Category Archives: Accessories

Soundbot SB512 Review

Soundbot SB512 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Soundbot SB512 Bluetooth Speaker Review with Video

Recently I wanted a Bluetooth speaker for my phone. I’ll be honest – I wanted a cheap one; one cheap enough and light enough I could throw it in a backpack or clip it to the outside and let it get hammered or lost and not care. I wanted one that easy to use and would serve me for a few minutes here and there while driving shuttles around town and up to the river. I even thought if it was light enough I might throw it in an outside pocket on my backpack and take it on a trail run. Since wireless Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days I figured finding one would be easy.

Soundbot SB512 Review53


I was searching around (not looking real hard) and found the Soundbot SB512 – it’s small, claims to be water resistant, and was super affordable (read: cheap). I had 140 reviews on Amazon, although like the worst of Amazon, I assume most of the reviews are generated by folks who got the thing for free. It appears to be identical to the VicTsing speaker – to the point where the photos are identical. At any rate, I liked the price. I liked the size, and I liked that it had MicroSD capability.

I bought it.Soundbot SB512 Review54

It’s super average. Some of my initial attraction to the speaker holds – it’s about the right size, it’s lightweight (which in a speaker generally means poor sound quality, but my expectations in this department weren’t high), and it makes sounds from both the MicroSD card and my phone.

Connecting my phone was a pain. It took way longer than it should have. Several tries. I had to reboot, forget the SB512, reboot again, connect again and again, etc. I finally got it to work.Soundbot SB512 Review55

The MicroSD card thing is cool in theory. The ability to insert some memory and not have to connect the phone is actually easier than connecting the phone – quicker too. The Soundbot SB512 defaults to the MicroSD card and it starts playing music the second it’s turned on. The downfall is that with the MicroSD card it always turns on to the same volume – LOUD, and there’s no shuffle ability with the memory card. It makes using the memory pretty useless. Users have to listen to the same songs, in the same order. Every. Single. Time. Sure, users can turn on the unit and then push track forward several times and you might end up further down the track list I suppose, but that stinks.

The alternative is to, of course, connect a phone. It’s not as easy as simply hitting the power button and listening to the music, but at least a smartphone allows a user access to a method of shuffling and playlist alternatives.

One other thing that bugs me is the button layout. All the buttons are directly opposite one another – pressing almost always means pressing another. It’s annoying and shows poor design.Soundbot SB512 Review56

If you can take the lack of shuffle on the MicroSD card, and the finicky phone connection, and the poor button layout and the volume resetting to LOUD every time, then you might like this little speaker. If you can’t deal with one of those, then there’s got to be a better option out there for a few bucks more. The next one I buy will have shuffle or random mode associated with the expandable memory.Soundbot SB512 Review57

DAVE Stickers Are Here

DAVE Stickers Are Here

Dave Stratton Tour West Sticker strayfotoStickers_2015_0220 Three Pack of Dave Stratton Stickers

I’ve got the DAVE stickers in my Etsy shop. A couple variations… Enjoy!


Classic Camera Tote Bag

Classic Camera Tote Bag

Strayfoto Classic Camera Tote Bag

Rediscovering a Classic – the Pencil


I recently found my pencil box from 4th or 5th grade. It was full of cool old football pencils. I hate football, always have, but I remember wanting the pencils for some reason. Turns out they’re old enough to be the regular, beautiful, cedar wood pencils that are difficult to find these days. I bought a couple of sharpeners and I was off.


Using a well-sharpened pencil is a delight. I’d forgotten how neat it is to sharpen and then write until it need sharpening again. Erasing is a snap. There’s a feel – a resistance – to writing with a pencil. You have to exert  a little effort, but the payoff is wonderful. You get the cedar smell, the slightest drag on paper, and the smudging if you’re not careful. It’s a simple, classic way to take notes. I’ve really enjoyed reconnecting with lead and wood.


The small, round, brass pencil sharpener I bought German-made and a miniature treasure. Of course you need to have a garbage can handy to deal with the shavings, but it leaves the pencil sharp and ready to use. It’s affordable and well-built. This is not the cheap Chinese aluminum sharpener you had in grade school.


The hand crank pencil sharpener I bought essentially a throwback to grade school (although if you’re old enough to be out of school, the one you remember was likely U.S. made – sadly, this is no longer an option). It’s an X-acto, and while it’s functional and sharpens the pencil well, it’s far from a fine mechanical instrument. It’s affordable though, and works well enough. If you order one, it probably won’t come with a strayfoto sticker on it, but if you really miss that feature, send me a SASE (remember that?) and I’ll mail you one.


