Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard “Rackmount” mod #MoBetterMoPho

On a whim this afternoon, I decided to hack this together:

I decided to rackmount my DSI MoPho Keyboard in my Platform desk.

So far, I’m loving it. All the controls are at a better angle for fiddling with them while I’m playing. It’s part of my desk now, so it’s both taking up less space and my 88 key MIDI controller is actually an upgrade to the small original keyboard. It’s on a hinge, so I can swing it out to change the cabling pretty easily. It’s also dead simple to reattach it all to the original keyboard and chasis (which is sitting in my closet now) with ~10 minutes of plugging things in and screwing. As soon as I get access to my father-in-law’s table saw that is currently in transit from New York, I’m going to actually redo this mod in an all wood angled enclosure similar to the way it’s just sitting there in this picture (although angled to match the angle of the Platform desk so it will slide right in):

So the Z-shape of the bent aluminum actually puts this at a really nice angle just sitting on the desk. Next phase, I'll build an actual wooden desktop box to slide into this slot vs this current barndoor hack

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The year old budget Android phone I bought a few weeks ago has the same features as iPhone X, but with a less breakable screen


I’ve been leaving Apple for a while now. I used to be the lead blogger on The Unofficial Apple Weblog, have contributed to multiple Apple-related O’Reilly books in the Hacks series, and was the first person to start a blog about the iPod back when it was first announced (it was called My iPod Blog and enjoyed that spotlight for all of about a week before other better Apple focused blogs dwarfed it).

Several years ago I bought first a Microsoft Surface, then a Surface Book, because I really wanted a touch screen laptop with a pressure sensitive pen with which I could draw in Photoshop and other professional grade software. Apple several years after that change released the iPad Pro, and I bought one, but although it’s a nice sketchpad, it still doesn’t fill that core purpose that drove me to switch to Windows and they still haven’t done it. Sure, that’s a niche need in a niche market, but it’s the type of area where the creativity and “Think Different” of Apple would have served in the past. Mainstream Apple isn’t doing that and their innovation is suffering for it. Yesterday’s event highlighted this for me. Apple’s innovation has shifted from technology to marketing.

Apple Watch? Congratulations on leading in an area that is dying. The battle isn’t against other watches. It’s against needing something that was originally designed to tell time on your wrist. People don’t need that anymore. Our time is highly measured everywhere else. There’s an attempt to make the Watch the form factor for personal biometric and health related wearables. This will work for a while. But eventually, someone will design something that your doctor injects into your body and communicates with your cellphone, and at that point, this whole category is largely dead. Now at least with the new model they are making it a full phone replacement. That’s something that will appeal to some people.

iPhone X? X? Really? X is so over X years ago when we switched from OS 9 to X.

Face unlock? Microsoft laptops and a large number of Android devices have had this feature for years.

A huge glass display that we’ll all have to ugly up with cases to keep it from shattering? Really? Have you learned nothing from the Apple TV remote? Clearly not, since the same shattertastic design is being released with the new 4K Apple TV (which is the only thing announced yesterday that I think I’ll be buying).

A little under 2 months ago, my iPhone 6 Plus finally gave up the ghost. Over time of being in my front pocket continuously, the phone had warped to the curvature of my left thigh and the touch control was starting to not work. I didn’t want to drop $1000 on a new phone and I’d started to get thumb-joint arthritis from typing on it’s big screen, so I wanted to go smaller anyway. I ordered a budget Alcatel phone from Amazon for $100 and it worked pretty well, but the camera was crap. I got rid of it and a few weeks ago grabbed a Sony Xperia X Compact for $350. It has face unlock. It has a great screen. It has battery for well over a day. It has built in fitness tracking without the need for any additional wearables (although you can sync it with that). It is actually water resistant (although it’s not marketed as such in the US). It already has augmented reality apps built into it by Sony (because everyone is already doing AR and has been doing it for years; Apple is playing catch up here). I can play my PS4 remotely via it. It’s pretty badass for only $350. Also ~21MP camera made by Sony, a leader in photographic equipment.

Apple changed the world with iPhone. I have invested a lot in their gear and software over the years. I’ll continue to maintain that investment via my iPads, which are still the best entertainment-focused tablets on the market. I’ll also continue with Apple TV, but that’s only because I’m already locked in to that ecosystem, and it’s the only place I can easily see—on my television—those shows and movies that I’ve already bought.

Everywhere else, Apple is falling behind in my opinion. Sure they have more money and more success than anyone right now. But they’ve hit their peak. Things are on the downturn and my dollars are better spent elsewhere.

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Bears vs Babies arrived! #bearsvsbabies

Friday, my order of Bears vs Babies finally arrived. Jackson misremembered the game’s name as “Robots vs Babies” but he’s been asking me steadily about it since I first told him that I backed the Kickstarter. This is what it looked like fresh out of the shipping box:

It even came with a bonus backer card and a thank you note. Here’s the bonus card:

And here’s the thank you note:

And here’s everything that came in the box:

Jackson and I played a round of it Friday after I was finished with work and had a good time. He won. It’s a fun, ridiculous game that was easy enough to pick up and had pretty fast gameplay.

