State Farm Blows Up Our House

Oliver showed me this morning. While it’s essentially a virality-baiting ad for State Farm, it’s imaginatively done, and, other than a few rendering hiccups, an impressive technical mashup.  Here’s an excerpt from running the site pointing at our house:


You would think that after, say, the first two or three hundred, the process of printing coffee bags on the Golding Jobber № 8 would get, well, a little repetitive. Especially because printing two-colour coffee bags means printing one colour, cleaning up, and printing the second colour.

But repetition is kind of the point: letterpresses are machines meant for mass production, and so becoming proficient at the printing trade means becoming proficient at repetition.

Today I took a big leap in that regard.

The coffee bags themselves are ornery things to print on: foil bits hanging out, folds in annoying places, and about 5 times thicker than a regular sheet of paper. My lack of proficiency, combined with this orneriness, has meant that, for the first four or five hundred bags, I’ve been printing a bag, throwing off the press, taking the printed bag out, putting a bag in, and throwing the press back on, wasting 3 or sometimes 4 or 5 cycles of the press in the process.

Try as I might I could never coordinate all the movements to do this all in one smooth motion.

Until today.

Today, by dint of repetition, favourable humidity (meaning less stickiness), and disposition of the printing gods, I cracked the code.

I was on fire. It’s amazing how quickly you can print when you’re actually printing at the press intended, with one impression per cycle.

So in short order I was able to crank out 301 coffee bags. Or at least the black impression thereof.


Tomorrow I’ll go back in to print the red; I hope the gods continue to favour me.

Large Coffee

This week’s letterpress project was large coffee bags for ROW142. These bags, used for wholesale coffee (or for particularly eager retail customers), are about four times larger than the smaller retail bags I printed earlier and they’re of a different material (foil-lined rather than plastic) and design.

My original plan was to simply copy the “down the middle” design I used on the smaller bags, but that proved challenging, as on the back side of the bags is a thick seam that, despite my efforts to compensate for it by buttressing around it, I couldn’t get a consistent print. So I modified the design to run ROW142 down the right side of the bag and, in the end, I’m actually happier with this design.

ROW142 Large Coffee Bag

If you want to buy a massive amount of coffee beans, the bags are in the shop now ready for purchase. Next up: print more of the smaller bags, as they’ve already run out!

A New PEI Electricity Peak Load

Prince Edward Islanders were using more electricity last Thursday than ever before: the peak load at 5:29 p.m. was 252.70 MW, which is 7.6 MW more than last winter’s peak on January 23, 2013.

You may recall that when the PEI Energy Commission released its findings a year ago it reported:

The cables are now 35 years in service and the province’s peak load exceeds 220 MW . Current projected load growth for Prince Edward Island is 1 .5% to 2% per year which may push the peak load into the 250 MW range by 2018.

So we’re 5 years early on that prediction.

PEI Electricity Graph showing peak of 252 MW

Free Showing of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang

I’m organizing a free showing of the film Minecraft: The Story of Mojang here at The Guild on December 27, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome, and tickets are free, but you must reserve them in advance. Get tickets and complete details over at the Hacker in Residence blogEveryone is welcome.