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Apple's Magic Trackpad & Application Grab

I suspect most people know about these two tools, since I'm not exactly on the forefront of technology out here in the semi-country, but if not:

Apple's Magic Trackpad works beautifully. I'm using it more and more instead of a mouse due to mouse/wrist problems. Here is Apple's hype, which is pretty much true:

"The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen. Swiping through pages online feels just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. And inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever. Magic Trackpad connects to your Mac via Bluetooth wireless technology. Use it in place of a mouse or in conjunction with one on any Mac computer — even a notebook."

The other thing, and I guess all Mac users utilize this, is Apple's application, Grab, used to take screenshots. I use it daily, when I can't download something, and I want an image. It creates only TIFFs, which must be converted to JPEGs, at least for my blog postings.

T. L; D. R.

Meaning "Too long; didn't read."
This really caught my eye. It was in a NYTimes article a few days ago about a 17-year-old who sold his company to Yahoo for 30 million dollars. What was way more interesting than his youth and all the money was his idea: "…his algorithmic invention…takes long-form stories and shortens them for readers using smartphones, in its own mobile apps…"
"…he started coding at age 12. Eventually he decided to develop an app with what he calls an “automatic summarization algorithm,” one that “can take pre-existing long-form content and summarize it.” In other words, it tries to solve a problem that is often summed up with the abbreviation tl;dr: “too long; didn’t read.”
   I've now got a sign, TL; DR posted by the computer. Like keeping videos under 2 minutes. And it's a new world coming, with pocket sized screens the norm for young people. Keep it short & sweet, I keep reminding myself…

Beautiful 300 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "325 Sq, Ft. NYC Apartment Mockup": 
"Not bad as most of these go…but…my favorite of all time is still Quietude, at 300 sq feet, full bathroom, kitchen, laundry…he has it covered… And every time I look at the pics…i am reminded anew how much heart and soul and practicality can fit into 300 sq ft." 

Shelter's Publications

Tiny Homes On the Move Getting photos in from all parts of the world is slow going. Right now we're trying to get large enough photo files on the Vaka Moana sailing canoes from the South Pacific. Three of these 66' catamarans sailed into our bay here in 2011, and we're doing the story of our local fishermen going out to visit them, and of their mission with the Pacific Ocean. They're navigating by the stars.
   I'm also working on a story on The Moron Brothers, two good-ole-boy Kentucky bluegrass musicians who drift along the Kentucky River in a shantyboat, fishing, eating, telling jokes, and playing some really good bluegrass.
   This morning I just put together two pages on a 54 sq. ft. gypsy vardo with beautiful wooden interior; it's on a trailer and can be moved at speeds up to 60mph.
   Right now we've done rough layout on about 40 nomadic units -- on wheels or in the water. Slow moving, but the more days that pass, the better it gets.

The Half Acre Homestead I'm doing presentations on this subject at the Maker Faire in San Mateo this May and at the Mother Earth News Faire in Puyallup, Washington June 2nd. It will cover all the tools we've settled on after decades of building and raising and preparing food on a small piece of land. Also photos to give you ideas: kitchen setup, raised garden beds, bantam chickens, foraging, etc.
   You needn't own a piece of land to utilize some of these tools or techniques. You may live in a city and want to grind your own grain and make your own bread, or carve a wooden spoon, or grow chives in a window box.
   These are tools for people wanting to use their own hands in crafts, or in providing some of their own food and/or shelter. Country, suburban, or urban. There are a lot of things you can do yourself.
   We're working on URLs for each tool or technique, and we'll post them on our website. If I really get organized, I'll pass out cards at my talk with the our website URL and QR code.
  Lately I've been thinking of making this into a book. Right now I can't see what form this one will take, but it should be smaller and cheaper than our color building books. Black & white? I've been looking at Sears and Wards catalogs from turn-of-century.

Music de Jour Marian Janes: "I Know a Good Time;" Magic Sam, "I Feel So Good."

