Planet Iron Blogger SF

March 20, 2019

a digital life

March 18, 2019

Doctor Popular

How to cancel floors on an elevator

I recently heard about a way to cancel a selected floor on an elevator by double clicking that floor. I thought it was just on a few select elevators, but it turns out it’s a fairly common feature.

Try it next time you are riding alone. If it doesn’t work, there are a few other elevator UI tricks to try, like holding the door close button while pressing the floor you want to go to (which sometimes prioritizes your floor selection over others). Here’s a great list for more info on cancelling floors on an elevator.

The post How to cancel floors on an elevator appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at March 18, 2019 04:12 PM

Certainly Strange

The Nightblade Hiring Process

I just thought it would be hilarious if Steen put “Blades Informant” on her resume – broadcasting her deepest darkest secret – because it is relevant work history! She doesn’t want a gap there, that’d look bad 😉 Also, I … Continue reading

by Steen at March 18, 2019 02:11 AM

Randy Lubin

Week two in Japan

We’ve been here just over two week and continue to have an amazing time! For lots of (mostly food) photos, check our Instagrams /randylubin and /avital.ungar

Here are some of the highlights:

VR Games and Arcades in Shinjuku

We went to VR Zone in Shinjuku and played Mario Kart VR (in a full motion kart) and a game where we were pedaling flying bicycles through a fantastical valley (while pedaling a specially made bike. Both experiences were super cool and took good advantage of the motion equipment. Pedaling a flying bike off a cliff is a bit harrowing!

We then went to an arcade next door and tried a few different games, my favorite was a rhythm game played with taiko drums.

Day-trip to Kamakura

On Thursday we took a day-trip to Kamakura, a beachside temple town about an hour south of Tokyo. Our friend Andy, who lives in Yokohama, played tour guide for us and we had a great time exploring the area. We saw a bunch of excellent temples and shrines and ended the day at Dandelion Chocolate, which is one of our favorite dessert spots in SF!

Great Food and Great Friends

And throughout the week we’ve had a series of amazing meals. I had my first high end omakase experience at Sushi Ginza Onodera (Michelin 2-Star) and it was wonderful – definitely the best sushi experience of my life, so far.

Another great meal was at Bistro Rojiura, in Shibuya. Something we love about being here for a few months is that not every meal has to be Japanese. Bistro Rojiura is a French restaurant and it blew us away. They rotate their menu every two months and we’ll definitely return when they do!

We’ve also been lucky to have a bunch of friends in town, either on vacation or living here temporarily, and it’s been a lot of fun exploring Tokyo with them and their friends. Also, we’ve been getting introductions to some phenomenal folks who live here long term and it’s been great getting to hang out with them and get their take on Tokyo culture.

Overall an amazing trip so far and we know the next 10 weeks are going to speed by all too quickly!

March 18, 2019 12:40 AM

March 17, 2019

a digital life

March 15, 2019

a digital life


The maker’s itch


These are my teapots. I am very proud of them. 🍵

I took a pottery class in December and have found myself completely intoxicated by clay. The past few months I have spent hours upon hours in the studio—experimenting, playing, and most of all, learning.

This tea set is for my dad, a big tea nerd 🤓 who loves Japanese style kyusu teapots. It was my first complex construction challenge that I’ve seen through and am pleased with the results. I made two of them in case I messed something up along the way—many of my pieces don’t quite turn out the way I would like, and if I’ve learned anything so far it is that nothing is precious. By making two I could both play with variations on form, and have a backup in case I broke one.

Here’s to growth and continued learning, and to scratching that maker’s itch!

by Jenna at March 15, 2019 12:51 AM

March 14, 2019

a digital life

March 10, 2019

Certainly Strange

Field Work

“Nightblades are spellcasters who use their magics to enhance mobility, concealment, and stealthy close combat. They have a sinister reputation, since many nightblades are thieves, enforcers, assassins, or covert agents.” – Nightblade description from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Just … Continue reading

by Steen at March 10, 2019 07:26 PM

I Like Turtles

Snowy bike ride


March 10, 2019 05:00 AM

March 08, 2019

a digital life

Randy Lubin

日本Quest – Assign Us Quests in Japan

Avital and I are living in Japan this spring and we’re building a long list of fun and quirky activities. We’ve also designed a system where you can assign “quests” for us to go on.

