SitRep

Hi All.

  • I built out this site a little more- I’ve added a “Projects” menu item on the left hand side that breaks down some of my projects in more detail that I’d really want to drop in a normal post. If you’re into the minutiae, that’ll be interesting (a comprehensive look at my history and efforts with building shoulder bags?). Otherwise, maybe not so much.
  • The studio overhaul is currently stalled. I haven’t been able to free up the time to get the lumber that’s really needed for the next step, so it’s on hold. More oddball hardware continues to arrive (a second two monitor mount, for example), but for the next step I need lumber. No way around it.
  • A post shared by Tim Calvin (@nothingfuture) on

    I’ve been making prototypes of bike seat bags- these are super minimal (as I like them). Just enough to hold some tubes, a small multitool, and a tire lever (one!). I’m getting closer, but I have some refinements of my pattern I want to put into play before I consider making a run of them. Also, I tend not to prototype stuff like this in the eventual materials I’d use on a final product- so sourcing some better fabric goes on the to-do list.

  • In the last week, I’ve fixed two appliances at the house- the microwave and the washing machine. The combination of youtube and a multimeter can get you pretty far, as it turns out.
  • I upgraded my 2009-era Mac Mini (Core2Duo, yo!) with 4gb more RAM (now 5gb, up from 2), and an SSD drive (250gb, up from a 5400rpm 120gb mechanical drive). Holy hell what a difference! It clicks right along now, and it’s totally useable. Amazing.

SitRep

I’m going for consistency, here.

  • All the hardware for the studio revision is here. All that remains is buying the wood, cutting, gluing, nailing, sanding, and finishing the desks and shelves. Honestly, that’s like a weekend afternoon day to do. Maybe two. Building the rack case will take a little longer, but now that I’ve sorted out some of the construction details, even that shouldn’t be too bad. I’m starting to think about lighting and cord management again.
  • I got a lovely couple of bike rides in this week- one on the mountain bike in some heat (90!), and the other on my gravel bike (where I got myself in over my head terrain-wise). Cycling seems to do something to me- nothing else really settles me as much, and I’m a much better person when I ride a bit. I think I took this for granted when I was younger (and rode all the time regardless of anything else), but since… it’s been interesting to rediscover this about myself.
  • I’m starting to look at tandems. I had been thinking about a Salsa Powderkeg (a gravel-focused bike), but lately I’ve been second guessing that and looking at full suspension bikes. One of my kids is hounding me pretty hard to ride one, and I’d like to make it happen at some point. Just gotta find the right thing.

 

SitRep

Twice in a week!

  • I’ve run into/met up with two former students this week- it was pretty neat to see how they’re turning out as people (spoiler: pretty awesome). Also: stop calling me Mr. Calvin. Jeeze.
  • Studio v3 continues. I’ve finally got plans for the rack mount case completed, so I’m just about ready to buy the rest of the stuff and build things out. Pretty exciting.
  • I’ve made some bike repairs this week, too. Some out of necessity (I wrecked a rear tire on my mountain bike), and some out of pseudo maintenance (my road bike badly needed new bar tape). Both had oddball complications (a tire that wouldn’t seat and had a puncture; finishing twine that was a bit too furry for the use), and both had creative solutions (I built a high-volume air chamber to push a lot of air into the tire rapidly and I used some sealant and cotton to patch the puncture; I wrapped the twine carefully and then burnt off any wayward fibers).
  • I just sent out the 91st mailing of my newsletter. It feels weird to have been working on that project for so long (a bit over three years!), and to still be finding interesting stuff to share with folks.
  • I’ve been starting to thing about tandem bikes more (and bikes in general, always). My kids are getting to the point where they might fit on the back of some, and that’d mean I could do Dad-time and Bike-time all at the same time. That’s efficient! Also: sharing something I love with the people I love makes me melt inside. That said, I’ve also been learning a lot about TIG welding, so take from that what you will.

SitRep

updatesupdatesupdates

  • All the specialty hardware for the new version of the studio is in. And the weather is turning better. You know what’s next.
  • Waist bag v1 is done. I’ve weirdly been using it day-to-day at work because it holds my salad container and whatnot perfectly, but I’m sure I’ll have it out on the bike soon. It’s a draft, but it came out way better than I’d hoped for a beta. It still has a couple of changes I’ll make (buckles, internal seams, etc), but it’s nearly in its finished form. NF-P-63
  • I’m going to update the new/old Mac Mini I got. Max out the RAM, maybe add an SSD to make it snappy right quick fast.
  • I’ve begun designing a cable cam. That’s a camera platform that runs along a wire- it’s like a gondola for a camera. It’d be great for moving shots and other neat vantage points. There’s a lot of ways to skin that cat, and it’s a matter of walking the line between simple and complicated. Also: given the time this might take me, drones might progress enough with price/obstacle avoidance/subject following to make it moot. We’ll see.
  • My dad ended up with a Software Defined Radio Receiver from Adafruit and was showing it to me while I was there on vacation. Now I need one (and to integrate it into studio v3.

SitRep

Updates.

