Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On the BrickJournal Shared Calendars...

Over the years, we've written about and contributed to the BrickJournal Shared Calendars many times, going back to October 2008. We've had a link to their Google Calendars on our sidebar for years, and I was added to the list of people allowed to update these calendars in November 2008 (over time, I've granted myself access on other e-mail accounts).

I've decided (for a number of reasons, not all of which I'm comfortable sharing at this time) to withdraw my support of the shared calendars and remove our sidebar link, effective immediately. When I first got involved with the shared calendars, they were truly a shared project updated by a large pool of community-minded AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO). One of the main appeals was that there were many different layers, all of which had a variety of events on them. While I haven't added as many events in recent years as I used to, it appears that the majority of contributors have dropped off of it entirely. Several of the layers have become entirely useless, while the others are now updated so inconsistently that I can't comfortably recommend them anymore. Further, a look at who contributed the remaining upcoming events reveals very little variety in who still contributes: there are four people left, one of which added most of what's there. The second most active contributor (myself, with 3 upcoming events) lives in the same part of Florida as the most active one (but the two rarely speak). The other two contributors have added one event each. These sorts of community projects only work if they are actively maintained, but as it stands, it's too far gone for me to justify my further support.

The LEGO Displays layer appears to be almost entirely abandoned. I recently added LEGOPalooza, which has not been officially announced online yet, but is this weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (full disclosure: I was previously NCLUG's "website guy", but between when I offered to announce the event and when I actually had the event's running time in-hand, someone else stepped up to "run" the website and simply removed all news). The only other upcoming events on it are Scouting for Bricks (May 3rd-4th in Leesburg, VA, although the calendar incorrectly lists the 5th as well), and "Kärleksmisär", which is on August 30th but the calendar doesn't give any clue as to where that is (a quick Google search doesn't clarify the situation).

The Events/Conventions layer appears to still be relatively maintained, albeit almost exclusively by one person. I've recently added BrickFiesta (Fourth of July weekend in Texas) and Bricks By the Bay (August 7th-10th in the San Francisco area).

The "Mindstorms and FLL Events", "Contests", and "Fan Club Meetings/Events" layers all seem to have been abandoned entirely.

I am not prepared to endorse any other calendars for LEGO events at this time, although we will continue sporadically announcing specific events on this blog.

Although we will not be advertising them anymore, you can still bookmark a link to the BrickJournal Shared Calendars.

An Update on Beyond the Brick

Yes, we have more site news already. As mentioned a month ago (already?), the new website we promised to merge this blog into has not yet come to pass. Surprisingly, we've gotten to the bottom of the issue and determined that it's simply not viable to launch a combined website. Although Beyond the Brick probably looks like a simple video channel to many people today, the truth is that it is a complex and sophisticated organization with lots of connections and ongoing projects. Bringing in so many big names in the LEGO company and LEGO community requires considerable effort, and the priority is to continue building on the exciting videos they've been releasing lately. Additionally, much of the original podcasts and posts we had planned to integrate into the site are the property of NetCast Studio, and could not be made available on the new site (since the original idea was to combine those posts and LMOTD posts into a combined site, our original concept for the website is entirely moot). Now that it's clear that a combined website wouldn't work, we will return to operating separately. In this blog's case, that also means that we are once again open to suggestions and interested in trying to combine our efforts with other blogs to create something more useful to the LEGO fan community.

All of that said, we're all on good terms - this is an amicable split caused by circumstances and limited resources. The decision was mutual and primarily the result of all of us realizing that our original vision for a shared website simply isn't a viable option. You're still likely to see us hanging out together at conventions. Matthew will continue to appear as a regular contributor on the videos and as an occasional contributor on this blog. Since the YouTube channel is actually newer than when we backed off of LMOTD to work on the new site, we hadn't really plugged it before, but expect us to plug their videos from time to time going forward.

