Tag Archives: Portland

Netninja site changes: Hipster PDA & Code


I have talked about my rela­tion­ship with the Hipster PDA for years.  It is a sort of love/hate thing.  I find that the basics are invalu­able.  I really love all the beau­ti­ful lit­tle tem­plates and forms that peo­ple have made for the 3″ x 5″ form fac­tor.  Alas, I find that most — if not all — of those tem­plates are all but use­less to me.  A blank page has so much poten­tial.  ANYTHING you can think of (well, that fits between the mar­gins) can go on there.  Once you start adding fill-in lines and check boxes and cal­en­dars and what­not, its util­ity becomes less gen­er­al­ized and more spe­cific.  You sud­denly have to carry around blank index cards, blank Form X cards, blank Form Y cards, blank Form Z cards, and what­not.  Uh-oh, I ran out of todo-list forms.  I guess I can’t do any­thing until I print out more.

That being said, I am going to get all hyp­o­crit­i­cal and men­tion the forms I have cre­ated for myself.  They work for me, they may not work for you.  Before I do that, though, I am going to men­tion the changes to Netninja.com.

Yesterday’s Changes

Yesterday, when adding sev­eral new Hipster PDA tem­plates to the site, I real­ized that one giant page with all the tem­plates had become a less-than-ideal way of pre­sent­ing them.  I rearranged things (thank you, WordPress as a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem!) so that a top-level index led you to the indi­vid­ual PDF sheets.  In doing this, I also real­ized that the “Projects” sec­tion of my site is exclu­sively related to code I have writ­ten — except for the Hipster PDA “project,” which is, effec­tively, a bunch of PDF forms to print.  I decided to pro­mote those to a new top-level nav­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy.  If you are read­ing this on the site (as opposed to in your RSS news­reader), you will see the new “Hipster PDA” tab up top.

I also tweaked the front page of Netninja.com to bet­ter call out inter­est­ing and pop­u­lar projects.  Previously, it was a dynamic list of recently updated project pages, but in look­ing through my logs I real­ized that few peo­ple care that the crude JavaScript-Minesweeper pro­to­type was updated recently if that causes more pop­u­lar things like LJProxy, wmap, or the Hipster PDA pages to drop off the list.

The New Hipster PDA Section Introduction

The fol­low­ing is the intro­duc­tion to the new top-level Hipster PDA sec­tion of Netninja.com.  It cov­ers what I men­tioned above, but in a lit­tle more detail.

Over the years, I have been a big fan of pro­duc­tiv­ity tools. Back in the day, I would drool over the vari­ety of dayrun­ner fold­ers and their page inserts. Later, it was pro­duc­tiv­ity soft­ware. After that, sys­tems and frame­works and gim­micks and what­not. I kind of stopped when I hit the “Hipster PDA.” Admittedly, I did not imme­di­ately stop there. I played with all the tem­plates, espe­cially the D*I*Y Planner tem­plates. There is so much poten­tial, so much hope, in those tem­plates. I fell in love with the idea of those tem­plates, but dis­cov­ered most of them were just not as use­ful or flex­i­ble as a blank index card. As cool as they are, I had to give up most of those tem­plates.

I dis­cov­ered that, for me, there are two main types of Hipster PDA index cards that are use­ful. Your mileage may vary, but for me, there are two:

  1. The blank card. Okay, tech­ni­cally, I pre­fer the graph paper index cards from Levenger because I’m a nerdy engi­neer, but most peo­ple would con­sider these “blank.”
  2. The pre-printed ref­er­ence card. There are times when I want to have some­thing on-hand to look up at a moment’s notice. And I really do mean a moment’s notice — not take out the iPhone, turn it on, enter the lock code, launch Evernote, search for the note I’m look­ing for, then open it.