Saturday, Jackson just got the cards out and started making crazy monsters for fun, like the cards were the dream answer to his thoughts about building monsters from scratch. (He and Darcy are both very fascinated with drawing, creating stories about, running from, and pretending that they are monsters.

I highly recommend it. I also got a customized form letter comic as part of my receipt, which I won’t share here, b/c I’m too lazy to photoshop out my address. But that was a very nice touch.

UPDATE: with corrected pictures.

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Kristin as Beyonce

Because she insisted I do this for her:

Kristin posing as Beyonce

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Replaced the gas cylinder in my Aeron and now it’s working like new

So I’ve had an Aeron chair for my home office for well over a decade and it’s been a great chair, but recently it started just sort of sinking from time to time. Turns out the hydraulic gas piston was giving out. So I ordered this replacement piston for $20 off of Amazon:

It came yesterday, and I found myself watching a multitude of videos on YouTube to try to determine how to remove the old cylinder, which after 10 years of my heavy ass sitting in it, was firmly in place. Turns out all I had to do was load the bugger up with WD-40 and let is sit over night. This morning, I took the pipe wrench to the thing and with a few twists it was free. Then rubber mallet to the bottom to remove it from the base. I slid the new one in, turned the chair back upright sat down and pffffffffffffff

It immediately deflated. I thought the new cylinder was defective at first and began a return for it, but then I noticed that the button on this model was a little taller than the one that I’d just removed. Popped the base of the seat off, loosened the little button depressor with an Allen wrench, and voila!

I put the seat base back on, sat down, and found my old chair sitting firm and tall like it used to back when I first bought it. Not too shabby for $20.

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Body & mind hacking

So as someone who used to help run Hackaday when it was under Mahalo’s wing, led Chaotic Moon’s Labs where we did innovative combinations of technology to think about existing technology in new ways, and contributed to and authored my own O’Reilly hacks book, I have mixed feelings about how the term “hacking” is applied currently across a large stretch of non-technological topics.

However, recently, I’ve been reading up on the science behind and trying out a few of the things that are currently categorized popularly as “body hacking” and “mind hacking.”

Several weeks ago, I began attempting to adopt intermittent fasting, after reading several blog posts about it that then led me to actually read some of the research behind it. Basically, I try not to eat any food between 6pm at night at 10am the next morning, compressing all my active intake of food to an 8 hour window. This is extremely hard to do, I’m only about a month into the experiment, and so far, I’ve been forced to break this several times due to social obligations, and broken it myself due to it being difficult. So I don’t think all my organs have had a chance to sync up all their internal clocks for me to see the best results from this, although I am still trying. We’ll see if I get better at it. I’d love to hear what others who have tried it have experienced.

Last night, I ended up watching this TED talk featuring Wim Hoff:

Then I watched some more videos on Wim Hof, his breathing method, and then bought Scott Carney’s book on Wim which I started reading last night on my Kindle. It’s all very interesting. I just practiced my first attempt at his breathing method this morning, so we’ll see how it goes. It felt relaxing for sure, but way too early to tell if it really works or not. I’d love to hear from others who have tried this, gave up, think it’s horrible, or swear by it.

In any case, I’m experimenting a bit with these things as I get older and get tired of always having colds and allergies. We’ll see what happens.

Continue reading

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How to use pictures of The MET’s over 200,000 public domain artworks for free

Go here and make sure the Public Domain Artworks filter is selected. Done.

The instructions for doing this are here.

That page is linked to from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s press release about the images being available for use.

I found the press release via this Engadget post about the news (that doesn’t discuss how to actually go about getting the images at all).

The article and the press release both indicate that there are over 375,000 images available, so I find it odd that when you actually drill down to the collection (the link that I began this post with) and you filter by Public Domain, there are only “200,128 results out of 441,174 records” available, which smells like some press release inflation to me and some lack of diligence by everyone ingesting & regurgitating the press release.

However, more importantly to me, one of the people who first got paid for blogging on this here internets (back in my day…), I find it supremely irritating that in the spirit of keeping the reader’s eyes on our ads and on our site, there is no clear, easy to find path to find out exactly how to use these images in Engadget or any other “news coverage” of this that I’ve seen. Everyone just lazily throws it out there without any useful linking as if it were a newspaper, and that, my friends, is why blogging has become more marginalized and less powerful. We gave up our super-powers for ad money. #seewhatididthere

Comedy and Tragedy Artist: Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, Montargis 1767–1824 Paris) Date: 1814 Medium: Black chalk and stumping Dimensions: 9 1/4 x 12 1/2 in. (23.5 x 31.8 cm) Classification: Drawings Credit Line: Karen B. Cohen Fund, 2003 Accession Number: 2003.5

Comedy and Tragedy
Artist:
Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, Montargis 1767–1824 Paris)
Date:
1814
Medium:
Black chalk and stumping
Dimensions:
9 1/4 x 12 1/2 in. (23.5 x 31.8 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Karen B. Cohen Fund, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.5

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