Tag Archives: site

Hexagon Craftworks Label 3x2 Black

06.04.2016 – Hexagon Craftworks

I’ve started a business!  I’ve been writing about my ideas in this blog for months about it, and the time has finally come.  I took care of all of the logistics and legal stuff, got set up with a great online platform, got some business partners / affiliates, and I did a lot of designing, coding, and talking.  It’s live.  I named it: Hexagon Craftworks, because of my love for geometry and also because of the geometrical usage in my artwork.

All of my in-progress projects will now be part of Hexagon Craftworks R&D, except for the software and music portions.  I’m dead serious about delivering great-quality and dead cool stuff – well, my idea of cool (which I think is very cool, of course 🙂 ).  And, there’s a market out there for that.  I’m serious about making this my full-time career – to put everything into it.  I have a Phase 1 (which we’re in now), a Phase 2 (about 6 months from now), and a Phase 3 (about a year from now) in my business plan, which will each mark new product lines, new buildings / moving / tooling, and revenue numbers to keep us afloat.  Once I get to that Phase 3, I’ll try to keep that rolling for at least 5 years, then reevaluate.

But, anyway, Hexagon Craftworks is an art and wood shop, predominately.  I’m the sole creator and innovator.  The art is formatted and sold at an online storefront as framed prints, on shirts, bags, accessories, and the wood art is also sold, packaged and, shipped.  Wood art is a phase 2 thing to be launched as soon as I develop the business system / procedure down for it.

Anyway, that’s a short writeup on what’s been going on with Hexagon, project-wise.  There are sooo many more projects to come now that this is set up.  And, this project log helped me come to many conclusions about what was possible.  Of course, structuring the business itself is a project on it’s own, but it’s also a formal outlet for the result of my physical projects.  I’m really excited about it and will make it succeed.

Hexagon Craftworks Label 3x2 Black

Hexagon Craftworks

In other news, just to resolve some of the other project threads I’ve had out in the past, since this is my personal blog…  The Audio Granulator has had some progress on it, but took the back seat while I formed this biz.  The Apple WWDC came and went – watched it, loved it…  Can’t wait to get back to it once things have settled down.

And, the guitar practice is staying constant and consistent into June.  I’m a far better player than I ever was.  I can run scales up and down the neck at 100bpm, sixteenth notes, no problem for every major and minor scale, these days – it just took 90 days of practice, though.  Haha.  But, the real marker of success would just be my ability to now improvise in a much better and more smooth fashion – over most keys.  I could already strum and knew chords (of course – listen to my recordings) before I started these 2016 practice sessions, but the goal of 2016 was to be able to solo and make riffs easier so that I could pull out whatever I needed when I needed it – it’s going well.  On to July with that!

And, lastly, it’s growing season again – I got more cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, ginger, greens, and a lot more going this year.  Can’t wait to see how they do, and even plan more for 2017.

Brad Ormand's Etsy Shop

06.25.2015 – Etsy Store is Live!

***Update!! …  I have my own storefront now called Hexagon Craftworks .  My Etsy store is closed.  But, a lot of the same artwork is at my new store as prints and shirts and bags, etc!  I also stopped selling original paintings….


I’ve gone ahead and launched an Etsy shop with 12 of my paintings!  They are various sizes and go for various prices.  All originals on canvas – original paint and canvas texture and all.  I even got favorited, too.  Awesome.  I’m glad.  I had been wanting to launch a shop for a while now.

I have made drums and woodcarvings and hexagon lights that haven’t had a chance to mature to make an appearance up there, but, in time, more and more items will make their way to the storefront.  Lots of stuff to appeal to decorators and collectors alike.  The shop is still young.

The style, predominately, is geometric shapes, put together in a stylized fashion.  That’s where my heart is at right now.  Maybe one day I’ll do humans and dogs and lizards, but for now, I’m vibing off of the chained primitive shapes.  It’s a thing of it’s own.  Kinda like modern architecture – mostly straight lines and non-traditional.

Brad Ormand's Etsy Shop

Pick something out, and I’ll ship it to you.

That’s about all I had for now, but I’m working on some woodcarvings and plan to get the drums looking and sounding better.  So far, it’s still an adventure as I’m just going through living my life, enjoying it, getting inspired, and making things as I go.

iOS Meal Tracker - Brad Ormand

05.04.2015 – Job, Meal Tracker & Wood stuff

I have been immersed in my new job, lately.  I spend a lot of time writing and debugging code all day long, but it’s inspiring.  It has also sparked a resurgence in me researching new software development methods on my own time.  Things change in this industry sooooo quickly!  And, I have to keep up.  I have been intrigued lately in several dev areas – mainly in graphics and animation.  Mostly graphical UI as related to application development, but I have been trying to borrow concepts from video game menus and sci-fi films.  So, most of my time lately, on and off the job, has been spent writing code.  I’m on kind of a rampage right now, as this is where my interests are leading me.