Example quests:

  • Play VR Mario Cart at one of the big VR centers
  • Sleepover in a museum on the art island of Naoshima
  • Find the best mochi in Tokyo

Quests can be as general or specific as you want! There’s room to fill in extra details, links, or addresses. 

You can use this form to submit a new quest.

And you also look at our progress toward completing quests.

So help us find some fun things to do! If we complete one of your quests, we’ll let you know and maybe send a photo.

March 08, 2019 05:40 AM

March 07, 2019

Doctor Popular

How New School Tricks Changed The Way We Play With Old School Yo-Yos

Throughout history, yo-yos have evolved to be less and less responsive, but for the first time in 90 years, this trend has changed.

Quick note before I get started though, I have a Kickstarter project live right now for The Weekender Yo-Yo, a brand new yo-yo designed for responsive play.

Responsive Yo-Yos

Simply put, a responsive yo-yo is a yo-yo that spins back to your hand after you tug the string. This is how most people envision a yo-yo, but today’s yo-yos have become so unresponsive that it is impossible to get them to return with just a simple tug [more on that later]. As players started innovating and pushing their yo-yos to the limit, they realized there was only so much they could achieve using a responsive yo-yo, so they made the switch to non-responsive yo-yos.

A Quick Timeline:

  • 500 B.C.- Although the yo-yo most likely originated in china, the first historical mention of the toy was in 500 BC, when the Greeks made y-yos out of metal and clay. The string on these yo-yos was tethered to the axle, so the yo-yos could only go up and down.
  • 1920s- Pedro Flores is believed to have revolutionized yo-yos by using a loop at the end of the string in which the yo-yo could spin. This finally allowed for the yo-yo to “sleep” and opened up a new wave of tricks (Rock The Baby, Walk The Dog, Around the World, etc. ) that we still know today.
  • 1960s– Yo-yos began to switch from wood to plastic. The thinner metal axles provided less friction and the weight was distributed a little more towards the outer rims.
  • 1980- Michael Caffrey patented the “yo-yo with a brain”. Unlike the fixed axle yo-yos before it, this design used a free spinning plastic sleeve to reduce friction around the axle.
  • 1990- Tom Kuhn released the Silver Bullet 2, the first ball bearing yo-yo. Aside from less friction, the silver bullet also featured an extreme distribution of weight along the outer rim to create more inertia for longer spins. Ball bearing yo-yos were now here to stay and enabled even longer tricks, like the Split the Atom, to be performed by intermediate players.
  • 2000- Using less responsive yo-yos, players were able to push new boundaries of play, while still getting the yo-yo back up with a tug. Around this time, yo-yos began using different response systems, like cork or silicone pads, to allow for longer spin times. This wasn’t a perfect solution though, so yo-yoers began having troubles consistently getting yo-yos to return to their hands. Some of the most innovative yo-yo routines from this time also suffered from players struggling to get the yo-yo to return.
  • 2004- This was the first year the WYYC no longer required a responsive yo-yo to enter at the higher levels. Rather than a tug, top players were using “binds” to bring the yo-yo back to their hand at the end of a trick. This technique works best with non-responsive yo-yos and requires the player to manually feed string into the axle until the point where the yo-yo will grab the string and wind back to the players hand. This style was probably inspired by offstring yo-yoers, who used a similar method to bring a yo-yo that wasn’t attached to their string to return back to their hand.
  • 2010s- Non-responsive play dominates the landscape and it’s getting harder and harder to find a responsive yo-yo designed for one handed play. There is, however, a small group of yo-yo players embracing old school wooden yo-yos and responsive play. For some this responsive play embodies smooth flow and an extra challenge, for others it presents a chance to explore new tricks that can’t be done on an unresponsive yo-yo.

Modern Responsive

When I use the term “modern responsive”, I’m reminded of a band called Dawn of MIDI. This experimental jazz trio uses traditional acoustic instruments to perform a style of music that wasn’t heard until the rise of sequencers and computers. In other words, Dawn of MIDI uses classic instruments to create music inspired by the new sounds made possible by machines.

