“Perfect Fit” cheap & easy post topper geocache

For GC9EXXX Church Micro 14129…Sutton, a geocache I recently set up, I wanted to use a “pole topper” style cache. I’ve always felt slightly let down by finding yet another magnetic nano stuck inside a pipe, so I wanted to do something better. You can watch the video here or on YouTube, or scroll down for written instructions.

You will need:

Steps:

  1. Sand down the lid and the inside of the pole topper so the glue adheres to it better.
  2. Mix up your 2-part epoxy in the pole topper. Don’t use too much or it’ll overflow and block the lid from closing.
  3. Put the lid into the pole topper and press down firmly and evenly to squeeze out any air bubbles.
  4. While you’re waiting for the epoxy to set, file off the flange around the edge of the tub. It’s there to catch drips but you’re not going to be storing food anyway! The lid is easier to take on and off with the flange filed away.
  5. Finally, roughen the bottom edge of the tub with some sandpaper to make it easier to grip when opening and closing the container.

Music:

For Lorilyn by Casey LaLonde, used under a CC-NC Creative Commons License.

I Will Never Stop Learning

I’ve been doing a course provided through work to try to improve my ability to connect with an audience over video.

This is my fourth week in the course, and I opted to revisit a video I made during my second week and try to do it again with more engagement, more focus, more punch, and more emotion. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Interestingly, it somewhat mirrors my Howdymattic video from when I first started at Automattic, but I pivoted my “origin story” a little bit and twisted it to fit one of my favourite parts of the Automattic Creed.

Shot during the same outing as the Devil’s Quoits one. Also available on YouTube.

The Devil’s Quoits

I’ve been doing a course provided through work to try to improve my ability to connect with an audience over video. For one of my assignments in this, my fourth week, I picked a topic out from the “welcome” survey I filled out when I first started the course. The topic: the Devil’s Quoits. This stone circle – not far from my new house – has such a bizarre history of construction, demolition, and reconstruction… as well as a fun folk myth about its creation… that I’d thought it’d make a great follow-up to my previous “local history” piece, Oxford’s Long-Lost Zoo. I’d already hidden a “virtual” geocache at the henge, as I previously did for the zoo: a video seemed like the next logical step.

My brief required that the video be only about a minute long, which presented its own challenge in cutting down the story I’d like to tell to a bare minimum. Then on top of that, it took me at least eight takes until I was confident that I’d have one I was happy with, and there’s still things I’d do differently if I did it again (including a better windbreak on my lapel mic, and timing my takes for when geese weren’t honking their way past overhead!).

In any case: part of the ritual of this particular course encourages you to “make videos… as if people will see them”, and I’ve been taking that seriously! Firstly, I’ve been sharing many of my videos with others either at work or on my blog, like the one about how GPS works or the one about the secret of magic. Secondly, I’ve been doing “extra credit” by recording many of my daily-standup messages as videos, in addition to providing them through our usual Slack bot.

Anyway, the short of it is: you’re among the folks who get to see this one. Also available on YouTube.

The Coolest Thing About GPS

I’m currently doing a course, through work, delivered by BetterOn Video. The aim of the course is to improve my video presentation skills, in particular my engagement with the camera and the audience.

I made this video based on the week 2 prompt “make a video 60-90 seconds long about something you’re an expert on”. The idea came from a talk I used to give at the University of Oxford.

The Secret of Magic

I’m currently doing a course, through work, delivered by BetterOn Video. The aim of the course is to improve my video presentation skills, in particular my engagement with the camera and the audience.

I made this video based on the week 2 prompt “make a video 60-90 seconds long about something you’re passionate about”. The idea came from a blog post I wrote back in 2014.

Oxford’s Long-Lost Zoo

Oxford has many things, but it doesn’t have a zoo. But for a few years in the 1930s, it did, and it’s a fascinating story that starts with marmalade and ends with a geocache.

With thanks to John Amor, whose book Gosford Hill & Oxford Zoo (ISBN 978-0-9544474-5-8) answered my initial research questions, and to the Bodleian Libraries for giving me the resources to go deeper. Also thanks to my Alphamattic teammates for listening to me talk about a different bit of Oxford history and encouraging me to make this video.

Music: Don’t Turn Around, by Ivan Chew (ramblinglibrarian), used under a CC-Attribution-NonCommercial license.
Some footage of Oxford provided by Steve B (@bigantvideo), used under the Pexels license.
Uses photos taken prior to 1925 of unknown provenance or subsequently released into the public domain.

Parts of this video were filmed during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Appropriate social distancing practices were applied.

Also available via YouTube and QTube.

Pyjama Party Water Fight

There comes a point where you’ve run out of new lockdown activity ideas, and you just start combining random pairs of activities you’ve already done. This morning’s first activity was… “Pyjama Party / Water Fight”.

Is it just me, or does “Pyjama Party / Water Fight” sound like a PWL song title?

Howdymattic Outtakes

Yesterday, I shared with you the introduction video I made for my new employer. A few friends commented that it seemed very well-presented and complimented me on my presentation, so I thought I’d dispel the illusion by providing this: the “outtakes”. My process was to write a loose script and then perform it multiple times (while being sure to wear the same hoodie) over the course of several days as I walked or cycled around, and then take only the “good” content.

That I’m able to effortlessly make a longer video out of a selection of the outtakes should be evidence enough that I’m just as capable of mucking-up a simple task as anybody else, probably moreso.

You may observe in this video that I made a number of “Hey, I found a…” snippets; I wasn’t sure what would scan best (I eventually went with “Hey, I found a… nothing?”). Folks who’ve seen this video have already criticised my choice; apparently the cow I found was more photogenic than me.

Also available on: VideoPress, QTube, YouTube.

Howdymattic

New employees at Automatticlike me! – are encouraged to make a “howdymattic” video, introducing themselves to their co-workers. Some are short and simple, others more-ornate, but all are a great way to provide the kind of interpersonal connection that’s more-challenging in an entirely-distributed company with no fixed locations and staff spread throughout the globe.

In anticipation of starting, tomorrow, I made such a video. And I thought I’d share it with you, too.

Also available on: VideoPress, QTube, YouTube.