Friday, August 31, 2012

Tablet Headaches

I've compiled a table of dimensions for various tablet computers and e-book readers. Below is an excerpt of what I think are the top contenders in the market. Have I left any important devices out or included any defunct ones? Please note that I don't care about technical superiority, I'm asking about plain ol' market share. If so, please let me know. You don't need to supply dimensions, just the names.

  • Device, long dimension in inches
  • ASUS EEE Transformer, 10.6
  • ASUS Transformer Infinity, 10.35
  • iPad 2 & 3, 9.5
  • Nook Tablet, 8.1
  • Google Nexus 7, 7.81
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, 7.63
  • Kindle Fire, 7.5
  • Nook Simple Touch, 6.5

I'm contemplating making a hard/molded front bag, possibly in a couple sizes, for tablets. Part of the trick is figuring out size categories. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lots of Natter for a Slow Weekend

I didn't get as much done this weekend as I could/should have. I blame yesterday's weather, it wasn't encouraging.

I did look at pictures of masonic sword cases - I have one to repair - to figure out what type of handle had broken off of it. I suspect that the original handle was sewn into the seam (which seem to have been prone to breakage). Other examples had dee rings attached, and the handles had spiffy finial/hooks which held onto the dee rings. I don't think I can get anything like the finials, but even a plain handle attached to the dee ring is going to look good, and be more durable. Customer willing, of course.

Also threw myself at working on the books yesterday (with the usual ranting at the computer). Purchases still are not done, but I did sales, so I'd have a clue on where we are for belts.

Belt stock is not actually too bad, but my supply of harness leather to make more brown belts is pretty dire. I have some london tan (golden brown) and havana-ish (chocolate brown) pieces that won't work for belts, but will do other things, so I decided to get a half-cow of chestnut (red-brown). And, of course, black. I'm not certain we need black right now, but we will soon enough.

Also ordered some hardware and a couple tool-ish things - a strop board for my edgers (I have one, but Ghu knows where it's hiding - and it'll show up any day now), and a tool to make installing chicago screws/conchos simpler.


Fortunately, I asked for a projected subtotal for my order, and survived the panic attack that it caused. The customer service rep had accidentally put me down for 30 of one style of buckle, instead of 3.

Possible New Product Alert!

Last week we got several issues of "The Leather Workers and Saddlers' Journal" that we'd re-subscribed to, and gotten some back issues of. One had an article about a firm molded geologist's sample case. It's a nice bag, but I think the guy could have done a better job of molding it (I think after 15+ years of molding pouches I'm entitled to my opinion).

It got me thinking.
  • (A): That we could make one that looked better - because of the way he molded it the corners were kinda . . . blobby. Poofy. But not really poofy-poofy. I dunno, it's hard to describe.
  • (B): That a case like that might be just right for . . . um . . . a tablet!

Yes, I know, Ron has an iPad bag and I'm working on building one for myself.

But a hard tablet case might, y'know, sell. But before I send Ron down to the woodworking equipment to make a mold, I need to exercise my Google-fu and find out the dimensions of the popular tablets (and e-book readers).

A Doggy Digression

Although Pippin is clearly my dog, and followed me out to the dining room last night to check on hardware supplies, he wouldn't come into the dining room with me. Silly dog.

End Doggy Digression

Tonight I need to pull out the braided belts and belt blanks that went to the last couple events, get them into inventory, and see how many we have that need to be finished. And I should keep plugging away at the books.

We're not going to WorldCon this coming weekend, but we are probably extracting honey, which will wipe out at least one day. So I need to cut down a bit on ukulele practice and also get back to work on pouches and things.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Plans and More Plans

Just realized that the Northshield Fall Coronation is almost here, dropped the merchant coordinator a note to ask if parking is trailer-friendly (at a college in Milwaukee). Barring unhappy answers about that or merchant space, the plan is to be there.

I think we're good for selling at Fox Hunt, later in September.

Mailed my application for Military History Fest off last week. Don't see us on the list of vendors yet, but haven't heard that they're full, either, so I'll put it down as tentative for now. Three 8' tables/spaces. I'm a bit eep-y about that, but at the same time I know I can fill that much space. Especially if I get to work.

For one thing, we need belts. Badly. Fortunately, I think I have enough black leather to do something about that, and we had a budgetary infusion that will assist. Must check and see what I really really need to order (vs. could use to get), and make.

Pulled out some pouches that just need to be laced up the other day, but haven't started actually working on them. I've been distracted with practicing ukulele in the evenings, and boring stuff like housework. And sleeping.

Between the usual Saturday morning running about and the MuseCon wrap-up meeting/party Saturday afternoon/evening the day was pretty much a loss. And then we slept in Sunday morning, rather later than normal. We did get out to a store we'd found out about in Volo. Not much leather, but Ron succumbed to the lure of tools he didn't have.

