Category Archives: Uncategorized

My posts here are growing fewer and further between, but I’m not quite ready to call (the website) completely dead. That said, all the cool kids are heading over to for some photos of our wedding, and a new blog about our fixer upper house in Seattle.

It’s been a big summer for us as we got married in July. Obviously, I haven’t done a very good job of keeping this blog updated, but that’s life. It was a wonderful time, the wedding, and it deserves a post of its own sometime soon, with photos, of course. It’s also been busy times […]

I had a pretty great work setup in Boston at the wonderful and quirky coworking space Industry Lab. I’m sad to leave that behind, but our new place in Seattle does have space for a home office, so I’m giving that a try. After unpacking, I had to spend just a little time getting the […]

The big news I haven’t posted about here is that we’re moving back to Seattle in a couple of weeks. It’s been a while coming, and now it’s happening, and soon! Among many other things, I wanted to finish up a project in the woodshop before we left, so I spent a good amount of […]

It’s been hard to motivate myself to post anything recently — a lot of bad stuff going on in the world makes me feel, well, badly, about posting much of anything that isn’t a rant here, and we all know how much fun those are to read. But I’m going to put the rant(s) on […]

We’re back from weddings number 4 and 5 of the year, having had a great time in Spain and Italy at two remarkable and remarkably different events. Lots more photos to follow; for now, this:

I finally had a chance to post some photos from our trip to Taiwan earlier this year. You may recall that we were in Taiwan just over a year ago, and had a wonderful trip then. Our friends there got engaged in the intervening time, and we were happy to take another trip over for […]

With more and more information surfacing every day about the breadth and depth of the NSA spying programs, it’s hard not to be a little depressed about it. The latest — a report about the Muslim-Americans targeted for surveillance — reminded me about the disparity between the approval rate for search warrants of the FISA […]

A couple years back, I wrote a little bit about starting my own company. I worked on it for a few months, and then, for a number of reasons, put the project on hold. When we moved to Boston last fall, I looked around briefly for jobs, but quickly decided that if I didn’t pick […]

Last weekend marked the 15th annual Pi(e) Party — my annual, nerdy celebration of math, dessert and my birthday (which happens to fall on Pi Day). With our move back to the East Coast, Saturday was also the Boston debut of Sir Mix-a-Bot, who poured ’em out all night long: Next year’s party, wherever it […]

I was pretty disappointed to hear President Obama’s speech today and also with the accompanying policy directive. I think it falls well short of what ought to be done, and I thought he played fast and loose with facts and was extremely patronizing. Here’s how the EFF scored the suggested reforms (3.5/12 ain’t so hot): […]

I’ve really been enjoying the 3D printer I put together earlier this year — it’s nice to be able to make a (small- to medium-sized, plastic) thing when I want to. Most recently, I made some drawer pulls for our nightstands at home. A few more pictures are up here.

I’m done with Facebook, for now. The long and the short of it is that sometime in the last year, Facebook crossed over from being a useful tool I used to keep track of friends’ lives to a website where it took too much time and effort to find the content I really wanted to […]

The White House released the report on the NSA from a Presidential Advisory Committee last week, supposedly earlier than expected, offering the American people a chance to “draw their own conclusions.” Here’s my open letter in response: Dear President Obama: You have lost my support, and the support of many I know, due to the […]

Among many other things (getting settled in Somerville, selling my place in Seattle, etc.) keeping me busy, I’ve relaunched my project/company that I started work on last year, and as part of that effort, I built a 3d printer. I’m a mechanical engineer, and as such, I’ve gotten to use/play with 3d printers for the […]

The best deals in Boston so far: Kimball Fruit Farms (at most farmer’s markets) — $15 for 20 lbs of heirloom tomatoes (technically, they’re seconds, but great for sauce and the like). Chez Henri — $15 (or so) for the Cuban sandwich at the bar, which is fantastic and feeds two people more than adequately. […]

We moved! Dina and I live in Somerville, Massachusetts, now, just a couple blocks away from my former home on Wallace Street near Davis Square. A lot has changed in the 8 years since I left for points west, so it feels relatively “new” to me, though I’m happy to find it’s still a great […]

