Monday, October 21, 2013

Gigastrand OS: Indiegogo

For those who haven't heard already, Gigastrand is developing its own operating system simply called the Gigastrand OS. In order to continue the development, we need to raise a minimum of $4000 (our overall goal is $40,000). We have embedded a page here so you can check it out.

You can see the full page at

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gigastrand OS: Indiegogo project first contribution!

The Gigastrand OS Indiegogo project has it's first contribution!

Help us get to our goal!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Casual Fridays: Cosplay Halloween 2013 4th Dr. Who

Since 2003, I have rarely dressed up for Halloween. After my Romulan costume was destroyed, I borrowed a StarFleet uniform from a friend of mine one year and then disbanded the Star Trek Guild and closed the store. Halloween for the next few years was not a lot of fun for me and I rarely took part.

Last year changed all that. For the first time, Halloween became fun again when we took my 2 year old out trick or treating. Not the stand in line at the mall crap or pay a bunch of money to be in a "Safe" controlled environment. No, we did REAL, honest to god, run around and knock on stranger's doors trick or treating.

This year had an effect on me as well as I started to look at going to conventions. Wanted to go to several but never made it. My brother, however, managed to go to 3. Even my Dad went to Dragon Con in Atlanta with my brother. That just steeled my resolve.

So this year I was going to design my own costume to be a part of a cosplay collection I could take to conventions next year.

It started with the hat...the 4th Doctor Who's hat. It truly spoke to me. Tom Baker's Doctor is the one I remember my Dad watching on PBS in the 80's. He was my first Doctor as they say. The theme song for Doctor Who frightened me when I was little and I associated Tom Baker with that memory.

Tom Baker as 4th Doctor
Me as 4th Doctor
Today, of course, I am a big Doctor Who fan and no longer have that little kid fright. I did, however, have a sense that I wanted to own that old fear. So, Doctor Who it was.

A good choice it was too. ThinkGeek had the hat and the scarf I could simply purchase. The rest of the outfit  I picked up at goodwill for less than $10. The brown wig was a harder find but only $10 at a local Halloween store.

The outfit itself was pretty brainless to put together. The real challenge I set about for myself was the sonic screwdriver.

Once again, though, the 4th Doctor's design was pretty simple. Hell, it didn't even light up! I could have bought the replica toy for about what I might be able to build one for but where is the challenge in that? 

I thought about it and decided that I was going to go for a design that was similar, but non-canon. I wanted it to make noise and light up and I was not terribly concerned with making it look EXACTLY like the TV screwdriver.

So, a trip to my local home center and I scored $7 in plumbing parts, $4 can of silver spray paint, and a $3 red paint pen. A trip to Radio Shack got me a $3 12v buzzer, 2 - 23a 12v batteries for $6, a $3 momentary switch, and a 12v red LED module for $3.

I thought about using a recorder module but there were a lot of things wrong with that. Mainly it was far more expensive ($12) than I wanted and might not fit inside the body of the unit. 

I cut the "T" connector I bought into just the middle piece and sanded it down. I then sanded all the parts smooth, I drilled a hole for the switch in the body, placed the switch inside, and spray painted all of it silver. I painted the end of the "T" red with the paint pen and assembled the simple series circuit for the buzzer and light. Using a piece of paper clip, I wrapped the LED and created a spring to center the module.

This video shows you the end result.

So that is the story. The one thing I took away from this was definitely do not wait until October to design your Halloween costume. If I waited to buy the hat, I would have been scouring thrift stores to find a similar one. At the time I wrote this, the hat was sold out on ThinkGeek.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Casual Fridays: My Cosplay History

Cosplayshort for "costume play", is an activity in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction. - Wikipedia

Most of us have done cosplay in one form or another. Whether it was for Halloween when you were little, or dressed up as Santa for your kids. However, when I refer to cosplay, I refer to more than just buying an off the rack Santa suit and stuffing a pillow in your belly (although, in it most basic form, that is essentially what cosplay is). 

When I talk about participating in cosplay, I am talking about the challenge and experience of designing, building and putting together a complete costume that closely resembles the character I want to emulate.

It all started on Halloween...
I was brought up in what I would consider a lower-middle class household. Through hard work and persistence, our family gradually improved our fortunes over time, but unnecessary expenditures - like store bought Halloween costumes - were typically off the table.

The one Halloween costume I consider the original inspiration for my future cosplay was the one I remember most complaining about. It was a Shaggy (of Scooby-Doo fame) costume that my mother made for me. It consisted of a brown yarn wig, untucked shirt and pants. While I wasn't overly enthused at the costume itself, I was glad I got to go out as what I wanted to be and (secretly) was glad my mom had made it for me.

Fast forward to Halloween 2002. I owned Gigabytes Computer Store and hosted a group of Star Trek card game players every Sunday night. We decided to have a Halloween party where costumes were mandatory - though none of us knew the term "cosplay".

Several weeks before, I decided I was going to go as a Romulan. The problem was, that I could not buy a costume without having someone custom-build it and paying far more than I was willing to spend.

I searched a few fabric stores for the quilted material I needed to make the costume, but could not find any suitable. I found the right material (on clearance for CHEAP) and bought the entire bolt. I then got quilt batting and borrowed my mother's sewing machine. I spent 7 hours measuring, cutting, quilting, and finally sewing the pieces together. I did this without any pattern to go by. All I had were my measurements and an image in my head of what I wanted it to look like.

The following year, I made a few improvements: I added a belt I made from dollar store duct tape; bought pointy ears; and made a Romulan disruptor I carved from balsa wood. The only picture I have of it was so blurry I modified it to help people get the gist of what it was. (and to say that I accidentally shot the picture taker to explain why the photo was so blurry.)

The costume was destroyed in a basement flood and all that hard work went down the tubes. I was upset to say the least.

I have resolved to re-make the year. I was really proud of that and want to see if I can improve upon my efforts from over 10 years ago.

This year I took a different approach....

To be continued.....