Saturday, January 30, 2016

My 2016 (As of January 29)

When I set out to make more in 2016, I did so with the goal of finding work and fulfilling my creative pursuits. It's only been 29 days so far this year, but I have already learned a ton from this experiment.

I've been taking more pictures, making all kinds of podcasts, and writing every single day. I said I would do this project every day for a year, or for as long as I need to. I put that loophole in there specifically because I knew how much work that would be, and if I started working anywhere near full time again, it's unlikely I would have the energy to keep up a daily pace (of posting stuff, not of making stuff).

So far this year, I have done a few really great things:
  1. I hit my weight goal from the middle of last year (that's 210 lbs, down 40) at the end of this week.
  2. I started writing every day, taking more pictures of cool things I see, and with friends.
  3. I've found some work that should be starting quite soon.
Given all of that, and the fact that my creative endeavours aren't going to stop right now, I am going to stop posting something here every day.

I'm planning on continuing to take more pictures (probably posted on Instagram), writing as much as I can (including on this blog), and dedicating my efforts to working more on being creative. It's been a great year so far, and it's only going to get better!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ottawhat 89 - Mike Holuj (January 28)

This week on the podcast, we met our new Ottawhat News writer, Mike Holuj. He's a pretty cool, and seemingly very busy, dude.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

6 Months of Weight Loss (January 27)

This week, unless something goes horribly wrong, I will formally hit the goal weight that I set back at the end of June. This doesn't technically count as 'making something', but it definitely took a lot of work.

Anyhow, writing about it and posting about it and talking about it all the time has been incredibly helpful. I don't know if 210 lbs is where I'll end up, but when I was 250 lbs just 6 months ago, it certainly seemed impossible.

At this exact moment, I weigh 210.63 lbs, which is satisfying all on its own. When I started (although BMI is a horribly outdated measurement tool, I was about 15 pounds into 'obese' (about a 32 in BMI, 30 being obese). At the moment, I'm at exactly 27 (25 or less being considered 'normal weight'). If you know anything about BMI, you'll know it's horribly outdated, but I have been using an online tool that attempts to make the calculation a little bit more useful for the modern world. By that metric, I'm almost exactly at the high end of healthy weight, and I'm happy already, because I feel so much better than I did.

I don't know what the next 6 months will hold, when I can ride my bike again, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens now that food doesn't have such a strong hold on me.

Damien bowls a strike! (January 26)

I missed a day. Well, I didn't miss it, but I certainly didn't post anything here about what I did. I don't really feel bad about that, because I've been making so many things this year that I don't feel the need (or sometimes, make the time) to write about all of my projects here.

Anyhow, on Monday, I went bowling with some of my friends. I really like taking a set of photos with my phone, because Google Photos (on iOS and Android) not only backs up photos, but lets you create amazing GIFs like the one above, from up to 50 photos.

If you don't use Google Photos, you totally should, you can get unlimited photo and video backup, shared albums, and so much more. It's amazing. And when I'm older, Damien bowling this perfect strike will be preserved in all its glory.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Future Chat 86 - We're Taking on Vox (January 25)

This week on Future Chat, I talked a lot about the latest stuff going on in and around space (there's a lot), and Mike and Nick brought me up to speed about mobile news and CRISPR respectively.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

My 'New Media' Obsession (January 24)

These are just a few of the shows I used to watch.
News broadcasts, TV shows, movies, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, editorials, thinkpieces, press releases. There are so many different kinds of media, and there's more than any one person could ever consume of any one of them.

There are also sciences, sports, arts, technologies, crafts, cooking, celebrities, entertainment, and so much more to pay attention to. If you tried to absorb all the information out there about the tiniest niche subject, there would still be too much to consume to fill a lifetime.

Most people have a few interests or hobbies that they spend time going fairly deep on. And those priorities are always changing and adjusting as lives change or circumstances evolve.

For example, there was a time in my life where I watched 25 TV shows every week, in addition to re-watching some shows when I felt like it. Now, I have a hard enough time keeping up with just a few shows. Both It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Mythbusters, have started new seasons, but i'm at now 2-3 episodes behind on each since I missed their debuts.

Recently, I have moved much of the entertainment I get to fully digital platforms. I listen to a ton of podcasts, and watch a whole lot of YouTube videos. Both of these media have a single spot where I can go (either a website or an app) and see what's new since I was last there, or what I haven't watched or listened to yet.

Compare that to the experience of trying to watch a TV show, where even if I wanted to watch later, I would have to go figure out which TV network aired a show, open the app where the show is, find the TV show, and see if there was a new episode. That model works for Saturday Night Live, because I know it's on Saturday night, but other than that, I have no idea when shows air.

So I'm left with digital media consumption, and there's more than enough of it to fill my free time. I would LOVE to watch Mythbusters, and It's Always Sunny is something I will almost certainly watch eventually. But their distribution just doesn't hold a candle to new media like YouTube or podcasts, where you can keep a running list of the things you like and get notified immediately when a new one comes out, and click a link to watch it.

ps. keep in mind that I currently have a cable subscription, and all the powers that come along with that, and yet I *still* find it impossible to try to keep up with television.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I freaking love sunsets (January 23)

I've mentioned before that I like sunsets. When I have a day where I'm not really making anything, sometimes I just have to look up and see the beautiful colours a setting sun can give me. If you don't like sky pictures, I'm sorry, because I do. These pictures were about 7 minutes apart, as the sun gets lower, the colours usually get better and better.

A photo posted by Rob Attrell (@robattrell) on

A photo posted by Rob Attrell (@robattrell) on

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feedback 8 Video | Electric Love (January 22)

For episode 8 of Feedback, which came out last week, Damien and BL played Electric Love by B├śRNS! I really try to capture what it's like to have these guys play for you from 5 feet away when I'm working on capturing sound and video, and it really helps that they're just so good at performing!

As we first announced last week, you can also go and check out the music from Feedback Season 1. Go check it out, you'll be able to support Feedback, get BL and Damien on your iPod or anywhere on the go!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ottawhat 88 | Kelly Ann Wilson (January 21)

On the Ottawhat podcast this week, we interviewed singer-songwriter Kelly Ann Wilson. It was really cool getting a look at the process of performing and putting an album together in a musical family, and hearing from somebody who has spent her whole life in what I'll call 'rural Ottawa'.

Kelly Ann also debuted her latest music video for the song 'Clean', which you can check out over on the podcast page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A downtown sunset (January 20)

I love taking pictures so much, and when I stepped off the bus yesterday, the sky looked absolutely gorgeous. I love looking at the sky, and around sunrise/sunset the colours are just unbelievable. I'm not normally able to capture the glory of the sky in such detail with my phone, but things just worked out here, and I'm getting a little better at making the phone work for me.

Anyhow, this was one of the highlights of my day yesterday, and though you probably saw it, it's my 'thing' for today.
A photo posted by Rob Attrell (@robattrell) on

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Future Chat 85 - Like racism, but on the Internet (January 19)

This week on Future Chat, we had a really great time chatting about cable packages (I go on a bit of a rant), talk more about alternative energy in various places, and talk about kids learning code.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Internet's Gatekeepers can do better (January 18)

Another internet company took an unlimited plan and added asterisks to it. This time, it's Karma Mobility.
We made a mistake. We modeled Neverstop usage to be much higher than usage on Refuel. But we never anticipated that some customers would use over 1,000GB a month.
They aren't the first company to choose to throttle mobile data after a certain usage threshold, and they won't be the last. But time and time again, these companies obviously overpromise, or there's something horribly wrong with the whole cellular industry and the way mobile data works.
In the company's blog post, they note that some users were burning through 1000 GB of data, something they never envisioned happening on cellular hotspot. Certainly, that is a lot of data, and video presumably contributes most of that. I would imagine that if even a small percentage of your users are using 1000 GB of mobile data that you wouldn't be able to make money overall unless you had a massive customer base.

However, the infrastructure associated with cellular data is the hardest part. It doesn't make any sense why the cap they would need to put in place would be so restrictive (they set it to 15 GB, before slowing speeds way down). If 1 TB is abusive on the system, then set reasonable limits. But if you're selling a mobile hotspot company, and you're pledging unlimited usage for customers, 15 GB is just not enough for a month.