Before we left Seattle, I took Dina out to the Olympic Peninsula for her first backpacking experience. We spent a couple nights in the interior of the park with our friends Faye and Nick, and then another night at Shi Shi Beach by ourselves. That, combined with a few nights of camping on our cross […]

You might recall that I gave a talk at Ignite Seattle not that long ago. While we were traveling, they posted videos from the night, including mine: I’m glad to get the chance to see how it went from the other perspective, and glad that folks who weren’t there will have a chance to watch […]

We are back from our eastward adventures, and doing our best to enjoy the days we have left in Seattle. We were away for 40 days, with stops in New York, Connecticut, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Jersey again, Portugal, Sweden, and another visit to New York before returning home. Yowsah! After our time on […]

Today is both my last day of work for a while, and Dina’s last day of residency. Let me just say: woooooohoooooooooooo! We’ve got a summer of fun times planned, including a family reunion, some family/friend time on the East Coast, a trip to Portugal and Sweden, and a month of checking lots of things […]

It’s been simultaneously fascinating, depressing, and more than just a little bit horrifying to watch the stories about the NSA spying on American citizens unfold over the last few weeks, and the situation deserves more of a response than just a few tweets. Most important, I think, is to consider why this stuff matters in […]

I had a blast talking about Sir Mix-a-Bot at Ignite Seattle last week. I think my presentation was well-received, and once I rebooted the computer, the demo of the bartender in the lobby during intermission was a big hit. Tons of fun — I’d totally recommend attending an Ignite event and speaking at one, too, […]

After about 8 years, I’m moving back to Boston. More specifically, we are moving to Boston, come this September; Dina has a great job lined up there, and I have no doubt I’ll figure out some way to keep busy. It’s decided, and the wheels have very much been set in motion. I’m not quite […]

Last Saturday night was the 14th (!) annual Pi(e) Party — a celebration of nerdiness, baked goods, and my birthday — which also served as the world premiere of the robot bartender, a project I’ve been working on almost as long as I’ve been having Pi(e) parties. I’m thrilled to say it was a hit! […]

It felt decidedly different, and very much in a good way, to travel to Taiwan for fun instead of business. And I think that’s really saying something, given how much I already liked Taiwan. While we only had a week, I think we made the most of it. We spent a few days in Taipei, […]

I have to say, I’d really gotten used to spending days how I liked — having time to take care of errands, working on the robot arm or some other woodworking project, having lunch with friends all over the city, etc. — this whole work thing is cramping my style! That’s hyperbole, of course, but […]

I was sad to find out that upcoming travel plans have us in Taipei during this year’s BarBot competition — the robot arm is getting awful close to becoming a bartender, plus that event just looks like a ton of fun! But, on the plus side, we’re going to Taipei! I’ve been quite a few […]

I’ve also been using my free time to work on the robot arm, and made some more progress this week. I’m excited for the part of that project (soon!) where it temporarily turns into a woodworking affair — I have fairly grand designs on the table that holds the robot arm and all the bottles.

In spite of my initial resistance and (admittedly muted) protests, I seem to have fallen into a life as a contract engineer, at least for now. For a number of reasons, not the least of which is paying the bills, I’ve tapered off working on my own company/project in favor of short- to medium-term stints […]

We’ve been on a soup kick lately, and so far this winter have kept up our pot-of-soup-a-week pace. Not only is it hearty food for the season, it’s been really convenient to cook once and have food for lots more meals. I think my favorite so far has been this fennel-potato soup that Dina made […]

It’s been a busy month, and I’ve finally had a chance to put up some photos from the end of the summer. First, some pictures from a weekend on Whidbey Island for Dina’s birthday in September. And second, photos from our Montana trip in early October.