And I got a pattern, which I've just remembered was missing instructions. Must call and see about that.

I did get the tools that went to MuseCon sorted and put away on Sunday morning. Now I've got a toolbox of duplicate tools for teaching sewing, and a bin of project parts. Still need to get or find a binder to put the instructions in, but getting more organized.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Catching Up, Otter Necessities Version

Why that post title? Because I just did a catching-up post on my personal blog.

Saturday we made another trip over to Tandy/Leather Factory. Ron got a bunch of new tools for tooling, I got some more of the snake any ladybug kits from the clearance rack, and two pieces of leather - bright purple/magenta, and a pebbled dark burgundy. Expensive trip.

Remember the beer gut bag that I made earlier this year for a customer in New Zealand? Earlier this month  somebody stole it! I sent her some documentation on how much she paid for it, to submit to her insurance, sounds like they were satisfied, and I'll be making a replacement.

Over the weekend we dug out all the leatherworking (and related) books, and I made a list of them. We'd cataloged a bunch of them in book-cataloging software in the past, and I was able to export the data, which significantly simplified the job.

Monday I stayed home (general feeling of "meh"), and worked on updating the books, which I hadn't done since, um, before the last two events, in June. Got through all the purchases, still need to do sales.

Having serious second thoughts about the Known World Costume Symposium, after being up past my bedtime at MuseCon, and remembering how well I don't cope with that any more. As I may have mentioned, the room is open until something like 11 pm Saturday night, <i>and</i> merchants have to be out Saturday night. Even if I close shop and start packing at 8-9-ish that's not going to be fun.

Small grubles for the folks running Military History Fest (formerly Reenactor Fest), they never sent me the dealer information I requested. Lots of dealers already confirmed, but the website doesn't say the room is full. Ron thinks we can do MHF and Capricon (the next weekend) back-to-back, so tonight we'll decide how many tables, etc. and get the application sent off.

No, not planning on being a dealer at Cap, but Ron is Cafe second, and MuseCon may be sponsoring the Cafe.

Ooh, carp, I need to get on seeing about space for the Northshield Coronation at the beginning of September, and Fox Hunt a little later in the month.

Not sure how much further effort I'm going to invest in chasing down the gaming convention supposedly to be held at College of DuPage in October.

Having slacked off on leatherworking for a good chunk of the summer, I need to get back at it. But first, I need to put away all the tools I took to MuseCon. On Sunday we went to Menard's and got a couple more toolboxes - to put tools for teaching classes in. One for sewing tools for classes for me, and one for Ron, since he plans on teaching a class on tooling leather.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MuseCon Report, Otter-Ish

We survived MuseCon. We are tired. It was fun.

I considered emptying the big yellow road case and just packing everything into that, but didn’t. Between personal stuff, with a few extra clothes for changes for Ron and I, even more clothes for Robin, our head of Logistics, dog paraphernalia, tools and materials for leather classes, camera bags and tripods for Ron’s photography class, it felt like moving an army. Add to that all the blinkie stuff, both the trailer and car were not exactly empty.

I got compliments on signage, and IIRC the book. A major bug was found in the book, in the form of one page being lost and another repeated in its place. I didn’t find out about it until Sunday morning, because I’d been mostly looking at my PDF copy. OTOH, since the PDF was generated from the file I sent to the printer, it was a bug on their end, not my fault. And we did not run out of books (a real fear), but IIRC fewer than 20 came home with me. I’d given Registration, who had a big printer, the PDF to make more not-quite-so-pretty copies in case of running out, so we had that covered if it had happened.

After I sent the room schedule signs to the printer, I realized I should have put “MuseCon” on all of them, and on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning (too late to do it, since the dogs and I joined Ron and Robin at the hotel in the early afternoon Thursday) I thought ofmaking “MuseCon” signs for the top of the gridwall sign kiosks. Friday and part of Saturday we shared the second floor with “Lutherans for Life”. Several of the LfL people asked what MuseCon was all about, so for next year the plan is, besides making the tweaks to signage that I thought of too late this year, to make a poster/banner about “What is MuseCon?”.

The hands-on sewing class went well. 3 people did the belt pouch, 2 of which bought the tool kit. I had under-estimated how long it would take them to put the belt loop on, but one got her gusset glued in (and I think holes made) before she left for the evening, and the person who had not bought a tool kit finished hers Saturday or Sunday, using the set of tools (and binder clips!) I left in the workshop room. One of the people who did the keychain bought the extra tool kit I had, and a belt pouch kit. I’m mildly annoyed with FedEx/Kinko’s, they shrunk the belt pouch pattern. I had tested to make sure my printer could print it without having to shrink it to fit on the paper, then uploaded to the on-line order system. If I’d known I’d have printed them myself. Grumble.

