Behind the Scenes – Jeep JL Rubicon Build

For the past week, we had a first in a long time: a Jeep. This time, though, it was a Rubicon that already had a lift and the wheels/tires already installed. We installed new parts from Fab Fours all the way around, which was very fitting for the specific wheel and tire setup that the Jeep’s owner had gone with. Fab Fours is known for their “in your face” design with the idea of “it’s not for you,” so with the extremely aggressive street-style, the old-school offroader types will definitely throw shade at the build. Overall, I kinda like it. No, it’s probably not best for the trails of Moab or some extreme rock crawling, but it’s still a Jeep, and it’s still on 40-inch tires, making it very capable on most Florida trails, regardless of how big the wheels might be.

Anyhow, during the build process, I captured these images of the team’s progress as there was a lot of work to do, and with the time crunch, it was great to see everyone come together to make sure that everything got done.

All photos were shot on the Fujifilm X-T2 with the 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens. Also, most of them were shot for Instagram Stories in mind, so don’t hate me for having so many portrait-oriented photos.

See the Photos

Thoughts on Smart Glasses

Slowly, we’re hearing more and more about the possibility of Smart Glasses. We’ve already seen Google Glass as well as Microsoft’s Hololens, but we’re starting to see more startups developing smart glasses. Now, though, there are reports on Apple getting into the game.

Granted, Apple has been working on their AR Kit for quite some time now, deploying it through iOS, and they already have a fair number of app developers using it in their apps. This, I think, will give them an edge when it comes to actually convincing people to buy their product. More importantly, though, I think the number of available apps at launch, while important, will not be the ultimate determining factor for a purchase.

Like smart watches, glasses will need to be a point of style as well as function. While the watches can, essentially, only take one of two forms (round or square), glasses come in so many different shapes, styles, materials, etc. that the big challenge for whomever wants to dominate the smart glasses market will most likely be partnering with an already established frame maker, and then integrating the smart system into a large array of frames. That’s been the biggest issue that I’ve seen with the smart glasses that are on the market at the moment; each platform only has one (or, if you’re lucky, two) styles of glasses.

The next level for smart glasses will definitely be that they will need to have and be able to work with transition lenses. Now, I understand that they might not be for everyone, although I am a firm believer in them, however, how much would it suck to have these expensive glasses that are made to make your life better, but then on a sunny day, you need to take them off just to make sure that you don’t burn your retinas out and put on sunglasses. Also, I understand that clip-on shades are a thing, but I just don’t think that those work with most glasses styles. Also, I’m always worried that they might scratch the lenses up, which I can imagine would mess a lot up when it comes to the display on the glasses.

Overall, while we may see more and more of these AR devices, I think we’re still a while off from having a product that an average consumer would be willing to wear all day, every day. Until then, we’re going to see many devices that just miss the mark or are purpose-built for commercial or engineering purposes.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Coming Up: Desert Bus 2018

I wrote a little one of these up last year, but I figured if it’s worth doing once, it’s worth doing twice, sooooo…

Also, to save the trouble of all the explaining over and over of what Desert Bus for Hope is, here’s the short version: It is the longest running internet-based fundraiser and supports the Child’s Play charity, which helps kids who are in hospital have a better time.

Any questions about what Desert Bus for Hope is, feel free to ask! Also, here’s a little video explainer:

This will be my second year working the event as an assistant photographer, and, rather excitingly, Sarah’s first year as a site volunteer. Now, overall, this will be a great two weeks for us, but it’s also a lot of work that we’re both looking forward to.

The only thing I’m not exactly looking forward to is the 12+ hours of flying, but they haven’t invented teleportation yet, and still, I’m not really sure that I would trust it like that. So, flying it is!

It would mean the world to both of us if everyone we knew would come hang out in the chat every now and again, and felt free to make a donation, participate in a giveaway, or even just spreading the word about Desert Bus for Hope. Every little bit helps.

If you’re wondering when to tune in to possibly see us; I’ll be around for most of the day, and into the night time. If you know your DB lore; Alpha Flight through Zeta Shift. Sarah will specifically be working Zeta shift.

For now, though, bookmark desertbus.org (and photos.desertbus.org for the photos) and join in the fun when it all starts this Friday, the 9th of November!

Coming Up: A Trip to Las Vegas

This will be my fourth time not only going to Las Vegas, but also my fourth time going to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (or SEMA) Show. For those outside the know, the SEMA Show is, effectively, one of the largest autoshows in the US, and is considered the largest single event in Las Vegas.