I had two excellent “there’s a tool for that” moments this past weekend. First, as a friend and I were working on his workbench, made from old hunks of bowling alley, we came across a screw that’d broken off in the wood. With nothing to grip, it would’ve taken some serious digging around (and damaging […]

I posted some photos of a few small woodworking projects I’ve turned out recently, including this spoon and spatula I made as a wedding gift for Mark & Lina Dina and I were out in Montana this past weekend to celebrate their nuptials, and we really enjoyed our time near Big Sky. It certainly helped […]

I’ve talked a bit about Kickstarter in the past, and I also have sunk a bit of money into stuff there. In Kickstarter lingo, I’ve “backed” 9 projects. Recently, they’ve initiated a bit of a campaign — see here and here — to address what apparently is a rash of unfulfilled (or at least delayed) […]

So what happens when robots take all our jobs away? Seriously. Temporarily put aside any doubt that we (as a society) can design and build robots to perform many of the tasks we consider manual or menial labor. Picking fruits and vegetables, cleaning houses, assembling small (and large) things, lifting heavy things. Weren’t we all […]

Some friends recently offered up some plums from the tree in their yard. Well, implored me to take some is perhaps more apt. I now understand the dilemma of having something as wonderful as a fruit tree — you’re inundated with more delicious plums than you could possibly eat, bake into goodies, preserve, give away […]

My car got clobbered Wednesday. I guess I don’t know exactly when it happened, but sometime between 5 pm Tuesday and 5 pm Wednesday, someone hit my car and took out the front left corner. No note. I did what you have to do: called the police to file a report, called my insurance company […]

I’ll spare you all the gory details (well, really I’m sparing myself retelling them one more time), but I will say that my grant application was ultimately submitted and accepted. Now, it’s wending its way through the inner workings of the peer review machine and I should hear something back in… a while? In the […]

I’ve had an exceedingly frustrating week trying to submit a grant proposal for an SBIR. I say “trying” not because I had trouble writing the proposal, but because I’ve been fighting a series of technical problems, with sites taken offline randomly, cryptic error messages, and wait times for support reps of over an hour for […]

I’m happy to report that my thumb is healing quite nicely. After about 10 days, I’m down from an oversize gauze bandage that stuck out like, well, a sore thumb and just using a band-aid. Other than some minor annoyances, it’s been a non-issue, and which makes me happy as I recently made a list […]

You’ll have to grant me, it’d been a while since I’d been to the ER. I do understand that the ultimate goal is zero ER visits, period, but spacing them out as much as possible seems like a good backup, right? So what happened? This was an accident borne purely of negligence, I’m afraid (almost […]

For my birthday, Dina took me on a short scenic flight over Seattle in a seaplane. Neither of us had flown in one before, and it was, as they say, on the list. We lucked out with beautiful weather on a mid-April evening (took me a while to get the pics off the camera and […]

Looks like I have a solid backup plan if the whole bartender thing doesn’t work out for the robot arm: Robot arm turned 3d printer on Hackaday But, I still have a good feeling about it becoming a bartender. The latest progress is that following on the success of the prototype bottle gripper (which was […]

Though I finished the table part of the project a while back, it was just this weekend that I wrapped up work on the matching bench for Faye and Nick: It did take a good while (a little less than a year) to build, but obviously I had a few other things going on in […]

I finished the automatic cat feeder, just in time for the arrival of the kittens this weekend. So far, so good — they’ve been adjusting to our home well, and I’ve been adjusting to their presence equally well. I’ll call it a win, for now.

Having spent the past few weeks working on my new project out of a corner of the living room, I started to understand the downside that comes with having your office and your home collocated. For my own sanity, and for the health of my relationship, I’m moving my work stuff to ALTSpace. ALTSpace is […]

I couldn’t find a job that was going to make me happy, so I started my own company. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate, but it’s not so far off from the truth — I looked for a couple months for a job that I could really get excited about (along with a few other criteria), […]

We’re back from our road trip, and as you can see, we covered quite a bit of ground! View Larger Map I think our driving eyes were perhaps a bit bigger than our driving stomachs, but we finished what was on our driving plates, and definitely had a good time overall. The rest of the […]

