Monday, December 26, 2011

87 Ritchey Commando...

All XT and Ritchey Logic, Specialized tires and rims.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Oh shit!!!...

So, I had honed the blades on my Leatherman Wave multi-tool to within an inch of their lives, so shaving sharp, and was using it today to cut the weather stripping in our doors to length.
The tool dropped, point first into/through the fleshy part of my left hand, from about a foot or two.
It stuck there momentarily as blood started pumping out a shade of red I had forgotten existed. Time does compress in those circumstances.
Just time for an "Oh Shit!!!" before I rushed to the nearest sink and ran it under cold water.
A butterfly stitch later (knew there was a reason I bought them 10 years ago and brought them across country with me) and all is well, but it's a very strange feeling watching a blade go into one's hand, and vital fluids pump out.
Luckily it missed the tendon of my left index finger by half an inch ;-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Final prototype...

Here are 2 pics of my final prototype iPod Touch stand. Made from a single 14 gauge stainless steel bicycle spoke, and a couple of short lengths of shrink-wrap tubing. The angle it holds the 4th generation iPod Touch varies from 43 to 75 degrees, and because I carefully balanced the whole pivoting feature, it stays in position anywhere between those two extremes.
Also in the pictures is the stylus I made for my Jornada 728, an Ebay purchase that was missing its stylus. It's made of tubes of Brass, Aluminum and Copper, with a handmade stylus point from acrylic. It's quite a bit heftier than the plastic original. Nice!

Nice knife...

Crocodile Dundee would be proud to own this knife.
The image came from a post on the EDC Forums, where an owner had gutted a Victorinox Swiss Army knife, then buffed and polished it beyond belief, and then reassembled it with a bunch of polished titanium hardware, liners, toothpick and tweezers.
It's a work of art.

The new travel rig...

Here's a couple of pics of my iPod Touch resting on a stand that I made recently from an old bicycle spoke. In front of it is the Apple bluetooth keyboard that I just bought (2nd hand, but looks unused) from a member of the Ars Technica Classifieds.

Here's a breakdown of the weights of the components in the system:
Charging cable and power adapter....2.0oz


It would be hard to find any system that offers such capability, good looks, and such a low combined weight. Bear in mind, that an iPad alone weighs 21.3oz, and then you would be typing on a sub-optimal virtual keyboard.

A few things to note.
1...Apple says that the Bluetooth Keyboard has a minimum system requirement of "an iPad". Whatever that means, rest assured that it pairs with, and works with, an iPod perfectly.
2...Almost all of the special function buttons on the top row of the keyboard work perfectly with the iPod. Just a couple don't work, and that's because the iPod simply doesn't have the equivalent function built-in.
3...Pairing is almost instantaneous, there is also zero lag time between a key press and the result appearing on the screen.
4...There is an "eject button" on the keyboard (the top right button on the keyboard). This is essentially a toggle between the Bluetooth keyboard, and the on-screen iPod Touch keyboard.
5...I built the stand with the ability to change the screen angle. This is useful when setting it up for optimum viewing, whether typing, or watching video.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What's on my iPod...

Here's what's in my playlist in the "Podcaster" app on my iPod Touch, 4th generation:

Try a few, there are some excellent podcasts there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

iPod Touch or iPhone stand...

I had a few spokes from a bicycle wheel I had disassembled, and thought I would try making a stand for my iPod Touch.
After a couple of tries, I came up with this. Note that it allows for viewing at two different angles.
Simple, easy, and uses recyled materials: what's not to like?

Friday, August 05, 2011

Erin's cat....

My friend Erin shared this pic with me. It's one huge cat.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


This was in the window of Albermarle Baking Company on Main St, Charlottesville, VA, this morning. Photo courtesy of Kervin.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pocket-sized PC tips

On most of my HPCs, the best-working Google site is 

Computer progress...

Just a few shots to show how computers have changed a little over the years.
In the background is a shot of the Dell Precision I use every day, it has a 15 inch screen, with great resolution (1920 by 1200 I think).
Sitting in front of it is a Jornada 728 that I picked up on Ebay a couple of weeks ago. It is displaying the HPCFactor website in glorious 640 by 240 resolution on the Opera browser!!!
When I got the Jornada, the stylus was MIA. Rather than buy a replacement, in all its plasticky glory, I made a replacement from Aluminum, Brass and Copper tubing (all available at the hardware store). The tip is made from a small piece of acrylic that I "coned" and polished. It fits perfectly.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Appreciate the time we live in...

