SitRep

As always, things afoot. Just time for the highlights, today.

  • I’ve put an item up on my shop– it’s a pair of my space shoes. They’re made to-order, so if you’re thinking about a pair, keep that in mind. I’d even be willing to *think* about having them not be two different colors, but… I dunno. Seems weird. Holler at me if you want a pair.
  • The second round of my analog zine is coming along. They take a really, really long time for me to do- and that’s ok. It’s the process, for me, that makes them interesting. I’m also getting a lot better at layout and planning as a result of these, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of impact that has on my other work.
  • Studio Desk v0.3 is coming along- I’m starting to settle somewhat on the layout and proportions, and now some of the details (wire and power management, port accessibility, finishes, etc) are coming into better focus.

Projects

This is less an update on status (my standard SitRep posts), and more some smaller look at how I manage some my projects. Just a small look, mind you.

IMG_3804This is a (partial) look at my project board- anything that I’m even thinking of making. It gets added to an index card, and pinned up. I (usually) organize them by category (bike, house, clothing, etc), but I shuffle them pretty often to see if anything lines up or can be batch processed. From here, these cards get filed as “finished” when the project is completed or “abandon” when I decide it’s not something I want to pursue. Every once in a while, on the rare occasion I’m feeling dry creatively, I sometimes paw through the “abandoned” cards for inspiration- I almost never re-up a project as-is.

For projects involving building, I usually spend some time sketching before I begin work. I have a couple of notebooks, depending on the scale I need, but this example is from my largest. It’s done in pencil, and it’s deliberately loose right now. I had the idea to overhaul my studio into a more functional space- that IMG_3820means more desk space and more storage, all while looking a bit less hodge-podge than things currently do. I’ll be installing a massive (16′ long!) work-wall, with (double) vertical desks build in- plus more shelving storage, cable management, and lighting. It’s about as big a project like this as I’ve taken on, and I know (based on finishing requirements) that I won’t be doing much until I can work in the garage again- the stain and polyurethane don’t like below freezing temps. But: I’m spending between now and then sketching and sketching and thinking to get the plans as solidified as I can, so when the temps finally break, I’ll be able to get right to work. So, for now, the sketches live here, and I’ll be revising and adding detail as I go. It’s the thinking that’s important, as it’ll make the construction go far more quickly, be less expensive, and better fit my ultimate needs.

So: between the board (to see the full range of the projects that are active) and the notebooks (for project details, sketches, equipment buy lists, etc), I find I manage to keep a reasonably good eye on what project is on which burner. For stuff I’ve never done before (like this studio 2.0 project), there’s a much-needed hibernation phase. I need the time to think through iterations on projects so I don’t have to build as many physical iterations. For some stuff (like my long suffering shoulder bag project, currently on prototype #5), that build/test/build is a normal part of the process- but when I can (and especially for larger stuff like this), I need to minimize the number of physical revisions.

Research List #40

On the oddball Research List

  • I’ve stumbled down an internet hole into vintage mechanical watch land, so… Seiko 6309-7040/9 (and, were I a wealthy man, Tudor M.N. and so on)
  • Motorola mdt-9100
  • Cubix PCI Expander chassis
  • DIY pipe VESA monitor mounts
  • Better local mass-storage for my computer workstation (I naturally lean towards rack mounted systems, but those are expensive)
  • Quick Release tripod plate systems
  • Alternatives to a Joby 5K Gorilla Pod

SitRep

It’s been a month, so it’s time:

  • My mobile/remote video shooting kit is coming along. I’m happy with the new zoom lens’s range (28-80 on an ASP-C sensor, so that’s like a 45-128), but the minimum focal distance is a pain- it’s north of 6 feet, so… yeah. Not awesome, in some ways. So right now I have to carry both a 28/2.5 prime and this zoom, which is fine, but… one more thing than I wanted to carry. Anyway, the new lav mic came, so that’s great (along with some wind muffs), and I’ve finally got my ND filter set up the way I’d like. Progress, then. Still need a better tripod/rigging solution that’s packable, as this setup is clearly over the weight limit for my current Joby Gorillapod.
  • A basement studio shelving project is taking shape- it’ll be of the same basic vein as the others I’ve built, but somewhat less ornate. I’ll use the same hardware, and likely build the shelves the same way (3/4″ ply with a 1×2″ facing board), but instead of a mahogany finish, I’ll likely go something lighter. And less staggered/offset shelves, as this is primarily a storage solution (and doesn’t have to pull double-duty as a display system. Or could it?).
  • I got a new bike helmet in (as the old one was… old), and I’m pretty excited to start (slowly) gearing up for spring riding. My new rear brake rotor came, too, so that needs to go on. Maybe (gasp!) even a brand-new set of tires this season. Or a dropper post (that I’ve been talking about getting for two years and still haven’t done anything about). All that is leading to me needing/wanting to build a new backpack for hydration and cameras while riding. Someone has to have made one of those, right? And then maybe a new crankset and bb? Because those have changed, somewhat, since my square-taper unit was made.
  • I’ve been reading about mobile data terminals as part of my effort to further build out my space like a cyberpunk control center.
  • I still want a metal lathe. I know, I’ve got no good place to put it (right now), and power/noise/upkeep is an issue (along with cost and weight…), but I want one anyway.
  • I’m coming along on project storage- it’s rough, because I tend to have so many in-process projects, and keeping things organized and not sprawling can be a challenge. But the last several months have had me making meaningful change, so that’s good.
  • I’m getting ready to build another zine, and I’m hoping to kick my newsletter mailings back into high gear (they’ve been going out, just somewhat slower). Apparently I’m itching to publish again.
  • I’ve not made a ton of progress with most of the other projects- it’s been the holidays and cold and whatnot, so some of that’s too be expected, but I’d still like to get back into high-speed project finisher mode.