Attendance at the class was not high, but we were up against the Tesla Coils. Also, although I got through the class cheerfully, I should not start a class at/past my bedtime (it started at 9:00 pm. No, I am no longer a night person). Also, I should not have the hands-on class before the discussion of tools and materials session. I’d wanted my class Friday or early Saturday in order to give people time to find us for help/finish if they didn’t buy their own tools, which did make sense. Anyway, it would have been better for the yakky-yakky session to be Friday, and run the hands-on Saturday morning.

I think my tools and materials discussion, which Ron joined me for, but mostly let me do, on Saturday went well. I’m waffling if I actually want to do it again next year.

We got some good suggestions at the feedback session. There was also a certain percentage that made me roll my eyes, but that’s normal.

Yesterday afternoon (Ron and I took Robin and the dogs home Sunday evening, but stayed Sunday night at the hotel, although we never did get to the pool), mostly to stay awake, we went out to the Tandy/Leather Factory store. I’d been thinking of something to do for smaller kids, as I’ve said the sewing class is for 10+, due to awl use; and Ron has been for a couple/few weeks thinking about doing a tooling class next year.

I found a couple kits on clearance: a ladybug coin purse, that just has to be sewn together, and a mystery braid snake bracelet. I think we’ll do the ladybug in my sewing class, and the snakes as mobile programming, or maybe as scheduled in the youth area. More to come later related to the snakes. I think I’ll also prep some key fobs, so kids that want to do those can go straight to the sewing part. I forgot the dye I actually needed to get.

Ron got some more tooling stamps, a second wooden block to keep them in, and another big slab of granite (12” x 24+”), which he didn’t exactly need, but I found looking like it was a good price and might need a new home.

After we got home Ron went through all his tooling tools, sorted them, and I made up a list in a spreadsheet as he read me information. I know we did that years ago, but have no idea where the file is now. We also pulled out most of the leatherworking books we have, and have asked Robin to straighten out the shelves we think the rest should be on, and keep an eye open for them. We’re pretty sure we already have the books in a book-cataloging database, so we’ll check to see if we can pull the data out before attacking and re-cataloging the pile.

I’d taken my iPad/knitting bag (the one I started ages ago) to MuseCon with me, so Saturday morning I took my handcart-o-tools-and-materials down to the workshop room and worked on it. I got the buckles on the front, which had kind of been a sticking point. I also got the front mostly sewn on. I had problems splitting down the strip for a rolled binding for the flap, I think in part the splitter blade needs sharpening, so it’s going to have a splice. Fortunately, the strips for the binding both feather out to nothing, so I’ll use those areas for the overlap/splice. But first I need to do the last couple inches on the front, attach the body to the back, and do any necessary trimming to the flap. But I’m back making progress!

More natter on my personal blog:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Careening Closer to MuseCon

Today is Wednesday. Also Virtual Friday for me and Ron. And Virtual Saturday is tonight. AAARGH! Too much confusion!

Rewind, try again...

Today is August 1st. The MuseCon registration desk opens at 1:00 pm and the first programming sessions begin at 1:30 pm on August 3rd.

More baking for the Hospitality Suite last night. Monkey bread, with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese stuck into each piece of (non-sweet) dough. Today Robin is making a big batch of brownies, and tonight I'll make cookies, and some plain or brown sugar-cinnamon bread. I don't remember if I mentioned that we're using frozen balls of pizza dough from GFS for the bread. It seems to be working out fine, and lets me skip pretty much to shaping the dough for the final rise, then baking.

Last night I sent another batch of printing to FedEx/Kinko's. This morning, on the way to pick things up, I realized I'd forgotten signage for one important thing. Ron suggests that it can be in black-and-white, which would mean I could print it at home. I think he's probably correct there.

Also forgot the pickles for the Hospitality Suite when I was at the grocery store last night. D'oh! (the Hospitality Suite is partly stocked by donations at this point in MuseCon's life/size/budget).

The only thing left to do on the book cover and belt pouch parts is to buff the excess dye off the parts I dyed black last night. One of the print jobs I had done was the pattern sheet for the belt pouch (legal-size, which is why I didn't include it in the file for the directions).

Still need to cut key fob parts. And pack tools. And some extra leather would probably be wise.

Tomorrow morning Elrond goes to the vet for another bath. He's still faintly skunky if you get your face up near his. Evicting the carpet chunk that was at the foot of Ron's bed, having Ron wash the floor and the inside of Elrond's crate, and washing our bedding, including bedspreads, has helped the smell in our room. My main suspect was the carpet, which was pretty grungy before the skunk.

Not sure if there will be time for me to take the truck to DesPlaines to pick up one more piece of gridwall, or if one of the sign kiosks will be created using the quarter-round hanging bars. It'll work either way. Must remember to bring the zip-ties and zip-tie gun. And blue tape. And and and...

Ok, I think I'd better be done now. Can't brain, no think today. No, brain all MuseCon-ish. Whatever...