Modern responsive tricks could have been done on the same yo-yos that were around 90 years ago, but it took 90 years of changing technology to inspire the tricks we are doing today.

Why Not Both?

Although we are seeing a bunch of responsive yo-yos being released (shout out to Spencer’s “Walter”, One Drop’s “Deep State”, and Core Co’s “Alleycat”), I don’t believe we are sending the end of non-responsive yo-yos. This style is still niche, but it’s evolving to be it’s own unique community and evangelists. For a long time, responsive yo-yoing was thought of as being old school, but I think we’ve reached the point were responsive yo-yoing is becoming just as innovative and fresh and non-responsive yo-yoing. Players don’t have to pick one or the other because learning tricks in one style can be adapted or used for inspiration in the other.

Reminder I have a Kickstarter live right now for The Weekender Yo-Yo

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

I literally wrote this essay during a midnight flight to Austin for SxSW. I hope it makes sense and I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on the subject.

The post How New School Tricks Changed The Way We Play With Old School Yo-Yos appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at March 07, 2019 08:34 PM

a digital life

March 06, 2019


Going to Disneyland


This past weekend, I went to Disneyland with some dear friends. It was my first time ever, at 32 years old.

“Going to Disney” is something that escaped me in my childhood. I grew up with a pretty counter-culture ethos—my parents rejected the consumerism of experiences like Disney, and preferred to take us on trips to go camping or to the beach, to enjoy natural wonders rather than the artificial. Now that I’m older, I realize that part of that may have been growing up without a lot of excess money—the ability to take a family of five to Florida or California was just never a reality on my parents’ income. Regardless of the reason though, I picked up the ethos they engrained in me and prided myself on refusing manufactured fun in favor of real, authentic experiences.

So when it was proposed that we go to Disney, I had a moment of pause. It had become this symbol of all the things wrong in the world, but does it deserve that reputation? In moving to California, I find that I have changed, and the ways I have (or make) fun have changed. I have spend the last few years creating fun for others—building experiences to spark joy and delight, using the vehicles of Burning Man and other art projects to share them with the world. Is Disney really that different?

If you are able to turn a blind eye to to the principles of self-reliance and commodification (you can’t throw a pair of mickey ears and not pass at least 20 articles of branded merch on the way), and maybe also forgot the NO SPECTATORS part, the mechanics around how they create fun are very similar. Immediacy is high and interaction is to be had everywhere you turn. And the perfection to which they have honed and polished their brand of fun is admirable, even downright inspiring. I spent the day marveling at the construction of sets, props and animatronic characters, appreciating that every visual detail of every attraction has been considered. Beyond the stunning level of visual craft, the have dialed the human experience of the place to be absolutely perfect: the place is spotless, employees are kind and smiling, the constant soundtrack is one of playfulness and adventure. They have even made the unavoidable experience of waiting in lines to be bearable, with disorienting snaking that makes you feel close to the front even when you’re 45 minutes out, and entertains you with constantly changing scenery as you slowly creep along. I spent my day in awe of the thoughtfulness and craft of every single aspect of Disneyland.

I think what I’m saying is that, I get it. I get it, and I’m sorry that I had such a misconception of a truly magical place. It is a modern marvel of entertainment, experience and crowd management. I do however recognize that I was able to fully enjoy it from a place of financial stability—one day set me back at least $300 between admission ($179 for a one-day park hopper pass), food and beverage, and a shiny new set of Minnie Ears. I can’t imagine the cost of bringing a family for a multi-day visit that would include travel, room and board. That said, I hope that I am able to bring my someday-children to this magical place to experience the joy I found this weekend.

by Jenna at March 06, 2019 01:25 AM

March 04, 2019

Certainly Strange

Smokin Skooma

Steen and Aryon are uhh… researching. Yeah, they’re thinking up new spells and shit, man. Good for their creativity. The Telvanni got it figured out. Livin in a mushroom. Smokin some skooma.

by Steen at March 04, 2019 12:13 AM

Randy Lubin

Konnichiwa from Japan!

It’s official, Avital and I are living in Japan!

We’ll be here until late May: exploring the country, learning Japanese, and eating a tremendous amount of amazing food – all while working remotely.

