Category Archive: Other Stuff

Other Stuff

Sparks Ideas Videos

If you haven’t yet watched this year’s Sparks Ideas videos, I urge you to go check them out.  (If you haven’t watched past years, I urge you to watch those, too!)

This year’s theme was “Things or People That Have Inspired You”.  And not to get all Buzzfeed about it, but “You Won’t Believe What This Woman Said Inspired Her!”.  I hope you’ll watch, and enjoy, my slightly embarrassing, but hopefully inspiring 6-minute talk on what inspired me.

And THANK YOU to the people at IBM ConnectED who came up to me after (and throughout the week) to talk about my topic.  THAT is why we have the sparks session for people to share and connect and learn more about each other and feel inspired.

Here is the blog post and link to this year’s videos:

And here is the link to our Vimeo channel with past years:

Holiday Gift Giving – Something Different

In years past, I’ve posted a tech gear gift guide.  This year, I’m doing things a little differently.  I have many friends who are wonderfully creative and talented.  I decided to pool their sites together and create a gift guide out of their wonderful stuff.  Here is a short list of sites created by people I know (or at least, people that my people know).  Please feel free to add to this list.  Chances are since you read my blog, you may know some of these awesome people.  Support your friends!  Happy Holidays! – pottery - cool geeky soaps - metal jewelry - gorgeous scarves and jewelry - jewelry - toys - knitwear - ceramics - mugs and bowls - jewelry

Metal Stampin Mama - stamped jewelry - jewelry…/12906576-andy-donaldson… - photography - photography/painting/drawing

How Kids Are Like Computers

I realized the other day, kids are just like computers.

  • Kids and computers only do explicitly what they are told.
  • Sometimes the instructions don’t compile, both kids and computers will do nothing at this point.
  • Sometimes the instructions compile, but there is a bug.  Both kids and computers will follow instructions to that point and then stop.
  • Kids and computers both have pretty worthless reasons (error messages) as to why they didn’t follow the instructions.
  • You can search on the internet for ways to fix your instructions, but they often still don’t work.

Bucky Ball Stud Finder

So, I was going to wall mount my TV.  In order to do that, I needed to find a stud.  A wall stud, that is.

Now most people would tell you that you would need a stud finder, but I didn’t have one.  And I wanted to mount the TV NOW.  Off to the Google.

The Google gave such suggestions as knocking on the wall.  Supposedly one could listen to the knocking or tapping and hear the difference between hollow wall and stud.  Unless you are part dog, that aint gonna work.  The Google also suggested drilling pilot holes.  I wasn’t interested in my wall looking like a colander, so I didn’t bother with that one.

Then the Google suggested I get a magnet and wrap it in tape and pull it along the wall until the magnet stuck to a nail in the drywall.  First, the only magnets I have are Bucky balls.  Second, a ball of Bucky balls on a string wasn’t working.  But then I realized I only needed one Bucky ball and balancing it on my nail would allow it to stick to any nail.  And the Bucky ball stud finder was born.

Review – The Art of iPhone Photography by Bob Weil, Nicki Fitz-Gerald – O’Reilly Publishing

The Art of iPhone Photography
by Bob Weil, Nicki Fitz-Gerald
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

This book goes way beyond snapping photos with your phone.  In a simple and easy-to-follow manner, you can see how to create art with your iPhone*.


1. Tutorials – Part 1: Photography and 2. Tutorials – Part 2:  Illustration and Fine Art

Each of the two sections of the book contain several subsections.  Each subsection covers a category, such as Landscape or People & Portraits.  45 different “iPhoneographers” contribute a study.  Each of the studies is by a particular photographer, based on a specific photo and covers: What You’ll Learn, What You’ll Need, Back Story, The Process, My Favorite Apps, and a Summary. A photo is shown in each study and the details of how it was created, including the photographers decisions in setup and editing, are discussed.

The studies make it easy to follow along, as well as skipping around the book to the photographs that interest you.  The book is great if nothing else than for the many iPhone app suggestions.  After reading just a couple of the studies, I downloaded a couple of apps and tried out some of the suggested techniques.  I was very happy with the resulting photo.  The cases go way beyond the usual concepts of framing and cropping and go much farther into the art aspect with saturation, and blurring, and artistic additions of light (via editing) and dark.

While I am a huge fan of photography, I could never get into the deeply technical aspects of F stops and apertures.  That’s one of the many reasons I like smartphone photography.  This book is for people like me, looking to get the most out of their iPhone photos without delving into technical jargon.

*The authors do admit that many of the techniques and applications used to take and edit photos are not strictly limited to iPhones.

The Art of iPhone Photography

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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