… Boom … word shot – reviews – opinions – musings –


Image Manipulation

In my ongoing quest to improve my use of Visual Media this year, I’ve spent some time the last few weeks working with a few of my available software option to blend Stock Photos with my text.

In the past I relied on an older version of Photoshop Express, but alas that will no longer work with the version of Windows on my PC. I toyed some with the trial version of the newest Photoshop and with some of the free online options that abound, but to little long term value. I like photoshop but am unwilling to spring for the membership system they use at present. The online versions just do not let me do anything in a way that makes sense. So I have been using the image editing tools inside of PowerPoint. They are not great, but they do offer one key tool. The eyedropper.

If you don’t know what it is, you really should learn to use it. It allows you to “sample” a color anywhere on your slide and use that color for your texts, graphics, etc. It’s a fast and easy way to smoothly tie together your charts to fit a theme slide.

if you use an older version of PPT, look here:


Averting Death by PowerPoint…

Over the years I have noticed a personal tendency (and with a survey of some of the video casts of sermons online I follow, I’m not alone) to fall towards a really poor presentation habit. I often read important facts and details off my charts. It is with this in mind that I chose to make a focused study for this year that should help me restrain from doing so.

Years ago I stuck up a dialogue with then blogger, now published author Garr Reynolds (the earlier book I mentioned is the byproduct of his old blog posts)


He advocates 3 core ideas:

  • Restraint in preparation
  • Simplicity in design
  • Naturalness in delivery

They are still relevant today, and for me will form the backbone of what I’m trying to accomplish.

Guy Kawasaki promoted the 10/20/30 rule

(Keep in mind his context, Venture Capital, is not our context)

I might bend it to say, 10 slides per 20 minutes, no less than 30 pt font.

“If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.”


That’s enough for today…


Houston… I think we have a…

Poor Planning


Alpha Light Weight Stove


Building a small stove for backpacking/fun


James and I built this some time ago, it “works” but not very well…

James Bond’s Dry Erase Marker: The Hotel PenTest Pen

Locks keep “honest” people out…

“You may have seen the talk and demonstration by Cody Brocious that allows him to open an Onity hotel room door lock with an Arduino, which is totally James Bond. However, wouldn’t it be even better if someone was able to get it down to the size of a marker or pen? Working as a pentester for Trustwave SpiderLabs, I have access to many different pens, I have blue pens, red pens, green pens, and even the normal boring black pens. Most of these write just fine, and I sometimes wonder why I’m getting paid to test them, but I digress. While the initial idea was to get everything working inside a pen, it quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to do it right away. So instead we opted to get it inside of a dry erase marker.”

More at: http://blog.spiderlabs.com/2012/10/pentesting-hotels-with-pens.html

Fitness, “Combatives”, and kids…

Being a man


Recently my oldest asked me if I had ever been in a real fight. As a father and with the eye of maturity I view opportunities like this with a far more critical eye. I relayed one instance that gave me the chance to cover two important factors.

As a high school senior I came upon a freshman boy tossing around a freshman girl in the lunch line of all places. Words weren’t going to solve this problem, I had to wrap the kid up, he took a few shots at me, and I chose to put him down and warn him of his folly. He scurried off, I thought that was the end of it. Later that day he apparently cajoled a junior to “call me out”. Classic high school stuff. The young man came up, puffed up with his challenge. I explained to him I was willing to meet, but let him know that regardless of the outcome he would be known for letting girls get roughed up. His choice. He never showed up…

My current opinion is that deescalation and avoidance are still prime, but the ability to chose when to shift to another option is a critical but difficult skill to teach.

So, what are your thoughts about teaching your kids to navigate situations that could or do involve the need for physical action?