Michael Doornbos

Let's void some warranties

Michael is the founder of Evadot.com, PR Coordinator at Part Time Scientists and Product Designer at SimplyHome. A security consultant, speaker, and podcaster, Michael helps companies find their true role on the fast-changing internet.

July 4th

 

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Flying fantasies

 "All flyers are wanderers at heart and harbor Walter Mitty fantasies. If they could only shuck their jobs and the lives they know, they would leave the local airport far behind and spend a season flying bush planes in Alaska, or get a job dropping mail along the sheep- station routes of Queensland and New South Wales." -Rinker Buck, Flight of Passage

Let's go fly a UAV...

Let's go fly a UAV
Up to the highest height*!
Let's go fly a UAV and send it soaring...
* below 400ft AGL and not within 5 miles of an airport and not in a manner that disturbs or presents a danger to others or property and not commercially unless you have a PPL and 3rd class medical and not anywhere near Washington DC

So I'm a pilot now

At 7am on New Years Day this year I started a new journey. I decided that I had said "maybe I'll learn to fly next year" too many years in a row. 

As of Lunchtime last Friday I am a licensed Private Pilot. I spend most of my training in the very fun Diamond DA-20.


Always buy good tools

A few minutes ago an old Navy buddy of mine sent me this picture with a message that just said "memories".

He remembers something I'd sorta like to forget. This is a picture of my first car. I'm sure it's not the same one, but the color and everything are the same.

One of the many lessons my father and grandfather taught me was to always invest in good tools. A crappy drill will fail you in the middle of a project and a bad screwdriver can strip the head off of a screw of a critical part in a flash.

It should have come as no surprise to me then at 18 years old when I bought a crappy tool to use as my primary transportation. The 1992 Geo Metro was, even with it's 60 miles to a gallon of gas... a complete piece of junk. I bought it from a dealer who repossessed it with 4000 miles on it (imagine having your Geo repossessed!!!). Seemed like a steal.

My father, a very very patient leader of his hard headed teenagers, tried to get me to buy a turbo charged Volkswagen Jetta Diesel. Had I followed his advice, that Jetta was the kind of car where the interior would have rotted away before the engine gave out and I would have probably had it for many years.

But nooooooo

I wanted to make my own decisions and my father wanted to let me. He CO-SIGNED for the loan on a piece of crap. In the 3 years I owned it the engine was rebuilt TWICE! Once when my Dad was driving it the distributor cap just fell off, fasteners and all. When I went to trade it in to buy a Jeep in 1996 the used car dealer didn't even want it.

I did eventually learn my father's "only good tools" lessons and my toolbox is full of only Craftsman and Snap-On tools. 

My current car was purchased for the same price as my first car: $8200 and this time I paid cash. That was 12 years and 200,000 miles ago. It's a car with good bones. A good tool.

That's the only kind of tools I buy any more.

Don't forget who works for who

 

The DMV is a government agency, and we live in a democratic republic. All power resides in "the people", who elect representatives to serve them in government. If you're a citizen, you're part owner of the DMV and your representatives control it, you should be able to walk in and get what you need.
- Peter Thiel in Zero to One

This is a terrific illustration for why I HATE when I hear people aren't going to vote. Or don't care about politics. Remember that the government works for you. It's not the other way around. In a weird and twisted way that police officer pulling you over is your employee. So is the judge, the IRS agent, the President...

 

 

 

 

What Apple doesn't yet get about smart watches

I'm on my second smart watch. A few months ago I traded my trusty Pebble for a Samsung Gear Live

Sean Riley of Android and Me sums up the smart watch question "what do I need this thing for?" pretty nicely:

 

I think that this and a few other aspects of the watch may point to a fundamental misunderstanding of how people will want to use a smartwatch. Apple shows you navigating through dozens of apps or hundreds of photos by zooming in and out with the crown and then panning around the screen with touch. This all seems like far more than I want to be dealing with on my watch. If you’ve moved past the 10-15 second mark in any activity with your watch, I feel like you should have just pulled out your smartphone instead.