I’ll be posting updates here on the blog as well as on Instagram @randylubin.

The trip is off to a great start. We’re living in Shibuya, a trendy, bustling neighborhood in Tokyo and a great home base. We’ll be here for March and maybe April, too. Our friends Ray, Sasha, and James are all in town and we’re having fun running around with them and their friends.

Some highlights of the adventure so far:

Japan is known for its unusual KitKat flavors and we decided to try them all. 

My favorite was Wasabi, followed by Red Bean Cookie.

Last night we has an incredible (raw) Tuna Pizza from Savoy Tomato-to-Cheese. I was skeptical before but one bite won me over. I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavor but it was sublime.

This week we’re going to figure out our broader travel schedule, prioritizing day / weekend trips for the next month and potentially some longer excursions for May.

We’re excited to meet up with locals, too. If you know awesome folks here let us know! We’re especially keen to hang out with folks working on startups, interactive theater, and game design.

March 04, 2019 12:05 AM

March 03, 2019

Doctor Popular

A new yo-yo project on Kickstarter!

After months of hype, The Weekender is finally available on Kickstarter… but only for 4 more days!

If you follow this blog, you may recognize this yo-yo from my 48 Hour Yo-Yo project last year. If not, be sure to watch the two part documentary about this experiment and my trip to the One Drop machine shop in Eugene, OR.

The post A new yo-yo project on Kickstarter! appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at March 03, 2019 09:13 PM

I Like Turtles

Bucket list


March 03, 2019 05:00 AM

February 28, 2019


Why I’m Different

Okay so there’s a lot of freelancers out there. What makes me so special?

Design is my first love, but client services are my second nature. My very first job out of design school (over a decade ago—time flies) was at a technology consultancy. As a consultant, I was embedded on-site with my project teams at businesses such as Bloomberg HQ in New York City for the majority of my work week. Right from the start, my understanding of how to be a good, professional designer revolved around interacting with and presenting to my clients directly, not via a middle man (or woman).

I bring a strong, outside, expert point of view to your project. You may find that it’s difficult to get things done effectively in-house. This can happen for many reasons: it may be because your team is juggling many, varied initiatives, or it may be that you are so deep in your own experience that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. By bringing in an outside expert, you are able to gain a completely fresh perspective, one that is hyper-focused on solving your business problem for you—without all the noise or chaos of in-house life to worry about.

High value at a low cost. If you were to work with an agency, add a zero to the price I quote you. While there are times you would want to work with a full service team, working with my company of one will allow us to be lean, fast, and adaptable—without the overhead of paying for an entire organization’s time and resources.

If I can’t do it, I’ll find someone who can. My expertise is in visual design, and I can offer limited support in other areas like strategy, writing, and development—however, I’ll be the first to admit when your needs are beyond my abilities. I have a rich network of other freelance professionals to tap, many of whom I have worked with before and have personally vetted—from writing to strategy, film to photography, development to marketing—just ask! (Even if it’s not for a project we work on together—I’m eager to connect companies to great resources, and freelancers to great projects!)

Want to work together?

Get in touch!

by Jenna at February 28, 2019 10:19 PM

a digital life

February 26, 2019

a digital life

February 25, 2019

Certainly Strange

Dobsonfly Wing Project

I got a bunch of Dobsonfly wings to experiment with, trying casting them in resin, gilding their edges, etc etc. We’ll see how it goes!

by Steen at February 25, 2019 05:48 AM

Doctor Popular

DIY Kinstugi repair

Christine recently learned about this DIY technique to repair pots and dishware using a fake “kintsugi” technique. You can read her write up here. 

Right as Christine was doing her first batch of repairs, this flower pot broke… which meant I got to try my hand at kintsugi. 

The post DIY Kinstugi repair appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at February 25, 2019 03:01 AM

February 24, 2019

Diegetic Games

1923 Game Jam Results

In January, I teamed up with Mike Masnick and Techdirt to run Gaming Like It’s 1923, a game jam around new material that just entered the public domain.

We received 25 entries including a lot of fun and interesting submissions. We had an awesome team of judges help us select the winners:

Go check them out as well as the other games submitted and read Techdirt’s full write-up for more details on why we selected these winners.