The blank card is just that. There is no sys­tem or tem­plate that can help there. The pre-printed ref­er­ence card is mainly cus­tomized to me and my life, but might be use­ful to oth­ers — or at the very least, may serve as inspi­ra­tion. For instance, I have one for work as a ref­er­ence for things like model num­bers and pro­gram­ming con­stants that is of lit­tle inter­est out­side the work­place. I have a pre-printed shop­ping list where I can just tick off the things I need; the items are spe­cific to me and my life but oth­ers may find them use­ful. The style, with dif­fer­ent items, could work for oth­ers.

The New Templates

You will have to hit up the Hipster PDA tem­plate list­ing to view all tem­plates, old and new.  Yesterday’s newly added tem­plates include:

Scrabble Cheat Sheet

thumbnailThe Scrabble Cheat Sheet is a ref­er­ence of high-scoring and unique words in Scrabble. This includes Q-without-U, words with large num­bers of con­so­nants, and large num­bers of vow­els.

Portland Map

thumbnailThis is the first revi­sion of a not-quite-to-scale down­town Portland map with the bus routes and stops that I am pri­mar­ily inter­ested in. It served well over Christmas, in that I could mark down the loca­tions of stores I rarely fre­quent. I know the loca­tions I typ­i­cally go to and their prox­im­ity to bus stops, but needed a good memory-jog for those rarely-visited loca­tions.

Title Page

thumbnailThe Title Page is a quick ref­er­ence of my con­tact infor­ma­tion as well as a phone list for impor­tant num­bers. It serves three pur­poses. First, I never remem­ber my own phone num­ber, so it’s nice to have it avail­able at a glance. Second, if my phone (where I keep all of my phone num­bers) breaks and I need to call some­one for help from another phone, I have impor­tant num­bers. Third, if I’m found uncon­scious in a ditch, the author­i­ties can see who to call.

Posted in: Code

Ignite Portland 5 Speakers Announced

igniteicon.jpgIf you have not already heard, mark your cal­en­dars for Ignite Portland 5. It will be on February 19th at the Bagdad and they have just released the list of speak­ers:

Congrats to Chris for the SPAM HAM radio selec­tion. All of them look like amaz­ing talks. I can’t wait!

Posted in: Portland

TechShop Portland

techshop_logo_portland.pngI went to the open house for TechShop Portland the other night. For those that have not heard of TechShop (I hadn’t until just last week­end), it is a sort of co-op machine shop. They described it some­thing like “start out with a gym, then remove the use­less stuff like exer­cise equip­ment, then bring in machine tools.” You pay a monthly or annual fee and have free access to the machines. They have every­thing from laser cut­ters, CNC machines, 3D print­ers, lathes, welders, wood­work­ing tools, and what­not. The machines that are dan­ger­ous enough that you might dam­age your­self or the tool require some basic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Additionally (and I’m espe­cially look­ing for­ward to this), you can take classes there with­out being a mem­ber. In that way, if you like the idea of TechShop but are not sure what you would build or how you would build it, you can learn more about the tools and meth­ods first before sink­ing money into a mem­ber­ship.

I think that I am mainly inter­ested in the laser cut­ter and 3D printer. I remem­ber see­ing an iPhone stand made of plex­i­glass on Make a while ago that was laser cut and think­ing to myself that it’s not too dif­fer­ent from a lot of the paper-folding stuff I’m into. It’s just a mat­ter of tab A into slot B. Of course, there are places like Ponoko that you can send your files off to have cut for you, but the turn­around time on a laser-cutter a few miles away is appeal­ing.

Do you know what else is strangely appeal­ing? The thought of tak­ing classes in some­thing extremely low-tech, like blacksmithing–which they will, of course, offer.

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

Ignite Portland 4

The list of talks for Ignite Portland 4 has been pub­lished. Mark your cal­en­dars for Thursday November 13!

Posted in: Portland

SE Portland Streetcar Survey

Anyone in Portland who would like to have a say in the future routes of the street­car in the Southeast should go to the District Working Group page and click the link to take the sur­vey. Alternately, show up to any of the meet­ings, also listed on that page.

Posted in: Portland

It’s a trap!

