Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homemade laptop sleeve

I got a new-for-me ($500!) PowerBook G4 and needed a laptop sleeve. Looking at them online made me think I could easily do that. So I headed over to MAKEzine and found all sorts of project ideas. People make laptop sleeves out of wetsuits, cable knit, an old sweater, and some weird stuff, like kitchen sponges. I settled on old pants, which seemed within my abilities. It's the kind of thing I can make with my very old Singer Featherweight. I'm very happy with it. I'm not putting up any step-by-step thingy because I wasn't nearly as careful and precise as the Sambot guy and didn't take photos along the way. I plan on making a velcro strap to go around the opening and a handle on the side for carrying ease.

Old Singer Sewing Machine

I like things that are made to last, so I like the Singer 221K5 Featherweight sewing machine my mom gave me. I've done a little research and found that it's from a Canadian factory and manufactured sometime between 1941 and 1965. There isn't much information among the collectors about the Canadian models. It has two speeds--off and fast--so it's a little hard to use, but it makes things look kind of messy, which is kind of my style.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Questionaut by Amanita Design

Amanita Design has done it again! The same outfit that brought us the Samorost game series has been commissioned (I assume) by BBC Schools to make Questionaut, a similar point-and-click game but this time with embedded questions, resulting in a more conventional educational project. The combination of logical and visual problem solving with factual multiple choice questions is a little strange. The two instructional approaches are at opposite ends of the spectrum philosophically, but the problem solving does turn out to be an excellent motivator for completing the questions. I doubt my daughter would have been interested in answering 40+ questions for her bedtime activity without the beautiful and imaginative quest, even if it is just to get a hat.

applescript with rsync and an external HDD

I've been working on a solution for easily syncing my files to an external hard drive for a while now. I'm almost there, but I thought I'd post what I have so far. I've culled ideas from many sources, specifically here, here, and here. Just one problem. I'd like the process to open a terminal window and echo the file copying progress while it's doing it so I can have an idea how much is being copied. The way this script works I don't know how long it's going to take, it just reports with a dialog when it's done. Hence the ineffectual options in the shell script--I would like them to be showing what they are doing. Here's the script:
display dialog "Backing up now."
do shell script "rsync -rlpt --progress --stats ~username/ /volumes/macdrive/username"
display dialog "Your backup is done."
If anyone knows how to make it echo the progress and stats, give a holler.