NoSQL and DynamoDB

Today I will look at the NoSQL concept and specifically Amazon’s DynamoDB.

NoSQL stands for “No SQL”, which means you don’t use SQL (Structured Query Language) to manage the database.  Data is not arranged into relational tables (with relational indices that point to other tables), but is arranged in a variety of data models, including document, graph, key-value, and columnar.

NoSQL was born because of the need for scalability and performance.  In the early 2000s it was discovered that relational databases do not scale well at a reasonable cost.

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Captain McFinn’s Swim & Play

An early-childhood education and entertainment game, including original videos, music, artwork, animations, interactive activities, and a live host! That’s a lot to pack into one app!
Implemented with Adobe AIR; available for iOS and Android.


Virtual Aquarium

Multiple high definition displays showcase the Virtual Aquarium world, where users can interact with the live-streaming presenter, create a custom avatar fish and swim it around in the aquarium world, watch videos, and play games / activities.  Users interact via provided built-in tablets or by using their own mobile device.  The live presenter can also see and hear users at different locations, allowing real-time conversations and interaction!


Here’s a little woodworking project I did recently. It’s called an icosahedron.

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It’s made from 60 identical pieces of wood, each with a 21 deg bevel with two 60 deg miters. The dimensions of each piece (length, thickness, height) don’t really matter as long as each piece is exactly the same.

Side View

Top View


Refurbished cider press

This was a great project that was fun and useful too.  There’s nothing like drinking your own freshly squeezed apple cider made from apples that grew on a tree in your backyard!

We originally got the cider press from a friend at church, who had used it for over 30 years.  It was pretty weathered when we picked it up.

Original cider press. We had to remove the wheels for transport.

Electric motor and cutter drum on the original press. The cutter drum was cracked and ready to fall apart. The cutters were sawsall blades tacked on with staples.

Over a couple months, as time allowed, I (with help from my 5-yr old son and my dad) rebuilt the frame, refinished the metal parts, made a new cutter drum, and installed a newer motor.  The best part was an excuse to spend time together.

Here are the results:

Lucas (5 yrs) with the newly crafted cutter drum. We cut it from a scrap piece of sycamore wood using a tablesaw and a lathe. We used butcher block oil to soak the wood to preserve it.  The stainless steel screws embedded in the cutter drum are placed in a diagonal cutting pattern.

Finished product! The drip pan is custom made of stainless steel; the circular press wood is made from some hickory boards.

New Red Revolution 3D Update coming soon…

It’s packed with all kinds of goodies!  The 3D mind-sharpening training regimen continues: 7 new power-ups, new HAVOC game mode, coins and purchasables, 25 spectacular new original backgrounds…  Love it!

PULSE power-up!RAINBOW BLOCKS power-up!

Catapult Crash

A first person physics-based catapult game I helped create with the excellent Flying Rhino team.  Done with Objective-C, Box2D, Cocos2D for the iPad.  The catapult is a 3D model created with Blender.