Archive for the ‘do it yourself’ tag
Lately I’ve been hearing everyone at work say, “It is what it is.” These people are not more insightful all of a sudden, they’re just quoting the cleaning guy at work known as “Muffin”. Why, I don’t know. I didn’t ask “Muffin” why he goes by “Muffin”. I assume it must have something to do with the, “It is what it is.” Maybe?
So in the spirit of, “It is what it is”, I am trying to make a post. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just find myself doing “other things” and the Internet site is always a distant 3rd place on the priorities. Though it makes a good journal to keep me motivated. I need to motivation most of the time, otherwise it will just been beer, sleep, video games. We can’t live like that all the time. I don’t mind trying, it’s just not healthy.
I have several things to post, I’ve just not got my photos together. Enough of my mind dribble and lets get to it.
MP3 docking station for my car. I figured since the US Transportation Administration will be doing way with devices in cars soon, I might as well get this out there. I HATE all thing APPLE. I really do. You can believe what ever you want about APPLE you crazy ass hipsters with your tight black jeans and fat black rimmed glasses. APPLE products are for dicking around. Very few, and I mean few people use them for real work. I know, there will be be a ton of you silly asses telling me that you really are more creative and get SOOOO MUCH ACCOMPLISHED on your Mac. I am sure you do in your own mind. Now why do I have so much hate for them?
- I don’t need to feel like I fit in when I use my computer. It didn’t work when I was nerd in school, and it sure the hell isn’t going to work now.
- My PC ROCKS. It’s cheaper than you Mac, It’s more secure, it easier to get parts, add-ons and upgrades. Also, I don’t run Windows OS, so all my software is free.
- I don’t have to put my credit card into my MP3 player the first time just to use it.
- My software is opensource.
- No one controls my applications or my OS. My computer and my MP3 player are truly free of other companies control.
- My OS doesn’t spy.
- No DRM on my laptop or MP3 player.
- Steve Jobs was a smarmy pompous ass-hole. You can say that is an opinion, but to me it’s a fact.
- APPLE isn’t innovative, they’re just better at stealing other peoples ideas.
So when it came to looking for a new MP3 player, I went with a COWON S9. I have no DRM on it, and no company that has access to my MP3 player. I control what goes on it. The only issue, no good docking cradle in my car. SHAPELOCK to the rescue!
My design was to have a ridged yet flexible docking unit. I decided to use 3 pieces of romex 20 amp cable with a spine like support for the arm.
This is what I came up with.
The holding base is looped in order to permit that audio cable an easy connection. I used an old power outlet converter so that it plugs into any aux power port in the car. Here is a view from mein auto.
Here is a photo I took at 5am. So the focus is my fault for not being awake.
Lastly I have a photo of it without the MP3 in it. The back of the housing sits off of the MP3 play by about 12% angle. This makes the release of the MP3 player from the dock easy. I just push on the back and it expands off of the player.
Ok, one word of warning for those that want to make such a thing. If you live in a place where summer can get warm, don’t leave your shapelock devices in the sun. It will get to over 140 deg in your car and your shapelock will melt. Keep it out of the sun and you might be ok.
Since then, I have melted this down. Not that I didn’t like it, I just needed more shapelock for my Halloween mask and didn’t have the time to wait for more to come by mail. I can always make another one. That is the beauty of prototyping.
It’s official that summer is over and this one went quick. In June we a beloved friend from Germany come and visit. Only one week though. :’(
We were hoping on doing more, but time limits us all. Then we had another dear German visit us in July. Not the same German, but apparently we’ve made rounds and met people in Germany. Then came August where we had childhood friend from Seattle come visit. That was a good time too. Let’s just say people from Seattle don’t hold their beer as well as a German. So now that our hostel is closed for the fall, we move on to new things.
Also as a side note, the blog updates of 2011 have been few and far apart. Not for the lack of trying, but for the busy schedule. It’s some what depressing when I think of how busy I’ve been, but I don’t have much to show in accomplishment.
Storms in the spring resulted in some hail damage on our roof. After dealing with insurance companies and quotes from roofers, we’ve got new roofs. The roofs were covered, but there were some additional changes that we had done that created out of pocket expense. We had solar attic fans put in for our solarium room and our attic.
