iPhone audio not working on a 2015 Mazda5

If your iPhone isn’t working with your Mazda5 the fix might be as simple as adding a song to your Music library. On a Mac I needed to do this by plugging the phone into my computer and choosing an album to sync to my phone. Once I did that everything else I cared about on my phone started to work with the car: Spotify and Overcast. I was ready to replace the stereo in our car before a kind person in the Mazda5 Owner’s Worldwide Facebook group mentioned this as a potential fix.

I believe the car will start auto playing the first track in your library whenever it starts. While I love the Chrono Trigger soundtrack I might change it out for some tracks of pure silence.

To be determined is why this works. The Mazda5 is old enough that when you plug in an iPhone it puts it in “iPod” mode. I’m guessing that Apple sets Music as the default audio app in iOS. If there’s nothing in there the car must not have a way to otherwise query the phone for an audio source. If anyone has a definitive answer I’d love to hear it!

Vinyl Record “Now Playing” Shelf

Finally tackled this project to make an record shelf for our currently playing record! We’ve needed one for a while and I couldn’t stomach buying one when I knew it’d be an easy project. Thanks to my wife for being so patient.

Shelf is made from a single oak board and finished with paste wax and adhered to the wall with brass screws:


I started with a 2″x2″x20″ oak board. I cut it down to length and then raised the table saw blade up and started to remove the middle of it to create the spot where the record sits. Then another pass to shorten the front lip so you can see the full record. After that some sanding to clean it up and soften the edges.

This created a lot of sawdust. The “easier” way to do this would have been to glue up the back, front, and bottom from separate pieces of wood. The aesthetic wouldn’t be the same, but most people wouldn’t notice or care .

When looking around for examples of shelves like this I found that most of these things are hung using keyhole slots. I absolutely hate keyholes though! They assume a lot about the flatness of your wall and are just a pain to get lined up and installed. Made the call to have the screws visible and I’m happy with the result.

(Screws clocked, of course, because I’m not a scrub and don’t want Sam Firke to be disappointed in me.)

Also! I like this detail where the knot is part of the shelf:

You Can’t Win But You’re Still A Good Person is Now Free on iOS

Hello, good people, last night an update to “You Can’t Win But You’re Still a Good Person”, a game Scope Creep Studios made almost 6 years ago, went live on the iOS App Store!

About 30 days ago Apple emailed us to say we had 30 days to update it or they were going to remove it from the App Store. Since you are all such good people, we didn’t want to deprive you of the opportunity to lose at this game. Therefore, we had to update it and chose to do so in the following ways:

  • Removed all vestiges of ads and in-app purchases
  • Dropped the price from .99 US cents to FREE


The icon for You Are Good hints at the lessons you are about to learn while playing the game.

On Confronting What You Did Before

It’s painful to look at code you wrote that long ago. However, to our credit, the game works and does what we intended, which was to make a digital game of endless whack-a-mole that purported to teach you patience and acceptance. You know, standard indie game nonsense from the 2010’s.

Revisiting the game itself was a delight though. The art design by Kyle Latino and the sounds/music by Steve Kemsley are phenomonal. It’s all so lovely and tranquil and maddening. Do yourself a favor and play with headphones on and chill for a few minutes making a little sonic landscape to yourself while you lose.

I will admit that the name is terrible and impossible to search for, that’s on me. I still love it.

On The Meaninglessness of High Scores

There’s nothing stopping any of you from overtaking Steve’s high score other than the fact that you just won’t do it.

Seriously, the strategy will be immediately obvious. It just takes a lot of patience to pull off and if you push your luck you can beat him faster. But if you push your luck you’ll get in trouble and lose. That’s okay though, being good at a video game doesn’t matter. Let Steve have the high score. You don’t need it to know you are good just as Steve is. You’re both on the leaderboard, after all, just he’s a little higher than you.

That’s okay!

It’s okay.

….Totally okay…

Bug Drop! Ad Findings

After releasing Bug Drop!, my collaborator, Steve, started to get curious about running ads for it using Apple’s ad platform. He decided to give it a shot because it wasn’t that expensive and, hey, if it works that means more people get to experience the game!

So he fired up a few ad types. CPM ads run a block of impressions for a fixed cost whereas the “cost per install” ads are a fixed cost per install and it’s up to Apple to effectively display the ad in order to get the install.

The ads ran for about a week and here’s what he found:

I ran $9 worth of ads on the CPM based “Advanced” Apple ads and it got 7 taps, 0 installs.

The other cost per install based “Basic” ads haven’t done anything yet. They are suggesting a $2.15 cost per install, making it not worth it.

Ads are a racket.

Look, I’m not a ruthless businessman; however, I can be practical when needed, but our initial experiments with Apple’s ads are dispiriting. We will not be continuing them.