Powder Mountain Heliboarding With Mike Basich

Mikey (the lead builder in Tiny Homes) and buddies floating through the snow with their GoPros. Check out how they film themselves with cameras on poles held out in front. Check out how much FUN they're having.
From Evan Kahn

12 Year Old Tiny House Builder

From Tiny House Blog
"My name is Ben Norton. This is my tiny house story. A neighbor of mine was all excited about your blog and showed me lots of really cool tiny houses that people have built. I was hooked. I just said, “That’s what I’m going to do,” and I just started; buying materials as I had money. I don’t think anyone really thought I was serious because I was eleven years old at the time.…"

Authorities Want To Demolish Straw Bale House

Three people sent us this in the last few days.

"Pembroke-shire says this home is 'harmful to the rural character of the locality' and must be demolished."

Swedish Woodworkers Making Spoons, Shoes, Chair, 1923

From: http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/ A great resource!

Check out also Swedish woodworkers making shoes, a spoon, and chairs here.
The shoe making is fantastic. Check out the way he lodges the two shoe blocks in the log with a wedge.

I Know It's Only Rock n Roll But I LOVE It!

I heard Johnny Cash doing "I Will Rock and Roll With You" on the radio last week. He's in beautiful voice even if he in't sure he loves rock n roll in this collection of songs by him, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison (+ John Fogerty). Check out also Carl Perkins' "Birth Of Rock And Roll."  Had me (secretly) dancing in studio this morning. Gimme some piano son!
Click here.

Benefit April 1st Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in Petaluma

This event is to help this wonderful local food operation stay in business while they are being persecuted by uber-environmental groups such as the West Marin Environmental Action Committee (one of the Tea Party type environmental groups -- well financed, politically connected, and heads up their ass), and misrepresented with blatantly false scientific reports by the National Park Service.
   I heard that a petition with some 50,000 signatures was obtained in favor of closing the operation down. I'll bet 95% of these were city dwellers and 98% of these people had never been to the farm. My first-hand and native Californian assessment is that is a triple-win food production system, and it will be a tragedy if it is closed own by what the Italians call the talibano dell' ecologia .

From sananselmofairfax.patch.com: "…If they lose, the Lunnys will be forced to demolish buildings, remove and destroy an estimated $4.5 million worth of oysters, and put 30 people currently employed at the farm out of work.…With thirty full-time workers, many of whom live on the property, the farm is currently the second largest employer in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Oysters harvested from Drakes Bay make up nearly 40% of California's yearly shellfish production, some 500,000 pounds of oyster meat annually, marketed exclusively in the Bay Area. The farm is also the last operating oyster cannery in the state.…"

Other stuff I've written about this in the past here.

Emerald Mossy Fairy House

By Sally J. Smith

"…The Emerald Mossy Fairy House was a relatively large construction built on a woodlands trail. It took a week to build... 2 of those days were spent gathering the stones and bringing them in to the site. The large mossy boulder-cliff already looked like a house in Sally's eyes..."it just needed a little encouraging to bring it out!" A Weeping Willow twig branch was twisted and woven to make the large window. A shelf fungus was found nearby and used as an awning to protect the entrance-way. A small dormer room was added later. The stone walling portion is approx 30 inches high.…"

Click here.

Thanks to Fred Weisenborn

Debt-stressed Architect Builds Her Own Tiny Home

Update: See 1st comment below regarding inaccuracies in the referenced Huffington Post article and a link to Macy's website.

For many people, living in a tiny home is a choice. But for architect Macy Miller, it was a necessity. At 27 years old, she found herself divorced, unemployed and in the process of foreclosure, which forced her to rent, leaving her without a space she could really call her own. She needed to make a change that would help her feel alive and also ease the burden of her debt. "I didn't know how to find a solution to all this, but [these problems] sat in my mind for a while,” she told us. Then in 2011, she woke up from a dream where she lived in a tiny house. At the time she had no idea that small living was actually a "thing." She didn't know there was a whole community of tiny dwellers that would help make this vision become a reality. "It didn't occur to me that it had been done before -- building a tiny house just made sense for me and for my situation, in every way…" Click here.

Drawings of Vernacular Homes Circa 1900

"Hi. My name is Anne Smith, aka Marguerite Turnley. I am a writer and an artist. I thought you might like to use these pictures on your website or to encourage drawing. They are from an old book called Inquire Within, which I have inherited.…These pictures are from old homes in many countries at the turn of the century. The pictures have been scanned from the old books and I thought you might find them useful..… Regards, Anne Smith"