Design, and other fun things

So I know my blog has gone stale, I’ve been super busy with robotics (by the way, I know I tend to brag but  if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m really proud of the robotics site I did).

I plan on redesigning my theme from scratch, but I don’t know if I’ll have time until after the semester ends, so for now, I’m just going to revert to the default theme with a few small changes.

Also, in the near future I will be redoing the Chaparral Ashes website too.

I know I’m the only one that really cares what my blog looks like, but if you happened to stumble across it and are wondering why it looks so plain, now you know

There is now an official way to cite a tweet in MLA format

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I just thought this was interesting.
There is now an official way to cite a tweet in MLA format.

Inline, you just put the tweet author’s last name in parenthesis at the end of the quote (like you do with any parenthetical citation) so if the original tweet looked like this
Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 8.02.10 PM

and you wanted to quote the entire tweet, you could do something like:
People wondered, "Is today some kind of batman related holiday?" (Dries).

then in the bibliography you would format it like this:
Dries, Chuck (chuckdries). "Is today some kind of batman related holiday?" 27 February 2013, 2:23p.m. tweet.

Except obviously you would use black 12pt Times font, I just use the built in code tag in my blog because its easy.

You can check out for more information

Create your own bootable install disc for Windows 8 (or an ISO file)

This article is for techies who need the bootable disc for troubleshooting or other purposes, if you are a casual user looking to upgrade to Windows 8, simply follow the steps provided by the upgrade adviser at

If you find yourself in need of an install disc for windows 8, even though you downloaded it through the upgrade adviser like I did, there is a simple way to create a disc.

What you will need:

  1. A blank DVD or 3gb flash drive
  2. The windows 8 setup application, available here
  3. A computer with windows on it
  4. A valid Windows 8 product key

So, to create the dvd

  1. download the windows 8 installer from the link above
  2. enter your product key
  3. you will be asked how you want to install, select the option that says by creating boot media (or something similar)
  4. when asked, tell it to create an ISO
  5. once the ISO has been created, insert your blank DVD into the computer, then burn the ISO file using windows ISO burner

And there you go! If you are using some sort of Virtual Machine, you can just save the ISO file instead.

Tip of the day: keep your stuff charged

Is your iPhone/droid/blackberry/kindle/iPad/MacBook/laptop/whatever constantly running out of battery? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. there is a simple trick to keeping that stuff charged though: plug them in throughout the day. I know it sounds obvious, but plugging in at night will only fill your battery to 100%,whether you leave it plugged in for a few hours or all night. I fact, leaving your phone plugged in after its finished recharging can actually damage the battery aam reduce the time it will keep a charge over time. I recommend plugging your devices in during meal times. That’s a good starting point. Then, you will inevitably fined yourself without power in between, that’s fine. Plug your device in when you aren’t using it.

My point is: it’s ok to charge throughout the day, but don’t leave it plugged in past 100%. I actually have a timer set on my bedside charger so it doesn’t stay plugged in over 100%

Web design Tip: how to make an HTML element react to mouse hovers AND finger-touch holds

So, I was working on the new robotics website, and long story short I came up with a way to do it using a combination of CSS and a clever javascript “hack” if you will, without actually writing any javascript. The solution is very elegant, and I posted it on stackoverflow, and I’m not going to repeat it here because I’m a little bit lazy (maybe I will eventually), but for now, here is the link

Fix of the day: if your network printer is constantly going offline

So, you’ve got yourself one of those fancy newfangled wifi printers, but now it constantly stops working! Well, one of the problems is that your computer recognizes the printer by its IP address, but sometimes your wifi router will change its IP address without telling your computer, so when your computer sends the print job, the printer doesn’t get it because the job gets sent to the old address. The way to solve this problem is to set a static IP for your printer, so that the router knows specifically not to change it’s IP address.

Instructions on how to do this differ by your router make and model, so check your router’s owners manual. I will post step by step instructions for a few popular routers after I get back from the camping trip which I am currently preparing for, but for now, here is the official support page from HP

If you need more help, feel free to email me. If you don’t want to email me, try googling something along the lines of “how to set a static IP <insert your router’s model number here>” or maybe put the model number in front, or try switching the words around, and you should get something helpful.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and why I’m excited.

So, recently there has been alot of hype around Call of Duty Black Ops 2, both good and bad. The bad because recently, the Call of Duty franchise is dead. I feel like MW3 was simply released to make money by a dead studio (infinity ward) and it wasn’t really fun or ambitious. Call of Duty in the early years was known for its ambition, its innovation, its willingness to break boundaries and be on the cutting edge. That is what made it famous. That is why it became the number 1 selling FPS franchise in the world. MW3 lost that, it was monotonous, and the same as MW2. They focused on multiplayer, and failed to realize that the reason Call of Duty rose to greatness is its campaign. MW3, while I have had good times playing it, was overall a failure for the franchise.

Now, onto the good. I believe that Black Ops 2 will bring the franchise back to its ambitious state, and Black Ops 2 is ambitious. Just look at the talent. They’ve got Trent Reznor writing the music, and, more excitingly, David S. Goyer writing the script for the campaign. This is exciting because we have David Goyer, who worked on The Dark Knight, and created some of the most compelling villains cinema has ever seen (don’t pretend you weren’t creeped out and emotionally moved by the Joker), given the opportunity to work on a project where the audience takes part in the action. I think, the campaign will be awesome, and I’ve heard great things about the multiplayer too. David himself said the game should be sophisticated, funny, and challenging. I can’t wait.

Check out the BTS video here

I may sign up to be a contributor for iStockPhoto

I recently purchased Aperture from the Mac App Store, (the old system of folders and manually sortin pictures then duplicating them 10 times in photoshop for various edits just wasn’t working out) and as I browsed the 3rd party plugins, I saw an iStockPhoto uploaded. A lightbulb clicked. I plan on signing up to contribute so I can earn a little extra money on the side.

But chuck, I heard iStockPhoto doesn’t pay very much.
They don’t, but that’s ok. IStockPhoto was originally a free stock photo sharing site, then they decided to start charging to grow the site and to reward the photographers. This is not meant to be a sole source of income, that’s what the exclusive program is for. This is just a little extra cash on the side.

Here are three samples of my work: