Ever wondered how an object is made? Making It by Chris Lefteri has a couple of pages on a variety of production and finishing techniques and their pluses and minuse. A nice expansion over the first edition that was out a few years back.
oh yeah - despite the hoopla, we're still a long way from 3d printing being generally applicable and the best technique for most objects.
Balance bikes are an introduction to biking for young kids - as young as 2 years old in some cases. The idea is to teach balance before attacking pedaling. Bonnie recommends the Skuut - her (nearly) three year old loves it and can easily go a mile on it. You can find them on Amazon for around $60. It looks like the sort of thing that would be good to share with a lot of kids. Get the kids ready for the next step as pass it on.
Many stores are pushing exercise equipment to lure the sort term demand created by New Years resolutions. Many people don't get regular exercise, but if f you are serious about such things a couple of recommendations.
The most important advice is to decide if you have a chance of using any of it and what sort of program works for you. Perhaps walking or running is best. Some find activity monitors sufficient and others like health clubs and pools. Investing a bit of time and money trying out things and consulting with a personal trainer makes a lot of sense. For me it turned out a good approach is a high quality rowing machine in the basement.
The best time to buy new exercise equipment will be in about two months (at least in Northern climates) as the stores make way for warmer weather sporting gear. But a better way may be to wait until April and May and watch local home sales as well as Craigslist. People are beginning to clear out garages and basements and are looking to get rid of machines that were used a couple of times and abandoned. We've managed to get a fair amount for the price of hauling it away. One of the people we "helped" told us looking at the thing was a regular reminder of his failure to use it, so our taking it was a big favor.
You do have to be beware as there is a lot of junk out there that isn't worth the effort required to haul it home and, of course, you have to want it and be willing to use it. Motivation and realism are important. I have a regular program and staying motivated is a big issue as it is time consuming and boring, The trick for me has been to get it out of the way in the morning and to fill in the time by time shifting periods I would normally use for news and recreational radio listening with an iPod. I'm currently auditing an excellent class on the history of English and I've used the feedback and encouragement of a friend who has acted like a remote personal trainer.
Most people who use desktop video conferencing don't pay any attention to audio or video quality. (I can't say I'm careful, but I know better). There are any number of things you can do for audio quality (a good podcasting microphone or better can be had for $100 or so), but video quality often comes down to lighting.
Here is a DIY on the cheap project using $26 worth of kit ...
Over the past three decades clothing prices have plummeted, but the amount people spend on clothing hasn't changed a lot - we just buy much more of it. Quality is awful, labor has shifted to the third world sometimes involving human slavery and large brands have become more powerful. And there is little ownership for "little things" like working conditions and safety or the environment..
Jheri and I have been having discussions about the future of apparel for some time and she recommended Overdressed by Elizabeth L Cline as a good history of the past several decades as well as the current state of the business.
Worth the read - her recommendations are what Jheri preaches. Spend more on quality clothing that will last for years and repair or modify it as necessary. The overall cost may turn out to be less and you'll benefit from higher quality clothing, a smaller environmental footprint and support of better labor practices. Elizabeth keeps a list of recommended manufacturers and vendors.
The industry is largely based on a distribution control model not unlike that the music industry had until about a decade ago - there are signs apparel may be disrupted in a big way over the next decade.
Jheri participates in street fashion - putting together not-off-the-shelf outfits that are usually made of modified clothing. She likes to start with vintage clothing and notes she has to go back about thirty years to find anything suitable - not for the fashion of the time, but rather the quality is high enough to permit modificaiion and there is a lot of it as newer clothing has been thrown away as it fails.
I'm not a fashionable person, but I'm interested in the mechanics of what it takes to do made to measure apparel - largely because I have some friends who are of very unusual sizes and it is impossible to fit them in stores. It is interesting to note that the notion of sizing is recent - not much over 100 years old. Before sizing, which was made necessary by the centralized mass production of clothing, clothing was more custom (although a lot of it wasn't very good and all of it was labor intensive). In a few decades it is very likely we'll return to made-to-measure, but for the time being these friends rely on alterations of often non-suitable clothing, some homemade and more rarely clothing from emerging made to measure companies. Indie Denim was one of those new companies - a well-built pair of jeans that were made to measure with some custom features. But new companies often fail and Indie went out of business last Summer. Of course there is always bespoke clothing, but it is out of the budget of the 99%...