There’s several reasons I don’t use Spotify, even with all it’s following I find these problems are too annoying:

  1. No Shuffling of Ads – hearing the same badly written and poorly done ad 16 times a day, is really getting on my nerves.
  2. Don‘t advertise the Spotify Mobile App when I’m using the Spotify mobile app.

Problem #2 is one of the biggest problems I see with target advertising. For example, I bought Starcraft 2. I visited Starcraft website for tips on playing – months later I’m still seeing target ads, for a product I purchased. A few cents a impression. If customer has COOKIE “Ad Exempt” don’t show ad. How hard is that?

For a week we held onto our ultrasound result cont…

For a week we held onto our ultrasound result containing the answer to if it’s a little boy or girl. We gave the sealed envelope to her family, who then gave it to a baker. The baker injected the cupcakes with either blue or pink icing.

We all got together, had a really nice day, and here’s the heart warming seconds when Jess and I found out that our little baby is going to be a girl (we were convinced it was a boy, the cupcakes even seemed to have a hue of blue to them). With a mouth full of cupcake, she cries out “It‘s pink! It’s Pink” then begins to turn to mush for 15minutes.

I love my Kindle PW 3 (FW: 5.7.4.1), but I hate th…

I love my Kindle PW 3 (FW: 5.7.4.1), but I hate the screensaver, it’s like Motel art. Thrift store art. It’s terrible and only belongs on napkins at the dollar store. I would Jailbreak it, but the current FW version has made it pretty much impossible without soldering things.

So what’s left to do? I can continue just placing it face-down on my nightstand, or, come up with a concept design and try to get someone at Amazon to read it!

I understand the non-native support for managing screensaver locally: say if a folder /screensavers/ was accessible via USB; users would be uploading bad resolutions, huge raw 12mb files, etc. and the cropping and grayscaling would be unpredictable and unsatisfactory. Any local image editor, would not likely work given the Kindles graphic processing. So, that’d be a nightmare, hundreds of support calls. It’d be far worse if the Kindles Browser had to be used for screensavers; even more problems.

However, Amazon has an eco system already in place to manage more advance things like this: amazon.com – Account – Manage Your Content and Devices . Here is my concept on how easy it could be to manage custom screensavers (for users who’ve spent the $20 to opt out of the Ads):

Kindle Custom Screen Savers

Pretty simple implementation, using no technology that’s not readily available. Set screensaver pushed to the Kindle just like a device name-change or a new book purchased via a computer!

Users would upload normal coloured images, of whatever resolution, then an HTML5/JS image editor would auto black-and-whites, and crops for the proper aspect ratio. Taking things a step further, since converting to grayscale is never what one expects: make things a bit more customizable with brightness and contrast controls. This would be okay for novice users to understand (as it’s all the same steps Instagram uses, or Facebook profile pictures).

Important: THIS IS A CONCEPT. Not actually a tutorial. I know you’re desperate for this to be real: so am I.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Because book covers suck. They’re disgusting. They’re after-thoughts. Ugly would be an understatement – they’re an abomination. They look like they’re designed by a suite on the top floor of the publishers, assembled in MS Paint, then given to a team of four-year-old with “best seller” stickers, then edited by Ray Charles.

Make them look down at a rose, mention that the authors a best seller, add a few quotes. Lightening. The cover needs lightening. Make it pop. Add in our logo of course, and the retail prices. Oh, mention their previous work

What’s the problem with that? Besides being ugly. Reading is interpretive, sometimes vague, sometimes detailed – but ultimately the imagery boils down to your perception and more interestingly, your specific experiences. It’s a story, but visually, it’s your minds eye – not one specific model’s close up that should be pre-planted.

The cover shouldn’t be selling the book. Why would it, and how can it? It shouldn’t. We have a commonly used metaphor that explains just that, repeated millions of times a day. It’s 2016, we have the internet. You’re a starting out author, there are many ways to sell your book. or, You’re a best seller, your new book came out. You have a platform to tell your friends and start word of mouth marketing – you don’t need a “cover that sells”.

If it were up to me, every book cover would be blank – like the majority of hard covers without that annoying wrap. They’d have the title on the spine, consistent fonts, orientations, along with the publishers logo. The end. Tone and genre could be set via the color of the book, the font choice. That’s all it should be in my becoming-incresingly-grumpier opinion.

But let’s be liberal, let’s allow a pinch of creativity into the canvas; say the important stuff: the author, the title, and one image. One single image. But not a descriptive or detailed image. No models, or blurred image of a country side. Something with no real depth or detail, a single dimension silhouette of sorts. And for fun, after reading the book, you know exactly why that image chosen is there. That’s nice. That’s what it should be.

And with e-book titles being republished, it’s kind of turning that way. The reasoning I believe is the thumbnail grids. Thumbnails are now selling books and making publisher their money. All the small quotes and captions, the stickers, best seller badges, and prices, they aren’t legible in thumbnails – they become a blur, a scare of a changing medium and market. What should we see in a thumbnail: a title, author, and some imagery. I’ll take it.

Looking into my favourite author’s iBooks author page of. We see two battling themes of cover designs, old, and new minimal, with a few “in the middle.”

Stephen King Selection iBooks

The minimal covers, are a beautiful thing, they really are. None of the other crap, the author, the title, and an image, with the same font and theme, across decades of books.

Beauty is there, but it could be better. I still, in my aging opinion find these covers too exciting. Too loud. As such, I’m starting my own project, a collection of covers I would want to see on the book. I’ll make once after reading each book.

