Thing-a-Day 19: Compact Calendar 2015 Updates

Compact Calendar 2015

2015 Updates!

It’s that time of year…Updated Compact Calendar! I had thought this would be a quicker task when I started it, but it actually took several hours to remember how to assemble the complete package of PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, and now the Numbers spreadsheet. Formatting the PDFs is what takes the longest amount of time, since I have to prep 3 different base spreadsheets stripped of holiday information, then lay each type in both US Letter and A4 size and save to PDF. I do a little extra sizing other than printing them out straight to PDF; I spent a bit of time rejiggering the export workflow to be easier to update next year.

Anyway, you can Download the 2015 Calendar from the usual place!

This article is part of a series: challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!

Thing-a-Day 18: The Wrong Paper Rings

A box of currency bands

A Backwards Step

I had ordered this box of 4-1/4 inch currency bands (used to hold together stacks of paper money) last week, thinking that they were self-adhesive. The idea was that I could use them to wrap a small stack of 3-1/2×2 inch business cards together, and stamp them with my rubber stamp as a kind of cheap-but-cool packaging. I didn’t want to use a rubber band for this purpose because it seems inelegant.

Alas, these particular currency bands are NOT self-adhesive. They are pre-glued, so it’s $9 down the drain. Such is the cost of entrepreneurialism. Rather than mail them back, I can probably find some organization that runs bake sales or maybe accepts donations in bills (churches, perhaps?) and donate to them. Worst case, Goodwill probably could find a home for them.

I’m using this setback as today’s THING-A-DAY, because it’s process related and took up my time, and not every day will be a hit. Today, I struck out. The next likely candidate for a cheap packaging solution are napkin bands, which apparently are used by the catering industry, and are self-adhesive. I’m having trouble finding a source of the larger 6-1/4 inch bands online that isn’t expensive, so I may visit a restaurant supply store up in Manchester. I like visiting that store anyway…so much cool stuff to look at!

This article is part of a series: challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!

Thing-a-Day 17: Left-Side Full-Size ETP Variant

Left Side ETP Variant

News from the Printer

Over the weekend I got an estimate of the production cost for full-size ETP Notebooks, and I believe I can afford to put them into production for 2015! I’m going to start with a run of 500 notebooks.

First, though, I need to make some prototypes. There are two contenders: a left spread and a right spread. Details follow.
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Thing-a-Day 16: The Annoyed Task Planner (ATP)

Annoyed Task Planner

An Annoying Day

Sunday! I woke up late after sleeping fitfully, having suffered TWO CHARLIE HORSES, which made it difficult to walk around this afternoon when I finally got out of bed at 2PM. Grouchy. Cold. Not feeling like working.

I thought maybe of doing some Calendar updates, but I knew that I didn’t have a lot of energy in me to deal with it. I’m thinking of going to sleep again, but I first had a brainstorm about how I might convert my annoyance with the world into The Annoyed Task Planner.
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Thing-a-Day 15: New Slide, Simplified Front Page

Website Design Comparison

Saturday, where did you go? I was tired all day, and instead of forcing myself to do something, I decided to just indulge my napping until I woke up. Apparently I am capable of a LOT of napping, to the point of feeling sick.

Around midnight I had had enough and went to make something to eat as I thought about what Thing-a-Day to make. It hit me that today was DAY 15, and I had a lot of things; why not make a new slide for the site home page? EASY, RIGHT?! A couple hours later…
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Thing-a-Day 14: Some Project 1401 Documentation

Diagram of Rendering System

Friday was another day swamped with work, and I didn’t know when I’d have time to do anything for Thing-a-Day. However, the work I did was also applicable to Project 1401, my personal video game project, so I shifted some time to making a helpful diagram that shows all the relationships in the graphics rendering code.
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Thing-a-Day 13: Packaging Possibilities

Packaging Design Drafts

Today I have been sucked into a vortex of programming, and did not have a lot of time to dive into Thing-a-Day. But I did manager do some playing around with some of the shipping supplies I ordered last week: some cardboard 8.5×11 mailers, and a bunch of coin envelopes! Details follow.
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Thing-a-Day 12: Sketch for ETP Instruction Sheet

Fast ETP Instruction Sheet Sketch

T’was a very busy day today, and I wasn’t sure if I could squeeze out something for the day. So first, I lowered the bar. Second, I chose to start a project that I’d held off from doing because it was expensive: the production of 10,000 sheets of full-color offset printed instructions for the various Emergent Task Planner products. This will run around $800-$900 just for printing the instructions. 10,000 sheets is about the economical minimum for offset printing locally, last I checked.

Details follow.
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Thing-a-Day 11: Using Lightroom for Monthly Groundhog Day Reviews

Lightroom Process

I go through spurts of digital photography, which I do mostly to document things that I’m doing. One of the tools I use is an EyeFi SD card for digital cameras. This card automatically downloads photos over WiFi to my computer. While it’s admittedly easy just to pull out the card and plug it into a reader like a Muggle, having the wireless transfer is a nice time saver because I have three cameras that I pull photos from: an old Canon EOS-40D DSLR, a point-and-shoot FinePix F200EXR, and the built-in camera of my iPad 3. The less fiddling I have to do, the better.

I’m now handling all my photos through Adobe’s Lightroom import workflow, with the originals stored on Western Digital MyCloud 2TB network-attached drive on a gigabit ethernet hardwired network. It’s not a perfect setup, particularly because the backup of the MyCloud isn’t automatic at the moment and it could go BOOM at any moment, but overall it’s been pretty handy because I can access this drive through local Lightroom catalogs on my PC and my Macintosh.

The point of this? I just realized that since I’m generally taking pictures of notable things going on, and I have all the photos from all my cameras in one place, I perhaps could write my Groundhog Day Resolutions Review just by collecting the pictures.

And so, that is exactly what I did. I went through all the photos I had between October 10 and November 11, added 45 interesting ones to a collection I called “GHDRR November 2014″, and then printed a 9×5 contact sheet to a file. This is my Groundhog Day Review report for November 11. It’s not as wordy as they usually are, but I think it may work as a “good enough” reflection tool. It usually takes me two or three hours to review and write-up the past month’s experiences, and frankly I didn’t feel like doing it today. The photo collection does a pretty good job of reminding me what I did this week. What it doesn’t capture are some of the behind-the-scenes actions, but I’ll just quickly fill those in.

Read the Groundhog Day Resolutions Review for November 2014 here. Time…saved!

This article is part of a series: challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!

2014 Resolutions Review 09: Chugging Away

It’s November 11, and time for another monthly update on my year’s goals, my so-called “Groundhog Day Resolutions”.

Last month I had set a few tangible goals that, surprisingly, actually have come to pass. I’ve started getting moving on some new products to put on Amazon, got my snow tires, made a tiny bit of progress on my 1401.

Details after the jump. Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 10: Bad Futomaki Rolls

Bad Maki

Today’s thing-a-day looks like food, but it is really process.
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Thing-a-Day 09: UPC Product Labels

Product Labels

I have historically disliked of all activities related to shipping and fulfilling packages. There are a lot of small details in the procedure, and it’s also time intensive and expensive. When I fulfilled Emergent Task Planner pads out of my house in 2009, I discovered it took me all day to process and ship eight orders. This is why I’ve spent so much time looking into automated e-commerce/shipping solutions; while I make less money, at least I didn’t have the aggravation of being annoyed all day.

These days, though, I’m feeling much more excited about shipping because I’ve figured out a few things about it, and I am starting to see that this is an opportunity to design some nice packaging plus maintain a stock room of ready-to-ship product. Today, I spent some time setting up some new stock+ship options.
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