laptop sleeve… am i a hipster now

i acquired a new laptop (gently used by relatives)
consumerism ftw

i’m trying not to destroy this one

i impromptu decided I should make a laptop bag, having spotted a bag of cloth i picked up off reuse last semester, and deciding i need a laptop bag right now because two days is too long to wait

[x] img src

that made it seem so easy, like something i could finish in 15 minutes

i went to MITERS and turns out we don’t have fabric glue. so i decided this would be an excellent opportunity to learn to use the really cool sewing machine we have! i also picked up an old shirt and some strips of leather lying around MITERS (on top of the lathe — turns out we have a good selection of odds and ends of material)

This sewing machine is so amazing. It’s actually very clearly laid out, with instructions screenprinted right on the machine, and alkdjbnwet just amazing. It has this bobbin winder on top which works like a charm and maybe I will go back and take a picture of it. Actually no here’s a video: which shows how it will mechanically “automagically” stop winding when the bobbin is full.

The manual is very clear too.

anyway, in retrospect I cut the triangle very off-center. it looked roughly even at the time. whatever.

i also used the strips of leather for padding on the sides. I’m most worried about putting it in my bookbag and the corners/hinges getting damaged when I forget and set my bookbag none too gently. I don’t know if this is an actual cause of damage but for my own ease of mind…

i wish i’d found two shirts because i ended up only padding one side because I was getting tired of my emergency project. also lol it turned out so derpy but i am owning up to derpy projects because i feel like it would have encourage me as a beginning project doer ^__^

i made the strap with some velcro i sewed on.

one thing i would change going back is cutting it a little closer to form — it tends to slip so that the leather strips aren’t protecting the ends but rather the edges of the laptop.

project took 2.5 hours in total

Plotting a maker businesses meetup in Boston

A friend of mine suggested I find people to mentor me as I startup.

I naturally decided I should go Organize A Thing. To get a rough gauge of how many maker businesses / hardware startups there are in cambridge/boston, I skimmed through kickstarter by city (both cambridge and boston).
(sadly, you can’t sort by both “boston” and “technology”

The spreadsheet is here:

There will be edit privileges for the next few weeks or so for that link unless something terrible starts happening. Feel free to contribute notes.

The conclusion was that somewhere upwards of 30 companies, I think within the last 5 years, have been successfully funded: (see google docs for links to the kickstarter pages) (accounting for there are probably companies I missed on my skim, and for instance Twine, founded by MIT Media Lab grads, would probably be willing to be part of the network even if they are not in Boston right now).

Additionally, I was linked to this site that already does data around kickstarter when I asked whether there was a graph of OneTesla’s funding:

The Companies:

  1. Fuel: The world’s smallest cell phone charger
  2. drive with dash
  3. monkeyoh
  4. 3doodler
  5. Carbon Fiber Jewelry Rings
  6. The Orbit Turntable
  7. Loud Bicycle: Car horn for your bike
  8. Mini Pouch for your iPad Mini, Nexus, Kindle and more
  9. Pocket Monkey: The Wallet Utility Tool
  10. iStrike Shuttle- iOS controlled drone
  11. Convertable Axis Bracket CAB / The Ultimate Cheese-Plate UCP
  12. The Pen Project
  13. The Kick – a pocket sized lighting studio for photo & video
  14. Knut: Stay Connected
  15. Corter Leather Bottle Hook
  16. Cam Crate: DSLR Life Proof Camera Case
  17. diFeltro Fold, Italian handcrafted bag for iPad
  18. The Retina Project
  19. The Clip by LittleBonsai
  20. FXdoctor 8-Bit Fuzz Pedal’s US Tour
  21. CEE: The USB analog electronics multi-tool
  22. WALdok :: Wall Plug-In Speaker/Charger for iPhone/iPods
  23. Modkit – Electronics (Arduino) for Everyone
  24. Lockpicks by Open Locksport
  25. Inevitable: dystopian tabletop gaming
  26. BrickItUp!
  27. Twine
  28. Olopede
  29. onetesla

The meetup would be something like “share one lesson you learned” sort of lightning talk deal to create a supportive ecosystem of maker businesses.
As for whether an actual Meetup will happen… somewhere in my copious spare time…

[edit 3/31] some ones i missed: sprout pencil

Setting up the open source Mechanical MOOC, part one

Step 2 for dumb demo, set up a site where I can post content and syllabi.
For this, I am following the popular Learning Creative Learning course and using Mechanical MOOC, and open-source version of the massive open online course software used by Udacity and Coursera and EdX and others. Their github page is well-documented and made this process a breeze — maybe 30 minutes because I had to install basic things (this is starting from a clean xubuntu installation, well, running on liveusb actually).

anndd it’s live! for the next few hours/days, at least.

Sentences highlighted are the non-liveblog, what you actually want to do steps.

  • Spin up an xubuntu liveusb… I really don’t want to try to do webdev on a windows machine
step 1: git clone

  • Install git
  • It’s a fairly old xubuntu liveusb (12.10 from lsb_release -a) so some repository 404s initially

sudo apt-get install git

Failed to fetch  404  Not Found [IP: 80]
E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with –fix-missing?

sudo apt-get update –fix-missing
sudo apt-get install git
okay works now.
git clone

step 2: Spin up a new instance of the heroku cedar stack

  • Needs CLI

step 3: git push to heroku instance

  • git push
    Permission denied (publickey).
    fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly
  • Right, I need to do the remote key thing
    cd ~/.sshssh-keygen -t rsa -C ""


  • Copy paste into and hit “Add new key”
  • cd ~/mechanicalmooc/
    git push
    fatal: ‘master’ does not appear to be a git repository
  • lol not a valid command. okay time to refresh flaky memory
    enh that is too manpage like for me to understand, try this instead
  • Well this works, hope it doesn’t mess anything up.
    git remote add heroku
    git push heroku master
  • visit site

Hrm, okay, now to fix things up