It is just amazing how pervasive technology has become, whilst at the same time it is now ubiquitous and easy to take for granted.
Just think for a second the next time you type a search into Google, or watch a YouTube video about all of the amazing technical progress needed to make that all possible, and how fast it has all happened.
Just half a century ago we were all amazed at the first pocketable transistor radio or digital watch. Now I can type this blog on a 4 ounce iPod touch, connected via wifi to any website on earth.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

firmware update

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Nice campground

Just a mile or so from P-Town

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So, take... iPod Touch, 4th gen. Sign up for a free account at Download and install the ustream app for the iPod. Stream live video anywhere you have a wifi connection.
Even if you don't have a live wifi connection, you can shoot the video and stream it when you are connected.
It's amazing how the barriers to doing this kind of stuff have fallen over the years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bridge Winners

One of the best Bridge blogging sites out there. Check it out:
Bridge Winners

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazing blog...

Took these two pics from this blog
You can find them under the "Girls with Freckles" section.......but be sure to check out some of the oher arresting images on the site.

Monday, May 16, 2011

ARNOVA 8 Android tablet...

Just picked one up, they literally just came on the market with the capacitive screen. Previously they were resistive.
Anyway, build quality is impressive for an inexpensive tablet, however, with the original firmware the device was a little sluggish, scrolling was quite jerky, selection of screen items hit-or-miss, and worst: whenever the tablet put itself to sleep it froze. This required the reset button to be pressed, and then it would boot, but after that you'd still have to go through the screen calibration again before you could use it. As it's supposed to be "instant on", that's a definite downer.
Last night there was a firmware update posted on the Arnova site, so I installed it. It fixed, or really improved most issues, yet the tablet still requires the reset if it is allowed to sleep for more than about 30 minutes.
So I have 3 choices:
1...return it.
2...wait for a firmware fix that will cure the problem, or
3...try a hacked firmware from arctablet.
As it's such a new machine I am obviously loathe to try hacked firmware at this point, so I guess I will wait a while and see if Archos (Arnova is a brand of theirs) can come up with the fix.

Update: tried putting the tablet down for sleep, and connecting it to the power supply. It still blanks the screen after a minute of course, however, for the next hour or so, providing the unit remains plugged in, a press on the power button (or home screen button) wakes it up immediately. For about another half hour after that it'll still wake ....but now only using the power button. About another half hour after that, and it's back to needing the reset button pressed.
So, my guess is that something is happening during the different levels of sleep that the tablet is entering that eventually causes it to be unable to wake.

Last update: Returned it to the supplier. Archos seems to have a real history of never-quite-fixing-their-junk-yet-nevertheless-putting-it-out-on-the-market. Google reveals all.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Making me tired...

Say no more.


From Gizmodo...
This could be the ultimate "bike." If bikes running off two car batteries plus an electric power drill is considered a bike. The DIY badboy has a seat fashioned out of an office chair, eight wheels and three bike frames.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bicycle wine storage...

File it under the "just in case" category...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Canoe building...

Spent a very pleasant afternoon with Dave and Dave (2 boyhood friends), a few miles north of here. Their passion is building canoes and small wooden boats, and sometimes renovating old canoes.
I got to see some pictures of their work, and it's quite impressive. In a large barn there are about six canoes and small sailing boats that they have worked on, but all these pictures were taken in an adjacent workshop, where they were working on a canoe that was about half-built.
I'll let the photo's speak for themselves.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bad hair day.....

And one might think they could afford a trip to the hairdresser. Even a little mousse?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Lost System of Jigger Johnson...