The Internet is composed mainly of video these days, traffic-wise. You need to expect that most users will want data, and cellular companies have been pushing 1080p and UHD screens into users hands for the last couple of years. This kind of computer is going to use more data than even the best iPhone could in 2008.

When I was working outside my home last year, I consumed most of my media on the way to and from work, and sometimes while listening to music or podcasts at work. I used between 35 and 50 GB consistently for several months doing that, and I was not doing any kind of tethering or downloading of massive amounts of media. I used WiFi when I was at home, and I just went about my day normally. I wasn't even trying to use massive amounts of data (although I was a proud nerd when I saw how much I'd used).

If you offer or are planning to offer an unlimited plan, but want to set limits to prevent people from using a terabyte of data per month, that's fine. But make sure your limits aren't unreasonable, because people are using your product to connect to the internet.

15 GB is incredibly low use for a mobile hotspot in a month. If you want to set reasonable limits, start off at 500 GB (half of what you considered "abusive"). If your network or business can't handle that traffic, you've obviously made some miscalculations in offering "unlimited usage". Even a limit like 100 GB would still solve customers problems while keep usage 'reasonable'. We've seen internet companies make this same mistake again and again, but nobody seems to offer a useful solution outside of companies who keep people on restrictive grandfathered unlimited data plans (like the ones I'm on).

I use a lot of data, I'm not doing anything nefarious, and I want to keep doing that. Nobody wants to get throttled, and slowing down the internet for your biggest customers is not a good experience for anybody.

If you need a new generation of network to be able to cope with internet traffic like fiberoptic networks have been doing for a few years now, let's work on that. But the solution to the internet's biggest customers isn't "use less", it's figuring out ways we can all coexist with more.

The Internet is awesome, and everybody deserves to be able to access it at full speed on an unlimited plan.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

SpaceX Launch (January 17)

I can't always have something new ready to go. But luckily for me, here's something really cool starting very soon that you can go check out! This will be happening over the next couple of hours, and hopefully in the end SpaceX will be able to land their rocket on a small barge out in the ocean. It's really cool stuff.

The launch is happening about 10 minutes after this post is published. Let's go watch!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Feedback 8 Video | Ex's & Oh's (January 16)

This week, Damien and BL performed Ex's & Oh's by Elle King, as part of episode 8 of Feedback. This is a great cover of a really catchy song!

Today, you can also go and check out the music from Feedback Season 1. Go check it out, you'll be able to support Feedback, get Bl and Damien on your iPod or anywhere on the go!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Feedback 8 | Pre-production (January 15)

This week, episode 8 of Feedback was released! We discussed pre-production for the upcoming Sons of Pluto EP, and talked more about life as a part-time artist.

We also made a special announcement about the music from Feedback. Go check it out, you'll be able to support Feedback, and listen to all the great songs from Season 1!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ottawhat 87 | Pablo Juarez (January 14)

This week's Ottawhat includes our interview with Pablo Juarez. He spent the last 15 months in Australia and had a ton of great stories about his travel adventures!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Losing Weight, When You're Lazy (January 13)

"Play to your strengths" is the advice given to Harry Potter during the Triwizard Tournament, and it's invaluable insight is applicable not just to facing dragons in a magical school.

When I set out to improve my health last summer, I knew it would take more than some kind of amazing burst of willpower. I was going to have to change some of my habits, and try to control my worst impulses, like the one to eat an entire pizza in one sitting. I didn't buy any expensive supplements or go on a strict nutrition plan. I didn't count calories, or even consider any individual food as being off limits.

What I did end up doing, starting in July of 2015, was make a commitment to eating less, and to exercising more. In making that commitment, I had a few things I liked doing built-in to my schedule to jump start my new diet and lifestyle. The biggest thing I did was to start biking to and from work every day, about 7 km each direction, unless it was pouring rain.

