Tag Archives: lego

Bing LEGO mosaic

bing_lego-022-EditThis is a simple project I’ve been working on during the weekends lately. It’s the Bing logo done in LEGO plates. I’ll be moving it into my office soon.

It took maybe 6 hours of work and is about 3.4ft (1m) wide.

Feel free to leave comments at flickr, or check it out at my other LEGO posting sites (there are a couple of other shots of it):

BrickCon 2009 this weekend—get your LEGO fix in Seattle!

DSC_2043If you’re in Seattle this weekend, BrickCon 2009 is going on, and I’ll be participating for the first time, displaying my Space Shuttle model.

The convention has more space than ever this year: 35,000 square feet.

The public hours are Saturday and Sunday, 11am-3pm. It’s only $7 per person (or max of $20 per family) and you don’t want to miss the amazing models that will be there.

Fans of LEGO: BrickFair is coming to DC this weekend!

If you are in the DC area, you must attend the BrickFair LEGO convention on its public days this weekend. The models here will be amazing. There will be over 12,000 sq ft of convention space. Bring the kids. If you don’t have kids, bring yourself–it will be worth it.

I was going to enter a large-scale creation of my own, but sadly ran out of time with dealing with new job, moving, etc. I’m still going to go, though.

When: Saturday, August 30, 2008 – Sunday, August 31, 2008 11am – 4pm

Where: Sheraton Premier at Tysons Corner

More info: BrickFair Website

Pictures of the 2006 event: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=brickfest+2006&stype=dfc

Be there AND be square

Why I love LEGO

For Christmas, I got my wife a neat little townhouse. A LEGO townhouse. She loved it–until she got towards the end of the first model. There was a single piece missing. I went to LEGO’s web site and filled out a simple form. A few weeks later, I got the part and a really nice letter. Sure, it’s a form letter, but it’s still nice:

“Dear Mr. Watson,

Thank you for contacting us on 12/27/07 regarding the quality of LEGO(R) toys and products.

“We were sorry to learn of the difficulty you experienced with your LEGO set. We understand how upsetting and disappointing it can be when a product does not live up to its reputation. Please accept our apologies for the packaging error you encountered. Producing the highest quality LEGO products possible and establishing consumer trust in the LEGO brand name, are the most important goals of our Company. Certainly, whenever a packaging error does occur, we want to correct the situation as quickly as possible to restore your faith in our brand name and what it represents. Therefore, I have enclosed the item(s) you requested to complete your set.

“Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Service…”

And that’s why I love LEGO.

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Some more stores at BrickLink

I received a couple more donations (for http://www.BuyMeALego.com) from stores at BrickLink–thanks guys!

First, eBricksOnline for a wonderful $25.00 donation! thanks! They also gave me a coupon to their store.

And also, Ash’s Extras, for a $2.00 donation. Thank you very much!

So check them out if you need some Lego bricks.


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Shout out to a store at Bricklink

I buy most of my Legos these days second-hand from a huge online market called BrickLink. People post their inventories for sale, and you can order from all of these people. BrickLink manages all of it.

Well, one store (so far) is a generous donor in the Buy Me a Lego campaign, and I wish to mention them specifically.

Front Range Lego, has chipped in with a great donation of $5.00.

Not an insignificant donations. If you need to get some Lego bricks on the cheap, go check them out.

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Announcing Buy Me a Lego

So I’ve resorted to desperate measures. 🙂

I’ve started a small experiment/campaign to raise the cash for a Lego Millenium Falcon. But I am making it worth people’s while. Whoever donates gets a link from the page to their own site.

The way it works is:

* for 65 cents, I put a link to their blog on the site.

* for $2 I ALSO mention them on this blog.

* for $10 I will put up a banner ad.

Will it work? I think so. Links to sites are worth it. It can help boost traffic. This blog isn’t super-popular, but it’s growing larger and has quite a bit of traffic every day. I think the site I just setup will get dugg or slashdotted one of these days.

So head over to http://www.BuyMeALego.com and contribute! Thanks!


What I’m doing to become a better developer

There was a meme going around about 5 steps people will take to become a better developer. I’m not a famous enough blogger to get tagged, but I’ll share my 2 cents anyway. There’s nothing like publicizing something to make you committed: 

  • Read more source code from other projects (especially .Net projects)

Now that I’ve started my own large, non-trivial application, more problems quickly become apparent–how do you structure an application, handle communication? The overall infrastructure becomes vitally important. Unlike DocView in MFC, .Net does not have a standard MVC-style architecture to build on top of.

It makes no sense to iterate over and over to come up with patterns that others have already solved well.

Projects I want to look at: Paint.Net, RSS Bandit, SharpDevelop, Rotor, Mono

  • Become a refactoring fiend

It takes a lot of work, but refactoring code whenever you can/should really pays dividends. I’m doing this in my current personal project, and even though it’s taken a few hours to do some of the major refactoring, it was worth it because implementing new features becomes nearly painless once the structure of the code allowed it. It’s a little harder to do at work, but I have done a little. I want to take this to the next level by always taking the time to restructure the existing code whenever the opportunity presents itself. Thankfully, I’ve spent a lot of time developing unit tests. This will help me use design patterns more thoughtfully, as well as become familiar with some of the more esoteric refactoring patterns in Martin Fowler’s Refactoring.

There are too many good books to name, but those are two of the best ones. I go through books quickly. Some books are worth reading over and over until the concepts become part of you. Of course, for that to happen, you have to actually implement the ideas into your projects. I definitely learned things in Code Complete my first time through that I have made part of me–so much so, that I probably couldn’t tell you what they were. But I know I could do better.

  • Exercise

Huh? That’s not related to programming! au contraire! Self-improvement is a lot more than learning more about your field–it’s training your body and mind to be in better shape. If I feel better, I think better. Now that I have my iPod nano and all the podcasts I could want, I have no excuse not to exercise more than I do. I’ve been getting better, but I have a ways to improve. A healthy body directly correlates to a healthy mind.

  • Build more original Lego models

Another one that isn’t really about programming?! Not so fast. I’ve built Legos for a while, but rarely have designed and built my own models. That needs to change. I have 12,000 Legos–I need to be exercising creativity, design processes, and hard work to achieve some original results. And I want to have fun.

Some other things I want to do:

These are other things I’m interested in trying out this year, but don’t have specific goals in mind yet:

  • Look into WPF — maybe good for UI for my BrickBuilder project?
  • learn more about COM. This has been slowly fading on the priority list. Is there a good reason to learn about COM these days, other than legacy support?
  • Continuous integration — I want to know more about it, but not sure how it would fit into our scenario at work. Once we get our staging server up, it might be a better fit.