geeky entertainment

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One of the things that's been on my bucket list for a while is to start a t-shirt company. I'm surrounded by people with great artistic talents and keen senses of humor, and it seems a shame to let those ideas languish among such a small group, so what better way to spread them than by sporting them around all day on your upper body? CafePress is one of several services that let's you get started selling printed products without a serious outlay in funds. If you're designs take off, you can always take your designs to your own site. I also also ordered a shirt from Zazzle.com so I could compare and contrast. In case you're thinking about ordering some custom shirts, here's a couple of differences between the two services:

  1. CafePress is a significantly cheaper. It cost me around $20 for each shirt, and shipping was free. Zazzle cost $25 plus $4 shipping, making it a $29 shirt. I don't remember ever spending that on a t-shirt before.
  2. Zazzle has bigger printing area by 68 square inches. CafePress is 10x10, Zazzle is 12x14 and you can have it horizontal or vertical.
  3. Zazzle has a nice tool for seeing your shirt on a variety of models of different shapes and sizes. CafePress just has the shirt, no model.
  4. The process of designing the CafePress shirt went more smoothly and had a few more options.

I decided to start real simple and created a t-shirt around a misspoken phrase I heard the other day which gave me a nice laugh. It's a little obscure, but the project was designed to get me started with the creative process and test out the quality of printing over at CafePress. I also ordered a shirt to advertise one of my recent ventures at geeky events. I purposefully chose a single color, and did a light-on-dark and a dark-on-light to see the differences. Both came out pretty nice, with crisp edges and bold ink. I put them through a wash, and they didn't shrink or flake. The white ink is raised up like a typically silk screen shirt, and the black is more like a dye without any raising. The neck is a little tight, but the shirt (I ordered large, fitted American Apparel shirts) is soft and long - a feature severely lacking in a lot of men's t-shirts.

Once I get my Zazzle order I'll post a bit more contrasting the quality of the printing and shirts.



I've been on a T-shirt designing kick lately, and put together a simple design for an upcoming talk I might be doing at the next Ignite Boise on Extreme Productivity. In the process of designing the shirt, I wasn't able to find a GPL / Creative Commons licensed flow chart of a GTD-inspired process, so I downloaded OmniGraffle and put together my first flow chart ever! I've packaged up the files (black and white and color versions, both OmniGraffle and a transparent high-resolution PNGs) which you can download below, licensed as Creative Commons.

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Evernote is one of those applications that have subtly changed my life forever. I've become much better at capturing idea and thoughts since grabbing it a couple months ago. It's just so much easier to create a new item than a whole text file you have to name and find a place for. It's fast, searchable, and I have a lot more to say about it, but I'll wait for future blog posts.

One of Evernote's stellar features is the ability to upload photographs, and Evernote will run them through an OCR and will include the images in its search. Through this, I found out that there are hidden words everywhere. When doing a search for "IRA", I found the hidden acronym on my face, my hair and another on my sweater. Oh. My. God. What else is written on my face that I don't know about?

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During a recent break in regression testing, I sought out a method of streaming a video of my macbook screen to the web so my team could have the option of watching my tests as they ran. I'd also been wanting to give ustream.tv a try, and 2 birds + 1 stone == WIN. Ultimately, I didn't get everything working until after the testing was done, but I still posted the link and tested out a few filters on CamTwist, one of which was called "Take on me". The effect, as you might guess, give the cam a black and white comic feel. The slow frame rate added to the effect, and the urge to dig up one of my favoriate 80's A-Ha tunes and flail myself around in my chair was irresistible. Literally.

Since it took me a little while to dig up all the resources to accomplish such a feat, I figured I'd save someone else the trouble. So, here's what you do (instructions are for a mac, though a Windows machine setup looks similar:

  1. Download CamTwist and install
  2. Restart your computer (I tried not doing this, but nah, you really have to restart).
  3. Open up CamTwist, select Webcam and double-click the "Take on me" filter (Bonus: to stream your desktop, click "Desktop" under "Select a video source").
  4. Sign up for a ustream.tv account and fill out all the forms.
  5. Click the 'Broadcast now' button in the upper right hand corner of your ustream account page (Click "skip" for the Twitter unless you're looking for more ubiquitous embarrassment)
  6. Select "CamTwist" as the video input and a mic as the audio input. You should see your sketchy self on the monitor.
  7. Google "imeem take on me". I just discovered imeem as a way to listen to full songs without creating any accounts. I've done several searches with "imeem" + song title and get a full streaming tune. Once you get on an imeem page, the song should start playing automatically.
  8. Click "Start broadcasting"
  9. Give your fellow dev's the URL (you can find it under "Your Shows", and click the link "Go to Show URL" (Bonus: you can also embed the stream and chat on a web page by going to "Your Shows" and then "Share")
  10. Flail about in your chair (it might be slightly more effective if you wait until towards the end of the song and have someone click turn the filter on and off as fast as they can)

Of course, this example is pretty novel, but the combo of ustream and CamTwist open up some cool possibilities. Just being able to share your desktop on the web is pretty awesome. The resolution isn't great, but if you show just a portion of your screen, you can get the message across.

Helpful links

http://allocinit.com/index.php?title=CamTwist - Download page (http://allocinit.com/images/1/18/CamTwist-1.7.dmg - actual download)http://www.ustream.tv/helpcenter/camtwist - ustream instructions on setting up CamTwist
http://www.ustream.tv/helpcenter/advancedhowto - Advanced how to on ustreamhttp://www.ustream.tv/mydashboard - Your dashboard on ustream
http://chrisshattuck.com/chris-shattuck-live-stream - My (occasionally) live streaming feed


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