Watches are a quick information device. Tell me a quick thing in a second or two. When I was watching the Apple Keynote on Tuesday I chuckled a little at the demonstration of using your watch for directions. Why would I use a tiny screen to do something that the other device I'm always carrying, a 5 inch phone, can do much better? 

I'm not convinced that this product category is necessary. It feels like a solution in search of a problem, but I know that it can't just be a smaller version of what your phone already does.

The value of 3D printing in space

This week, NASA is going to send the first 3D printer to the International Space Station. The purpose is to test the manufacture of spare parts in space and hopefully reduce the number of spare parts we send up there.

One of the problems of being off planet for a long time is that humans, as a general rule, require food and drink. Fortunately, food can be planned for and water can be close to 100% recycled. It's hard to bring parts for every conceivable part you might need to replace, so being able to "push print" to make parts that break or wear out is a great addition to the toolset available to future trips.

In my day job we use our 3D printer to print prototypes at a huge cost savings over what it cost to make a single sample part just a few years ago. It's been a great addition to our toolkit, and 3D printing certainly has a place in the future of operating in space.

Sometimes we just make stuff that's fun....



Some changes in my first world problems

I've made some changes in the last couple days.

First, I've removed Facebook from my phone. I'm not anti Facebook. I am however concerned about some habits of mine that have crept up around Facebook. I find myself looking at my phone at EVERY stop in the everyday flow of my life. In line at the grocery store, when I'm done with the laundry, while I'm walking to a meeting down the hall, etc.

I have the amazing opportunity to eat lunch with my son EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKDAY. How many parents can say that? He's almost 16. For a very brief moment in our lives he and I get an hour alone every day. We enjoy each others company. He's interesting, intelligent, and like all boys on the cusp of manhood, trying to find his place in the world. So last week when we were at lunch and I caught myself looking at Facebook while he was telling me a story, I realized that I'm really doing it wrong.

I'm not getting rid of Facebook. It HAS been a great tool for connecting with some old friends and family members that I probably would not have any contact with. My change is pretty simple really. I'm just going to use Facebook once a day. My day to day activities go on twitter.  I am able to use Twitter without it being a big distraction.  My photos will go on Flickr.  The amazing service IFTTT.com will then pick up my tweets and photos and post them to Facebook for me so that my friends and family will still see what I'm doing and can continue to interact with me there. Once a day (max) I will check on any responses.

The second thing is TV.

I got my bill from DirectTV the other day and I started thinking about that too. I'm an American. I love TV just as much as everyone else. But two things about TV need to change for me. First is the $130 per month for 500 channels ($1560 per YEAR. Think about THAT).  I watch maybe 10 of those channels regularly.  I'm paying a lot of money for things I don't use.

Second is something I do A LOT that probably a lot of people do. It's that habit where you sit down to "see if something is on". Why do we do that? There are so many things in the world to do, work on and just enjoy that they can never be done in a thousand lifetimes. Why do I need to see if "The Matrix" is on again with 100 commercials?

My TV and entertainment needs to be much more deliberate. There are 10 shows that I really enjoy.  I can get season passes on Amazon or Google Play for $20 per season  (oh and they are commercial free). I gain a couple things here. First is the $1360 in yearly savings without missing any of my shows. Second are the countless hours of my life that can and should be used for something else. Sometimes I forget that going for a walk, sitting on the porch with my wife, or throwing a Frisbee for the dog is DOING SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. 

So we took the plunge. Called DirectTV and cancelled.

Now my challenge to myself is to see how many times my excuse is "I just don't have enough time to workout, start that hobby, go fishing with my dad..." when there isn't 20 hours a week of "The Matrix" and "Die Hard"(again).

A Career of Projects

Somehow, I always thought of my career as a series of projects, not jobs. Projects... things to be invented, funded and shipped. Sometimes they take on a life of their own and last, other times, they flare and fade. But projects, one after the other, mark my career. Lucky for me, the world cooperated and our entire culture shifted from one based on long-term affilitations (you know, ‘jobs’) to projects.

As usual, Seth Godin is right on the money. Here's the rest of his post today.

If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself

Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time
to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

-Tecumseh

Copyright 2015 by Michael Doornbos