I was actually thinking about the first time I ever went to Las Vegas the other day. It seemed all so fast. As if it was an overnight decision that I would go. I hadn’t even really told anyone even in my family!

This year’s trip has been talked over and planned out for a while, now, so I’m definitely ready. Minus all the packing and such, of course.

With that said, as always, I have media credentials, so I’ll be able to post photos and videos from the actual event, so here’s a list of places to follow me if you want to see more of the show, or just want to tag along for my adventures. I’m starting to think that I’m getting pretty good at Las Vegas, so maybe I know some cool places to go? We’ll see.

Anyway, the list:

For those who aren’t big on automotive things, I will try to keep my posting to a minimum, so no worries on that. I also don’t know how much I’ll be posting on YouTube, I’m meant to be working out there, so that will take priority over filming anything. Between being able to shoot on my phone and my camera, we’ll see what I can pull off.

April 14th 2018 – House Projects

Now that we’re all settled into our house, I’m starting to put together things we can improve on or things that just need to get buttoned up around the house. I’m hoping to make a log of everything I’m doing, just to share what’s going on in the house. Overall, there are four major areas that I want to work on within the next year or so.

The Office

My office is essentially going to be a combination office and studio. I want to be able to do work, like edit photos, videos, or podcasts at a stand/sit desk, stream on Twitch, record videos and podcasts, and take photos from time to time. The office is basically never going to be complete, but I’m going to slowly work on it as time goes on. So far, I’ve got some cabinets that I think will work well as part of a set and double as a huge amount of storage.

Next, I’m going to need a new desk. The desk I’m using right now is pretty tiny, and a little too short. It works, but when you’ve got two monitors, an audio mixer, and a keyboard and mouse on the same surface, you need as much space as you can get. I’m partial to the Autonomous desks. I really love the idea of being able to choose to stand or sit while I’m at my desk. I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, and I’m always reminded of when I had a standing desk. Standing for nine hours straight isn’t the greatest thing, but sitting for that long is even worse. Without a doubt, I’d rather stand all day than sit.

After the desk, I’m going to give my desktop computer an overhaul. For the spec nerds, I’m currently running a PC with an 3GHz Quad-Core AMD CPU from 2008-ish, 16GB of DDR3, and a GTX 960. All of which, as you can guess, is SUPER out of date. Granted, the GTX 960 holds up in this day and age. Not as much as the GTX 1080, but I’m not doing any 4K gaming right now, so I’m not sure that I really need it.

Smart Home-ifying

So, I know this is more of a thing that people are just doing to their dwellings, but I kinda like the idea of doing it. I’ve already connected up my garage door and it’s come in handy a few times already. I also like the idea of getting one of those Nest Thermostats so that the temperature gets set differently throughout the day. The larger portion of this project will be with the lighting in the house.

I would like to change out most, if not all, of the bulbs with the Phillips Hue bulbs. Overall in the house, this would be so that light temperatures and brightnesses can be scheduled. However, in the living room and kitchen, I’ve got more plans for the colored lights. Three words: RANDOM DANCE PARTY.

Security

Some of this might go hand-in-hand with making the house smarter, but… I guess the long of the short of this is that I want to add more security cameras to the house and maybe an alarm system? I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve got an ethernet drop outside my house for no apparent reason, so it would be great to use it for a PoE dome camera. I also plan on getting a Ring doorbell camera, mostly because our FedEx delivery driver doesn’t ring the doorbell, but also because I don’t have a peep-hole, so having a digital alternative works perfectly. After all that, I’ll probably have another camera inside the house. Overall, though, I eventually will probably get an actual security system installed. We’ll see.

Landscaping

Okay, I hate talking landscaping, but there is a few things that I do need to take care of. First, the bare patch of dirt in the back yard. We have about 2,200 square feet of dirt inside our fenced in back yard, and I need to seed new grass. Speaking of the fence, there are some spots where the ground dips a bit too low for the fence, so I’m going to get some dirt to fill in those spaces and slowly level out the fence area. Lastly, I need to handle drainage.

We do have gutters and a drip edge, but I think we need to put in a french drain and maybe a dry well to help carry all the run-off away from our foundation. I’m super not an expert about gutters or drainage or whatever. It took a lot of convincing for me to actually decide to have the gutters put in, but now I’m told that my downspouts aren’t doing anything, soooooo… I don’t know it’s all a mess to me.

Oh, also we have a nice little bench to put out front in what’s going to be our rock garden.

Overall, though, I’m going to keep with the updates of the progress going forward. Next time I’ll actually include some photos when there’s been some progress. Right now everything is a little plain. Also I probably need to mow my lawn.