Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Now Own Part of a Private Island

One square foot, to be precise, in the place known as "Hawaii 2," which the horrible people at Cards Against Humanity actually purchased—and then gave away—as part of this year's Holiday Bullshit shenanigans.

Here's where my real estate is located:

Maybe I'll visit it someday. Maybe not. Seems like a lot of trouble.

There was also a large-scale, online puzzle hunt associated with this year's CAH promotion, which ended at a safe hidden on the island. Read all about it on Boing Boing, Max Temkin's blog, or ARGNet, and see the Reddit community writeup of how the puzzles worked.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Have Terrible Handwriting

Fortunately, our holiday newsletter is available in convenient, machine- and human-readable PDF form. Enjoy!

Tomorrow: for our traditional Christmas Day movie marathon, DeeAnn and I will attempt to watch six movies in a single day! You can follow our progress on Twitter; look for the hashtag #XmasMovieThon.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Am Terrible at Analytics

As you know, Bob, I gave a well-received Ignite presentation on our Homebrew Cat Feeding Robot setup in early 2012. Afterward, I also set up a web page, with every intention of updating it as we iterated through future versions:

As you can see, Bob, that web page has not been updated. Sorry, ladies. But see below for how Food Robot evolved from early 2013 to our current setup. Can you spot the differences?

Back to the outdated web page. In my defense, it's not really that popular. Look at this Google Analytics report. Almost three years and barely 400 pageviews? Weaksauce, man:

Oddly enough, according to Slideshare, German fairgoers love cat feeding robots:

On the gripping hand, I'm wondering whether this should be more of a community site. Companies like Bistro and Petnet (formerly Pintofeed) are working on product-izing food robots, but I've also seen plenty of really creative DIY setups online.

For example, a friend of a friend posted this just yesterday:

Clearly there is a (WAIT FOR IT) hunger for cat feeding robots and discussion thereof. And the domain is available... hmm.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SnoutCast #212: Lindsay Morse & Nate Martin

This month, we talk to Lindsay Morse and Nate Martin, co-founders of the Puzzle Break room escape games in Seattle and San Francisco!

Fun fact: we actually recorded this interview last month, and astute listeners will be able to determine from clues in the conversation exactly what the date was. :)

[ Download mp3 ]

Show length: 44:27
File size: 42.7MB

Stuff and things:
Follow @PuzzleBreak on Twitter for more!

What Else?

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "Mandelbrot Set" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link / Stitcher link ]

Curtis DeeAnn Lindsay Nate

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Witnessed Orion's First Flight

It was beautiful and awe-inspiring, and I hope to see more space flights soon. Our future is up there.

Whether or not you believe all the #JourneyToMars hype, no matter how critical you might be of the Space Launch System (SLS)—if you don't feel something when you watch a rocket launch, please consult a medical professional, you freaking Grinch.

I cried when Orion lifted off—even more than I did when DeeAnn and I watched the STS-124 launch in May of 2008. Last Friday, when that Delta IV Heavy hit its second launch window, I was standing less than three miles from the pad. I felt the heat from the engines. For a moment, I honestly couldn't decide whether I should just watch the blurry scene through my tears, or blink and risk missing any of it.

Others in my NASA Social group got brilliant recordings of the EFT-1 launch—I didn't even try. Check out our photo pool on Flickr, some of which I daresay rival NASA's official images:

Don't even get me started on how great our amateur videographers are:

And for a real treat, listen to Danny Sussman's audio recording with headphones on:

But what I'm really looking forward to is Alison Wilgus' forthcoming comic about the event. Alison is a fantastic writer and artist, and she was one of my Clarion West classmates this summer. It was a complete coincidence that we both got into this NASA Social—we live on opposite coasts, and I didn't even know she had applied until we were tweeting at each other about the movie Interstellar and other space-related topics. Second-best surprise ever!

Alison drew a wonderful comic about her previous NASA Social rocket launch experience, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K (TDRS-K) launch in January of 2013. Incidentally, this is possibly my favorite single panel from that comic, because I'm a weirdo:

You can read the entire comic on Alison's web site. And if you enjoy it, sign up for Alison's newsletter to get updates on her future projects!

I don't have much more to say about my NASA Social week. It was amazing, informative, and incredibly inspirational. I brought back some souvenirs, but nothing compares to the indelible memory of seeing that rocket rise from the ground and disappear into the clouds.

One. More. Time:

If you have a couple of hours to spare, I recommend watching our Orion pre-launch briefing, which was video-conferenced between several NASA facilities around the country and included a lot of great information. My fellow NASA Social attendees asked some excellent questions about the future of America's space program.

Finally, I threw together a slide show of my own photos from last week. They're neither spectacular nor comprehensive, but should give you an idea of what the trip was like:

I was born after the Apollo missions ended. No people have walked on the Moon in my lifetime. I hope I live long enough to see human beings land on Mars. I really do.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014