Jeffrey McGrew's blog

ComBots - Oct. 23-24th - discount tickets for our blog readers!

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So we're pretty crazy about robots. But not as crazy as our good friends Dave & Simone! They organize all sorts of amazing robot events, and we're very excited to announce a special deal they are doing for our blog readers: a 20% discount on advanced tickets for their next event! Robot combat is way fun, it's too bad our robot is a Maker, not a fighter.

Here's the lowdown from Dave:

ComBots invites all BecauseWeCan readers to discounted tickets to "ComBots Cup V", the fifth annual heavyweight robot combat championship. This event highlights the best combat robot teams in America and their 220 pound flame-throwing, blade-spinning, titanium shearing robots of destruction! This year's event is Saturday/Sunday, October 23-24th from 2-7pm at the San Mateo Event Center.

Whether you're a sports fan or techno geek, ComBots puts on the best robot events in the world! If you missed seeing fighting robots at Maker Faire this year, or are longing for RoboGames, here's your chance to see them again. Full details at

ComBots is pleased to offer BecauseWeCan readers a 20% discount on ticket prices (adults normally $20, kids $15). Coupon is only valid for advanced purchases until Oct 20th. Buy tickets at and use the coupon code below for your discount when you check-out!

super-sekret robot code: BecauseWeCan

What's in a number?

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So my Dad's an engineer, an extractive metallurgist. He's a huge influence on me and my more technical, geeky nature. When I recently got my Architect's licence he sent me this wonderful note on the palindromic nature of my licence number. I loved it, and wanted to share it with everyone. Enjoy!


There is a lot more to this number than just a palindrome. There are three prime factors 2 – or 2 taken 4 times, 7 (cooler yet) and 211 (amazingly cool). As you know, primes follow Benford’s Law. Briefly, Benford’s Law states that the first digit in many series of numbers reflecting natural phenomena decrease in frequency logarithmically as the first digit increases. Large prime numbers occurring as prime factors in large numbers have intrigued thinkers for years. If you take all the factors of 23632 you will find that there are 17, also a prime number with a cool 7 in it (this is only true if you join the mathematical argument that 1 is prime, I am in that school because 1 meets the simplified definition of being divisible by only 1 and itself).

Now if you take the prime factors – 2, 7, and 211, you will see that they can also be arranged into palindromes 21712 or 12721. Is that yet even cooler yet? It is so statistically improbable that I suggest that you immediately change all passwords on your accounts, IT stuff and also some of your lifetime objectives to one of the two numbers. I prefer 12721 because HOLY CRAP!!!! IT IS ALSO PRIME.

Maybe I just discovered McGrew’s law!

Now here is some fatherly wisdom – set some lifetime objectives with this number in mind. Earn 12,721,000 dollars in your life’s work. Touch 12,721,000 people’s lives – you are already on a good pathway to do that. Shed 12,721,000 worries in your lifetime that really don’t deserve your attention. Experience 12,721,000 joys and don’t be ashamed of the 12,721,000 tears that go along with the sad things that accompany them. Make objectives for yourself that are challenging but reasonable. Perhaps you would keep this frivolous Suggestion # 23632 to heart, write down those objectives and then take them out and read them after you retire!

No September EatFoodTalkShop, instead NYC meet-up later this month!

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No EatFoodTalkShop this month, instead let's meet in New York!

We're going to Maker Faire NYC later this month. So we're going to have the first-ever BWC NYC Meet-up while we're out there. We're very excited about it! If you're in the area, we'd love to see / meet you.

So no September EatFoodTalkShop, instead it's a NYC Meet-up. EatFoodTalkShop returns next month!

We'll have details posted to our blog and twitter feed later this month on the NYC Meet-up. We'll see you in New York! Thanks everyone!

Meet us at Maker Faire NYC

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See us at Maker Faire!

We proud (and totally jazzed) to be participating in this year's Maker Faire NYC!

We love NYC. And we love Maker Faire. And we really love giant stainless steel globes from the future-past.


How could this not be awesome? Maker Faire NYC is being held in Flushing Meadows, which is where the big world's faire in the 60's was held. There are still some relics left behind, all amazing in their own way.


We'll be giving a talk on going pro as a Maker. It's a revamped, hot-rodded, redone version of the talk we gave at Maker Faire in San Mateo. See you NYC!

Jeffrey McGrew wrote a chapter for Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011, which is now out!

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The wonderful Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture series is one of the standard books on Revit. Highly recommended. Put together by this crew of knowledgeable folks, it's currently available from amazon and soon as a downloadable version.

In additional to all the BIM basics, there are extra chapters on all sorts of great work being done via Revit. The one on Revit in the movie industry for set design is stunning! We got to help out on this one too, in that we wrote the extra chapter on BIM-to-CNC fabrication.

So go and grab your copy today!

Jeffrey McGrew is now a California Licensed Architect

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We're proud to announce that Jeffrey (finally) got his paper from the state. While I passed my final Oral Exams a while ago, the paperwork took a bit (as always).

So say hello to Architect Number 32623 (a palindrome! Awesome!).

This is a big deal to me, for you're not allowed to call yourself an Architect and have anything to do with the building industry unless you're licensed. You're also not allowed to do anything other than houses, some interiors, and furniture, for you can't stamp the drawings for permits.

You may have cleverly noticed that those three things I just mentioned are the majority of what our company does. Now you know why! With this licence, we're hoping it will open us up to a whole new market (and not just new lawsuits! ;-) )

The California licence is the hardest to get, covers the most ground, and transfers to other states more than any other. I hear rumor that they are changing the Orals into a written test or something, so I'll also get proper bragging rights that I had to do it 'the hard way back in my day'.

Business Talk at reMake Lounge as part of Make:SF meetup tonight

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We're giving a repeat of our Maker Faire small business talk "Turning Pro: Becoming a Professional Maker" at The Remake Lounge tonight as part of the monthly SF:Make meetup.

The talk was a hit at Maker Faire, for it's all about basic business lessons we've learned from the perspective of a professional Maker.

Come check it out, and hope to see you tonight!

July 8th 2010 EatFoodTalkShop

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Please join us for a night of project sharing, summertime story swapping, and some CNC demonstrations!

It's time for our regular 2nd-Thursday-of-the-month open house / project salon / OMGBBQWTF called EatFoodTalkShop! We're going to get these going again from their brief hiatus due to moving. So count on a monthly show-and-tell for Makers! Bring a project, or a story, or just curiosity and questions.

Please drop by and help us eat food, drink libations, and share project stories. We'll be showing off our recently finished projects for Wikipedia and Bookrenter. Frank will strut his stuff as well with a few demos.

We'll have some food and drink, you bring some more and your friends! Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

Thursday, July 8th 2010

6:30PM - 9:30PM

Please note that we've moved!

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you there!

Lost? Lonely? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Business Talk at Techliminal as part of Make:SF meetup tonight

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We're giving a repeat of our Maker Faire small business talk "Turning Pro: Becoming a Professional Maker" at Tech Liminal (an Oakland technology salon) tonight as part of the SF:Make meetup.

The talk was a hit at Maker Faire, for it's all about basic business lessons we've learned from the perspective of a professional Maker.

We'll be giving it again later this month in San Francisco as well.

Come check it out, and hope to see you tonight!