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Cords are gross.

I was sick of looking at the power cord for our toothbrush charger, all bunched up and hanging out under the glass shelf in our bathroom. Also, out bathroom has a single outlet, making it tough to keep things plugged in. I wanted to throw one of our extra Google Home Mini smart speakers in there (hello, NPR in the shower!) and there was no way to do it without adding outlets.

3D printer to the rescue. I used Fusion360 to design a simple box to hold the extra cordage, adapters and plugs. I think it came out pretty neat, and it was an easy project.

Bonus… I got to use my new laser level!

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New

I recently moved jusbot.com from Tumblr to WordPress, in hopes that it would encourage me to write and share more on this platform. Coming soon… more projects, thoughts, explorations, and daydreams.

Currently I’m busy working on digging out from getting new furniture for the Watertown Middle School Makerspace. It’s been a slow process, moving areas of high entropy to areas of slightly lower entropy. The upside is I can now have 24 students working in here at a time. It’s tight, but it works.

In the meantime, feel free to contact me at jusbot at gmail dot com or look me up under jusbot on your favorite social media platforms.

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Mini things make my heart sing.

I love mini stuff. Little versions of bigger things, in perfect detail. Total joy trigger. Like this mini food made from polymer clay at Parts and Crafts.

I totally lost my mind this weekend when I came across minimaterials.com. It’s two great tastes that go great together. I mean… LOOK AT THIS!

I ordered up a pallet of cinder blocks and a bison skull. Can’t wait to get them.

Here’s a bonus pic of some fresh tiny sushi.

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Cambridge ‘Innovation School’ Teaches Hands-On Creativity With A Twist Of Social Justice

THIS. Can this be part of school for every child?

Cambridge ‘Innovation School’ Teaches Hands-On Creativity With A Twist Of Social Justice

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CS50X

Harvard lectures, courseware and assignments for free? Seriously?! 

Yup. edX is amazing. I started CS50X, the online version of Harvard’s popular Intro to Computer Science course. Week 0 was amazing – the lectures are engaging, the support materials and other courseware top notch.

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Week 0 concludes with a problem set: create an animation, app or game in Scratch – MIT’s fun visual programming platform. It was on my list to learn Scratch anyway, so I dug in and explored a lot of what Scratch has to offer.

Here’s my game – a fun little ghostbusters “inspired” shooter.

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/100649531/

On to week 1!

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Gettin’ science up in here.

At work I get to hang out in two different science classes. In 8th grade we’re working on elements. In some of our activities we use a “bubble sheet” to figure out how many electrons live on each shell of an atom. The handout we have does the job, but I wanted to find a version that might be a little easier to use. No luck. So I took to Illustrator and made my own. Here it is. Take it, use it, love it.

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crafting splatoon

Notches figured out for real this time. Jig is next. #craftyourfandom #halloween #drafting #splatoon #propbuilding #overboard #oob

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Pedalboard

I’ve been getting back into playing guitar more often. I have a bunch of pedals, but no pedalboard. I had been looking at Pedaltrain and some of the boutique-y makers out there (see list below). I knew I could pull something together myself and practice woodworking in the process.

I decided I wanted something like a Salvage Custom board. I threw some sketches together and came up with a simplified version I could make with plywood.

I wanted to use rabbets as corner joints. A quick trip to the coin sorting machine and I was off to Home Depot for a stacked dado blade set. I’ve wanted one for a while but wouldn’t impulse-buy one. Now I had my excuse.

Rabbet joints are easy to cut. Badly planned rabbet joints are NOT. My original design called for rabbeting both parts of the corner, like this:

The problem was that the depth and width of the cut (height of blade and fence position) needed to be exactly the same. Otherwise, I ended up with gaps and the joint wouldn’t work. This level of accuracy does not happen with a cheap table saw and dado set. I thought I was doing something wrong and burned through a lot of my material trying to get this joint to work.

I thought it over for a while, trying to fix my method and not even thinking about the design. As I was thinking of jigs and gauges I could make, it came to me out of nowhere – my design was wrong, not my hands. If you rabbet one side of the joint, the dimensions are much less critical. My new joints look like this:

Much easier to set up the saw and plenty stable once glued up! I think this is how you are *supposed* to do it anyway.

I used a homemade taper jig to cut the top of the sides at an angle. It was hard to line it up, but I got it to come out good enough.