About a year ago, before I started this Project Log, I left behind a halfway-finished personal project that I was calling: “Meal Tracker”.  The name and domain have been pretty much taken in industry, so I’ll choose something different once I get a beta going.  I wrote the app for iOS in Objective-C and used SQLite and Cocoa.  It was a tool similar to MyFitnessPal for tracking calories and macros, but I had it tracking micronutrients, exercise, moods, and sleep, as well.  I have been revisiting that.  I went back and forth whether I wanted to dev it in JS and wrap it with Apache Cordova to deploy on multiple platforms, but ended up starting to port it over to Android separately with the Android SDK, because I had wanted to work with Java FX 2.0, since the newly revamped version looked so excellent.  But, that’s about where I stopped.

iOS Meal Tracker - Brad Ormand

And, now I want to develop in Swift, Apple’s new programming language.  I also want to try to build with Ember JS – we’ll see what happens, what I choose to go with.  It’ll be awesome either way – and a good chance to put together a good experimental UI.  And, I have a secure PHP backend written and nearly ready to go.  So, I’m picking this back up to try to see what I can do, here.  Right now, I’m just going to make my first commit and push to Bitbucket and make some progress toward a first version.

And, related, I am currently tracking my calories and macros in MyFitnessPal (as I work on getting back in the shape I was in last Spring 🙂  One of my goals is to run a 5k in 24 minutes by October…  the one I “ran” yesterday was almost twice that time!  (I walked some – ha)  I used to pop ’em out at about 30 a piece.  Got some work to do, but Anywayyys…. ). MyFitnessPal is great, actually, but I’m just wanting to go a little further as far as data accuracy and with more metrics to track.  I think it would be cool to have these extra non-nutrition-related features to get an overall picture of what’s affecting what in life – sleep, moods, weather, etc.  The extremely hard part with rolling my own app will be the nutrition database – especially getting restaurant menu items from everybody out on the planet to drop into the tracks..  Whew!  (not really feasible).

I have found many discrepancies in the data coming from MyFitnessPal, though – I think the users create them themselves and then share them.  The titles are sometimes all backwards and sometimes part of the nutrition data is missing or just wrong.  It’s ok, though.  It’s a great app, don’t get me wrong, but I was considering having something that was “official” for everything.  I was thinking of using the comprehensive USDA database and designing a way to provide estimates, but I am still doing research on it right now.  Also, I’m still investigating the licensing, too.  I just don’t know, yet, what’d it take to use…  But, there will always be the ability to create *user* profiles, so I’ll have a path there if I needed to somehow create the data myself.  It’ll take a few years.  But, I’d be willing.


Unsanded Wood Blocks

Woodworking has been on my mind a lot, recently.  As I get more and more involved with crafting wood items, the need for better, more precision tools is emerging.   I want to start adding to the equipment in my workshop.  I’ve got a router, a jigsaw, and a belt-sander, but I’d like to have a circular saw and a lathe one day.  And, maybe a lathe that could also double for cutting aluminum stock as well, I don’t know.  I could make my own PCB cages and standoffs, special bolts and nuts, etc.  That’d be fun.

I enjoy this type of work immensely.  And, if I could ever get to the point to where I had a stable production line of electronic modules for lighting coming out, I’d be all set up to create pretty much anything on a small scale.  But, also, I’d need the *time* to do it all, too.  Ha. (I still have to etch those SMD boards…)  I have my hands into a lot right now.  Still…  it’s about enjoying the process and exploring these new avenues as I enjoy them.  This project log helps me see where things change and what trends emerge, and helps me look back on what I was motivated by and when.

Brad Ormand - Music Player

12.18.2014 – Site is Live!

This is the first post for this blog that I have not written on the localhost server.  It’s in the sky, now.  Aside from working my job, I have been just bugfixing for other browsers, getting databases transferred, and configuring the new server for this site.  Once I was done, I switched over the domain nameservers, and it only took 12 hours to propagate.  Nice!

