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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

iPaB Parts Data

I was adding a new part to the database this morning, when I did something catastrophic -- the part name don't show up correctly.  I'll be spending the next few days correcting this error, as well as find a way to make the process of adding a new part less tedious.

Stay tuned...  I'll post updates as I make progress.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quick Update

Heading into 2014, it's never a dull moment... I've been procrastinating on a project that I need to finish by mid January -- OrangeLUG will be participating in The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons Exhibition display at Orange County Regional History Museum.  As you can see, I'm working on a mosaic.  :)

I'm using the Photobricks app for my iPhone.  I love and hate it; I have few different shades of orange and red that I'd love to incorporate into the mosaic, but the application has a limited pallet, but beyond that, it's been a wonderful! 

I've also recently spoke with Bryan Bonahoom about getting the website ready for Brickworld Chicago registration.  I have been working on updating the web-site with a fresh look for the new year -- hopefully it looks better on mobile and tablet devices.  I still have more work to do... some pages haven't been converted to the new look yet.

I have a few updates to BrickBuildr as well, in terms of new parts selection & wall dimensions for some stores; I should get to that in the next day or so...

Ok, back to building.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Wal-Mart Side Effect, part 2: Winning a Fight, but Losing the War

So I didn't intend to write a blog follow up to The Wal-Mart Side Effect, part 1 just yet, but this is related...

Here's something I think is funny... so I'm on eBay this morning, and one of the new features is displaying items similar to what I've searched for in the past... when I see the following mixed in with the results:
What I suspect, with LEGO outsourcing many things to China, China is fulfilling the quota of parts, but making a few extra on the side, in the process -- I doubt there's any agreement in place to what the machinery does after the quota is fulfilled -- so minifigures are being sold to different distributors and repackaged.

I also suspect, LEGO Retail is waging a war with BrickLink sellers -- seeing the amount of money being spent on after market LEGO -- LBR is using this to justify reducing discounts and many policy changes -- damaged sets use to be on discount at 20%, now it's 10%; opened & returned sets use to go into grab bags, to which many LUG used to help bulk up collections; etc.  But honestly, I think LEGO is losing the war -- the amount of money they're losing through discounts to North Americans vs. outsourcing to China, has got to be comparing a trickle of water to a tsunami.

You can't use the quality argument for not buying any of the above -- I suspect the makers of the above make the same quality of parts for LEGO.  Unless I do a side-by-side comparison, would there be any differences?  If it's minor, would it matter in a large fan display, considering if I bought some of the above at 50% of LEGO's price or better?  I makes you think if TLG & LBR has their priorities a little backwards.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

I don't know if you've had the same feeling as I had, looking at the new LEGO Movie sets coming out... I keep thinking Timmy & the Time Cruisers.  It's not that Time Cruisers was a bad line, it just felt like there was no real deeper story, than a few drunk designers got together one night over a few too many drinks with some spare parts from different themes and said "I know how we can save the company some money; we'll just take these excess parts from all these different themes and combine them in ways, like this guy Timmy is traveling through time."

We may never know the truth why this theme idea was put into production, but it remains a part of our fan checkered heritage.

The new LEGO Movie sets seemed like a very controlled PR experiment, releasing a new image every so often when the buzz about the movie (or new sets) has cooled off.  They look interesting; like Time Cruisers, they make good parts sets -- but nothing screams why I should buy any of them, except maybe one or two.

I also found that LEGO making Junior sets again feels like a blast from the past as well.  Fans use to complain about the juniorization of sets with Town Jr. and yet, here we are again... I wonder if it'll be just like 1998 and we'll hear the same reasons why their price per part is so high when compared to other sets.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quick Part Update

For those of you unaware, the Orlando PaB (the one closest to me) changes stock daily; and any new parts that show up to the wall get snatched up very quickly.  I knew that the olive green cheese wedges had made it to some of the stores nation-wide, but by the time us local fans find out about them being at the store, more times than I care to count, they're all sold out.  We did manage to find some at Legoland and the new 1x1 round tile piece -- needless to say, I spent too much money that day.

Anyway, coming back from our Seattle trip, we found chess wedges and a few other new parts.  I've just added them to the web-site -- 2x2 jumper plate, and the 2x2 round brick with grill.  I've also wrote a quick script to be in the position to add parts to the web-site sooner, so hopefully I'll be able to respond faster to additions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

BrickCon 2013: Thoughts

My wife and I decided that we'd attend BrickCon this year -- it's been one convention that has been running a long time, that we have not attended yet.  From what I understand, next year will be it's 13th years.  We have heard from friends that it's one of the nicest cons to go to, but honestly, each con we've been to has it's own different flavor, and I really think it depends on what you like in a con (ie. size, quality/quantity of MOCs, venue, city traffic, local food, etc.).  Each having it's own pros and cons... to make a really bad pun.

We didn't bring a MOC with us; we were planning to take in a little bit of the sites/city since we've never been to Seattle before.  We also wanted to enjoy a con without the hassle of trying to ship a MOC across country.  And we also wanted to get to know some new people and make new friends.  All of which we got an opportunity to do.

The creations themselves were impressive, although I've seen a few of them on-line before.  And from what I overheard, a few had been at BrickCon in years past -- no matter, we hadn't seen them in person before & they're still impressive.  My favorite was Rivendell and the castle area; which was front stage as you walked in & rightly so.  Being a castle guy, it made me proud.  The only problem with the area, it was hard to find time to look at the details of Rivendell, because there were constantly film crews hovering around it -- before and after the public.  Here's my quick video... It looks a little strange... I don't know if it's video from the iPhone or if YouTube processed it funkily:



What I found surprising/interesting about the con, was the lack of large 9v train displays.  Rivendell has as much details in it as a large 9v train display would have in the Mid-West, the difference is, large train displays are the product of a LUG with many members, Rivendell from what I understand was a creation by 2 people.

All-in-all, I've enjoyed the con and really enjoyed the keynote speakers.  I'm hoping a video will be posted of both speakers soon.  I've been waiting for fan reaction to the changes LEGO has implemented this year -- to which I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more public outrage at cons -- but Hillel Cooperman did a wonderful job of summing up my feelings... a little bit to Kevin Hinkle's dismay.