As it happens, Dina doesn’t really get to pick when her vacations fall, and so while we wouldn’t necessarily have scheduled another week off so soon after our Hawaii trip, we have one coming up just the same. I’m pretty excited to pack up the car and spend next week on the road. We’re aiming […]

The dining room table is really coming along now, and should be done in a matter of days. All the woodworking, shaping and sanding is complete, what remains is to apply the finish. Before I started staining, I wanted to take a picture of the tabletop, but all I had was my phone, and the […]

It’s been a good week in terms of making progress on projects — not only did I glue up the full tabletop for Nick & Faye’s dining room table, but I got the robot arm pouring a drink! I’m starting to think about the final layout for the robot bartender now, and have some fun […]

I took a break from the projects last week, and we went off to Hawaii for a pretty awesome vacation. We split our time between the Big Island and Maui and I was a little wary of Maui, to be honest, imagining it to be pretty touristy and that everyone there would be couples on […]

Spent a bit more time in the shop yesterday and today, and along with some good progress on the dining room table, I sealed up my table saw to improve dust collection, with excellent results. You can read more here.

I was almost home this afternoon, walking from the hardware store and a feather floated by. A little one, white and downy. And then another. I looked up to see where it was coming from, but couldn’t see anything. And then a few seconds later, another fell. And then I saw the hawk in the […]

Prompted by the update to the robot arm page, I added a few more recent endeavors to the main projects page, including the rolling tool cabinet and an end-grain cutting board I finished up a few weeks back.

As is always the case with long-term projects, progress comes in fits and starts, and I’m happy to say there’s been some major progress on the robot bartender lately. I’ll save the real nerdery for the project page and let you feast your eyes on this video:

I’ve been doing some contract work lately for a product design consulting company in Seattle, and their offices are directly across from the Occupy Seattle encampment on Capitol Hill. Every day, I grow more and more convinced that setting up some tents on the lawn of a community college is a pretty ineffective way to […]

My current unemployment — by choice, referred to by my friends as funemployment — has already been satisfactorily long (the previous spell lasting less than a week, counting holidays), and I think I’ve got a couple weeks more in me before I become an entrepreneur. More on that later. As you might imagine, I have […]

I spent some quality time a couple weekends back with my wire strippers, a soldering iron, and my laptop. The results? Only about nine years after I acquired it, I finally got the robot arm up and running! Boom!

I’ve got a few different product ideas (read: things I want to make in volume and sell to the public) kicking around, and I think in the next 6 months, I’m gonna try to make at least one of them happen. So it’s not without some personal interest that I’ve been watching my friend Whit’s […]

Enchantments photos are up — check ’em out here!

While I haven’t had a chance to go through and edit all my photographs from the Enchantments, I did stitch together the giant panorama I took from a perch above Lake Viviane, and uploaded it to Gigapan: Look for the rest of the pics soon!

In spite of some drearier-than-expected weather and shorter-than-expected unemployment, I’m fully enjoying summer in Seattle! With the season comes amazing (and cheap!) fresh fruits and vegetables, salmon, extended daylight, and, of course, Potlatch Many thanks to the fine folks at Stunner of the Month for their sponsorship, to Drew for another amazing jersey design, and […]

I posted the rest of the photos from my most recent China trip — check ’em out here. While there were some definite highlights from this trip (traveling to Yangshuo with Abe, in particular), I’m happy to report that I won’t be going back to China for quite a while. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to […]

On a conference call to some folks back home this morning, they jokingly asked if I was ready to move to China, having spent the last three and some weeks here. I told them I wasn’t quite ready to go native, but I’ll admit that when I checked out of my hotel today, it did […]

I shouldn’t be so surprised that it was really six years ago when I left Boston for parts unknown and wound up in Seattle, but the anniversary snuck up on me just the same. And another anniversary passed by completely unnoticed earlier this year — 10 years of blogging, come and gone. And, now that […]

For pretty much the first time in the 3+ years I’ve been going to China, I’m taking some time to do some non-work travel. Abe and I met up in Guilin on Sunday, and have been having a fantastic time in Yangshuo this week. The landscape here is truly unbelievable — everywhere you turn is […]

