Hand-cut dovetails

I describe Lee Valley seminars to people as “field trips for adults”. It’s a time where you get to abandon your normal daily schedule and do something awesome for a day.

Last week I participated in a seminar at Lee Valley learning how to create hand-cut dovetails. Dovetails are a popular woodworking joint known for their strength and beauty. They are often found on fine woodworking items and most commonly seen on the sides of drawers. These days dovetails are usually cut using power tools such as routers and jigs for spacing. Cutting them by hand, however, involves patience, accuracy and a bit of elbow grease.

Thanks to John Reeder and Lee Valley for putting this seminar on. I had a lot of fun and hope to make something using my newly learned skills one day.

Lee Valley sign Preparing to cut dovetailsCutting dovetailsDovetails and toolsDovetails and chiselDovetails

Towards the end of the day, some of us even got to take a stab at creating half-blind dovetails. This type of dovetail shows the joinery only on one face, and it’s most popularly used on drawers. This half-blind dovetail joint took me about an hour to chisel and complete.

Half blind dovetails

Apple Touch ID is insecure

Less than a week after the release of Apple’s new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, the Chao Computer Club has released an article and a video showing that the Apple Touch ID technology is insecure and can be easily hacked by lifting a fingerprint from an object such as a glass, and then replicating the fingerprint using wood glue.

The moral of this story is that you should not trust Apple Touch ID or any fingerprint biometrics as your only source of security. Make sure that you protect your devices and personal data using more than just a fingerprint.

Bianca and Mike wedding video

I finally put the finishing touches on this video and gave it to the bride and groom today. Congratulations to Mike and Bianca!

Why are the flames on my range yellow?

Humidifier beside range

Last week I noticed that the flames on my LG gas range were more yellow than blue. Normally the flames are completely blue and clean-burning, so this concerned me. After a few phone calls, a utilities service visit and a bit of Google searching, I finally discovered the unexpected problem. Read More →

VSCO Cam Free Version

I have no doubt in my mind that this app is going to take iPhone photography to the next level. VSCO just released a new – free – version of their app called VSCO Cam. Move over Instagram, because your big brother is coming to play.

Read More →

Ruby is Two – Video

My eldest daughter turned 2 last week. I made a video.


Hotels that charge for Wi-fi

US $100 in keyboard

In this day and age, I am dumbfounded when hotels still charge for the use of Wi-fi Internet. Internet should be considered an essential service, especially for those travelling, on business or spending time away from family and friends. Having just come from a hotel stay where the rate for Internet was $10/day, I’m a bit mystified as to why this is still common practice.

The paradox

The reason that hotels charge for Internet usage is because they still feel like they can get away with it. They know that some customers are travelling with laptops and all the rest are travelling with a smart phone in their pocket. Therefore, every hotel customer will have the need – or at least preference – for wireless Internet service in their room. Basic Internet is needed for checking email, having video conferences, preparing presentations, or just catching up on Facebook. Realizing this, hotels try and make a quick buck by charging for Wi-fi.

The truth is, as a customer, if I have the choice between your hotel and another hotel that offers free wireless Internet, I will choose the other hotel, even if the net cost of my stay is the same at both places. In other words: If you’re going to charge me extra for Internet when I arrive at your hotel, then you’re a shady company, and I would much rather stay at a hotel who includes the marginal cost of connectivity in the cost of my room. Which brings me to my next point…

The cost

Ten dollars a day, per room? Are you serious? I don’t even need to do the math or the research to realize that this is a cash-grab. Internet is cheap, especially for the speeds that hotels deliver. When I can get an entire month of high speed Internet usage for only slightly more than your daily Internet rate, you’ve only reinforced the feeling that you’re just screwing me over in an attempt to gain a little bit more money out of my stay. Perhaps if Internet charges were along the lines of $1 a day or 50¢ a day, then I wouldn’t be here writing this article right now.

Why not charge for everything?

If money in your pocket is more important than customer satisfaction, then why don’t you start charging for the use of running water, electricity or linens? If you really want to increase your bottom line, then lock up the toilet paper and charge me $5 when I’m sitting on the toilet with no other options.

Obviously, I’d never visit your hotel ever again if this way the case, and I imagine your customer retention would be flushed down the drain  – pardon the pun. So when are you going to start realizing that your customers are already looking for hotels that include wireless Internet for free?