Studio711

Hi Alexa

We’ve had an Amazon Echo in our house for a couple months now. I’ve resisted these types of devices for a long time because of the privacy implications. What changed? Basically I gave up. Privacy feels like a hopeless game because I’m not willing to live the hermit life required to have a chance at privacy. And aside from the “the sky is falling” reasons, maybe I trust these bigger companies a bit because if they’re going to put so much of their business into a product, imagine what would happen if there was a big privacy snafu. That’s probably naive.

My bar for electronics is “If it broke, how much would I want to replace it?” So far the Echo is pretty low on that list. I probably wouldn’t replace it, but I don’t mind having it around. The two main reasons I got it were to be a source of entertainment for Elijah and to play music from our Spotify account.

Elijah does enjoy it quite a bit. There’s an app called Amazon Story Time that reads free ~5 minute stories to him. He loves audio books and he gobbles up these stories. That’s a big hit.

The Spotify integration, on the other hand, is disappointing. While I can easily tell it to play one of the playlists on our account, the fatal flaw is that the Spotify Connect protocol only grabs the first 100 songs from the playlist. We have some very nice (long) playlists that blow past the 100 song limit. 100 song sounds like a lot until you listen to it for a few days. Fail. I blame Spotify more than Amazon for that one, but the end result is the same. The workaround is connecting to the Echo via Bluetooth and playing from my phone but that’s not nearly as convenient and I have other devices that can do that.

Spottily was giving away free Google Home Minis to members with a family plan account so I snagged one of those too. It has been sitting in a box for a few weeks. I haven’t even unpacked it. I’ll probably do that at some point but I figure my results are going to be similar but with a lower quality speaker.

For our use case, the Echo feels more like a party trick than a useful home appliance. I’d rate it a solid “Meh”.

Fantasy Football – Week 14

The Seahawks game was … interesting. Russell Wilson ended the game 10 for 20 with 72 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT for a passer rating of 38.9. And it’s not like they had that much better luck rushing the ball. Thankfully the defense looked as good as they did a few years ago with multiple critical stops and takeaways. The Seahawks have charged to 8-5 so unless something goes drastically wrong in the next 3 games, they’ll blow past my curmudgeon 8-8 prediction for the season. Who knows, maybe they’ll even win their wildcard playoff game but I don’t think they’ll go much beyond that.

This was another mostly unimportant week in our league as we positioned ourselves for the playoffs. The top four teams played the bottom four teams and two of those were upsets with Tim and Dad knocking off Tyler and Andy. My win, couple with Tyler’s loss meant that it came down to a tiebreaker to decide third seed and I scored 35.05 more than Tyler to beat him by about 8 points in the final total season score. That all means that next week we’ll have Logan playing Tyler and I’ll play Andy. Looking at the entire season, if Logan played Tyler every week, Logan would have won 9 of 14 weeks. If I played Andy every week, I too would have won 9 of 14 weeks. We’ll see how week 1 of the playoffs actually plays out. Our scores have been wild enough that anything could happen.

Let’s so who the power rankings think has the best chance:

1. Logan (Goat Roapers)
2. Ben (Kool Aid Kid)
3. Tyler (Krazy Kanuck)
4. Tim (Beer-me) +2

On to the weekly records:

This Week This Season All Time
Highest Team Score Tim had 158.61 Tyler had 191.89 (Week 8) Tim 200.51 (2015)
Lowest Team Score Tyler had 88.99 Tim had 72.47 (Week 10) Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest Blowout Tim beat Tyler by 69.62 Tyler beat Dad by 90.22 (Week 8) Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest Win Dad beat Andy by 11.13 Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (Week 12) Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Highest Scoring Player Derrick Henry had 47.80 as a free agent Mitchell Trubisky had 55.46 as a free agent (Week 4) Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Longest Active Winning Streak Dad has a 2 game winning streak Andy, Logan and Tyler had 5 game winning streaks. Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing Streak Luke has a 2 game losing streak Tim has a 6 game losing streak (Week 13) Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)

Wooden Skid Steer

I’ve made a project in the woodshop every year of Elijah’s life. That’s kind of a hard trend to break. The first year was a table and chairs and ever since then, I’ve made something from the Wood Magazine construction sets (end loader, dump truck, semi lowboy and dump trailer). I stuck with that theme this year and made the skid steer. I was crunched for time and it was a small project so it seemed like a good fit. Thanks to Tim for giving me some scrap maple so I didn’t have to make a run to the lumber store. Follow him on Instagram under the @woodscreekwoodworks account.