At the end of March, I flew from Taipei to Boston, twelve time-zones away (but not actually the opposite side of the earth) — not exactly on the way, but very much a worthwhile trip. Along with the usual visits with old friends and getting my ice cream fix, I was there for my parents’ […]

A month and a half later, and I’m in Taipei again. It’s been rainy here. Leading up to the trip, I was happy to just be home for a six week stretch. I took full advantage of time in Seattle, digging in a bit more in the woodworking shop, having Matt out to visit (and […]

Of course I have more time to catch up on email and posting photos when I’m in Taipei. Makes perfect sense. Sure. Whether it makes sense or not, it’s true. I’m back in Taiwan and happy to have a little downtime after the work-week (which was also pleasantly full of good food and friends), which […]

It was a while back now (last year!), but my friend Megan and I hosted a modern dinner — at least that’s what we called it. We tried to create a menu that incorporated some newer, more unusual cooking techniques while still including approachable, delicious food. We served: Oysters with wasabi sorbet Soft-boiled quail eggs […]

With some feedback from an expert, I’m now armed with the knowledge that I can easily daisy-chain six of the aforementioned motion control boards to drive each of the motors in the robot arm. And my old USB-to-I2C board actually has a number of general purpose IOs, making it easy to engage/disengage the brakes on […]

As promised, the robot arm has not languished in the living room. Thursday afternoon, in fact, was spent getting a new motion control board talking to the arm, with great success. Sad as I am to take my custom-made PCB out of the equation, it seems the surest way to actually bring this project to […]

Following up on my recent post about ongoing projects, I finished one! Check out the chair I refinished and the ottoman I built to go with it: It’s been great to get back into woodworking, and things are going well setting up shop in my friends’ basement, conveniently just a few blocks away on Capitol […]

Just posted on the Microsoft Hardware Blog is a piece I wrote about the tail mechanism for the Arc Touch Mouse (I was the lead mechanical engineer). The project, as you can tell from the blog, involved some fun, innovative design work (along with plenty of trips to China). I’m psyched for the upcoming US […]

It is sometimes hard, I think, to hold both the good and bad in the world in your mind at the same time, and so we pick times to focus on each. Thanksgiving, obviously, is one of the positive ones. There is much in my life that I am thankful for — friends near and […]

Rather than focusing on the depressing political news of late, let’s talk about more positive stuff. Like, say, Halloween. For the second year in a row, General Assembly threw a killer party down in Georgetown. Last year, a group of us went as variations on Abraham Lincoln: From left to right: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle […]

Going in to fall, I’m excited to have a bunch of projects on tap, some new, some old. Eventually, I’ll update the Projects page, but for now, here’s a rundown: Sweater — Is this finally the year I finish my sweater? The one from this lovely book? The one I’ve been working on for over […]

Heading home from a great week on the East Coast visiting Matt in his new digs at Swarthmore (and eating ridiculous food), seeing friends and family in New York (and eating more ridiculous food), and spending a fantastic long weekend at the Zucker family farmhouse in Connecticut. Sunset rainbow kinda sums it up nicely: More […]

Jared & Chika got married last weekend! I was happy to participate in the event in several capacities, from food planning (we might have bought a little too much food) to some dance lessons to fashion consulting to saying a few words during the ceremony to emceeing the toasts after dinner, in addition to the […]

If you’re reading this, it means I did everything more or less correctly, and my website is now hosted through the good graces (and fine system administration) of Decielo, the business face of my good friend Drew. I look forward to canceling my account at and never having to deal with them again. Everything […]

Eventually, I will figure out how best to present images to you, just like eventually, I will figure out a permanent web-hosting solution. For the time being, though, PicasaWeb/Google seems to be as good a place as any to put photos (though I’m happy Flickr updated their browsing interface). Deirdre and Claire’s wedding prompted me […]

Well, just as photos from Potlatch are coming in, I’m heading out. It seems I spoke too soon in June, and once again, I’m China-bound. It won’t be a long trip, and I have a wedding to look forward to on my return, but I can’t say I’m thrilled to be heading to the land […]