For the foreseeable future, you can find the classic Beyond the Brick Podcasts at NetCast Studio.
Beyond the Brick's flagship YouTube channel can still be found at brickpodcast.com - if you haven't been keeping up with them, you should at least check out their most recent video, featuring Kevin Hinkle, a friend-of-the-blog and The LEGO Group's Senior Community Coordinator for the Americas (In the weeks to come, I'll be covering more of Kevin's support of projects in our neck of the woods).
The classic audio-only episode of Beyond the Brick (then known as "A Look at LEGO") where I (Dan) and Matthew (before he was a co-host) were interviewed on air can be found at http://netcaststudio.com/lego-with-mathew-and-danny-from-lmotd/
...and we'll let you know if/when LMOTD relocates to somewhere besides lmotd.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Clever Robot

Name of Model: Don't need hugs no more...
Created by: Karf Oohlu
Found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragon55/13372468015/
Details: One of the drawbacks of having backed away from blogging for a bit is missing the chance to write about some of the new parts that have come out recently. The 1x1 round tile is a pretty popular piece (released in late 2011) that really sells this model and makes the Technic engine piston rod look fairly natural as a joint element (where previously, you'd have to deal with something sticking out from whichever Technic pin you used to connect the two rods - at a minimum, an extra stud from a half pin). The eye-printed version of those same tiles quickly creates a face. The new elements that most radically change how we can build now are the joint elements from the new Mixels sets. These joints use the old "towball" elements (yes, like we've had since 1970) on one side, and new sockets that introduce a poseable level of friction on the other side. The result is a wonderfully simple blend of "system" and "constraction", allowing Bionicle-style action figure building ("constraction") and traditional LEGO building ("system") to fit together in a small space with very little effort. Since the Technic pistons always worked with the towball system (a great example of how complaints about "single purpose" LEGO elements are usually wrong), the piston rods fit perfectly in this clever little robot.

Confused by this model's title? It's a reference to an earlier version that was a bit more cutesy and didn't use that awesome piston-rod-to-Mixels-ball-receptacle connection.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

BZPower New Member Raffle

If you're like me, you probably have a hard time deciding which LEGO-related forums to join and figuring out which ones will be worth the time and effort to keep up with. Among the theme-specific fora, BZPower easily stands out as one of the most exciting to watch. There are other cases of a LEGO forum trying to make a splash at a LEGO convention, but only BZPower has an actual program for sending member creations to multiple different conventions across the United States (you'll have to join to find out how to get involved). BioniLUG has also broken new ground as a "virtual" LEGO Users Group that still has a large presence and collaborative builds at several conventions. They've recently announced some new incentives to join for those of you who build/enjoy Bionicle and have not joined yet - now through April 30th, new members (people who signed up for accounts within the last 30 days) can enter a raffle for set 70131 Rogon's Rock Flinger.

Existing BZPower members can also participate in other current raffles.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LEGO and Open Source

Name of Model: LEGO and Open Source
Created by: yours truly
Found at: http://danny316p.github.io/LEGO_and_Open_Source/s5/s5-lego_and_open_source.html
Details: Last year at BrickFair VA, I hosted a seminar on the relationship between the LEGO fan community and the open source software community. Presumably most people who read this blog are already familiar with LEGO, but I think most LEGO fans don't really think about how our community resources and favorite software tools came about, or what makes a particular program likely to be maintained for the LEGO community once the program's creator has moved on.

The bulk of the seminar was a slideshow hosted on GitHub. Although this is a topic I had wanted to address for years (originally the plan was to debut the slides at NCSU's annual FOSS Fair event, however I have not been able to attend since putting the slides together), I was surprised when I focused in on it just how broad the topic really is. The version presented at BrickFair still felt rushed together (to me, anyway), and I've continued to make improvements to it since. There's still plenty of room to improve the slides yet, but I like to think they're a useful resource and a good starting point that anyone can use to talk about LEGO at an open source event or about open source at a LEGO event. In the spirit of open source and community-building, the slides themselves are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License and the source is available for contributions on GitHub.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

GFLUG Moonbase at MegaCon 2014

Name of Model: MegaCon 2014 Moonbase
Created by: GFLUG and "Orange LUG"
Found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moctagon/sets/72157638835134784 (and more - see roundup below)
Details: Last weekend, I was out at MegaCon 2014 with GFLUG, "Orange LUG", and the Bonahooms (of BrickWorld fame, there promoting the upcoming BrickWorld Tampa event). The main group build was a Moonbase-themed display, although it ended up being more "moon" than proper, standard-meeting Moonbase. In spite of my post here about the moonbase standard being the top Google result for "Moonbase Standard", I had actually never built a moonbase module before - something I rectified with an Alien Conquest-themed build (not itself worth featuring here, although I'm happy with how the corridors came out). There were other MOCs on display as well - many small things, a large train display, a LEGO-movie themed section, a fantastic twist on the Great Ball Contraption concept, and many MOCs based on various movies and television shows. You can see all of those in the coverage roundup below.