Once I got the frame glued up, I did a ton of sanding. I shaped it by feel, not worrying too much. I threw on a coat of grey stain. This cheapo plywood did not take the stain evenly. I ended up with a neato streaky patina. Two coats of poly and I was all set.

The top is 1/2″ plywood. I drilled a few 5/8″ holes and connected them with a jigsaw to create the cable slots. The velcro loop sheet and the hardware all came from pedalboardshop.com. I decided to use “electrosocket” style input and output jacks and an IEC power plug.

Here are my notes from my project book.

If you are in the market for a pedalboard or thinking of making one, here’s some of the cool stuff I found out there. I looked at these makers over and over while planning my design, all the while admiring their great work.

http://www.salvagecustom.com/

http://blackbirdpedalboards.com/

http://templeboards.com/

http://trailertrashpedalboards.com/

http://www.helwegpedalboards.com/

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Fixing sleep.

I saw my doctor last week. Nothing major. We mostly talked about whatever came up. One of our topics was sleep. We talked about sleep cycles, REM sleep, brain waves, pavlov’s dog, biorhythms… and as usual with my doc, this involved a quickly scribbled diagram:

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(my over-complicated recreation)

This technical and scientifically-accurate diagram shows what your brain does while you sleep. Certain brain waves go up and down in a cycle. There’s a bunch of stages to this cycle. Near the top is REM sleep, where there’s lots of brain squiggles buzzing around and you dream. Near the bottom, your brain chills out. This cycle is supposed to happen three times while you sleep. You want to wake up when your brain is buzzing at the end of the last cycle. You will snap right out of it and should feel nice and refreshed. Bonus – you are more likely to remember your dreams in vivid detail. If you wake up in the trench, you can’t recover easily. You’ll be groggy and off all day.

So how do you hit the sweet spot? I have three bullet points:

Wake up at the exact same time every day no matter what. (Ugh I know, right?)

    Mammalian brains (humans are mammals, last I checked) have built-in magic clocks. You know how you get hungry at lunchtime, even if you ate a late breakfast? That’s your magic brain clock. (My dog knows exactly when it’s dinner time, yet he doesn’t wear a watch.) If you wake up at the same time every day, your magic brain clock will make sure you are in the right spot in your sleep cycle when it’s time to wake up. If you do this consistently your brain will accommodate staying up late by speeding up your sleep cycles to fit them in. It doesn’t matter when you go to bed – you may not be as well rested on less sleep, but you will wake up in the sweet spot.

    Avoid booze and drugs (including sleep-aids) near bedtime.

      Even if you conk out from a shot of whiskey, that glass of wine, or you pop your Ambien, you are not going to get as restful of a sleep as you would sober. Sleep-aids can mess you up – if you think you need it to sleep, you’ll need it even if you don’t. No good.

      Beds are for sleeping (and sex).

        No books in bed. No TV in bed. No electronic devices in bed (unless they are for the sexy times.) Seriously. Just sleep. If you are lying in bed stressing out about not being able to sleep, get up. Go read a book on the couch. Drink some chamomile tea. Chill out, but don’t over-stimulate. No video games, no bright lights, no screens. It also helps to take a half hour or so for chill-out time before bed – grab a book and relax, listen to mellow music with your eyes closed, whatever works. Don’t shower right before you wanna hit the sack, either. It always wakes me up, regardless of how sleepy I was before I hit the water.

        DISCLAIMER – I’m not going to bother to site sources or do any due-diligence research with this post. This is my experience and opinion, based on what I took away from a chat with my doctor, with some skimming on the topic mixed in. I may be way off. Whatever.

        Sleep hygiene is awesome. Do some research and/or see what works for you if you are interested.

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        Twitter time-trip, MP3 edition

        I was amazed to see how many tweets I’ve posted – over 3,000 – despite feeling like I never use Twitter. This sent me on a scrolling journey through time, where I found this gem:

        Yes, I had a Zune. I LOVED it. I thought it was so much better than an iPod at the time. It had a modern-feeling interface, sexy hardware, a great desktop app, and an FM radio that I never used. The social features were a nice idea but also useless.

        Hey, remember when we all had to carry around 10,000 songs on a magnetic hard drive if we wanted to survive? STONE AGE.

        We lost internet in the apartment for a few hours this week and I couldn’t listen to anything – I get all my music through Spotify these days. After a moment of panic, I realized it’s ok to enjoy the silence for a while.

        And… if I got desperate, there’s vinyl. Or my trusty FM Radio.

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