Really, the only other major change I made was to purchase Soylent, the food replacement I've talked about to death here, and eat only that at work. I know that I tend to eat when I'm bored, and so I would bring snacks to work and eat them throughout the day, even if I wasn't particularly hungry. By replacing that snack food with Soylent, which fills me up but which I did not crave, I was able to consume a lot less calories during the day.

Since food wasn't around, I didn't feel any strong urge to eat, and if I did, Soylent would be there to fill me up. I started losing around two pounds a week on average, but I started to notice a pattern developing. During the week, I would lose about 4-6 pounds, and then Friday through Sunday, I would gain back about 2-4 of that. My weight loss came in cycles, because as I mentioned, I have no willpower, and so I wasn't afraid to have a few slices of pizza when hanging out with friends.
The secret to weight loss: math, patterns, and patience.
After a couple of months of this pattern, where I would bike 4-5 times per week, play sports, and walk, my appetite, my waistline, and my stomach all shrank substantially. And through all of this, I never really had any strong cravings for food that I didn't satisfy. When I did snack, I was less likely to indulge as much, mainly because I just wasn't as hungry.

That's not to say I didn't get hungry. Another important part of this lifestyle was learning that it's OK to be hungry sometimes without eating. I started treating hydration more seriously, and my hunger lessened in kind. In total, from the end of August (after my honeymoon) to the beginning of December, I lost about 35 pounds.

If you look in detail at my progress, weighing myself every single day from August 20, 2015 to January 13, 2016, I have lost a total of 98 pounds in the 89 days I lost weight. On the remaining days, I gained a total of 64 pounds over 57 days. In that time, I've learned that eating a bunch of snack food, or just too much in general, like I did on many of those 57 "gain" days, is absolutely not worth the work I put in on the 89 "loss" days

I am currently better, but far from perfect, at deciding when I've had enough. I still enjoy cookies, candy, pizza, delivery, chips, cheese, meat, etc., but I know a lot better how my body is going to react to those foods, and how much I eat will affect me.

Now, it's the middle of winter, and I can't bike all over the place (also, my bike was stolen back in October :( ), but I am doing exercise where I can to keep up with food, and managing my intake better.

With the tracking system I've set up for myself, which I talk about here, I know that I can aim to weigh less today than I did yesterday, and less this week than I did the last, and I will be able to lose weight. It's all about finding what works for you, and playing to your strengths. Stay healthy :)

If you want to get a copy of the spreadsheet I've been using, let me know and I can make a clean copy available for download. I have been using the wireless Withings scale to track my weight and body fat percentage, if you want to check it out, I would strongly recommend it (full disclosure: if you use that link, I do get a commission) and it's been a big help to me. I have also been using the Withings Health Mate app, which is free, and IFTTT to make keeping track of my weight in a spreadsheet unbelievably simple.

You can do it, it's all a matter of finding your own path.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Future Chat 84 | Angosticism for the Win? (January 12)

On the show this week, we went really in-depth talking about new elements and particles that have recently been discovered, only the very best of CES, and NFC's future in Canada, where we already tap to pay for almost everything.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A healthy dose of skepticism (January 11)

Today, I got to be a real journalist (or pundit, I guess, depending on your perspective). I got to read a report from a source, think about it critically, and comment on it. And I turned out to be right in the end.

On Saturday, there was a report in the Telegraph saying Apple was being asked to make a tool to let iOS users export their data so that they could switch away from iOS. It seemed like a pretty dumb story (and has now been confirmed false), so I thought about it. You can read the full piece over on MobileSyrup.

Apple wouldn't make a product to let their customers switch to Android, even if the EU was pressuring them to do so for anti-trust reasons. And even if they were, it wouldn't be in the manner described.
While a set of tools to allow iOS users to easily move their data to other platforms has seemingly obvious benefit, the actual implementation of such services are not straightforward. It’s worth keeping in mind that if users have access to a laptop or desktop computer, it is already trivial to export contacts, or copy music and photos to a new device.
Contacts, music and photos are not the data keeping users on a given platform. Not to say there aren't reasons to stick with what you have:
Perhaps the most overlooked part of this entire story is the fact that data like photos and contacts are not actually the biggest concern for locked-in users on either iOS or Android. Apps, especially those that cost users money, are the biggest reason many users will stay in the ecosystem they’ve invested in. If a service from either Apple or Google could import third-party application data or download and purchase history, then perhaps the reasoning behind this argument would be more compelling.
It's a fun game to play, thinking and talking and writing about Apple, and other tech companies. But you have to take what you read with a grain of salt, and not believe everything you read. I'm not great at it, but I'm learning, and this was a really great experience for me.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What's the best way to communicate effectively? (January 10)

I've talked a LOT about messaging services. I've had conversations about them with various people for years, and in person or on a variety of those messaging services themselves.