SitRep

projects projects projects

  • I’ve continued shooting bike-based videos- but I’ve found myself itching to teach again/more, so I thought it’d make sense to combine the two and make teaching videos about bikes. Why not, right?
  • To that same end: I’m thinking about re-doing/expanding my original Lord of the Flies based Tangential videos. I made those five years ago (!) and they still, apparently, generate many of the views on my channel (which I’ve just now looked up). It’s still my favorite book to teach (all these years later), but I’ve never really done a full-blown solution to teaching it online. Those original videos were meant (primarily) as a front-loading exercise to clear up in classroom time. These new videos (and whatever else) would be a more complete & comprehensive solution.
  • MagicLantern is pretty neat. I know I’m late to the party and all that with it, but in all fairness, I’d not had something to play with it on, so… yeah. I’m not shooting RAW yet or anything, but it’s still opening up some welcome functionality.
  • I got RetroPie up and running on an original Pi Zero. That’s no big accomplishment, I realize, but it’s a stepping stone to picking up a Pi 3b and overclocking it (to better play N64 and PS1 games!).
  • I finally got a Silicon Dust HomeRun internet enabled digital TV tuner and got it working with my instal of PLEX. That means live tv on any device in the house (nearly), and in theory means easy DVR and replay of that live TV. I don’t seem to have that bit working reliably just yet, but I think I’m an update or two behind on my PLEX install, so we’ll see if that clears up the issues.

SitRep (a big-ish one)

Hi All.

Things I’ve been up to:

  • I refinished another bike seat. You might remember the previous (first!) seat I did a few months ago, but this was a much better job. I learned a bunch on the last one, and I was able to do a much cleaner job on this round. We’ll see how it holds up, now.
  • I wrote a tweet.

Let’s put aside the unfortunate typo, shall we? Actually, I relayed in a tweet something my wife does many times a day- which is to make a remarkably smart offhanded comment about something. In the two days since, it’s kind of slow-burned across twitter. It was meant as a quick jab back at the ALL STEM ALL THE TIME mentality. I’m finding that pretty toxic myself- all the stress on tech and science can (and has, I’d argue) led to technically amazing things with no moral/ethical thought. Facebook, for example. Totally amazing what they can do, and clearly without morals about doing it. Heck, twitter itself falls into that category. There’s a reason “Humanities” has the word “Human” in it, as we neglect those subjects at our own peril as a species.

  • I’ve been making bike riding videos over here. They’re short, to begin with (I’ve aimed for Instagram as a primary posting spot right now, and that’s capped at 60 seconds…) As much as anything, this is a way to keep pushing creatively. Like anything else, without practicing, creativity drops off, so I’m sharing my practice. If you care, they’re entirely (thus far) shot with my cell phone.
  • Did you know you can buy brand-new typewriter ribbons on Amazon? True story.

 

SitRep

Friday!

  • I took my “new” gravel bike out for it’s shakedown run today. Something like 13 miles in the hour I had (about 80% dirt/gravel, 20% pavement). Went better than I could ever hope. So much fun, and a nice change from the trail bike (and the trails I’ve been riding). Felt really good. More details on that project and bike here, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • I’m trying to get back to the newsletter- it’s been a while since I sent one out, but it’s been hard to find the stuff I like and work up the enthusiasm required. Getting close, though, I think.
  • I’ve got a growing list of projects again. It’s interesting- that seems to come in waves for me. I’ll generate a pile of new ideas and projects, and then I’ll shift into executing on those projects. For those interested, I type each new project idea onto an index card, and post those to a cork board. When/if they get done, they get sorted into a index file.
  • I’m working on some paint projects that (might) tie into some fabric projects. Still in the testing stage (and there’s a long, long way to go).

SitRep

I’ve not done a SitRep in a while, from the look of my archives. Time to make a list!

  • So the OBS software that I highlighted a few weeks ago is pretty rad. It’s not the most stable bit of kit when you lean on it hard, but it can do some fun stuff. I worked out some animated lower-third graphics and got those working, so that’s neat. I’ve no personal plans for this right now, but it’s good to have in my back pocket.
  • I’m running Spectacle on my Mac now- it’s a utility add-on that gives you hot keys to manage windows and screen real estate. So now I can mash a key combination and make a window hop to the other screen, or take up exactly half of a screen on the left side, or the top third, or whatever. Super useful for when you’re juggling lots of windows (and I often am).
  • As you can tell from my last few posts here, I’ve been shooting more video and making little edits from them. Mostly of my riding bikes, for now, but it’s good to be thinking about framing and shots and whatnot, as that always seems to stoke my creative problem solving in other parts of my world. It’s like lifting weights for creativity.
  • I’m working on a bike project outlined here. I’m getting slowed at the moment by missing some stupid little parts (shifter cable housing, electrical tape, bar tape, etc), and from having to swap the bike to a different rear wheel. Anyway.