So, anyway, it feels great!  Finally, I can show my artwork, music, and projects to friends (and whomever is interested) with more detail than from an elevator speech or by showing phone pics.  There’s not much else I want to accomplish with this site other than it being ready for when times call for it.  Everything’s in place.  Plus, I use it a lot for listening back and checking various things as well.  🙂

Well, now that I’m live, I can go back to the remaining projects on the shelf.  The synth is still on one breadboard, the new PIC24 is on the other breadboard, being tested, and the third breadboard had the SSD1306 with my Fourier/FFT test.  And, plus, there are my light matrix projects awaiting solutions as well.  But, boy – there sure are a lot of things to do when trying to get a site looking and feeling right for deployment.  Whew.  What a relief.  Glad it’s done, and it’s nice to see it up.  (but, of course, I’ll enhance it as I go along)…

Brad Ormand - Music Player



Brad - Keys In Locked Truck

12.08.2014 – PIC & Truck

It’s interesting that these two words in the title show up together like this.  I didn’t plan it… 🙂  I have some things to say about the PIC24 chip, but first, the truck….

Well, it turns out that I locked my keys in my truck and had to “pick” the lock last night.  And, I even got a pic of it (  pun intended ).  But, seriously…  The last few times I have locked my keys in a vehicle (over 10 years or so), I have #1) always called a locksmith to do it, and #2) the damn keys are in the same freaking place! – I tend to leave them on the front driver seat.  I guess I throw ’em there as I’m hauling out supplies from the back and the passenger seat.  I’m gathering things and I press the auto-lock thing on the door, shut the door… and whoops!  It’s too late.

I remember, in Culver City, California, a long time ago, I did the same thing.  This time at a 7-11 store parking lot right next to a dry cleaning shop.  I figured that would be a good place to borrow a coat hanger, so I went in and got one.  I tried for about 30 minutes and had help from a few other dudes, and we laughed and tried.  But, we couldn’t get it that time.  I called the locksmith from the 7-11 pay phone (my phone was inside ugh).


But, anyway this time, I was home.  I had tools.  And, instead of calling out for assistance, I just figured I’d try to see if I could hack that shit up.  So, I got a screwdriver and a big crescent wrench, wedged them in between the door and the frame with force (I pierced some weather stripping, but oh well).  I got a coat hanger from my closet, modified it, got a light, and spent about 20 minutes getting it placed over the auto-lock button.  I locked it a few times.  Nope not what I wanted.  But, soon enough, I pressed the end of the coat hanger hard enough on the unlock button to pop the lock and open the door and get my keys sitting right there on the seat.  Felt good.

Brad - Keys In Locked Truck

And now for the PIC talk…  So, I just heard that Microchip released a cross-platform version of their MPLAB IDE that goes with PICkit 3, and well… I’m interested.  And, while I usually have been going barebones with my toolchain (like with my ARM and AVR chains from the command line using makefiles), it brought attention back to Microchip as I was looking through the datasheet for the PIC24FJ256DA206.  The -206 postfix means more data memory (96K yess!).  And, there’s so much more that I did not know about.  I officially have this on my watch list.

I am primarily a Mac OS X user and I like to program code from that.  All of my dev tools and habits and quick keys and Unix commands are here.  It’s just how it evolved and that’s my preference now.  And, well, chip manufacturers don’t always make tools for their chip programming/debugging that are that friendly towards Mac users.  Might be a cost thing.  Might be a culture thing.  I don’t know.  It was one thing lacking from both Atmel and Texas Instruments when I used their products in the past.  But, it looks like I might be able to use Microchip’s tools (or guts, if I investigate how to build a barebones toolchain for it from the Terminal).  Their documentation is great, as well.  I’d like to look into this.

Microchip XC16 Compiler Snippet

Their 16-bit compiler is a port of GCC and they’ve gone forward with their support of “Apple OS X” (it says above) in their compiler and toolchain, up the stream, as well.  I’m really loving this.  I might be turning this corner.  And, since I got a really good impression of this chip for my projects, before I even investigated the IDE, I’m really willing to see what can be done, here.  It’s looking promising.

Now that the first of the holidays is over and I’m feeling better from my cold, I can get back in to finishing up my FFT demo, programming the drivers for those other displays, and starting those LED matrix snakes for my paintings. I have that 16-bit PIC24 on my radar, right now… and with projects waiting.  However, first, I have to finish up the site and launch it.  It’s going well so far.