I take communication very seriously, so when a new application comes out that purports to change the world by making it easier to keep in touch with important people, I take note. It was clear to me from the moment I first got a cell phone that SMS (text messages) wasn't the future of anything.

When I first got online in a real way, the people I needed to keep in touch with were all using MSN Messenger. It was a chat application that, considering the era, was pretty advanced and had a lot of users. In fact, there are probably many people who never stopped using that, then Windows Live Messenger, and then its modern equivalent, Skype (after Microsoft bought Skype).

I've moved through many chat platforms claiming to be the best new thing, and several of them were. Facebook Messenger started off very slowly, but is now used by around a billion people on a regular basis. I used Google Talk through a lot of my university career, and it was really great when all my friends were on our work computers using Gmail all day every day.

Google Hangouts was my go-to chat platform from its inception until the middle of last year, and I still use that application for video calls and keeping in touch with family. I also keep in contact with many people, including some I've never met in person, through Twitter.

I think the fundamental issue with keeping up to date on what the best communication platform is, is simple. I think that there actually is no BEST communications platform for all uses. Each one has unique features that set it apart from the others, and the success of all of them for you depend heavily on whether you know people that also use them.

I have been proselytizing Slack for a little over a year now as my favourite communication tool, and it's an incredibly popular tool for keeping in contact with small to medium pockets of people, because it mimics the way groups actually communicate in the real world. You can centre conversations around topics, or include only subsets of users in a given Slack team, and I think compartmentalizing like that makes communication in Slack really efficient compared to other platforms.

I'm not saying Slack is the objective best communication platform for everybody to keep in touch with everybody else, because it isn't. But for me, for most of the people I keep in touch with on a very regular basis, I can't get over its incredible usefulness. Below are just a few of the ways I prefer Slack to many other messaging platforms.

1. You have a personal chat room. You can send messages to a helpful AI powered robot called Slackbot, or just use this chat thread to leave yourself messages or remind yourself of things. I use it all the time to keep track of things, and I find it incredibly useful to have one place I can throw text or ideas or links when I need to.
2. You can share links with people and Slack automatically provides searchable context. In comparison with Facebook Messenger, which will pop up and provide a picture and the title of the link you send, Slack with actually paste in text what is contained in the link, an image for context, and a short description of the page at the end of the link. It's incredibly useful.
3. Slack can passively let you keep tabs on a conversation without being notified of every message. You can control which chats will be able to notify you and how the notification comes to you, to your phone, to your computer, etc.
4. You can tag people and other conversations in channels. I could let Mike know I needed his attention for something just by mentioning his name, and I could refer to the "cooking" channel in a conversation with my friends if I'd posted a recipe in there.
5. Perhaps the best thing you can do with Slack is integrate other services. You can paste links to a Google Document and it will automatically figure out which document you are referring to, and keep track of all Google Docs that have been posted in one place. You can set it up to forward Tweets from Twitter into a channel to keep tabs on a topic or a Twitter account any group might care about. It's incredibly versatile and I have about 5-6 different services that all connect with Slack right now.
I love Slack, and I would use it even if nobody else was around, but if you're in a team or want to stay in touch with a group of people with more than one simple conversation, this is the way to do it. You'll never derail a whole group of people with an off-topic remark again (or at least it's a lot easier to avoid). Go try Slack at They have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and the web!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Remembering my first publication (January 9)

Facebook's "On This Day" mostly serves to cause people to reminisce about the past and re-share posts from years past. For the most part, I do the same thing. Sometimes, though, it really provides some gems.
In this case, I was reminded that my first major academic publication (that I was first author on) was published 4 years ago this week! Thanks to incredible help from my supervisor, Dave Bryce, and the rest of his group, I managed to put together enough research results to finish my thesis and put out this paper.
It was a really great moment for me, and it reminded me just how far I've come in the last four years. I'm no longer working in Chemistry, but I still have great memories of doing lab work and research. It was also a really weird feeling when I went and clicked on the link, and would have had to pay $35 to 'rent' my results for 48 hours.

