Archive for November 2015

Workshop Weekend in Oakland! December 12 & 13

I will try to attend this. See you there?

Workshop Weekend in Oakland! December 12 & 13

Join us on December 12 & 13 to make a robot, dissect a computer, make ice cream or a chocolate mold, learn HTML and plan your website, hack your tastebuds and more. At Workshop Weekend, a flat $40 admission gets you as many workshops as you can handle!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I’m writing to remind you that the deadline for early bird registration for Workshop Weekend istomorrow, November 29. Use code EARLYBIRD7715 at checkout to get a $10 discount! Don’t delay — some workshops have already sold out.

Register online by Sunday, November 29 and save $10 with code EARLYBIRD7715.Select your workshops at

For families coming to Workshop Weekend together, we’re keeping our $10 discount for all parent admissions with the purchase of two or more admissions for children (under 18). Sign up on the same account and the discount will be automatically applied.

We have more than 20 workshops to choose from at this Workshop Weekend — a few old favorites are coming back alongside a number of new printmaking, food, and holiday-themed workshops — and more! Join us for:

Register and select workshops online at

I hope we’ll see you in December!

J.D., Shuai, Leah, Kevin, and the team at Workshop Weekend

How Do I Scroll in Adobe Reader?

How Do I Scroll in Adobe Reader?

99% of what anyone wants to do with Adobe Reader is to read a document. 99% of reading a document is the act of scrolling. Is there a keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture that will reliably and smoothly scroll through a document?

Adobe Reader has existed for over 15 years, how can this be a thing?


Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat Advertising is Intentionally Deceptive

Advertising for the Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat is intentionally deceptive.

chiccoshopThe Chicco website says that it holds a baby “from 4-30 lbs” but they never mention that there is a very important height restriction. This is a dangerous and deceptive lie by omission. (See the Chicco website) (local archive). But the manual is very clear that it supports a baby “4-30 lbs, 30 inches or less.”
30 inches

You might be thinking, “Yeah, whatever, that is a small matter.” No, it isn’t.

The average baby outgrows the car seat by weight when they turn 30 months (2 1/2 years) oldBut the average baby outgrows the car seat by height at 12 months old! (see the CDC height and weight tables) Our baby was 30″ tall at 9 1/2 months!

The manual dictates that the product lasts 60% less than its marketing claims. That is deceptive advertising. Imagine buying a car that had a 10 year, 40,000 mile warranty! Would you feel cheated?

The Amazon ad doesn’t mention this height restriction either (local archive).

We’ve had our Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat for a few months now and it has performed well. But our daughter outgrew it more than a year and a half sooner than we were led to believe by Chicco.

It is a fine product, they don’t need to stoop to this deception. This deception is dangerous for children because if you were to only read the marketing information, you might use this seat long after it was safe to do so.


Sunset on the Train

Sunset on the Train

Sunset on the train

“Discuss the contemporary meanings of this meticulously composed work of art”

I Was Sick, But Now I’m Well

I Was Sick, But Now I’m Well

In September and October, I had a string of medical issues. It magically resolved itself but it was pretty weird and scary.

Starting in early September, each morning and evening I had terrible joint pain and muscle weakness. For example, I was completely unable to hold my big 32 ounce mason jar glass of water with one hand like I normally do. A few times in the late evening when Megan asked me to take the baby I refused, doubting that I had the strength to hold her. Scary! I found myself walking a lot slower on my commute, swinging my legs like lamb-chops. Everything hurt!

Then in mid-September, my legs puffed up with edema and red spots. I gained 10 pounds in water weight. Below my calf, everything tingled all day and I had trouble feeling some of my toes. My ankles were so stiff each morning that I walked ridiculously. To not move my legs was uncomfortable so I had to walk around and wiggle my legs. I went to the doctor after this kept up for a few days and my balance was suffering. I remember the moment walking down stairs needing to hold the railing lest I fall.

My doctor ran two batteries of tests. She knew I had elevated liver enzymes and decreased hematocrit (how many red blood cells I had) and she ran more tests which only told her I didn’t have what she was hoping I didn’t have (hep c, an autoimmune disorder, some vitamin deficiencies…) The end result of all the tests and the doctor’s opinion was, “It’s probably viral. It should start getting better soon. Call me if it doesn’t.”

That’s it? Yipe. Well, happily, it was already starting to get better and over a few weeks I returned to full capacity. But it was full-on-scary to be told, “Dunno.”!

My theory: a rare tropical virus made the rounds in Kensington

July: my niece and her boyfriend went to Vietnam. When they came back, they both complained of backaches and headaches.

August: My wife started having bad headaches. We went to the hospital twice, once because the headache was just so bad, and a week later because it seemed like she was having a stroke (!!!). All the fancy tests showed nothing abnormal and she was ok in a few days and better in a few weeks. Doctors said, “It’s probably viral.”

September: my shenanigans. My doctor said, “It’s probably viral.” Review Review: Terrible.

My car got some scratches in September. I tried a scratch repair kit that I found online, Their website looks professional but don’t be fooled.

The instructions for how to apply the paint were mediocre, especially considering they spent the effort to make a pile of good looking 30-second-long “look how easy it is!” videos enshrined on their website that skip steps to entice suckers. Go ahead and take a look at their instructions. (local copy)At a glance they look alright enough but read them closely. Could you actually follow them? Compare the instructions to their jazzy promo video on the subject.

The color match was poor. See these before and after photos (click to enlarge)
IMG_20150913_171109884 auto touchup IMG_20151002_121652207_HDR auto touchup IMG_20150918_110956838 auto touchup
Their customer service was nonexistent. I sent them messages on their website on 10-13-15 and 10-24-15 asking for help and I got no response.

Today I googled “ review”. Ugh. They get embarrassingly bad reviews from 33 reviews, 3.6 out of 10. Poor reviews for their product and customer service. I don’t have time to deal with this crap.

I know that scratch repair paints aren’t miracle cures. I was just astounded at how hard they are working at making a poor consumer experience.