I also find it galling that they would suggest we bump our price for the cost to install to above the current price of the app. Maybe we just need to charge more so we can pay apple more for people to buy the game. Oh well!

Anyway, go buy Bug Drop!. It’s fun!

Bug Drop! is Live on iOS

Go buy and download Bug Drop on iOS! We have a special launch price of $2 and it’ll go up to $3 later.

Steve Kemsley and I just published our latest game for the iPhone! It’s about a parachuting bug and is called Bug Drop! It’s a lot of fun. If you like platformers and puzzles you’ll like this game. We’ve been told by multiple people that it has a “just one more attempt” quality to it.

Plus, the art is SO cute. Steve did an amazing job with it and there are outfits you can unlock! My personal favorite is the Wizard Bug although Dr. Bug is also rad.

Music and sound effects by OJON! He did a fantastic job with it and it really ties the game together.

Exterior House Colors

In the summer of 2021 we had the exterior of our house painted by a friend. This post serves mostly as a reference for ourselves about the colors we used. At some point we’re going to redo the roof too to really complete the look.

Front of the House

Closeup of colors in context

Paint chip samples

Colors are all from Behr at Home Depot:

  • Alpine Trail
  • Tuscan Herbs
  • Rustic Tobacco – used for the foundation

Paint used

We used Behr’s Premium Plus line. Exterior Satin Enamel.

Display Case for Science Bee

My wife does craft shows as the Science Bee and she needed a larger display case for her table. This absolute unit is two 2’x4’ pegbaord panels on a hinge:

Here it is closed up. You can see the handles on the top that make moving it around much easier:

And here it is in context on the right side of the table. The smaller case on the left of the table was supposed to be a prototype before I made the “real” one. That was many many years ago. I guess it did serve its purpose though since the new one follows it as a plan, just larger:

And, for Ann Arbor superfans, the frame for this was repurposed wood from the old Workantile Phone Booth project!

Dice Tower

This year my podcast, Roll for Topic, held its first convention. For one of the door prizes I made a dice tower reusing some ash flooring that a friend had gifted me. Here’s the finished piece:

I’m very happy with out it turned out. The brass discs on the outside are for the internal pins that help randomize the dice rolls. Sanded up to 400 grit and finished with paste wax. It has a super smooth feel to it and dice make satisfying sounds as they go through the tower.


First up planing to get the wood down to the right thickness. I really need a planer with any dust collection…Or a bandsaw that can accurately rip boards down to size.

Next cutting the pieces to size. A crosscut sled and an adjusted miter saw were key here:

The glueup happened in stages and like all glue ups was difficult and annoying:

Lots of little pieces that wanted to slide everywhere:

Right when i was “done” I decided to add in some brass rods to help with the randomness of the rolls. This added a lot to the overall look and feel of the piece and I’m very glad I went for it.

Here’s a test fit. Once I was sure of the sizing I pulled these out and rounded the sharp edges a bit more:

And what they looked like on the outside after finishing:

Twice Reclaimed Ash Box

A while back, a friend had an ash tree from their yard milled into floorboards. Those then those sat in storage until they moved and he donated the lot of them to me. As a thank you gift I made this small box for him:

I tried to keep details from the floorboards intact. The pull on the lid is part of the tongue from the boards and the lip on the box is from the groove. The bottom I planed down thin enough to show a bit of the separation between the boards (I swear it was intentional!)

I’m particularly proud of the tight miters on this one and the fact that the lid will fit no matter the rotation.

Materials: twice reclaimed ash

Finish: two coats of shellac and a coat of paste wax.

Happy Holidays!

In lieu of physical cards this year I spent way too long putting together a digital version that has a few jokes that made us laugh:

2020 Salzman Holiday Card

I really do want you to have a happy last few weeks of the year. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! And here’s to a happy new year 🙂

Nerd stuff

There’s a github repo if you really want to delve into it. There’s not a lot there that you can’t envision from what you’re seeing on the site. It’s not meant to be open sourced, it’s not meant to be more than what it is. Robin Sloan’s idea of apps being home cooked meals applies here. I honestly wouldn’t have put it on github normally. Github pages required it though.

The highlights are:

  • React. I don’t really need React for this. It’s overkill; however, it’s what I use at work so I reached for it. In the future I’ll probably use Preact.
  • Tailwind for styling. Again, we’re using this at work and I’m a huge fan. Once you get used to the syntax it’s fast to use and powerful.
  • Using github pages to handle serving the file. This is the first time I’ve used that and was surprised at how easy it was to get going.
  • The “Too Cool” shades is just a png the same size as the jpg family photo. It’s such a simple trick. When I was looking around for ways to approach this I ran across this method and was amused at how simple of an idea it is and how well it works.
  • Depending on your combination of buttons the fonts change and that delights me to no end. No one else will notice this. Sometimes you do things for you though.