Starting on a DIY Laser Etching Machine

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I picked up this old XY plotter off eBay with hopes of making it work as a Laser Etcher.

So far I've got it working, it passes the self test and I managed to hack up a serial cable to send it an hpgl file. The next step is finding decent hpgl tools for Linux and see if I can get accurate results.

Google Testing Blog: GTAC videos now online

Google Testing Blog: GTAC videos now online

We finished up the second annual Google Test Automation Conference on Saturday with a boat cruise around Manhattan. There's still a lot of work for us to do to wrap up all the loose ends, but one that we have gotten to right away is posting the videos on YouTube.

Mark pointed out that Google has posted a bunch of videos on their Test Automation Conference online.  Go watch, listen, and learn.  This is nice and timely as Mark and I start preparing in case we're picked to talk at SXSW this coming year.

Ian Moore, To Be Loved

1232456148_1a6915bbb0.jpgIan Moore - To Be Loved

Well, I've been listening to Ian Moore's new album, "To Be Loved" for a few days now, and I have to say it's one of the better albums that I've ever listened to.

Anyone familiar with Ian will know that he isn't easily pegged into a specific genre or style of music, and this album is no exception.  The tempo and sound are a nice change from his previous albums.

I get the feeling that it's got some Monkey's or Beatles influences with a smattering of blues and southern rock mixed in.  Ian's vocals and guitar with Kullen's keys and horn are an awesome combination alone and backed up with a full band they really shine.  I particularly like the tracks, To Be Loved and 30 days, but it's difficult to pick a favorite.  The entire album is great and well organized.  The songs flow from one to another and while each is unique, there are some common threads that bring it all together.

There's more info and a couple samples on Ian's MySpace page.

So Ian, Kullen, and the rest of the band, if you happen to read this, Thanks!

Ian Moore at Sam’s Burger Joint

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Mark, Virgie, David and I went to see Ian Moore last night at Sam's Burger Joint.

The Summer Wardrobe opened the show and I enjoyed their music and sound.  The lead singer played an interesting looking and sounding 12 string guitar.  I'm sure Mark will have something to day about it.

Ian's Changed! Of course, that shouldn't surprise anyone. He's always changing and usually for the better, or at least as good. The new sound is a bit brighter and more electric and I'm enjoying it a lot.

They played a good mix of old, new, and some rocking covers. Overall it was a very energetic show that should please all but the grumpiest Ian fans. If you are in Houston tonight, be sure to check out his show at the Continental Club.

2008 SXSW Interactive Panel Picker – Testing Two-Step

2008 SXSW Interactive Panel Picker

A humorous look at Why, What, and How to test. Why we should test our web applications. What part of the applications need testing. How to steer development to help with testing. How to use free testing tools to make your applications rock a step or two above the competition. Dual presentation with Mark Morga.

Mark's and my panel suggestion for SXSW 2008 is up for vote on the new and improved panel picker.  If you have a moment and don't mind registering, please go rank your favorite panel ideas.  If enough technical people sign up and vote I think we'll have a reasonable chance at being selected.

We'll have more to post about in the very near future as we get the Testing Two-Step site up and running.

Money Money Money, win 100 or 50 CAD

Contest: Blog about my new download site and win 0 | Steve's Tech Blog

Steve is launching his brand new site: 1 Cool File. It is a directory of cool files(shareware, freeware, plugins). For example, you can try a new media player after you have just finished a music download. You can add your ebook about making money or a screen saver. That’s not all, it has a section just for blogs (plugins). You can also rate a file or make a review about it. It does support PAD files so tell authors about it.

And just by linking to the contest post, I can win $50. You should read the contest post to win 2 other prizes of $25/each if you don’t have a blog. If your entry is before the next Google page rank, Steve will double the main prize. So, don’t wait to long. It’s coming soon!

And one more thing… You can read Steve’s blog while there.

Consider this post an entry into the $50 CAD contest that Steve is running.

Brand New Honda CR-V.

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After 21 years of marriage we finally bought a brand new car. Happy anniversary dear. We had gone looking at used ones, hoping to save a few bucks, but a 2004 Honda CR-V with 49k miles was just $3k less than this one.

The price difference bought us the new body style, a new car smell, mp3 cd player, and 100k mile warranty.

I did drive a Honda Fit Sport and liked it, but Deb didn't think it'd work to haul the kids and the dogs around town. I am very tempted though to trade my car in for a Fit Sport when it's paid off in 7 months.

Ira Glass, David Sedaris, and This American Life.

glass_sm.jpgI ran across two of my three favorite radio personalities online in the last two days and thought I'd share.

First, Ira Glass, host of This American Life gives a great 15 minute talk on current.tv about storytelling. Many good tips and I'd suggest watching the whole thing.

Yesterday I saw a link to an old appearance of David Sedaris telling an awesome story of his experience with the Stadium Buddy. While this story works well without the video, his facial expressions make it worth watching. David Sedaris on Letterman.And just to fill out the trio, here's one of my favorite episode of this American Life with Sarah Vowell in Act One of Guns.

Homebrew, First Taste

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Drank one of my home brewed beers last night. It's a West Coast Pale Ale and tastes pretty good. The flavor starts out strong but finishes with a smooth citrus taste, much like Blue Moon. I'm satisfied with the taste but I'll let it sit another week before trying the next bottle. I did this the Mr. Beer way, which cheats a lot and bypasses the more difficult parts of making the wort.

It's piqued my interest a bit and I'll probably look into doing it the hard way soon enough.