Wordpress Coding

12.01.2014 – Sick, Site & Host

Sick Site & Host?  No, I don’t mean “sick site”…  and this time, *I’m* the host.  Ugh!  …But, noooo – the title is interpreted this way, instead: While I have been working on the site’s pages and getting my web host configured for the launch, I got fucking sick – like the flu…  Shit.  Damn, man!  (haha – sorry for the profanity. I’m just playfully ranting, and smiling) – it’s from my outing on Thanksgiving Day, it’s gotta be!  My Brother, my Mom, and my friend (and me) that were there all have the same shit that started Saturday – sore throat, sneezing, congestion, and just pure shittyness feelings (I’m not sure if I am spelling shittiness right or if it’s shittyness, but eitherway…  it’s pretty shitty).  Alright, I’m gonna be honest…  Earlier I had the real thought of how long it was going to be before I turned into a warewolf!  No joke.  I’m not myself today.

Ugh, I have been lying on this bed and in my chair just trying to stay chill and notice the human body do it’s thing.  It’s pretty amazing.  Sometimes I wonder what purpose this serves, and kind of hope that a bout with the flu kind of “is part of it”, part of life, helping in a way.  And, I just got back from the T break, and gotta miss more work – Mmmm, just kind of not ideal.  Oh well.  I’ll be okay no matter what.

But, ENNyway….  enough about that.  LEt’s talk web hosting.   Media Temple is where I have wanted to lay my bit bags down for a while now – more recently since I talked to the (mt) reps at jQuery Con when they came to Austin.  And, I have a nice feeling about what I researched during that time.  Well, since now it’s time for me to change hosts, I considered them first.  But, of course, I looked really deeply into HostGator and A Small Orange and PowWeb and BlueHost – painfully considering each option, and they were great, and I’d be happy at those places, as well.  But, I like (mt).  Gut feeling decision made.  Let’s move in.  PHP 5.5, mySQL5, git 1.7 and svn 1.7, Apache 2.2, Linux and my choice of Plesk or cPanel – on a Virtual Private Server so I can do my thang my way.  I have used cPanel for years, but I really like Plesk, and I’m going with that, actually.  Gimme it.  But, I’m getting more powerful with the Unix command line since my Unix training, and I’d like to just be able to set up servers and secure and manage them like that one day – straight from the command line.  Okay, not today – one thing at a time…

I’m migrating manually, downloading FTP contents as I go.  In fact, I’m downloading now.  I had internet bandwidth issues at my place – a tech is coming out later from my ISP. We’ll get that fixed.

And, my current web host is self-destructing.  I kind of feel sorry for them (they’ll remain unnamed), but Bradster gotta go. U kno.  I was telling a close friend that breaking up with a long-time host is similar to breaking up with a girlfriend.  I mean, I just have so many memories and want them to succeed and still have a sentimental feeling about it.   …but, they’re not going in the direction of success, and in fact, it’s really miserable for me.  So, I go.

There’s not much else to say but that I felt like I was really back on track with my projects a couple of days ago, and now, nature has indicated that I need to chill out and get well, first.  So, I comply.  Life is still good.  Once I get through the fog, I’ll have a lot of good things waiting for me to bust out on.  🙂


Brad Ormand Music Player

11.29.2014 – Songs & Website

Basically, I spent the whole day programming my painting gallery and music player for my site.  I’m making progress.  It’s looking good.  I have this abstracted music player that I built a while back (about 2 years ago with the HTML5 Media API) that I named B.Audio.js, and it has two components: the player root, and the controller, which takes a root and a PlayerUI as arguments.

From back in the day, I have probably built 50 different audio players in Flash, Java, and HTML4/5 for many different purposes for myself and for jobs over the last 10 years, and about the same amount of video players with audio.  In fact, one of the music players I made that I included in my resume portfolio landed me the gig to work on the website for the video game “The Conduit”.  He saw my work and gave me a call.  That particular one actually included a full, 32-band, real-time FFT spectrum analyzer, as well (in Flash).  And, it was part of the game itself as an in-game puzzle where you went to this site for a reward from the publisher (or something like that – can’t remember exactly what).  None of this is to brag, Haha.  In fact, I feel like I’m writing this to my Project Log to record my thoughts, to tell my ongoing story like I would do in a diary, pretty much like everything else in the Blog.  I felt like including those tidbits would provide context for my current experiences to whomever is the reader. 🙂

So, yeah, back to the BradOrmand.com Audio Player – once I provide the audio root and playerUI to the Controller, then I can configure my client JS to manage the additional functionality specific for this site, while the core player controller can be used with different skins and functionality, even a concurrent player.  I wanted to keep it open to be able to be embeddable or searchable later.  I’ll cross that bridge when it comes closer to the time to augment it…

Brad Ormand Music Player

I have the B.Audio.js dispatching events to it’s subscribers and they just do what they need to do on trigger.  For instance, on the music page, the “onLoadProgress( type, time, progRatio, src )” gets triggered by the core player, and it updates the UI, which it gets in it’s class constructor, but doesn’t know what kind of HTMLElement it is, but just that *is* an HTMLElement, being polymorphic, with those standard properties.  That lets me make it whatever I want it to be in the UI as long as it’s a block element, and the playerUI will operate on it.  Here in this call, “type” would be B.Audio.LOAD_PROGRESS, “time” is the timestamp from the event system from B.js, “progRatio” is how much has been loaded so far 0 <= r <= 1, and “src” is the URL of the track.  So, anyway – that’s the kind of stuff I have been into today. Been back in that world.

