we just watched again the other night – a brilliant, brilliant film) and stamped in basically the same treatment as the hatchet.

It should also be said at this point that I am a completely unprepared taste tester of alcoholic beverages. I’m young and haven’t really developed that palate yet. So please bear with my utter naivete as I try to review this drink.

I’m not sure if it’s bias because I know exactly what went into it to begin with, but I do think the result is more ale tasting than commercial ciders tend to be. We used Nottingham Ale Yeast under recommendation and while it’s not bad by any means, it’s just more reminiscent of a pale beer than a true cider. Perhaps if one had mixed Strongbow with Corona or Trad Ale in a 3:1 ratio.

But it’s good, overall. I mean, I had no expectation for the first batch – honestly, I was half sure it would be an undrinkable mess that would end up down the drain – but it turned out surprisingly well. If this was a drink in the bar I think I’d order it again, for whatever that’s worth. The light beer hues make it pretty perfect for sitting on the patio in the sunset with good friends and a juicy burger / onion rings. Strongbow the exception, I don’t find many ciders are good with food; so that’s one advantage to mine, I guess.

So, considering this is the “harsh state” just after racking I’m pretty pleased so far. I’m excited to wait a few weeks and try tasting again. In the meantime we’ll probably get one or two more brewing with some slightly changed variables and see how they compare. I have no idea what we’ll do with it all, haha. We’re makers, not consumers.

Leap Spacial Interface

By now you’ve probably all seen this: the new $70 Kinect-like interface for your computer.

And by now you’ve probably already figured out what I’m going to say.

The problem with spacial interfaces isn’t accuracy, it’s the fact you’re going to have to hold one or both of your hands up for extended periods of time. This is why touchscreens, when presented as direct replacements for monitors, are almost never used after the initial gee-whiz factor wears off. Mice are actually pretty fantastic. I can very accurately point to anything on my screen quickly and by moving maybe a few centimeters at most. Muscles used: just whatever’s required for my first two fingers and thumb. You want to sell your product on the basis of efficiency when you have to move an entire arm (or two) (which are slower appendages in that context) farther and then move the wrists and fingers to work the interface? I just, it doesn’t make any sense.

Now, are they inherently useless? For now, maybe, but I look at the touchscreen example: would I ever want a touchscreen monitor? Nope. Never. Would I want a mouse to control my iPad when I’m curled around it reading emails / ebooks or browsing Flipboard in bed? That’s just silly. Or when using your phone on the train: your thumb’s scrolling up and down is ideal for that size and position (unless you have the Mammoth LTE X4 G6 911 Slim Xtreme Android Envy Prime, in which case your thumb can’t actually reach that far).

We changed our posture to fit the technology better and it works.

Can I think of any posture where a spacial interface would be ideal? Not at the moment, but hey, that’s where the touchscreen started too.

So with the technology becoming smaller, cheaper and more accurate (and hopefully non-laggy, which even Wacom struggles with) I am excited to see where this goes. Until then, I won’t be buying one.

Via every blog in the world right now.

Solar Eclipse 2012.5.20

There was an eclipse in Calgary yesterday and it was cloudy. Whatever, weather. Just. Whatever.

So, here’s a picture from Tokyo of the same event; credit going to Kazuhiro Nogi who has a very, very diverse portfolio and no official listing of it. Odd.

We did, instead, as we’re apt to do, go and eat ridiculous amounts of very excellent food.

via

Happy Birthday, Acrylo

So, it’s been exactly one year since I started writing here after the move from IceCalibre.

Also today: the birthdays of both Dieter Rams and my own grandmother, a solar eclipse, and it’s the day Shakespeare’s work was first published in 1609. I have a full itinerary of long boarding, iced tea drinking, favorite burger eating, axe shopping and eclipse photographing watching. It’s going to be a most excellent day.

Of course, we’ve got the new livery up and running; the reception to it has been positive so far, so that’s good. I do want to streamline the background a bit to load faster – it’s pretty huge right now and I recall that really annoyed me about the old Kitsune Noir site: the load times for the giant image backgrounds were atrocious. So, that’s still in the works.

Some statistics:

Posts: 564
Words in posts: 182,233
Avg: 47 posts per month
Avg: 1.57 posts per day (w/ 30 day month)
Avg: 323 words per post
Std dev: 404 words

In loose numbers, the total traffic through here has been, in one year, roughly equivalent to IceCalibre’s traffic over three years. It’s a curve of course, so it’s not that big deal of a statistic, but it’s sort of cool to see where I’ve been and what it’s grown into. So to all twelve of you: I love ya.

Nah, but I really do appreciate all of my readers. It’s been awesome to hear from you and I’ve had the privilege of teaching and learning alongside you over this past year. So, thank you. I don’t write for you, but I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it so far.

Here’s to the next year!

As always, you’re fully welcome to contact me – I do my very best to reply to everyone.

Summer soundtrack time.

May Long News

So, lots o’ things:

1. I went to the dark side and got myself a full time design job, which has been really good so far; week one is complete. More information on that in due time.

2. It’s May long and Alberta had to go and put out a fire ban, so our camping plans have been deviously foiled. Alas!

3. As a result of the first two, I finally got around to buying Skyrim, so Steam is downloading that for me as I speak. The blog was lonely enough this past week without that… But, fear not, I’ve never been very good at playing games for more than an hour at a time, so there should be at least some curation / writing this weekend.

4. I ordered this a long time ago and just realized it should be here sometime next week: I bought a nice microphone with which to make podcasts. I’ve been mulling over it’s format since Acrylo itself started and I still haven’t really decided, but I think it’ll sort of take the place of my longer writing bits on the more introspective topics. So, halfway between an alog and a proper podcast show. I’ll dress it up of course, so it’ll probably wear a more professional show’s clothing and editing format, but content wise it’ll probably be the monologues of some curious, passionate nerd. I have been thinking that since I talk out loud while I drive anyway and since I’ll be driving a lot more to and from an external workplace it might work out to make them sort of stream-of-consciousness (which my writing tends to be anyway) narrations. In any event, that should be starting in a few weeks and I look forward to what it evolves into.

5. Sunday is Acrylo’s one year birthday and I’ll be alone eating cake. If you’d like, I could live stream that but I warn you it could break down into bitter crying and soul crushing existentialism. Nah, who am I kidding, I’ll be busy with Skyrim.

Okay. So. That’s the update and I do apologize for being a bit light on the content lately. Lots of things happening at once. Fortunately: good things.

The photo above is via Tumblr and as such, sourceless. To whomever owns it: thank you; you’re awesome.

15 Brand New Banners

Good news, everyone!

There were some mediocre interim banners up when the redesign went live and they’ve been officially replaced.

To enjoy: 15 fresh photos, taken by yours truly over the past few summers. Some abstract, some less so. I hope to add another batch into the mix towards the end of the month for your collection and trading fun!

Acrylo Logo Stamp

If anything comes up that requires stamping I am all over it.

Ordered from Simon’s Stamps it was reasonably priced and was at my Canadian door in like, two weeks. Build quality is what you’d expect and the rubber imprint is flawless. I wasn’t sure if my ring lines would be too thin but they turned out really well.

If I had any other custom logo stamping needs I’d definitely go back to them, yeah.

The good and bad news is the ink doesn’t stay on Apple products. That means you’re free to stamp them and then wipe it off later, which is both nice and sort of unfortunate for those looking into more permanent adornment.

Neat. I’m excited.


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