Okay, so I knew Portland can be a lit­tle nerdy. We have things like the largest inde­pen­dent book­store in town, which causes some­thing like the high­est per­cent­age of leisure read­ers in the coun­try. We have things like Free Geek. There’s the Geek Prom. I could go on and on. Heck, I even know some­one who rou­tinely dresses up as a storm trooper. None of this pre­pared me for what floated in through my Digg Portland fil­ter last night.


I’ve heard of Star Wars themed wed­dings before, but never any involv­ing rub­ber masks.

If after read­ing the arti­cle and its photo com­men­tary (be sure to click the “Next” but­ton for more pages) you find you want more pho­tos, be sure to check out the Flickr set.

Posted in: Portland

Recap of the past month

Dear blo­gos­phere: I have not been read­ing your blogs much in the past few weeks.

Dear twit­ter­verse: I have not been keep­ing up with your tweets much, if at all, in the past few weeks.

Work has been pretty busy the past few weeks. We have an end-of-the-month dead­line that, for­tu­nately, is not one of those impossible-even-when-working-80-hour-weeks dead­lines, but is a decent chal­lenge and entirely attain­able. Meeting the dead­line means fame and for­tune for every­one on my team (okay, not exactly, but we all want to make the dead­line.) My time for read­ing blog posts and tweets has suf­fered a bit–as well as my time, energy, and moti­va­tion to make them. So here’s a quick sum­mary...

A few weeks ago was the Flugtag. My mea­ger pho­to­set is up on Flickr. It was pretty crazy-packed this time around. The gates opened two hours before the first flight time and I thought my hour-before would give enough time to spare. The bus ride over should have been my first warn­ing. The #14 was so packed that the dri­ver blew right past bus stops full of peo­ple. Every time there would be an angry, insulted, and dis­ap­pointed “heeeeyyy!” from the peo­ple out­side as the bus went past with­out even slow­ing. Honestly–angry, insulted, AND dis­ap­pointed all in one breath, start­ing with the angry “h” and the dis­ap­pointed trail­ing off “yyyy.” The Flugtag this year seemed longer than in pre­vi­ous ones. It was thirty-someodd entries and at about 20 we got tired of stand­ing, packed in like sar­dines, and went to the south water­front McCormick & Schmidt’s bar. The had the event fed in to the big screen TV there, sans audio and with some hor­ri­ble video com­pres­sion block­i­ness, but we watched the remain­der of the event in the air con­di­tion­ing, drink­ing won­der­ful micro­brews.

Last week­end, I went with Northwest Paranormal Investigations (a group whose events I’ve been absent from a lot recently because of work, life, and Kim’s busi­ness) to the Edgefield. I have a brief pho­to­set of some of the more touristy things. This par­tic­u­lar inves­ti­ga­tion was pretty infor­mal and not offi­cially sanc­tioned by the hotel. It was mainly wan­der­ing the halls with­out draw­ing a lot of atten­tion to ourselves–so obvi­ously with­out a whole lot of gear. The Edgefield is one of those places with a weird his­tory. It started life as a Poor Farm–a large plan­ta­tion of what was basi­cally inden­tured ser­vants; the lived for free on the farm in exchange for their work in the fields. It has since been a chil­drens’ tuber­cu­lo­sis hos­pi­tal, a nurs­ing home, and sev­eral other things, but closed down in the 60s. Between then and when it was bought by the McMenamins in 1990, there were squat­ters, tag­gers, and (sup­pos­edly) satanists. The found that a large pen­ta­gram was painted on the floor of one of the rooms and weird stuff was hap­pen­ing there and on the floor above. The brought in bag­pipers (?!) to help exor­cise things.