...but you probably shouldn't. You should go build some moonbase modules, right now. Moonbase isn't dead! Moonbase is easy! Moonbase is fun! You should build moonbase! Go, now, stop reading this and build some moonbase!

Coverage Roundup (trying to focus on LEGO-oriented coverage - there are some "interesting" cosplayers at this event, be warned that you're likely to see something Not Safe For Work in the background if you dig too far):
Moctagon Jones' Flickr photos
my (danny316p's) Flickr photos
Orlando Weekly slideshow

As always, if you know of photos or other coverage I should have here and don't, you can leave a note in the comments or e-mail us at legomodeloftheday@gmail.com

Saturday, March 15, 2014

About that Beyond the Brick Merger...

If you're reading this, you've probably realized that this post is at LMOTD and not at the snazzy new Beyond the Brick website. It's hard to believe that it was back in July of 2012 - fully 20 months ago - when I first announced that we were looking to change things out and relaunch this blog with a different format. Shortly after that, things were set in motion to merge with Beyond the Brick, with the intention of launching the new site in December of 2012. As I mentioned last March, that deadline became impossible due to numerous health and relocation issues. Fortunately, this time around, I don't have any problems of that sort to report - but unfortunately, progress on the site is moving very slowly.

In light of the extreme delays that the Beyond the Brick website has faced, I've decided to start blogging here again. Originally, the plan was for me to not do any further blogging until the Beyond the Brick website was officially launched, but that no longer seems like a reasonable plan. It's not clear when some of the issues delaying BTB might be cleared up. Being known in the Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) community primarily as a a blogger gets a little more complicated when you haven't been blogging in a while, and don't know when you might get back to it.

I'd still like to see LMOTD become part of a BTB website in the future - we're all on good terms, although I think we're all frustrated with the delays we've seen so far. For now, however, I feel it is important to maintain a voice in the community, fill my readers in on things they should know about, and blog some worthy MOCs and photo sets (in spite of not having an outlet in quite some time, I have continued to browse as many MOCs as I did back in the day). I'll be blogging here again for a bit, primarily focusing on my own projects that haven't been covered elsewhere. The Beyond the Brick videos on YouTube can still be found at brickpodcast.com - and you should plan on seeing more of all of us at various shows and conventions.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Galloping Horses in a Zoetrope

Name of Model: Lego Zoetrope #3 - Horses
Created by: ChadMealey / Lego Tron
Found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TR9Nvv3ul5A and http://www.flickr.com/photos/legotron/sets/72157629668225249/with/7015942181/
Details: In the early days of motion pictures, they didn't have film reels or real video technology. Early on, moving pictures were created by using series of still frames in a circle, with slits between each one. Looking through the slits at the image on the other side while the circle was spinning would make it look like the image was moving.

If you remember what blog you're reading, this next part shouldn't surprise you - here's a an example of a zoetrope that works in this manner made out of LEGO. Much like the first example of this (based on a series of photographs taken by Eadweard Muybridge), this particular ones animates a horse's gallop.

SciBricks has posted a little more detail about this model.

Eadweard Muybridge would have turned 183 years old today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Site Status


While we have no intention of becoming one of those blogs that always talks about how we should be updating more, I think it is fair to say that we owe you an explanation regarding the recent silence here. First, the big news: we are merging with Beyond the Brick. You may have seen their videos or podcasts in the past, and if not, you should check them out. We were trying to avoid announcing much about this until we were far enough along with the new site to be able to share some details, however, the deadlines we set for ourselves passed some time ago and left everything up in the air.

There are a number of reasons for the delay, most of which we won't bore you with. In short, we've seen multiple LMOTD contributors relocate in the past few months, we've suffered a few technical setbacks, and I've had some disruptive health issues (when our December "deadline" passed, my hand was in a cast and I couldn't type). I am sorry about this, but there is only so much we can do. Ultimately, it would have been detrimental to all of us to prioritize LMOTD in light of the personal things going on these past few months. We are hoping to get back to this soon and when the new site is ready, we will announce it here. While the exact details still need to be settled, we can promise that we'll be featuring more models, reviewing more books, and interviewing more builders in the years to come.