The fact that all journals charge so much for access to published work just reminds me how far we still have to go with open access. I look forward to the day when all research can be equally accessed by everyone, it will enable research to move that much faster. You can still access the paper if you want, because my old supervisor Dave keeps a copy of all the papers he's had published on his website, which is pretty cool.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Why are Cable and Internet bundles so confusing? (January 8)

Today on Fake It, I discuss my recent but continued disappointment with Bell and Rogers in creating cable and internet bundles that are for rational humans. Deceptive pricing, constant shuffling, and a minefield of potential options are enough to make anybody run screaming.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ottawhat 86 | Brian Lee (January 7)

This week on Ottawhat, we had my very good friend Brian back on the show for a 2nd interview. I've spoken with him many times, on and off air, and it's always an interesting conversation. If you're curious what he's been up to in his life for the last year or so, I encourage you to listen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Applying for a Job (January 6)

Some days, you spend hours with your face right in front of a computer monitor, but at least there are ends-of-day like today that make it mostly worth it. I would love a job where my Chemistry, science and technology skills and knowledge are required, but my job search focus right now is in communications and media.

Below is why I think I would be a good candidate for a media/communications focused job. If you know somebody who is hiring that might be looking for somebody like me, please share this with them, I would REALLY appreciate it! Thanks!

This letter is in reference to the job posting at [REDACTED] for [REDACTED]. I am submitting this letter because I think that I, Rob Attrell, am an excellent candidate for the position. The combination of my experience and education will show that I have the requirements needed to excel in the role.

Going to university, I wasn’t aware how important communications would end up being to me. I studied Chemistry at the University of Ottawa from 2006 to 2011, completing Bachelor's and Master's degrees. On its own, that doesn’t qualify me for the position, but it was a formative and necessary experience.

I learned many important skills during my studies and research that lend themselves to work in communications. First and foremost, my projects over the course of these degrees have given me a lifelong appreciation for the time and detail that goes into professional work. While preparing my Master's thesis, I wrote and edited several major documents for both print and electronic media. That includes a textbook chapter, several academic papers, and two thesis documents. This work typically took many weeks or months of planning and working with colleagues to come up with a polished final product.

Of course, in addition to the tangible work done during my degree, there are many other important skills I learned and improved at while in graduate school. Time management, self-motivation, problem-solving, and multitasking were critical to my success in class and in the lab. To this day, I apply those same attributes in all of my work, both at NSERC in my last full-time position as a planning analyst in Corporate Planning and Policy, and with my extra-curricular and freelance activities. I am constantly adapting my skill-set and looking for new and interesting things to learn, and projects and problems to tackle.

For the last 4+ years, since the end of my degree, I have been devoting a whole lot of my free time to learning the principles of communications. I write regularly for my own interest on a personal blog, and I been creating more varied media like video and podcasts for the last 2 years as well. I am very involved in social media, and I’m always quick to try out the newest social medium or technology. I have been studying and learning web design, user interface/experience principles, and programming to maintain all the sites I’ve been managing since 2011 as well.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few years working on strategies to gain traction in social media, as well as coming up with consistent branding and developing high-quality content. I also currently write freelance every weekday morning for a Canadian technology website called MobileSyrup, which enables me to keep up with technology and writing, while also working on ongoing projects and developing my skills.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Preparing Soylent for best results (January 5)

I have a serving of Soylent most days, and I've gotten the consistency of making it properly down pat. If you're considering trying it out, or you have tried it and don't like it, give this method a shot and let me know what you think. The taste may not be for everyone, but it's been super beneficial for my health and I've never thought it tasted *bad*. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Future Chat 83 | You're Just Buying A Bucket (January 4)

This week's show was a smorgasbord of tangents and divergences. We talked about water, coffee, cell phone data plans, and hockey.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Weight loss, and Fake It returns (January 3)

Fake It is back! Learn a little about my weight loss in 2015.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

More than I can chew? Nah... (January 2)

One of the first things that happens when you start a big project with repeating deadlines, like a challenge to make something online every day for a year, is realizing just how much work it's going to be. Yeah, I can write something on January 1st, and hit publish, but Day 1 is literally going to be the easiest day.

