Business Unusual

Rants from a working stay-at-home dad

R/C racing for half the cost

March 2nd, 2015 by Justin

After my son badgered me to bring down my old HPI RS4, I caught the bug… again. So we went to the local track to find out what classes they run so I could get my car prepped. While cul-de-sac crashing is fun, I find competition is a better measuring stick to live by.

DTM rc-cars

Photo courtesy of tiegeltuf

The track manager told me that any spec class car would cost $1000 to build. Yes, 1000 USD, as in $1k. I was stupefied.

Creating an animated gif using VLC & Gimp

February 17th, 2015 by Justin

Here’s a write-up for how to create an animated gif from a video on Ubuntu 14.10. I know 15.04 is almost in beta, but hopefully this process won’t change too much. Submit a comment if things change and I’ll revisit it and update.

This is an easy way to create those animated gifs you see on your favorite tumblr blogs. Now that Netflix works in Linux, you can do it easily with your favorite shows.

Young Kids in R/C – Training Mode

February 2nd, 2015 by Justin

Since Jules was so excited to get out my radio control car from the garage, he was naturally excited to drive it. I failed to explain to him how fast it goes before turning the controller over to him. It was like the first time I shot a rifle with a hair trigger. As my friend had just begun to explain how sensitive the trigger is, I had already shot it. It went something like, “Now, you’ll want to – BOOM!”

Barack_Obama_shooting

We laughed then, but it was almost a nightmare for me to watch Jules pull the throttle trigger for the first time. ZOOOOOM! Straight into the curb at full speed :(

Trainz Simulator + Griffin Powermate

January 20th, 2015 by Justin

My son Jules loves trains. I like trains too and my enthusiasm was probably the seed that grew into his obsession. My good friend Joe bought Jules a copy of “Trainz Railroad Simulator” for Christmas a year ago. It was in the bargain bin at Mills Fleet Farm:

trainz_fronttrainz_back

Racing, and seeing things through

January 5th, 2015 by Justin

My son has been pestering me for the better part of the year about this box which he keenly spotted in the garage:

hpi_rs4_box

I hesitated because I didn’t know if there’s any sort of indoor track near Minneapolis that we could go to and race.

I had at many times contemplated selling it all since it had been boxed up since I moved back to Minnesota in 2008. Back then I inquired lightly at the hobby shop about racing outlets but didn’t get much traction. Besides with a baby on the way, who’s got time for hobbies?

A Defiant 5 Year Old

January 4th, 2015 by jessi

I want to assume we aren’t the only ones going through this. Our 5-year-old has really pushed the limits of our parenting, challenging us and causing us to go, “how the heck do we handle this?” I’ve been told this is a sample of how they’ll be in their teenage years but I don’t believe […]

Gmail extras SPF, DMARC, & DKIM with Bind

December 22nd, 2014 by Justin

When the internet really started catching steam, email was one of it’s flagship services. Back then it was simple but somewhat archaic – it’s goal was to be redundant enough to get your message through even if it required several tries. It was the digital equivalent of:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Think of all the stuff that has been added atop of email such as encryption and MIME encoding to send attachments. But it was our must-deliver mantra that was used by the spammers for their personal gain. Then even more layers for spam and virus filtering were added. Spammers have sort of negated that “must deliver” image of email to where I click send and think, “I hope it will be delivered.”

Strong Citizen Challenge: Delivering Caramel Corn

December 8th, 2014 by Justin

In the summer of 2014 I became a member of Strong Towns, an organization that increasingly aligns with how I feel about the places we create, and the money we spend to do so. At the National Gathering, another member asked me what drew me to Strong Towns. The best way I could describe it was that it let’s me “Have my cake and eat it too.”

The Strong Towns message dispenses with the political polarization to get to the heart of the matter. Too long I’ve felt that discussions about walk-ability and bike-ability assume the role of the democrat, while prudent spending rhetoric aligns only with republicans. But taking sides politically, is not useful – especially in regards to local politics which center mostly around land use. In the same vein, it’s better that we get to know our neighbors, so when we disagree on civic issues, we can agree to disagree in a courteous way.

The latest Strong Towns challenge is to deliver goodies to your neighbors. Would this be difficult or awkward for you to do?