Yeah, it looks small in the picture, but it moves a lot of air. On a sunny day as high as 1550 CFM. It will even run a bit on a cloudy day. It just depends on how bright it is outside. It’s also very silent. It makes about as much sound as our DVR player. So that’s not bad. It has a thermostat that turns on around 60 deg. I am planning on modifying that when I have a chance so that I can turn it off or set my own thermostat to adjust the temperature I want it to turn on at. At least in the sun room. So far I am happy with it. It also has a tax rebate up to 30% so that is nice.
So the Halloween time has come and passed. I tried to get this post in before that time period, but I am having issues with centralizing my photos. I have them, just on different memory cards and devices. It’s making thing a bit more difficult. Not to mention the latest bugs with bluetooth in Ubuntu 11.10 make it difficult to get photos off my phone.
Here is my costume construction.
It took about 4 hours to mold the mask using shape lock plastic. It took 4 hours to shape the mold, another 1 1/2 hours to paint. The fabric is from “Joanne Fabrics”, three yards for $18.18.
Here is some side shots of the mask close up.
The hat took another 3 hours. What can I say, I’ve never stitched a hat before. I also created a coif to attach to the mask and cover the face and head completely. That entailed cutting three separate pieces of two dimensional fabric and fabric in the correct patterns to fit my 3D head. This took me another 2 hours to make. Again, I’ve never sewn a coif before.
The finished product.
Here is a close up from the side.
The robe I made four hours before heading out to the bars for a Halloween drink. I sewed the arms to fit first, then attached them to the torso of the costume. The seams were all folded in on the stitch and double stitched. I was going out drinking in this puppy and I was worried about snagging it on something. I had to make it heavy duty to survive the beer-a-thon that was coming. Mmmmm Czechvar!
Addition to this I also sewed two more costumes for my wife and daughter. They were Heat Miser and Snow Miser from “The year without a Santa Claus”. I have photos of that, but I don’t know if they want them on the “Internets” so I will leave them out for now. I totaled the time for my costume and it was around 22 hours in the making. My wife’s and daughter’s costume, I don’t know, but I’m sure it took longer then mine.
Then came Halloween which means having to decorate for the trick or treaters. This typically takes 3 hours to get everything setup, but this year we did it in two. Here is one side of the drive way.
It looks better at night with the lights. I don’t have a tripod so it’s almost impossible to get a good shot of this at night.
Other happenings as of recent. I had to travel to Boston for work. I got some nice photos of the occupy Boston.
I saw many, many tents, but not a lot of people. Either they were hanging out in the tents or most of them were on a pee break when I happen to walk by. Happy Camping.
Working in Boston is ok. This last trip was some what of a break since there were less then 10 people in an office. It was nice to still do work and take a break from the daily chaos. The last day must have been a dog day. I say this because I was being following around the office all day.
This is a 3 year old bulldog named Tyson. I was listening to my MP3 player and I keep smelling something stinky. I looked under my desk and there was a very panting bulldog slobbering on my shoe. I made the mistake of scratching the puppy behind the ears. This guaranteed me an escort everywhere I walked in the office.
This bulldog charms you with its pathetic look on it’s face. I am not a dog person and I can go as far as to say that I can’t stand dogs, but this dog definitely had me laughing with it’s breathing noise and waddling.
Another favorite of mine while in Boston is Jacob Wirth and Company. The German food is not exactly German, but the beer can be. It’s the only place other than NYC where I can find Radeberger on draft. Mmmmm Lecker!
I was in Boston till last Friday. I got most of my work done, but found that I still need to fix a few more issues. So I will probably have to head back in February. Brrrrrrrrrr! We shall see how occupy Boston is holding together by then.
Upon my return, a wonderful German delivered me a bottle of something special from the Czech Republic.
This is the 1 liter bottle from the Czech republic too. Not the .75 liter. Needless to say I’ve had it 4 days and I am half way through the bottle. WHY DO THEY HAVE TO MAKE IT SOOO TASTY?
UPDATE: After a 2 year email and phone call campaign to the state of Pennsylvannia, I can now get Becherovka here as well. Ohh happy days.