We’ll likely run this again next year for content from 1924, assuming copyright doesn’t get extended again!

February 24, 2019 08:00 AM

I Like Turtles

Weekend in Poughkeepsie


February 24, 2019 05:00 AM

February 23, 2019

a digital life

February 20, 2019

a digital life

February 19, 2019


Book Review: Identity Designed

I was excited to receive my pre-ordered copy of Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding, by David Airey. I’m a big fan of his books, which tend to be an excellent combination of design theory and a thorough look at process and practice.

In this tome, he get the scoop from sixteen different design studios around the world and digs into a project from each of them—uncovering awesome insights along the way about how they work: not just their strategy and approaches to the actual design work, which is inspiring and exciting for a design nerd like me to read about—but also to business details such as pricing, setting terms, and gathering consensus.

It’s invaluable to gain this kind of no-nonsense insight from top firms, all wrapped up in a beautifully designed book of case studies intended exactly for the audience of me.

by Jenna at February 19, 2019 02:04 AM

February 18, 2019

a digital life

Certainly Strange

Cool Dude

I made a “Cool Dude” shirt, inspired by the one Papyrus wears on his date in the game Undertale, and uhh… this happened… NYEH HEH HEH!

by Steen at February 18, 2019 07:58 AM

a digital life

February 17, 2019

a digital life

I Like Turtles

Vehicle love


February 17, 2019 05:00 AM

February 15, 2019

a digital life

February 12, 2019


Why I freelance

I started freelancing because good design freelancers are hard to find. I know, because I’ve looked! During my time in-house and on design teams, we were constantly seeking additional resources to help with our fluctuating workloads. It was very hit-or-miss—the majority of them being misses. Simply put, there’s a lot of mediocrity out there. I wanted someone who:

  • Is both strategic AND executional—can both THINK and DO

  • Can offer a strong point of view and bring something new to the table; isn’t simply agreeable to all requests

  • Has experience managing client relationships

  • Communicates clearly and manages their projects and time effectively

  • Is low ego and professional about feedback

  • Does what is best for the client, not just what is trending right now on Dribbble

  • Creates high-quality design deliverables

When we did find these rare specimens, we clung to them for dear life. But I found most freelancers to fall short of my expectations. So when I was ready to move on from my last in-house role, I decided there was an opportunity to become the freelancer I wanted to see in the world.

Want to work together?

Get in touch!

by Jenna at February 12, 2019 07:45 PM

February 11, 2019

Doctor Popular

The story behind the viral image of a yo-yoers hand

There’s a photo that tends to go viral once or twice a year. It’s an angiogram of a professional yo-yoer’s right hand that shows significant damage to one the fingers on his throwand. That finger belongs to my buddy Dazzling Dave Schulte, from Minnesota. After the image went viral again last week, I reached out to Dave to ask him the story about this photo and what it’s like to be one of the few full-time-yo-yo-professionals on this planet. 

The post The story behind the viral image of a yo-yoers hand appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at February 11, 2019 04:59 PM

Certainly Strange

My Kintsugi Project

I’d been curious about finding a food safe epoxy for a sort of “Kintsugi” project for some time now. After I broke some plates, I decided I’d finally try it. I found this tutorial on YouTube which also recommends a … Continue reading

by Steen at February 11, 2019 04:42 AM

Randy Lubin

Prepping for Japan

Avital and I are are getting ready for a 3-month trip to Japan!

We’ve been wanting to live abroad again and we both love Japan – we’ve been separately but not together. We were able to line things well and we’ll be living there March-May.

March is mostly figured out – we’re renting an apartment in Shibuya and spending most of our time in Tokyo. We’ll be working in the mornings to overlap with west coast hours and then exploring later in the day.

April and May are still up in the air – we might stay in Tokyo and take side trips or we might rebase to other cities.

Know awesome folks living in Japan? Make an intro! We’re especially interested in making friends with:

  • Game designers
  • Interactive theater designers
  • Entrepreneurs

There’s a lot to do as we get ready. We’re moving out of our house on the February 25th and flying out on 27th. We’re definitely moving back to SF afterwards and will start hunting for a place when we return.

February 11, 2019 04:24 AM