The project went pretty smoothly, but, again, I felt like the instructions could have been better. There was too much precise cutting and hoping that stuff lined up later. Why not just leave it all a little long and then flush it up later? I need to get better at building stuff in my head to recognize these opportunities.

I bought the kit that provided all the hardware and wheels and it came together pretty quickly. With these toys, I’ve learned to mill up lots of extra wood so that I can have another crack at it when things go wrong and that skill proved useful here.

Some day I won’t be able to post this stuff early, but for now, Elijah doesn’t read my blog so I can show you a picture early. Merry Christmas!

Milling Wood

Years ago, I didn’t understand how wood got milled to the right dimensions. When I planned out Tyla’s jewelry box,I spent an unreasonable number of hours trying to figure out how to get wood that was the right thickness. Fast forward a few years and I’m now much more comfortable with buying any sized chunk of wood and getting it to the right thickness, width and length.

There are four tools generally involved in the way that I do it:

  1. First I use the jointer to get two flat and 90 degree faces on the board. These give me good (and safe) reference points to use other tools.
  2. If the wood is much thicker than I need, I’ll use the bandsaw next. This lets me slice down the length of the board to make two thinner boards.It’s less wasteful than turning all the extra thickness into sawdust.
  3. The bandsaw isn’t incredibly precise and it leaves some saw marks, so the next step is the planer. I use the jointed face on the bottom as a reference and then make the top face parallel and get the board to exactly the right thickness.
  4. The final step is the last edge and that can be easily trimmed up on the table saw.

When I started building Elijah’s Christmas present, I took a video of that process of milling one board. It was only about 1″ thick and I need a 1 1/2″ thick board so I milled it down to 3/4″, cut it in half and glued the two halves together.

Fantasy Football – Week 13

That was a fun Seahawks game to watch. The defense looked great with lots of great drive ending stops and takeaways. It was even better knowing that the Seahawks play the 49ers again in a couple weeks. Hopefully that game is similar.

More importantly, the Seahawks kept their “scorigami” streak alive. In 9 straight seasons, they have had one game where they were involved in a game that had a score that had never happened in the NFL before.

This week and next week are a bit of a lull in our league as the playoff teams are already set. All we’re doing right now is figuring out the seeding. Logan’s reign of terror ended, but maybe he’s just sandbagging so we feel better? I had the unenviable honor of putting up the second most points and losing. I should keep track of how many times that happens as I feel like it’s happened to a couple other people this year as well. The standings remain totally unchanged from last week except that now Logan and Andy have the same record so it’s possible they’ll swap places. Next week the top four teams play the bottom four teams and then we’re off to the playoffs. Thanks for keeping your rosters full!

Andy has fallen out of the top of the power rankings and Nick has shot up into fourth.

1. Logan (Goat Roapers)
2. Ben (Kool Aid Kid)
3. Tyler (Krazy Kanuck) +1
4. Nick +2

On to the weekly records:

This Week This Season All Time
Highest Team Score Tyler had 156.20 Tyler had 191.89 (Week 8) Tim 200.51 (2015)
Lowest Team Score Luke had 88.58 Tim had 72.47 (Week 10) Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest Blowout Dad beat Luke by 28.85 Tyler beat Dad by 90.22 (Week 8) Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest Win Andy beat Tim by 5.77 Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (Week 12) Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Highest Scoring Player Patrick Mahomes had 41.00 for Ben Mitchell Trubisky had 55.46 as a free agent (Week 4) Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Longest Active Winning Streak Tyler has a 2 game winning streak Andy, Logan and Tyler had 5 game winning streaks. Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing Streak Tim has a 6 game losing streak Was: Tim and Dad had 5 game losing streaks Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)