TEDxPortland highlights notegraphied

I used to collect quotes and carried them around in a day planner. That habit stopped when day planners went out of style. Recently, I discovered Notegraphy and it quickly became my favorite app for collecting quotes. After attending last Saturday’s TEDxPortland, I decided it’s time to put the app into high gear.

A morning of emotions

TEDxPortland started off with a bang by Aaron Draplin’s talk in light speed. He was spitting out words of wisdom so fast that I could barely get them written down in my notebook. I managed to capture the best one:

Aaron Draplin: Invent your life!

Nong Poonsukwattana was the perfect speaker to follow Aaron. Her personality is as big as his and her life story grounded all of us. She left Thailand to get away from her abusive father. She worked 7 days a week at Thai restaurants and then opened her own food cart. Her parting words for all of us are the simplest of the day:

Nong Poonsukwattana: Make it big!

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Basement renovation – part 4

A lot had happened since the last post. More framing went up, insulation was completed and passed inspection, drywall has also been installed. We are now ready for paint!

The additional framing and drywall was done by a contractor. We did the insulation just in time for a wacky winter. In fact, before drywall went up, the foil-faced foam boards were reflecting so much heat from the recessed lights that it felt like a sauna in the basement! Prior to installing the foil-faced foam, we had to install furring strips over the built-it plastic studs of the InSoFast panels as required by the inspector that approved the initial framing. It was a boat-load of work to install the furring strips but it was a necessary step for installing drywall over the metal brackets from the seismic upgrade.

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Basement renovation – part 3

The saga of this renovation continues to unfold slowly. Electrical work has taken forever and it almost felt like it would never end. We kept finding scary looking splices that were soldered and covered with electrical tape. Quite a few of them were not even inside junction boxes. Most of them were created from cutting old wires that were original to the house and installed without any slack. We had to add junction boxes and extra wire to bring everything up to modern standard. Besides correcting the splices, we also installed a gazillion electrical devices:

  • 22 recessed lights
  • 13 power outlets
  • 6 switches
  • 1 timer
  • 1 bathroom exhaust with light and heat
  • 1 heating panel
  • 1 thermostat
  • 1 telephone junction box
  • 2 ethernet outlets
  • 2 telephone outlets
  • 4 speaker outlets
  • 2 coaxial outlets
  • 1 smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 1 CO + smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 5 junction boxes
  • 25+ electrical boxes
  • 300+ feet Romex wire
  • ?? feet speaker / ethernet / telephone wires
  • countless wire nuts and staples

That’s not all the electrical work. We also hired an electrician to do a few things we were not comfortable doing ourselves. She took care of 1 splice, connected 3 circuits to the electrical panel, installed 3-way light switches, and a bunch of tidying-up around and inside the panel.

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Design Thinking course finale

This is part of a series of blog posts in regards to the online class, Design Thinking Action Lab offered by Stanford University. Click here to check out the entire series.

The last week of the Design Thinking Action Lab is a wrap up. We were introduced to how design thinking is practiced in many different arenas, in education, large corporation, etc. The lecture has links to many new postings on the forum. Although I haven’t had time to check out all of them, here’s a video from one of the postings that brought a big smile to my face.

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Design Thinking course week 3-4

This is part of a series of blog posts in regards to the online class, Design Thinking Action Lab offered by Stanford University. Click here to check out the entire series.

Week 2’s assignment Empathy and Define was the first one that required peer review. There was a long list of criteria and rubrics. My submission didn’t score as well as I hoped but it’s not the score that mattered. It was the experience. Based on my review of other submissions, I discovered the phenomenon of students in India being forced to study engineering even when some of them don’t want to. The world can use a lot of engineers but I think happy engineers would do more good than the unwilling ones. In terms of my submission, I need to work harder on capturing everything from the interview of a stakeholder. My auditory learning mode has always been my weakest link.

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