Replacing a window motor on Subaru Forester. Lots of posts on this online, about how difficult it is, saying must disassemble entire regulator – I had watched someone do it before, was dreading doing it myself – but turns out, you don’t have to, it’s actually super simple.. Hard to find a good guide how online, so here it is:

Easy job 1 hour tops for a novice/first timer.

  • Take off door panel, pull back plastic/silicone (lots of videos online)
  • Remove speaker
  • Unscrew three screws holding in motor inside of door (#3 phillips)
  • Unscrew two nearest 10mm bolts (red in image), loosen two others (green in image). These bolts hold the assembly to the door, be careful to not fully remove.
  • Wiggle the old motor out, took 5 minutes of maneuvering, may need to pry assembly outwards a bit
  • Place new motor in, screw in the 3 #3 philips on the motor, tighten and put back the 10mm bolts.

It’s that easy. I’m unsure if this applies to all second generation foresters, but I’ll put the years down for searching just incase it is: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Best Bread Machine Bread.

I often get caught up in something, for a week at a time. Maybe fixing my truck, a certain book, consuming news, a new gadget, coding something, and far too often binge watching a TV series (most recent: Vikings). This week’s obsession: our new bread machine, a christmas present.

I’ve been obsessed with trying to make restaurant style bread at home- you know, the kind at those Italian joints that they hand out before your meal, to make you think your meal was super filling. At very least, just trying to make bread comparable to the higher-end bread at the store that rings up at over $5.

I tried each recipe the machine came with, and lots of online recipes – but each tasted cheap, gooy, too hard or too soft. I was severely disappointed, and half my compost is now filled with rejected loafs.

Anyways, after much trial-and-error, I’ve finally made something just right by combining three different recipes. I’ve created the ultimate best bread machine bread recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water (free!)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast ($0.40)
  • 3 overflowing tablespoons sugar ($0.03)
  • 1/4 cup of butter ($0.62)
  • 1 teaspoon salt ($0.01)
  • 3 cups white flour ($0.30)
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten ($0.05)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian/vegetable seasoning ($0.35)

Total Cost: $1.76

Directions

  1. Activate yeast in the warm water, 10min; until frothy
  2. Add all other ingredients
  3. Set the machine to 1.5 kg, white/light crust, on the basic setting
  4. Once complete, dump onto cooling rack for 10min

Total Time: 10 minutes to prepare, 3 hours in machine

The vital wheat gluten is the main ingredient, you could say it’s vital. If you don’t have it: don’t bother. It’s the taste difference between cheap stale bread at the ghetto grocery store in town, compared to the soft fluffy I-can‘t-belive-this-isn’t-the-meal restaurant bread you’re after.

While renovating the basement, there was an old ce…

While renovating the basement, there was an old cedar shelf that needed to come down. After carefully taking the boards out and buying some 4×4 for legs and 1×1’s for structure, I built a standing garden for Jess.

It’s 5×3′ and holds >70L of soil.

Building a Standing Garden

Building a Standing Garden

Fixing up a ’92 Ranger, named Pearl. The truck was perfect for me. I knew I wanted a Ford, I’d never finance, wanted an older boxy’er looking truck, and wasn’t interest in any bells and whistles. I wanted a reliable beater basically:

1992 Ford Ranger - White

Pearl was perfect – and best of all I got the truck from a retired on the side mechanic, who intended this to be his winter driver (oh, did I mention it’s a 4×4, take that old man winter). He put a lot of love and money into it: replaced the rusty box, coated the frame and underbody with “POR-15”, new 4WD Shift Motor, new summers, alloy rims, etc.. And on a side note: he was an amazing help and source of information while fixing, being a great teacher/council when I ran into walls, having every tool you could possibly need, and the experience to help with the difficult things. Wouldn’t of done all the work and learned as much as I did without him.

Here’s the break down of the work put in thus far:

(more…)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Apparently one wasn’t enough. Found a few faucets in a antique store in Enderby & heckled down a deal for them. Installed one into some weathered lumber, and pieced on some shinny knobs I beat the crap out of to look worn. Going for the artsy fartsy look. Jess will be selling it here on Facebook or here on Etsy.

Hanger

Hanger

Problems are fun to solve. I’m a natural problem solver – speaking technically of course, social matters I’m clueless – and the funniest problems are the ones where when you’re troubleshooting, you think you’ve solved it, but after blood, sweat, and endless tears you discover there’s actually more than one issue causing the problem. Solving any of these issues independently doesn’t fix the problem, only solving them together.

This happens far too often while developing – and I had my first mechanical one this week. This is my new truck, Pearl.

WORK DANM YOU WORK

Pearl’s 22, and her rear breaks gave out – problem originally diagnosed as a snapped break line.

After jacking her up, and lining the entire front-to-rear with new break line, repairing the rear break drums and secondary cylinders, replacing the seals, and throwing in a new left rear axil for the heck of it – the breaks still didn’t work.

Taking a step back, looking at the variables and researching online, finding the the ABS controller (which the line flows through), clog and basically shit the bed after so many years.

After working another few hours to find, pickup, and install a new ABS controller. The breaks still didn’t work. New break line, new ABS controller – what’s was left.

Turns out the plastic T in the rear was also clogged and complete garbage. Quick trip to local Lordco and a few stubborn bolts –

WORK DANM YOU WORK

Victory. Sweet victory.

Had a short entry way wall – with non-symmetrical…

Had a short entry way wall – with non-symmetrical placement of studs. I had a cheap 12″ hanger it was crappy, and making it worse it couldn’t even reach both the 16 on centre studs. I could use the plastic studs, but that would leave large damage in the rental we are in – so I made my own. Perfectly centre in the wall, with small fasteners for the off-centre studs.

2x 4×1’s, some moulding and hooks from Bella, Salmon Arm.