Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

Tracking my workouts

Friday, February 17th, 2012

I posted about my workout logger page a few months back. I’ve been using it steadily since then, but with the house project I had no time to work on improving the page. Recently I’ve gone back to it and added a few tiny bits of functionality, like straight-to-wordpress blogging of my workouts, and persistent storage so that I won’t lose my workout details if I accidentally navigate away from the page. I’ve also been tweaking the UI gradually, to make it a smoother experience on my phone’s browser: bigger buttons so I don’t have to concentrate so hard on pressing the right thing, dynamically hiding controls when they aren’t needed, etc.

workout logger page for mobile phone

App screens

It’s been fun doing a some coding with purpose again, and it’s also helped me focus my workouts better. Try it out at the pictured url if you want. Next I think I might add a real backend, to do more interesting things with the collected data.


Product search

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Last weekend I set out to build a shelf for G’s room. My main goals were to custom-fit it to a particular wall in her room, and to keep the cost low. I’d done a few shelves like this in our last house, using melamine boards from Home Depot or Lowe’s.

After sketching my rough plans, my usual next step is to drive over to Home Depot and look at what boards they have in stock. I then adjust my plans on the fly while standing in the store aisles. This time I decided to try doing that step at home, via the web. That way I could know the exact cost ahead of time, compare other stores’ prices, look at alternative materials, and decide whether to buy vs. build.

Home Depot’s site made this appallingly difficult to do. After 5 minutes of drilling down through vague category names, I gave up and tried keyword searching. That turned up a donut machine as the top result by relevancy for “melamine“, as shown in the below image. (The model number contains “MDF”, and MDF must be a synonym for melamine — but why is Home Depot selling donut makers anyway?)

product search results from home depot

I persevered and clicked through several pages of results on the Home Depot site, eventually finding the few different boards that I had in mind. The exercise made me think, though, that there is potential for a retailer that can provide a great user experience and great results for this kind of situation.

A simple trunk hack

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Tired of your stuff rolling around in the trunk of your car? Here’s a quick hack that can help.

trunk hack

  1. Find a medium-sized plastic bin. An old cardboard box would work, too.
  2. Find a small block of scrap wood.
  3. Put the bin against one edge of your trunk, then put the block up against it.
  4. Temporarily tape the block down to the trunk liner.
  5. Take the bin out, set it aside, and then take the whole liner out.
  6. Flip the liner upside down and put a couple of screws into the block, to fasten it permanently to the liner.
  7. Remove tape.
  8. Put the liner back in your trunk.
  9. Put the bin back into its spot.

You can put small or delicate items inside the bin to keep them from rolling around.   And it’s easy to take the bin out whenever you need to carry something that takes up the whole trunk.

my first android app

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Simple log of inhaler puffs, to help me monitor my usage and know when the inhaler is nearly used up.


playlists for Mister C

Friday, December 11th, 2009

My favorite soul DJ, Mister C, did his last regular show at WFMU over a year ago.  Several years of his monthly show are still available in WFMU’s archives and I’ve been listening to them a lot lately.

Some of my other favorite DJ’s (like Billy Jam & Kevin Nutt) post playlists for their shows.  These make it easy to jump back to a show or song that I’m in the mood for hearing, or look up the current song that I’m listening to. For example:  in the mood for an Arthur Conley song? Google for “arthur conley” and you’ll find 80 archived shows from various DJ’s who happened to play one of his songs during their show!

Mr. C never posted playlists (some WFMU DJ’s do it, others don’t), so a while ago I started casually building up my own.  Here, for the enjoyment of like-minded listeners, are my Mister C’s Soul Spectacular playlists.

kitchen remodel

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Our 2005 kitchen remodeling project.

Re-posting a couple of old projects from the previous site.  I know these aren’t hugely interesting, but I’ve often found random people’s web pages to be a great source of information and inspiration when I’m trying to work out my own project ideas, so here’s to hoping that someone stumbles upon these and finds them useful.

I wish I’d done a better job at taking pictures of past projects.  I can’t, for example, find any pictures of my pickup truck pvc canoe rack, which is a shame because I was pretty proud of that and I believe it was a fairly unique design.  Oh well.