If I want this year-long project to be remotely interesting, I'm going to have to lay some groundwork. This is going to take work on some days that doesn't pay off right away. For instance, today I recorded a podcast and a bunch of music for my podcast Feedback. It's going to take several hours of work to put together any of the pieces of what I recorded, and that recording itself took about 3 hours all told.
Recording this month's episode of Feedback with my musical friends.
Another thing that will make this project a failure is if I can't live my life at all while I'm doing it. I want to spend time with my friends and my family too. But I will have to make sacrifices. I'm writing this right now while my friends are spending time together, because my commitment to this project is important to me.

I will get better at this. I will put in work in the next few weeks to get out ahead of the project, so if I have a busy day where nothing I'm working on will be done, there will be something I can put up.

I can't always put out my Titanic, but I promise that I will do everything I can to at least be interesting each day. I will try to give you something to think about, to consider. I'm really excited.

The skills I've learned over the last 2-3 years make me incredibly happy, and I can wait to share new things with you. Now, I'm going to head back to my friends, and to go and see Star Wars (finally). Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ottawhat 85 - Sandy Powell (Help At Home Association)

This week, our last Ottawhat of 2015 was all about charity, family, and community. We met with Sandy Powell from the Help at Home Association. Go listen to the episode and check out the organization to find out how you can help the families of sick children.

Making More of 2016 (January 1)

The last few years of my life have been the best so far by a wide margin. On its own, 2015 was an incredible year for me, and I'm lucky to have been able to ring in the new year with *many* of my very good friends!

A video posted by Rob Attrell (@robattrell) on

I've made a lot of different things for the Internet, starting around 2011, but this past year might have been my most prolific. Writing for my own blog, making podcasts with my network, Unwind Media, and videos for Sons of Pluto, and most recently, starting to write for MobileSyrup, has kept me in love with being creative and making things.

In addition to the things I made this year, I also got married, and I weigh 35 pounds less than I did at the beginning of last year. The first ~6 months of marriage has been a supremely fun and enjoyable time, and I'm reassured every day that I made the right choice.

My friends are also a huge part of my life, and I'm so thankful that they're around for all the ups and downs life throws at each of us. I am supremely lucky to have met so many incredible people, and to get the chance to spend as much time with them as I get.

For 2016, I have been mulling over a goal (as we all do this time of year), and since I've had so much success sharing my goals online, I'm going to do the same this year. I considered delaying the start of this challenge until my life stabilized a little bit, but that would defeat the whole purpose.

Starting today, with this blog post, I am challenging myself to make something EVERY SINGLE DAY, for a year, or for as long as I can or feel I need to. Some days, it will be a video. Others, probably a podcast episode. On a day like today, it will be a written blog entry like this (even though each day's creation will be logged here on

I thought this morning about the arbitrary nature of starting the year on January 1st, and thought that in light of recording an episode of Feedback tomorrow, and Future Chat the day after, and Ottawhat on the 5th, maybe I could just wait and start next week. But this whole project is going to be about not making any excuses.

There's always an excuse, and I've made a lot of them to myself. Part of this project is also going to be about finding employment. I plan to showcase some of the skills I've learned in the last few years, and perhaps even highlight and discuss in more detail why I think I would make a good addition to any company or organization.

Some days, I may address, answer, or discuss a question or topic, but in general I will just be sharing some of my thoughts and feelings about the world and my place in it. There is a lot of bad and a lot of good in the world, and I want to make the good better, and the bad less so.

This is going to be all over the place. I'm excited. Follow along on my journey by subscribing to this blog, to any of my podcasts at, or just follow me on Twitter @RobAttrell.