So buy some pencils! There’s some great US made ones here and here. There’s some US made ones on Amazon here. If you’re lucky, maybe you can go back through your old stuff and find a rare stack of football pencils.

Don’t forget to check out my camera designs at RedBubble!


Leather Harmonica Cases Available

Leather Harmonica Cases Available


Jordan made more simple, folded leather harmonica cases and Leah’s got them for sale in her Etsy shop.


I’ve been carrying mine now for about 6 months and it’s starting to show a little age and look good. It protects the harmonica relatively well and it’s sure easy to use.

Thanks for looking.

Building the Enzo Mari Sedia Chair

Building the Enzo Mari Sedia Chair

Sedia One Chair 

Over the weekend I finally had the chance to build a pair of Enzo Mari Sedia Chairs. I’ve been waiting for the weather to clear up and some free time – I ordered the book in early December, and just got around to building the chairs.

Enzo Mari Sedia Chair 

The Sedia Chairs turned out really well. They were easy to build, cheap and went together quick. I think they look great. They’re relatively medium-sized, slightly modern furniture style chairs, and fit in well in our small home. I ended up making a couple small boxes for storage under the chairs. With everything I spent about 6 hrs cutting, drilling, screwing and sanding before they were finished.

Sedia One Chair

If I have a beef, it might be with the instructions in the book. See the gap on either side of the seat area? I don’t think that’s supposed to be there. There could be several reasons for this; the measurements are all metric and I converted them to inches and rounded a little where I thought necessary. Also, perhaps Italian lumber is dimensioned differently? Maybe it’s a typo in the book – I have no idea. I do know that the measurement of the boards that determine the width – the boards on the front, back, and backrest, are actually a hair shorter than the instructions call for. I labored over whether to re-cut them, leave the gap, or whether to have a gap between the seat planks. In the end I decided to leave the gap near the edges. I think it makes the chair look a hair “lighter” and less chunky. It also, and I didn’t realize this until I was finished, makes them a little easier to move around by providing a spot to grab.  

Enzo Mari Sedia Chair
Sedia One Chair
DIY Chair

If you’ve watched the video of Enzo Mari building the chair himself he says he recommends the use of nails to stay true to the original project – which was designed in 1974. I’d argue that in 1974 you couldn’t find a decent cordless drill for under a hundred bucks either. But in the modern world of ubiquitous cordless tools, I chose to use grabber screws to finish the Sedia chair.

Sedia One Chair

In the end I spent about $54.00 on the project, including the storage boxes under the chairs, which are made from the same 1×8 pine boards. Here’s a short stop motion I made of the whole process:

The book Autoprogettazione is available at Check it out; even if you don’t build anything from it, it’s got tons of cool designs.

Don’t forget to check out some of the fine art prints for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve also written and illustrated a children’s book for the Kindle Called Coyote Life. If you’ve got kids, check it out. If you enjoy it, please leave a review. Thanks.


My wife Leah makes and sells some pretty cool leather stuff like minimalist wallets and camera straps. Check out her Etsy store for some cool gear. minimalist leather handstitched wallet

Photography T Shirts and Stickers at Redbubble:

Buy my work

Autoprogettazione by Enzo Mari

Autoprogettazione by Enzo Mari – the book I waited 3 months to get. I saw/read an article on the Sedia Chair by Enzo Mari, an Italian contemporary artist and modern furniture designer, and I immediately wanted the book. I ordered it at the first of December and it finally came in February. Click HERE to see the chairs I built using the instructions and drawings in the book.

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Harmonica Case

Harmonica Cases

When I was in 5th grade they forced us to put on a Christmas show for the school. They offered us a choice; we could be in the choir and sing the Christmas songs, or we could be in the band and play instruments during the show. Of course being an elementary school, the band was just 15 5th graders with Harmonicas. I chose the band.

We ordered Honer Marine Band harmonicas in the key of C through some take-home newsprint catalog thing. We worked hard and learned Silent Night and Jingle Bells. When the time came, the 15 of us stood on the low stage in the semi-darkened cafeteria and played the songs we were supposed to. Then it was over.

Except I kind of liked playing the harmonica. I kept on doing it. Not with any serious passion, or any real zeal, but I liked having a harmonica around most of the time. When the harmonicas came, they came with a mailer and a small catalog from Honer. There was a leather case for the harmonicas that even as a 5th grader I knew was cooler than the crappy plastic thing that came with the harmonica. It had a belt-loop so you carry your harp like a knife on your belt, ready to whip it out and play Silent Night at a moment’s notice. I begged my parents for it long enough that they finally ordered it for me.

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