Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

Children’s Books

I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve gotten for Abigail over the years. It’s been a great help to come back to certain books (and stay away from some series!) If you know a 2-6 year-old, you might use this as inspiration. Sort by “rating” and go for any book rated a 8, 9, or 10!
Abigail’s Book List

I maintain that the best book ever written for kids is Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day. We opened that book for the majority of days from when she was 2 1/2 to 4, literally hundreds of times. Neither of us got bored with all the beautiful details, and we still talk about it!

ISO a novel file repository

ISO a novel file repository. I want my students to email me file attachments and have those files end up on a file server.

I fiddled with IFTTT and got close to a solution. Might Zapier work? Or Microsoft Flow or Google SomethingOrAnother?

Lanterman Guide to School Services

Here is a very good guide to how special education services provided by public schools works.

Lanterman Guide to the IEP Process, “Guide to Your Child’s School Years”.

I found this guide on the Lanterman Regional Center website.

3D Printing Oops


I tried printing a lithophane at at a 15 degree angle instead of fully upright, hoping to avoid overhangs and came up with a delicious spaghetti print! Now I’m learning about custom support plugins for Cura. Here’s what the pre-spaghetti part of the lithophane looks like :-)




My new job at Autistry Studios in San Rafael continues to be thrilling! We are working on so much with our students! What a great way to build independence!

All of these photos were taken last week!

3D Printing can be Frustrating

I figured out how to use Minimum Layer Time and Lift Head in Cura. So now my pieces with small tops don’t melt. For example, my tiny 20mm tall Koala gets to keep his ears!

I made a spray can holder for Abigail so she could spray paint stuff more easily with her kid hands. Unfortunately, it broke on a layer line almost instantly :-(  I can’t think of a good fix. I printed on an angle so the collar would have more strength in the vertical direction. But now it snaps like this. I need strength in more dimensions!   I tried printing this with Gradual Infill Steps so I’d get 50% infill at the business end and 50/3 = 16.6% infill at the handle end. But that apparently wasn’t enough. :-(

I’m just going to buy it on amazon for $6!

I tried making pegboard pegs but it’s not going great. Actually, I’m proud for this being the first piece that I downloaded and modified in Tinkercad! I borrowed the design from Thingiverse. I replaced the original pegs with a 3.6mm cylinder peg on the bottom and a 3.6mm truncated torrus on the top. I was thinking that 3.7mm might fit a tiny bit better But it broke as I was mounting it. PLA is a frustratingly weak material!


I’ve printed a few fun things though! Abigail and I made a sign with her name and her camp name, Kids for the Bay. And I made her an Odd Squad badge, with a custom number on it, and painted it gold (it looks pretty good!) And I printed a few fun turtles.

There are a few pi pencil cups on the internets. Printing it so that it looks great is proving difficult! I see one on Shapeways for $50, printed all nice-like! I think I might get it.

Wouldn’t this be nice to have?


But the toothbrush holder has made it all worthwhile! Sublime in design, Useful in usefulness!


Google Assistant Hotword Beep / Mic-Open Notification

When I upgraded from my Google Pixel 3 to a Pixel 5, the Google Assistant Open-Mic Notification, AKA the Google Assistant Hotword Beep stopped working. Moreso, the instructions to turn it on using Switch Access didn’t work! Here is the fix!

Watch the video or follow instructions below.

Go to your Pixel 5’s Settings and look for “Accessibility: Accessibility” (don’t tap on the “Accessibility: Google Assistant” screen… yet!). Go to Switch Access. Turn on “Use Switch Access”, click to “Allow” it to have control of your device, click “X” in the upper right corner when it asks about choosing a switch type. At this point, the Mic-Open Notification should work but it might not! That was my case.

Go to Settings and search for “Accessibility: Google Assistant” and tap on it. You’ll be at a screen that says “Accessibility, Mic-open notification, Mic-close notification”. Both will probably be turned on. Turn both options off. Then turn them on again. That was the magic! Now your phone should make a bell sound whenever you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”.


Never Combine Taskbar in Windows 11

OMG, why does Windows 11 insist on combining taskbar icons??! They effing removed the option to “never combine taskbar icons”. I’ve got lots of Chrome windows open but Windows just shows the one tiny icon unless I mouse-over it.

If you google the phrase “never combine taskbar icons Windows 11”, you’ll find tens of thousands of angry people and a few third-party apps ranging from free to $10. I’ll probably get one of them but messing with the Windows UI with a third party app can be trouble in the long term.

If you’re on Windows 10 and don’t have a need to upgrade, wait a year.


7-17-22 Update: I installed ExplorerPatcher and it happily set me back to a Windows 10-like interface (complete with Never Combining the Taskbar) very easily. I just ran the setup program and…. tada! I’ve got my taskbar back! Here’s hoping shit doesn’t go south at some point.


Digging This New Job

I’m digging this new job at Autistry! It’s got a hell of a lot of doing!

This week we are actively working on  designing and painting banners for the makerspace, putting student art on laser etched themed drink coaster seats, making bases and packaging so we can sell them in our store, making greeting cards (I think the most promising ones are “jump-scare” cards designed by a student that are sweet on the outside and have wonderfully horrible creature images inside), making friendship bracelet kits to sell in the store, setting up the lathe and workspace to turn pens to sell, making and painting a 6′ wingspan plane out of cardboard to decorate the space, prototyping 3d printed lithophanes, and…  Wow. That’s the past 2 weeks! What a place!

And mixed in there I attended a drama class where we covered enunciation, rhythm and dance, and ettiquite. I went on an excursion to Larkspur Landing and went geocaching, and a trip to the Santa Rosa mall.

I also did some engineering on the new “gear-wall” that will showcase donations made to the program. And I spoke with the managers of the cafe that will occupy the front 1/4 of our space; students will work as baristas and such alongside regular cafe employees.

My work as an OT is buried deep in the program in everything I do. My strengths as an organizer and maker are used all the time. The team gathered is really terrific, all caring, aware, and informed!

Wow, what a program!

Started Work at Autistry Studios

Last week I started working full-time as a mentor, shop lead, and OT at Autistry Studios in San Rafael, California! This is a big, beautiful change!

Autistry is an adult day program for autistics and people with similar challenges. I am the lead of their new Production group where we are helping our students design, build, manufacture, and sell their products in our store!

I’ve been working as a school-based OT since I started in 2018 but it was time for a change. For me, there wasn’t enough active collaboration with co-workers and, like most of the other special education providers I know, I worked well into the night on paperwork at least a few evenings a week, every week, for years. I’ve been working one day a week at Autistry since November but here in my first two weeks full time, I find myself working in a really tremendous group environment with a great staff and students!

Oh and here I am at work this week with students on one of our larger excursions, surfing at Stinson Beach!