So it’s been a long while since I posted anything. September had squat on the site and the months are down to 1 post a month. I do feel pathetic about not keeping up on the blog, but it’s not from a lack of motivation. I’ve been busy.
- Planning a trip to New Zealand
- Getting ready for Halloween
- Working on the Co-Op Farm
- Tracking down delicious beers
- Building my own phone server for home
- Playing with Shapelock plastic
- Experimenting with hair growth
- Hiking in the woods with wife and neice
- Visiting the Hofbrauhaus for Oktoberfest
- Setting up a new laptop
So it’s not a lack of doing that furloughed the blog. It’s the trying to do to much that kept me form getting to it.
Ok, so where do I start. Shapelock plastic. It’s a wonderful invention where the purchase of these little plastic pellets permits the creation of a myriad of creations. An example of this was a 5 min MP3 docking stations I made for my Cowon MP3 player at work.
The base plastic stand was from and old external hard drive holder. The white plastic holding the MP3 player is the shapelock molding I made in less the 5 mins with the hot water dispenser on the water cooler and some shapelock plastic.
For more ideas on shapelock plastic visit the website Shapelock.com
So some of my time has been spent molding things for Halloween and parts to fix broken objects around the house. I don’t want to show everything because I don’t want to give anything away yet. My Halloween costume is made of shapelock plastic and I will show where I’m on that later in this post.
Also in the above photo is my new ASUS n73jn laptop. It’s very, very nice (in my best Monty Python French accent). Of course though, It’s not a laptop with out some version of Linux, to be more exact Ubuntu. So I’ve been spending some time trying to get all the hardware devices working on it. First there were issues with audio, but that’s been solved. Then it still has issues with the Optimus graphics cards in Ubuntu. I’ve been able to solve that with the acpi_dump.ko module that I complied from source I got at http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.com. It enables me to use the module to turn off the high end Nividia graphics card on my laptop so that I get longer battery life. So now I just have to get the SD card reader (another reason why I haven’t been able to post photos) working and the Nvidia card working and I will be a happy boy.
In the last days of September we took our niece hiking in the mountains where she danced like a robot in the stream. Why, I don’t know, she’s a kid, and maybe she likes robots.
Every other week to every week I work at the co-op harvesting veggies. It’s typically every other week, unless I can get enough time into work that I can do it every week. Got to have the veggies.
I’ve also been seeing it Rogaine does grow hair. All my balding brother-en talk about it and deep down inside they want to try it. They’re just afraid someone might call the metro or that they will look desperate trying to cling on the whatever strands of hair make them feel like their still a man. Eh! What do I care? I saw a cheap price for 3 month supply and I figure what the hell, I’ll try it. This is the results of 1 month. Nothing really noticeable but there is a bit more hair. Nothing like the Australian rabbit plagues one might hope for, but it’s more then I had, and I still have some month left on the supply. So more photos later.
I Included large photos for those the want to compare closely the before and after. Please feel free to map my head, just don’t detail my life with your phrenology.
Last month a friend of mine had made some contacts and came across a wonderful case of beer. The first time I was in Germany I had to travel to Cologne. It just happen to be during the week of February 11th. In Cologne this is Karneval. So there was a much a do about beer drinking. They make a unique style of beer in Cologne known as Kölsch. Mike (my now dearly beloved friend) got me a case of Reissdorf and it was delicious. It did not last long in the house at all.
Mike also ended getting a keg of Reissdorf on tab at the pub/restaurant he manages he manages. So, I spent a lot of time there in the past month.
Lastly I’ve been working on the Halloween costume, which takes us back to the shapelock plastic. I started with heating some shapelock plastic, letting it cool a bit, then started molding a cast of my face. It took some time, but it provided a construct that I could modify from.
Ok, the nose it over emphasized deliberately and is not a true depiction of my real nose, so no need for the “big nose” jokes. I heated and slowly added on to the shape lock mask with the pellets heated in hot water and the use of a heat gun. I then had a complete molding to build from.
I then needed to do some cutting to add some holes.
Now the back of the mask.
Next I used an Arduino (freeduino) micro controller to run my lighting program and a bank of PNP transistors to switch the cathode side of the LEDs to have color change effect.