Studio711

Sailing

My parents came to visit us over Easter and we had the opportunity to go sailing with LarryS from church! He’s very generous with his boat and takes lots of guests along for beautiful trips out on Puget Sound.

Larry picked a great day in the midst of a rainy, cold week. We were prepared for the worst but ended up leaving a lot of our warmest gear in the bags. We had sunshine for most of the trip and perfect winds (10-20 knots) to propel us along on our trip to Blake Island.

A huge thanks goes to Larry from all of us for taking us out!

Happy Easter!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.  Now I have told you.”  Matthew 28:5-7

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#deletefacebook

Facebook stock is down 21% on this news story about how Cambridge Analytica was able to use Facebook data to gather information about 50 million users. As usual, there is a lot of spin related to this story and it finally got confusing enough that I looked into it. I think what pushed me over the edge was hearing that Elon Musk had deleted the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook pages.

The “shady practices” that Cambridge Analytica used to gather it’s data are nothing new. If a user logs into your application, the Facebook Graph API not only lets you collect data on that user, but on all their friends as well. It has been pretty well known by API users and marketers in general. The Verge has a good article that explains that more.

One of the reasons this is getting so much press NOW instead of many years ago is that this specific instance is related to the Trump election. How sweet is a news story where you can combine privacy, BIG DATA, and a reason why dumb people were fooled into voting for Trump? The news outlets can make a lot of money off that combination.

What should normal users do about this?

  1. Go to Facebook, click Settings > Apps. First, delete all the apps that you don’t use regularly. Then click Apps Others Use and uncheck everything. That will stop sharing of your data with companies because your friends logged into something with their Facebook credentials.
  2. Don’t use your Facebook credentials to log into a website or an app. Always create a unique login for that specific application using your email address. And if you can’t create a login with your email address, then it’s probably shady anyway. The main reason all those dumb quizzes exist on Facebook is so that they can access your profile data (and your friend’s profile data.)
  3. Remove personal information from your Facebook profile. e.g. Is it really that important to have your birthday on your profile?
  4. If you want to go further, you can remove and hide some of your old activity. This is a pain, but I’ve documented it before.

 

So in summary, there’s nothing new about this news story that I can see, but people are finally realizing some of what has been going on. Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. Big data is here to stay and information about you is more valuable than you realize. A lot of it is really hard to control unless you’re willing to go full-tinfoil-hat, but it’s not too hard to take a few basic steps in that direction.

Curly Maple Box

I’ve been working with maple for a couple years, but I’ve never used “curly maple” before. The Wood Database describes it as a maple board where “the ripples in the grain pattern create a three dimensional effect that appears as if the grain has ‘curled’ along the length of the board.”

It’s generally expensive to buy since it’s somewhat rare, but Crosscut Hardwoods in Seattle had a stack of ~30inch long boards that had some curl in them. I picked up two of them to play with and I ended up attempt a small box.

You’d think that a small box would be simple, but it seems like the smaller your project is, the tougher it is to get it right. Tiny gaps and imperfections are a lot more noticeable on small projects.

The first thing was deciding what size box to make. Based on the wood I had available, I went with 3″x5″x8″. Fun fact, if you want a box to look “normal”, use the Fibonacci sequence to determine your dimensions. It’s a close approximation for the golden ratio of 1:1.61803399. Fun fact #2, if you follow that rule, your box will have the same ratio between the dimensions as the Parthenon.

Jointing and planing the curly maple was a challenge. Even though I had recently replaced the blades on both machines, that curly grain is extremely subject to tear out. I took very light passes and did a lot of sanding. A drum sander would have come in very handy to make all the pieces a uniform thickness without tear out.

For the box construction, I mitered the four sides at 45 degrees on each end and then created a dado for both the top and the bottom panel. I glued it all together and ended up with a box that had 6 sides and no way to open. Then I moved over to the table saw and sawed it in half, being careful to insert spacers into the kerf that I had just cut so the box wouldn’t pinch the blade and eat me.

There are multiple methods for creating a snug-fitting lid. I chose to line the inside with walnut and leave the sides of the walnut a little taller than the interior of the box. With a little sanding and finessing, the top fits perfectly over that interior lining. I finished the whole thing off with a couple coats of shellac.

I learned a lot making it which is code for “I made a lot of mistakes, some of which I couldn’t recover from”, but I think this one will be good enough to sit on my dresser without annoying me. The grain is beautiful when you hold it up to the light and see how it changes. The pictures don’t do it justice.