There is a paint­ing of the room and the pipers, with the (pos­si­bly offen­sive to some) pen­ta­gram con­ve­niently obscured by an entirely-out-of-place coat rack. Not only is the coat rack nowhere near an entryway–it is in a second-floor hallway–it is a good 10 or 15 feet long and so per­fectly obscures just a por­tion of the paint­ing that it appears to have been cus­tom made just for the pur­pose. At any rate, here is the paint­ing:

The door of each room has a paint­ing depict­ing a per­son from the Poor House. The one on the sup­pos­edly haunted room fea­tures the very same pipers in a con­fig­u­ra­tion that looks very sim­i­lar to a pen­ta­gram:

And i will con­clude this sec­tion with one more photo from the Edgefield. This is the ele­va­tor. It’s a small ser­vice ele­va­tor. Upon enter­ing, you are sur­rounded by this lady: three on the back wall, one on each side wall, and two on the front wall. When the door slides closed, there is yet another of her on the door (but with a flower instead of a face), com­plet­ing the cir­cle. I am not claus­tro­pho­bic at all and never have a prob­lem with elevators–but this par­tic­u­lar ele­va­tor really left me feel­ing closed in.

We have a new kitty! As you may or may not remem­ber, there is this black-and-white fuzzy guy who has been hang­ing around our house:


We finally got con­fir­ma­tion from neigh­bors that nobody knows who he belongs to. He isn’t fixed, had a bit of a runny eye, and was a bit feral (not crazy wild­cat, but rough around the edges.) If he belonged to any­one, he was seri­ously neglected. We finally took him to the vet yes­ter­day. $300 and a nearly clean bill of health later (he’s on some antibi­otics now and was badly dehy­drated), I guess he’s ours.

Last night, we had din­ner out in Beaverton. It’s a sub­urb of Portland, and only about 20 min­utes away, but feels like an entirely dif­fer­ent world. I’ve been detached from sub­ur­bia for so long that it feels like a for­eign place these days. Unsurprisingly, I got a lot of the same feel­ings I got from the last time I went down to visit Orange County.

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

$500K south of the volcano

Every once in a while, it occurs to me that I live about a mile south of a vol­cano. Or, as a neigh­bor says, at least half-a-million-dollars south of the vol­cano. Housing prices up there can get crazy because Mt. Tabor is a rather nice park. Fortunately for hous­ing prices and my own per­sonal safety, it is an extinct vol­cano. My life won’t turn into a crappy dis­as­ter movie any time soon. Or if it does, it will be because of an earth­quake or zom­bie upris­ing or some­thing — not a vol­cano dis­as­ter.

I guess Portland is one of the few US cities (“one of two major cities” accord­ing to Wikipedia) to have an extinct vol­cano within city lim­its. The other city is Bend, also in Oregon.

I might just fix my bicy­cle and head up to the vol­cano today.

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

The geometry of butter

BrianEnigma: Oregon has crappy but­ter geom­e­try.

I tweeted that ear­lier tonight and expect some amount of con­fu­sion. Sticks of but­ter across the coun­try all have the same vol­ume. You go to the store, you buy 16oz of but­ter, and you get four sticks of 4oz. In the rest of the coun­try, the sticks are long and skinny. Here, it seems that some sort of leg­is­la­tion is in place to enforce the max­i­mum annoy­ance fac­tor pos­si­ble because the sticks are short and stubby.

“Well, what does it mat­ter? You’re still get­ting the same amount of but­ter, right?”

It mat­ters because all but­ter dishes seem to be specif­i­cally engi­neered for the long, skinny sticks. Case in point: tonight (although it has hap­pened a half-dozen times in the past), I lifted the cover of the but­ter dish to get at the but­tery good­ness con­tained within–but it was gone! All used up? The but­tery equiv­a­lent of the ham­bur­gu­lar? Though... why was the cover more heavy than usual? *splat* The but­ter, which being taller than “reg­u­lar” sticks, had melted itself to the cover and lift­ing it at an angle had pro­vided just enough jostling for it to become free. And so it hit the counter.

Damn our but­ter geom­e­try. And damn the lack of but­ter dishes to accom­mo­date our fat, stubby but­ter sticks.

Posted in: Dear Diary Food Portland