The Big Think

February 28, 2011

The Unbearableness of Adulthood

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 3:49 pm

The neighbor’s young daughter just called up to my window: “Hey Jason! If you’re not too busy, would you like to come play with us?“. And you know what? I almost did. Thanks for asking.

Oh, to be a kid again.

The Moment

Filed under: Friends,Music — jasony @ 8:53 am

Pi Phi wins 1st place in Sing 2011. Perfection, ladies. And redemption.

184626_1606317648435_1550970223_31443231_7478919_n.jpg

February 25, 2011

Better Philanthropy than Warfare

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:07 pm

The idea of the asymmetrical gift. I like it.

Get the Arduino Already!

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 11:40 am

Argh. So I’ve had the Make:Electronics book for 14 months now and have worked my way through the first Component Pack and first set of tutorials/projects. It’s been fun and I’ve learned a lot. Unfortunately, the MakerShed just can’t seem to come up with the parts for the second Components Pack. They’ve had them on back order for months. They’ve been listing “mid-February” as a completion date for backordered kits. Just today that went to “mid-march”. Very frustrating to have to put everything on hold while I wait for them to source their parts.

So I decided to get an Arduino starter’s kit in the meantime. But no! All Arduinos everywhere are out of stock. SparkFun, Adafruit, and MakerShed all list the Arduino as out of stock with no estimated time of arrival. Not only is the base ‘duino sold out, but each of the variants (the boarduino, minis, etc) are also unavailable. The only one that’s currently in stock is the Arduino Mega, but that’s over 2x as much as the base board.

The Component Pack 2 kit will come with a ton of stuff that the Arduino Kit also comes with, so it seems silly for me to buy the Arduino kit for almost $100 then re-buy many of the same components when CP2 comes available. So in the meantime I’m stuck watching all the sites and hoping that someone will get some units in already!

Station by the Numbers

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 11:24 am

Cool Flash animation of the ISS as it comes together.

February 21, 2011

Hey, Runner Up Ain’t Too Bad

Filed under: Audio,Movies — jasony @ 12:41 pm

Paradise Recovered gets the Best Feature runner up award at the DIY Film Festival. Way to go Team Paradise!

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 1:27 am

“The truth is that most people have a better chance to be uncommon (successful) by effort than by natural gifts. Anyone could give that effort in his or her chosen endeavor, but the typical person doesn’t, choosing to do only enough to get by.”

Tony Dungy

February 18, 2011

Kind Words

Filed under: Friends — jasony @ 4:13 pm

Thanks, Barry. That made my year.

February 17, 2011

Sing 2011

Filed under: Business,Maker,Music — jasony @ 3:32 pm

Tonight is the official opening of All University Sing 2011. Club night- when all of the competing groups gather in costume in Waco Hall to cheer each other on. Even though they’re up against each other, they’re all still friends. This display of public support is one of the reasons that Sing has endured for almost 60 years as such a grand competitive teaching laboratory.

Tonight also marks my official 20th year as a Sing arranger. I’m also very, very proud of the fact that this year, for the first time ever, I’ve been entrusted with writing the music for the entire show. Over the past 20 years I have written over 350 Sing acts and seen the curtain go up on over 4000 individual acts. My heart still quickens and my brain shifts into high gear as I look up over the piano music stand lights into the darkness and visualize the performers who are all looking back at me, each hoping that their act will be met by success.

Each group works incredibly hard to put on their seven minute act, combining music, choreography, props, backdrops, and tons of creative ideas into a whirlwind of creativity. That a single group of 50-100 students can accomplish this each year is amazing. That upwards of 20 groups and 1000+ students consistently put on such a great show is nothing short of heroic, and much of the credit goes to the director, Keith Frazee, who has nimbly balanced the task of being coach, director, creative source, authority figure, and father confessor. The right man for the job.

So tonight is it! The secrecy embargo is lifted and we play for a full house of 2200 screaming audience members. To the students who I have had the pleasure of working with over the past months, my hat is off to you. I am privileged and humbled to be a part of such a wonderful Baylor tradition.

Break a leg!

Quoth

Filed under: Politics,Quoth — jasony @ 10:41 am

Wise words.

“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.

If we run into such debts as that, we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are.

Our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.

Our land-holders, too, like theirs, retaining, indeed, the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation.

