My Custom Coffee Tumbler – Summer 2014

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Shiro at the Beach Grande My Custom Coffee Tumbler – Summer 2014

Just in time for the heat I have finished my custom coffee tumbler insert for summer 2014. It is based on a beach that I visited in Kyoto on my first visit to Japan. It was this beach that first inspired my to create my “Shiro and Tako” design that I have used on occasion on T-shirts and cup liners. The first day I camped on the beach I found a medium sized octopus swimming in the shallows and had a nice time watching it from a safe distance. The next day was the jellyfish invasion for that summer, so swimming was slightly less enjoyable.

I hope you enjoy this years design.

I have cup liners available for tall and grande sized Starbucks customizable cups (and likely those sold by other companies too). The PDFs are A4 and not letter, but for those of you that use letter sized paper they should print without issue. You can download them below:

Grande (Tabbed) | Grande | Tall

My Custom Coffee Tumbler – Runaway Robot

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Runaway Robot Grande My Custom Coffee Tumbler   Runaway Robot

It was about time to put together a new custom coffee tumbler liner for my cup and as I have been using my runaway robot character a fair bit lately, why not make a cup liner? I tend to do purely seasonal liners but it is not really spring or summer at the moment so maybe it is time for a season-neutral theme icon wink My Custom Coffee Tumbler   Runaway Robot

What do you think?

I have cup liners available for tall and grande sized Starbucks customizable cups (and likely those sold by other companies too). The PDFs are A4 and not letter, but for those of you that use letter sized paper they should print without issue. You can download them below:

Grande (Tabbed) | Grande | Tall

Runaway Robot T-Shirt

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Robot T shirt Blog Runaway Robot T Shirt

I sometimes like to randomly sketch things and recently I started sketching a robot. I rather likely it, but could think of no real use for it at the time. Then the weather started getting warmer and I started to think about t-shirts. I did pick up some on sale at Uniqlo, but I really like having uncommon t-shirts when possible so I went ahead and did a runaway robot t-shirt design. I was considering making the custom shirt myself, but I do not have the space to set up a decent silk-screening rig and it would be kind of excessive for one or two shirts anyway. There are also heat transfer ink-jet appliqués but they tend not to be durable enough and as none of the decent ones I have used in the past are available here in Japan I wasn’t super-enthusiatic about it. I went online looking for a custom printing service that would both print for a decent price and ship to Japan. That is actually a relatively difficult combination. I even tried Uniqlo’s custom shirt site but their online tools sucked and it was not possible to get the logo at the right size and location using their tool (regardless of image resolution). Eventually I settled on one of the mainstream customization services. I found some discounts for them online so I got a shirt for a decent price. I just have to wait and see how my t-shirt actually looks!

Runaway Robot T Runaway Robot T Shirt

Fall Wallpaper 2013

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Fall Grass 1024x640 Fall Wallpaper 2013 Red Panda 1024x640 Fall Wallpaper 2013This fall I did not get any good photos of changing leaves in 2013 as the weather was not really right for it so I have been using these two photos I took as my wallpaper this fall. The panda photo is actually over a year old, but it is just so nice!

If you click on an image it will open at full size. After the image loads, right-click and download the wallpaper. As they are quite large (3200×2000 pixels) they might take a few seconds to load on slower connections.

My Solar Power Setup

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I have always been interested in alternative power, and my interests have particularly focussed on solar power. Over the last few years I have managed to get my solar power setup working pretty efficiently and have managed to move a lot of my small power requirements off the grid. I would love to move everything off the grid, but that is just not realistic in a normal rental apartment in Tokyo.

My Solar System 791x1024 My Solar Power SetupWith my current setup I find that I can charge most of my small devices using solar energy. I am currently charging my iPhone, GoPro 2, Eneloop batteries (used in various things), Knog Blinder Road 3 and Blinder Rear lights, Garmin 800, and my DSLR batteries. I do occasionally charge my iPad as well but it really draws too much power to be able to charge it entirely off solar while charging my phone everyday.

So, as you can see, I am by no means off the grid but a lot of my convenience devices, all of my electronic bike gear and my cameras are charged with solar. As for emergency use, assuming a moderate number of sunny days I would be able to keep enough lights, a radio, iPhones and other little bits running pretty much indefinitely. Along side a gas stove, a good supply of water, sufficient food and emergency toilet supplies I would be reasonably comfortable in the short term as long as I could stay at or near my apartment.

What is my setup? Well, I am running 3 portable solar panels (2 Goal Zero Nomad 7s and a Nomad 13) in series for a theoretical total of 27 watts. I really expect no where near that output in anything but ideal conditions. I have a Goal Zero Yeti 150 solar generator, which has slightly upwards of 150Wh of power storage and a supplementary 10.4Ah Li-ion battery pack with 2 USB outputs. All together it has cost me about $450 over the last few years for the hardware. I find that using the sun to trickle charge the Yeti 150 and then using it to charge the Li-ion battery pack works pretty well. That way I can top off my Yeti 150 regularly with good run of sunny days while using the Li-ion battery pack for my daily iPhone and small device charging needs. I very rarely lose any solar power that my panels are pulling in through this setup. The only time I would lose any potential power is if I were to go on a vacation of some kind and be away from home for 5 days or so. Even then I would come home to nice full batteries!

As for the charging time for the system, it seems to take anywhere between 12-30 hours to charge the Yeti 150. I am generally using the panels behind glass in my room which really cuts down on efficiency. Luckily, the windows in typical apartments here in Japan are thin, single-pane and do not appear to have any UV or other coatings. My apartment bedroom window is facing 165°S so the panels can get direct sun exposure from sunrise until around 11am or so. I do find that even on cloudy days my panels pull some charge but really not enough to do much more than charge 2 AA batteries in a morning.

I do hope to have a proper solar system in place one day, but for now I will just make the best of what I’ve got icon wink My Solar Power Setup