Entertainment While Traveling To/From Bulgaria

When you fly to Eastern Europe, it’s important to have entertainment to pass the time. I split time between a couple of books and a few movies.

The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware

the-hardware-hacker-book-coverEarly this year, I enjoyed watching Ask an Engineer with Andrew “bunnie” Huang. I’ve been meaning to read his book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware. Especially with all of the hardware experimenting I’ve been doing. I haven’t been making time to read any books lately, but I figured this trip would be a great time to get back on the train. I bought the book and added it to my Kindle.

The title is misleading; The book’s main focus is on the manufacturing of hardware. Even though I’ll probably never manufacture a hardware product, I did learn a lot and enjoyed the read. Many of my favorites parts of the book centered around China. More to come in an upcoming blog post, once I do some research and learn more about a few topics.

I should check out bunnie’s other book, Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering.

Hidden Figures

I’ve been wanting to see this movies, so I jumped all over it when I saw it in the Delta options. Really enjoyed it. We take computers for granted so much and it’s pretty amazing to think that we made it into space with so much of the math being done by hand. The movie was a good reminder of how far we’ve come with gender and racial equality in the last 50 years. We still have so far to go.

Steve Jobs

Steve_Jobs_by_Walter_Isaacson Pretty sure I’ve had this on my Kindle for at least 5 years, maybe even since it was released in October of 2011. After reading the Hardware Hacker and learning so much about electronics lately I felt it was a good time to dive in.

Amazon says the book has 657 pages, so it’s no wonder I didn’t finish it. I think I’m just over 1/3 done.

I’m actually glad I waited so long to read the book; getting a better understanding of how electronics work and tinkering with them is allowing me to appreciate Jobs’ early years more than I would have before.

Collateral Beauty

An enjoyable feel-good story. Doesn’t hurt that Will Smith, Keira Knightley, and Edward Norton all starred in it; they are some of my favorites.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Does Tom Cruise ever age? I liked the first one better. Most of the fight scenes were pretty poor in this.

Geek Books

Last week a package arrived from Amazon, but I didn’t remember ordering anything. Believe it or not I get packages all the time I forget I had ordered. As I opened the box I found a couple of books I’ve been meaning to buy for quite some time, but had definitely not purchased. Along with the books was a nice note explaining the books were a gift from a coworker I have yet to meet in person. The gift was very unexpected and made my day.

Both books were written by Rands (@rands), who I read online. Check out some of his stuff if you haven’t come across him before.

An Irish Night

Enjoying a relaxing night alone at the cottage. Mom, Heater and Steve went to the casino, Isaac left last night to work today, and Dad went home to take care of the dogs. So I’m having a couple pints of Guinness and reading a great book, “A Course Called Ireland.”

Make Your Own Kindle Cover

Earlier this month, we bought my Mom the Kindle from Amazon for Xmas. I remember seeing Joy’s homemade cover and thought it would be cool if we could create one for our Mom. Isaac and I picked up an old hard cover book at a used book store and some crafts supplies from Hobby Lobby.


  • Used book: $2.50
  • Foam Sheet: $0.79
  • Elastic String: $1.59
  • Gorilla Glue: $4.49
  • Wood Sticks: $2.15

I actually needed the glue for around the house anyways, so I don’t count that as an expense. The foam sheet and sticks were 50% off the listed price, so we paid a total of $5.56. We bought two wood sticks because we weren’t sure which size would work best, so the total cost could have been less that 5 bucks

The first step was to cut the pages out of the book. I used a hook blade with the utility knife but could have easily used a straight blade instead.

We cut a piece of the foam to cover the left side of the cover and the spine. Glued it down and let it dry overnight. Then we cut pieces of the wood that would cover the entire top and bottom of the Kindle. Two smaller pieces were cut for the bottom so keep the buttons and the USB port free for use. We cut some foam and glued it to the wood pieces.

Then we glued the top and right wood pieces in place and let them dry. Using the Kindle as a guide, we determined where the bottom pieces needed to go. When you do this, make sure there is some wiggle room to get the Kindle in and out. Also make sure there is enough room at the top for the elastic to squeeze in. Once the marks were set, we glued those small wood pieces down.

Next we drilled some holes in the book cover. These are used for the elastic string. At first I thought it would work using two pieces of the elastic with one across the top (just above the screen) and one between the screen and the keyboard. It turns out the top piece wouldn’t work because of the rounded corners on the Kindle. So instead, for the top we went with two pieces of elastic that reach diagonally across the corners. Check out the photo after this one to get a better idea of the hole placement.

Once the holes were in the correct spots, it was time to cut a piece of foam for the right side of the case (behind the Kindle). Notice the notches in the foam piece that allow the elastic to pass through. We glued the foam in place.

We had some trouble with the spine of the book bending correctly because of the glue and the foam there. Used clamps for a bit to try to loosen it up and form the correct closed shape.

Fed pieces of elastic through the holes, put the Kindle inside the cover, and tied off each piece of elastic. You don’t need to pull too tight or else it will be tough to get the Kindle in and out of your cover. The elastic should be just tight enough to keep it from moving around.

After it was tied off and everything fit properly, we glued the knots so they won’t come undone. After the glue dried we cut the excess elastic.

Here is the finished product!

We probably spent a combined 2-3 hours on this. It was a fun little project and Mom loves it. For a handful of Washingtons you can create your own Kindle cover too!

Quickie: 01/11/2008 10:09:40pm

I hope Double Cross arrives tomorrow so I can finish off James Patterson’s Alex Cross series on my trip. In addition to reading up through Cross, I also read The Midnight Club and The Jester this week.