In other news, I'll be around as a visitor at Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire tomorrow. Find me milling about (I'll be wearing a LEGO brick name badge mentioning the site [update: apparently my LMOTD badge brick is still packed. I'll probably be the only person there with a giant brick-built name badge, so I should still be easy to find]) and you can score some of our LMOTD printed tiles. We'll be making these more easily available at various LEGO fan events and Maker events over the next several months (we'll be announcing most of those opportunities here as well).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

10% OFF + FREE Shipping + Exclusive Holiday Set. Valid 11.23.12 - 11.26.12
LEGO Shop at Home's Black Friday sale starts in a matter of minutes and lasts through Monday the 26th. The promotion is similar to last year's:
  • 10% off all orders of $149 or more
  • Free Limited Edition Holiday set with orders of $99 or more.
  • FREE Shipping on all orders of $49 or more.
  • offers Valid: Nov 23rd - 26th
  • Offers are Combinable (No Codes Required)

Additionally, the following sets will be marked down:

Product #

Product Name

Discount

8831

LEGO® Minifigures, Series 7

50%

8833

LEGO® Minifigures, Series 8

50%

9509

LEGO® Star Wars¿ Advent Calender

50%

850423

Minifigure Presentation Box

50%

5000215

Harry Potter: Building the Magical World

50%

10230

Mini Modulars

20%

2734

Straight Rails

20%

2735

Curved Rails

20%

3677

Red Cargo Train

20%

3841

Minotaurus

20%

3857

Heroica Draida Bay

20%

5609

LEGO® DUPLO Deluxe Train Set

20%

5945

LEGO® DUPLO Winnie the Pooh's Picnic

20%

5946

LEGO® DUPLO Tigger's Expedition

20%

7286

Prisoner Transport

20%

7346

Summer House

20%

7930

Bounty Hunter¿ Assault Gunship

20%

7962

Anakin's & Sebulba's Podracers

20%

9094

Star Striker

20%

5828

LEGO® DUPLO Big Bentley

15%

5885

Triceratops Trapper

15%

6869

Quinjet Aerial Battle

10%

9473

The Mines of Moria¿

5%

850506

Card Making Kit

20%

853091

Keychain Police Man

20%

853195

Brick Calendar

20%

853393

LEGO® Friends Picture Frame

20%

853414

LEGO® Star Wars¿ Magnet Set - Jar Jar Binks

20%

853421

LEGO® Star Wars¿ Magnet Set - Clone Wars

20%

2850828

Darth Vader Kids Watch

20%

2853508

LEGO® Star Wars¿ : The Visual Dictionary

20%

2856081

Darth Vader Minifigure Clock

20%

2856195

LEGO Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection

20%

5000143

LEGO® Star Wars¿ Boba Fett Watch

20%

5000249

LEGO® Star Wars¿ Boba Fett Minifigure Clock

20%

5000668

LEGO City Sticker Collection

20%

5000671

LEGO Star Wars Sticker Collection

20%

5001050

Star Wars ZipBin Large Millennium Falcon Messenger Bag

20%

5001097

Star Wars ZipBin Toy Box and Playmat

20%

5001159

Darth Vader Light Keychain

20%

5001160

Stormtoorper Light Keychain

20%

5001252

2013 LEGO Calendar

20%

5001310

Yoda Light Keychain

20%

5001311

Darth Maul Light Keychain

20%

5001313

Darth Vader Light Torch

20%

5001314

Stormtrooper Light Torch
20%

5001352

Monster Fighters Mummy Clock

20%

5001353

Monster Fighters Lord Vampyre Clock

20%

5001354

Monster Fighters Mummy Watch

20%

5001355

Ninjago Kai ZX Clock

20%

5001356

Ninjago Kai ZX Watch

20%

5001357

Ninjago Cole Watch

20%

5001358

Ninjago Lasha Watch

20%

5001366

Ninjago Loyd ZX Clock

20%

5001375

Monster Fighters Lord Vampyre Watch

20%

5001376

Lunch Box Blue

20%

5001377

Lunch Box Pink

20%

5001378

Lunch Box Red

20%

5001383

Storage Brick- 4 Blue

20%

5001384

Storage Brick- 4 Dark Green

20%

5001386

Storage Brick- 8 Blue

20%

5001387

Storage Brick- 8 Dark Green

20%

5001388

Storage Brick- 8 Red

20%

Most of these offers are also good at the LEGO store - if the item you want is out of stock online, you can try for the same pricing at the store. In the unlikely event that that doesn't satisfy your Black Friday weekend LEGO needs, you can also try the full round-up of promotions from other stores over at FBTB.