Building a Cedar Planter

"This is the final product, a cedar planter with a wife" "cedar planter without a wife"

My mom’s birthday was coming up and she asked if I could build her a waist high planter for herbs, lettuce, and other small vegetables. She saw something similar to the below image in a garden magazine


I do a lot of work around the house so building a planter seemed well within my skill set, but as usual, it took me more than one try to get it right. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes


I asked around and figured the planter needed to be at least 10” deep for proper herb root growth. Growing tomatoes or larger plants would require a deeper base and wasn’t really the intention for this project.

Boards of all materials at a typical hardware store are traditionally sold in 8’, 10’, or > 12’ lengths. To get the most from my materials, the planter should be sized with those dimensions in mind. I chose 10’ boards and created a 7’ x 3’ frame.

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Making Pickles

I’ve always wanted to make pickles, but have just never really gotten around to it. On a recent vacation I realized tomorrow was another day of my life, and a perfect one for making pickles.

After minimal research I found three primary methods of pickling cucumbers : fresh pack, cold pack, and hot pack.

Fresh pack appeared to be the easiest and required no extra equipment, plus there was an excellent YouTube video to get started:

I had a few mason jars laying around the house and various ingredients that would work well with the cucumbers. Instead of buying everything in the video listed above, I just kind of mixed and matched from what I had in the refrigerator. The only ingredients I had to run out and get were dill and cucumbers.

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Node and the Twitter Stream API

Getting Stupid

Building stupid applications is important to me, seriously… and I don’t mean like a stupid idea from a stupid person.. I mean like really duuuuumb. That’s why I had to build FartCharade!

But really, few things are more practical for your career as a developer than building a useless application. You can take advantage of as many new technologies as you want or jam a ton features into your app! It’s a great way to stay motivated, have fun, keep fresh, and experiment with new ideas.

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Creating – a Facebook Web Service

Designers and developers are always in need of good placeholder images. There are a few services out there that give you this functionality – and PlaceKitten are two of the more popular options, but a recent project called for something a little more diverse.

We were creating a dating application for a client, and really wanted to test how much emphasis we wanted from user uploaded photos. Instead of manually pulling hundreds of images from various google/Facebook friend searches, I decided to create a web based placeholder service that would pull images from Facebook randomly.

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Making Something Awesome With WebSockets in 22 Lines or Less

Combining WebSockets and the Accelerometer is awesome, but can be a little complex and intimidating for newcomers. My goal in this blog post is to create a product in it’s most minimal viable form. How can we make something really interesting in as few lines of code as possible?

We’ll be making the foundations of something like this throughout the course of this blog post.

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Building a Mobile Shopping Cart Solution With ZooZ

Building a Mobile Shopping Cart Solution is Easy!

I wrote an application a while back that took advantage of a mobile payment processor system called ZooZ. I was one of the earlier developers to give the processor a try, and because of that, ZooZ asked me to write an article describing my experience. You can read the article and learn more about ZooZ at their blog.

Creating a Digital Clock With Corona SDK & Lua

I came across Corona SDK a while back and have been meaning to give it a try. If you’re not familiar with the framework, it’s intended for cross platform mobile development and allows you to write in a scripting language called Lua. Like Appcelerator, and unlike PhoneGap, your scripted code is compiled to the operating system’s native language (Objective-C or Java).

I had never written Lua, or even heard of it before reading an article on Corona. With my background in JavaScript I didn’t think it looked too different, and I was right. It was a lot like writing HTML5 Canvas without the animation frame and was really easy to get something going quickly.

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The Future of JavaScript Applications

I’ve always been a bit of a JavaScript evangelist. Recently, VML​ asked me to write an article on what I perceive to be the future of JavaScript and how it will change development. My ideas fell into three topics – how development techniques will effect corporate workflow, how front end developers are changing, and general commentary on how JavaScript is growing quickly. You can read the article at VML’s website.

Understanding How the Accelerometer and Gyroscope Work in the Browser

Link to Final Product

I’ll be covering the basics of accessing the accelerometer and gyroscope with JavaScript in the post below. We’ll discuss the difference between the two technologies and write a simple example to log out information when the device has detected a change in orientation. To simplify DOM manipulation, the code will depend on either Zepto or jQuery (I highly recommend Zepto when working in mobile).

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CSS Animation – Webkit + JavaScript Particle Effect

Final Product

This post will demonstrate how to create a basic particle effect using CSS animation and JavaScript. We’ll be using Zepto as our JavaScript framework to select and create DOM elements. If you’ve never used the library before, don’t worry. It’s syntax is identical to jQuery: the only difference is a smaller footprint and a far less robust API. If you’d like, you can also use the jQuery javascript framework.

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