This example reads to us the salutary lesson that private fortunes are destroyed by public, as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments.

A departure from principle in one instance, becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.

Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers, observing to be so general in the world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man.

And the forehorse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I’m Sorely Tempted

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 1:38 am

I’m thinking this would be a TON of fun to terrorize an audience with in Waco Hall.

February 16, 2011

Unstoppable

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 4:06 pm

Terminator in our midst.

February 15, 2011

SketchUp

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 1:08 pm

SketchUp gets animation! I’m excited about this addition.

February 14, 2011

The Ultimate Trump Card

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 1:44 am

Need to one-up someone? Just pull this little gem out and you win. Every time.

February 11, 2011

Why I Wanted to be a Ski Jumper Growing Up

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:43 pm

Flying a plane is fun. Skydiving was neat. But this, this is flying.

No Magic Will Save This One

Filed under: Computing,Games — jasony @ 12:07 am

I got Erin the Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4) for our Wii and we’ve been playing through it as a team. It’s been fun to introduce Erin to platformers and she’s gotten pretty good at managing the dual handed control system (moving with the left thumb and aiming/shooting with the “wand”). Since she’s such a HP fan it’s very engaging for her. Unfortunately, the game has already had 2 showstopping freezes accompanied by an annoyingly loud buzz from the console that requires a full hard reset. I looked online and saw that a bunch of people had this problem and that even if you endure through the increasingly frequent crashes the game traps you in a room at the end where you can’t finish. The publisher (Traveller’s Tales) is ignoring the problem in spite of a growing call to fix it and replace the discs.

It’s a bummer because we were really having fun playing it for an hour or so each night. It’s not often when a guy’s wife practically begs him to play video games with her. Nuts to Traveller’s Tales and their bad coding.

Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:02 am

Make: Online » Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay: “”

(Via .)

February 10, 2011

The Sextagonal Shape of Things To Come

Filed under: Games,Technology — jasony @ 2:27 pm

Thingiverse posts 3d print files to print out your own Catan board. Legal uproar follows. Legal? Seems to be, but we’ll see more and more of this in coming days.

The Importance of Making Things

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 9:36 am

Friend Daniel sends along this excellent post from The Atlantic.

Narrowing the ways you can be successful (testing, testing) and the content your allowed to succeed at (reading, math, reading, math) all the while repeating absolutist mantras (“every child can be successful at this!”) necessarily means that a portion of kids will leave school thinking, “I’m not good at this, and if what my teachers say turns out to be true, I’m probably not good at much else.”

That certainly was the message I took from school. But in fact I found the world was wide-open in a way that school was not. I found myself cultivating aspects of my thinking, which public schools didn’t much care about, creativity being the most significant.

I hope efforts by my man-crush Dean Kamen and his First initiative will help stop this slow drain on American science education.

I believe that too much time is spent teaching to the test and too little is spent actually, you know, teaching. The failure of the No Child Left Behind legislation has shown pretty plainly that you can’t treat all school children as equally talented in all things. Doing this just continues to dumb down the average while the exceptional students are lucky to get out with their creativity and curiosity intact. What do we need? I’m not sure, but I think local oversight of education, rather than distant Federal control, is what’s merited.

Not sure if everyone would agree with this philosophy, but I think the evidence shows pretty conclusively that the Dept. of Education’s $46,700,000,000 annual budget hasn’t resulted in increased education. It’s become, (dare I say?), another well-meaning but bloated bureaucracy.

February 9, 2011

The Checklist Manifesto

Filed under: Business,Disclosure — jasony @ 1:00 pm

Why using checklists is a good idea. In pilot culture checklists are second nature, and no item is too small or ridiculous to exclude. Why? Because we know the repercussions of overlooking that “obvious” thing at the wrong time. I have a mental checklist I go over whenever we kick off an act in the pit that includes always asking the same questions (DAT ready? Correct act? Headphone mix? Notes from previous performance? All the musicians there?). It can get tiresome, but the one time you forget is the one time that things go wrong. The band guys are patiently tolerant of my fastidiousness, and I appreciate it. It comes from 20 years of seeing catastrophes happen, and coming up with strategies to mitigate even unexpected surprises (though I guess surprises are always unexpected, no?).

Here’s to the checklist!

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