I was hoping to relay not just stories from Potlatch, but photos as well. I know they’re out there, but folks are busy with summery tasks and haven’t posted them just yet. So I’ll leave you with just this teaser, and note that I don’t know why I wasn’t wearing my gold chains when this […]

After a quick trip to China, possibly my last for a few months, I made my way to New York City. The 12 hour Narita-JFK flight was something else, especially when the movie system broke 45 minutes into the flight, but I did get a big kick out of seeing a partial lunar eclipse from […]

I did not make the cut for Swagger, and though I think it would’ve been fun, I’m not too broken up about it. I do find it interesting that I’ve been on or near the cusp of this sort of team (co-ed club ultimate frisbee at the highest level) for years. When I think about […]

Happy Sunday, friends & Internets! In one week, I will be in Seattle, and so will Drew, for the first time in about six months. By then, I will know if I made the cut for the new Seattle co-ed club ultimate frisbee team, Swagger. Not sure if it’s a good or bad sign I’m […]

I feel like I’ve said “I’m glad to be back home in Seattle,” so many times this year. I guess I have, it’s still true, and I’ll say it again: I’m glad to be back home in Seattle. In recent months, I’ve been to China, Argentina, Chile (very briefly), and just this past weekend, Buffalo, […]

I’m in the midst of switching the site over from the now-FTP-deprecated Blogger to the locally-hosted WordPress. Please do drop me a line if you find any broken links or have trouble with the site feed or the like.

Just a quick note to check in from Mendoza, Argentina, and also mark the end of an era on – Blogger has served me well for 9 years, but they are discontinuing their FTP publishing option, and so it’s time for me to move on (as soon I get around to it). In the […]

In the better-late-than-never spirit (I didn’t have the time or energy to plan before I left on my most recent China trip), I hosted the Pi(e) Party last night. It was a slightly lower-key affair than last year – fortunate since it was back at my apartment, which probably couldn’t have held lots more people […]

Travels continue and craziness abounds. In the next two months, I will be in Argentina, Chile (very briefly), China, Ithaca, Buffalo, China again, and oh, yes, Seattle, too. In the meantime, it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll switch web hosting providers AND my blog from Blogger to [InsertBlogSoftwareNameHere] in very short order, so you’d be well […]

I had the most bittersweet moment yesterday morning: during that 15 seconds when you first are waking up but you haven’t really stopped dreaming, and you don’t remember where you are, just briefly, this vision of my room at home appeared as if it was what I was going to see when I opened my […]

??! (Ni hao!) No prizes for guessing where I am (hint: there’s a lot of Chinese food here, they speak Mandarin, and it’s not lower Manhattan or Vancouver). In fact, this will be my longest work trip yet – 3 weeks away from home – bouncing around between Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dongguan. I’m about […]

I invented a new drink tonight, dubbed by friends The Ginger Hickey: In a tumbler full of ice, mix one part bourbon (my fave of late is Buffalo Trace, thanks Drew and Whit) with one part ginger-anise syrup (don’t be shy with the ginger), and add a splash of seltzer. Garnish with a twist of […]

Though I don’t always appreciate the short-notice travel (yes, back in Taiwan again, this time with 5 days heads-up), I do a pretty good job taking advantage of wherever it is I end up. Take, for example, this weekend. (It should be noted that in Taipei, it really helps that I have a good friend […]

It’s been quite the week of computer- and domain related changes. For starters, I switched’s email over to use Google Apps. Email sent to my address is now handled by Google’s server, and actually forwarded to my Gmail account. This seems to be the most flexible setup; I can read my mail from […]

Amidst many things, including yet another short-notice trip to Asia, I am going to try making some changes in the next few days to how email & DNS are handled for I have a Gmail account that I like because of many of the features it provides (better web interface, large amount of storage […]

I am in Taipei, and thinking hard about why, exactly, I’m here. It’s 2010. I can pick up a phone and talk to someone on the other side of the world with crystal clear sound. I can do it for zero or almost zero cost. I can share my computer screen with them, or use […]

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