JIGGER JOHNSON has been called the last of a colorful breed of loggers - - that race of men who cut a swath of timber from Maine to Oregon and yelled like crazed devils every spring when the drive was in and they were released from the savage woods for a few days to pound the bars. His life, and especially his death at age 65 in 1935, symbolized the end of an era. As writer Stewart Holbrook noted in his book on loggers, "Holy Old Mackinaw," "The professors would term Jigger’s brief story an epitome, and so it was. "In tribute to one of the 20th century's most colorful characters, the U.S. Forest Service’s Saco Ranger District on the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) in Conway is featuring an exhibit on the late former USFS employee beginning in mid-January.The late Bob Monahan, who died in 1994 at age 86, was a former Dartmouth College forester and longtime friend of the Jigger. Monahan claimed that the nickname, "Jigger," could be attributed to Johnson’s small stature, as he was only five-foot-six, and never weighed more than 160 pounds. "All of him was steel-spring muscle, except his head, which contained brains aplenty”; said Monahan, a founding member of the 1932 Mount Washington Observatory and a member of the summit crew that year. "Those who witnessed him in battle still recall his courage and ferocious attack — no matter the odds against him”. There, by the grace of God and assorted genes, walked a man among men. "I can run faster, jump higher, squat lower, move sideways quicker, and spit further than any son-of-a-bitch in camp," is the way Johnson used to put it upon his arrival at a new logging operation. Others might add that he was the greatest drinking man’s he-man, blessed with a stomach lined with boilerplate. Jigger was tough even at the usually tender age of 12, a fact, which he quickly proved during a mealtime scuffle with a grown man twice his size upon his arrival at a logging camp. Conversation at dinner was forbidden, a custom, which was challenged by a new group of loggers who arrived in camp with heavy hangovers, just in time for supper.When one of them insisted on talking loudly at the table, Jigger dutifully told him to shut up, prompting the elder man to jump the boy and push him to the floor where he pounded him. Jigger hugged the big drunk close, set his keen young teeth into an ear, and hung on. When some of the crew pried the pair apart, a good hunk of the ear remained in Jigger’s mouth. According to the accounts of old loggers, he had few equals as a woodsman at a time when a man was judged by the smoothness of the scarf of his axe’s undercut. He could fell a tree uphill, downhill, with or against the wind, even so that upon falling it would drive a stake previously set in the ground. It was told that he would walk a felled spruce, barefoot, and kick off every knot from butt to top. Despite his considerable fighting skills, Jigger’s taut body bore the marks left by the stellcalks of opponent’s logging boots, injuries which he referred to as his "logger’s smallpox." That his face was free from such marks was attributed to the fear in which men held Jigger’s teeth.
Sometime in the fall of 1932 Jigger was trying to hitch a ride down to his favorite tavern in Portsmouth. Few cars passed him by in the great woods, but after two days of hitching, and sleeping overnight in a frozen ditch, a car driving Harold S. Vanderbilt to Bretton Woods kindly stopped. Jigger immediately struck Harold as a man with a keen mind, and Harold imparted in Jigger all he knew about the game of Contract Bridge, a game then in its infancy. Within a few months Jigger became adept enough at the game to win consistently, dazzling all with his card skills, his savage mountain brain tricking the clueless minds of seasoned players. But this was not enough for Jigger: he took the best parts of Vanderbilts’ pet system, the forcing club, and married it with super-light opening bids and dazzling psyches. “Presumed Fit” opening bids and even a “Forcing Pass” were part of his system, both uses of these bids pre-dating the “invention” of them decades later by others. He was unbeatable that summer of ’33. Sadly, Jigger’s lifestyle and alcohol consumption severely limited his tournament appearances for what was to be the rest of his life.
Jigger’s life came to a tragic and churlish end on a cold winter day in March 1935. Having sold a big lynx only a day or two before and consequently in funds, he’d headed into Conway to celebrate with his drinking cronies while his bounty receipts lasted. Remembering that state law required daily visits to traps, and realizing that he was a day or two overdue, Jigger hired what he still called a horse-less carriage and a driver to take him to a point off the West Side in Passaconaway where he could take off on snowshoes for his trap line. Moving along all too fast, the car slithered off the icy road and sideswiped a telephone pole just as Jigger had opened the door to jump out. All of the old-time loggers attending his funeral remarked that it was a hell of a way for the Jigger to get sluiced, Stewart Holbrook noted. He was buried in a pauper’s grave at North Conway Cemetery, according to David Emerson of the Conway Historical Society. Largely through the urging of Monahan and other friends, the U.S. Forest Service honored the great woodsman by naming a campground located on the Kancamaugus (sic) Highway after Jigger. It’s one way of remembering a man and a way of life whose time has long passed.
During October of 1993, two friends, Neill Currie and Tony Melucci, were exploring the Lost River on the Cancamagus highway in New Hampshire. They were friends through their love of Bridge, and were out leaf-peeping. Scrabbling around the many rocky “man holes” in the Lost River, Tony chanced upon a small silver locket wedged into a crack in the rock. It looked like it had been there for many, many years. Back in the light of day, they opened the locket, and carefully unfolded the delicate parchment within. Their hands trembled when they realized what was before them: the fabled “Lost System of Jigger Johnson”, which had been lost for sixty years, was detailed for the young pair of fledgling players. It took them many months to grasp the full intricacies of “The System for the ages”, as Edgar Kaplan once called it reverently, but their addled brains finally worked out some of the arcane knowledge contained within that silver locket. Months later, when the two had finally eked out enough of Jiggers brilliance to play a dull version of it themselves, hacking in local Bridge Clubs, Neill would invariably make some bone-headed bid, costing the pair many matchpoints. Tony would sigh, and gently ask his friend “Now, what would Jigger have done?”
And thus, “The Lost System” lived on to fight another day. For System details, please read here. My BBO User Name is jota981 if you have questions, or, I may have enabled comments on this blog.