Brad Ormand Painting Gallery

I mentioned “trigger”, and that’s the name that jQuery uses for dispatching events, but no, I don’t use jQuery for anything here.  I love jQuery and John Resig and like to use jQuery Mobile sometimes, and I even went to their jQuery Conf when they came to Austin.  But, I like to write things in straight JavaScript pretty much as much of the time as possible – like with document.getElementById and querySelectorAll and classList and element.style, etc…  Tending towards the verb: “write” instead of “use”, most of the time.

Some people think it’s harder or more unmanageable to write straight JavaScript and that they *need* a library or two to do anything.  Some won’t consider it.  I encounter it all the time – libraries are added like candy in a shopping basket: Backbone, Mustache, Underscore, Dojo, Bootstrap, jQueryUI, and let’s throw in Angular because, well, I heard it “was good”. Haha.  I’m just having some fun in a rant-y kind of way (It’s funny because it’s true, and I hear this in person lol)…  But, yeh – it can be taken too far.  There’s a balance.  And, it depends on the project.  For instance, Backbone is not the only way MVC/MV* can be implemented (it’s just one way that became popular), nor is Bootstrap’s reset style the best for every application, etc.  And, I generally err on the side of “get something if I think I need it for my specialized needs“, instead of “start a project with these popular libraries and go from there“.

To be fair, when working on large projects with a diversified team, I really do see the wisdom in using a specified library stack, and I work on a project like that at work, and have in many previous jobs.  In fact, I think it’s absolutely vital to understand the popular libraries very well if you want to get a good JS job in the industry.   However, it’s kind of a fun challenge to write something from the base level and write your own libraries to use (utils, MVCs, DOM tools, etc), without anything to “do it for you”.  You learn about the base level.  And, if you stick with them, they get better and better and better.

I think there’s something great about using what API the browsers provide natively as much as possible, going closer to the “hardware” (as possible).  The new DOM core is much more advanced, lately, with better standards adoption across all browsers.  For instance, supporting IE 9+ and the latest FF, Safari, and Chrome is straight easy without jQuery or any lib, actually, with no difficulty (with things like querySelector, XHR2, addEventListener, some CSS transitions and/or requestAnimationFrame, etc).  If you’re supporting back to IE 6, 7, or 8… well, then – you’ll have to go back to earlier tools invented to use with those.

I do, though, make methods to abstract the funky bits like removing a specific class or getting a calculated style, and for bigger projects make MVC structures, etc.  When there’s an id that needs to be gotten, for instance, I just reach for elem.getAttribute( “id” ) instead of $( elem ).attr( “id” );  And, when there’s a style that needs to be set where a class change isn’t appropriate, such as opacity animation, I just go straight for elem.style;  That kinda stuff.  Sometimes, it’s easy to “lose touch” with what browsers actually provide underneath (with clarity), natively, if you focus so much on higher abstractions.  Promises and Deferreds, for instance… not always necessary.  Never really have been, even with XHR1.

Working with the core – it’s a little bit faster, there’s no overhead to manage, keeps me practiced up with the base level and on the edge of the tech by keeping track of what the browser vendors come out with week by week.  And, it’s really not that different at all from using libs in projects, in most cases – you don’t have even to learn a second (or third or 5 ) API on top of what there already is. 😉 .  Personal preference, too, I guess.

I also do the same with my display programming in C for embedded systems.  I’d much rather be close to the hardware and write the driver myself to learn about the different ways devices operate, what voltages they take, different power-on sequences, the rising/falling edge scheme, and etc…, because it’s something in life that I enjoy.  Again, it goes along with the personal preference.

Anyway, enough about that.  I hope I wasn’t that rant-y, but more presenting it from my point of view 🙂 .

I also mixed down a great copy of “Doing Fine” today.  Just great stuff (compared to what I have done before).  It’s really coming along.  I’m finally getting to the point to where I can just really go in to the studio and ProTools and get what I want done and walk out happy.  But, I didn’t always feel that way.  Now, it’s rolling strong.