  • The studio overhaul is making more progress- all the specialty hardware for the build has been ordered and is en route. Final drawings are finished, so now it’s a matter of getting the rest of the parts list (that’s all locally available), and waiting a bit for the weather to turn just a little more- the finish work on the wood requires temperatures we’re not seeing consistently enough. Soon, though.
  • Back to riding and shooting video again. The temps are up enough (and the trails have dried enough) to make mountain biking a workable thing again. I’m really excited about this season. (New silly video here) I’ve even got 3 out of 4 bikes ready to ride so far.
  • The new network/server infrastructure is up and working. My NAS is pretty much where I want it to be, and the new server seems to handle the loads it’s seeing with some degree of grace. I’m really looking forward to getting everything organized and neat in the new rack system.
  • Shoulder bag version 5 came together in a single day. I decided that I’d been letting complexity get the better of me, and that for the best functionality I should pare things back as much as I possibly could. Taking some inspiration from musette bags (of the cycling type), the new bag is super simple. 500d Cordura outer, 400d nylon liner, a bit of velcro and some padding, and it’s done. Works really well, so far. (I think I’ll do a retrospective of my shoulder bag projects in a post at some point.)
  • nvALT is a lovely, lovely thing. My affection for txt files has only grown, and this tiny bit of software is a special thing.

SitRep

I can’t imagine anyone actually reads these. Regardless,

Updates!:

  • Studio project v0.3 actually made some real progress- studs have all been mapped, a scale drawing has been done, and I’ve got a full parts list for the desks and shelves (though I still have some work to do on the rack). I’ve marked the wall for mounting, and started moving the mass of gear to give myself reasonable access during the build.
  • Shoulder bag v5 just came off the sewing machine. It’s about as simple as I could imagine, and I’m hoping that means I’ll use it and stop fretting so much. Also: getting something done in one sitting always feels pretty cool.
  • PLEX setup v3 is nearly up and running. I’ve picked up a Synology DS418 NAS for storage, and it’s loaded with 4 x 4TB drives. That is talking to an older Mac Mini running PLEX (handling the transcoding and whatnot), and those are both running over gigabit ether. All that means I finally have enough storage, I have backups dealt with, and I can run PLEX 24/7 without seeing the bump on my electric bill.
  • My trail bike is ready to ride- I finally swapped out a bent rear rotor. I’ll need to air the tires and lube the chain, but it should be good to go. I’d love to take it out soon… it’s just still snowing here. I’ll wait until that stops, thanks.

Studio Re-Design (part 1, the before)

I’ve been yammering on for weeks about the work I’ve been doing preparing to rework the studio/home office, but it occurs to me I’ve hardly broached either the why or the how of all that. And I’ve skimped on pictures, too. So let’s fix all that.

The current space looks (more or less) like this:

Studio before.

Yowch. That’s not pretty. To be fair, there’s a bunch of stuff prepped in those bins for the install, so it’s a fair bit more cluttered than “normal” right now. But still.

I’ll break down part of what you’re seeing. On the left far wall- that’s all analog stuff. Sewing, typing, book binding, soldering, crafting… all that stuff happens over there somewhere. There’s about eight feet of desk there between the two tables, but it’s crowded and not great. The right side is all digital stuff- that’s some rack gear on the ground, four monitors (for two different machines), and a laptop. And another rack underneath. And it’s a hot mess of cables and clutter. No good.

The plan is something like this (all along the right hand wall):

IMG_3897

In case you can’t read my writing, that’s two seven foot desks (with a bit of overlap) mounted to the wall, and a freestanding (on casters!) 28u rack on the far right. That extends my computer standing desk from just under four feet wide to seven, and adds a considerable amount of storage above for all the other supplies I need to keep around.

The 28u rack I’ll be building is 30″ deep, too- so it’s going to get all the audio, video, and computer gear I have strewn around. All the hard drives. All the dead media format devices (VHS!) I keep around. All of it, in one place, neatly. Both computers go in there, too, along with (I imagine) the in-the-mail NAS I’m putting together.

I’ve got most of a parts list (and most of the cut-list, too), but I need to take some more measurements and finally do a proper scale drawing of the whole thing (with markings for the studs in the wall) to know exactly how many brackets of which type I need to buy. And then there are a couple of specialty parts (24″ shelf brackets, 28u rack mount rails, etc) that need to be special ordered, so I’ll have to get those en route.

So that’s where I’m at: an hour with the stud finder and some tape away from a full shopping list. Then it’s time to mount stuff to walls, cut and glue a bunch of shelves, and get going on the rack case.

SitRep

Updates on projects.

  • If you’ve been following along, I’ve been working on the redesign of my home studio office. Right now it’s cobbled together from a selection of existing desks and tables, but I’m moving the entire thing to a wall-mounted shelving system. It’s going to clean things up a TON and give me more/better working space, but it’s a lot to do- there are a lot of considerations for hardware and use cases, and I want this system to work for the foreseeable future. I’ve recently started organizing and compiling the gear that’s going to go into this, and the first of those new parts start showing up shortly. I’m moving to a Synology DS418 NAS box for storage and access, and I’m moving my Plex install from my XServe to a Mac Mini that’s going to (mostly) do just that. I’m likely to end up with something like 12TB of storage, which should be plenty for backups and media and whatnot. I can’t actually really start to build this thing for a bit longer- I need the temperatures to get up enough that I can do finish work on the wood parts, and it’s still feeling like winter around here. Soon, though.
  • I’m really excited to get back on the bike and filming again. I’d made some headway late last year with producing more riding videos, and I liked the extra push to be creative both on the bike and behind the camera. I’m looking forward to doing more of that, and I’ve been getting the camera(s) ready and the bike(s) ready as well. I could use the exercise, too.
  • I’ve been working slowly on a new bag project for a while now- I need a new riding bag that’s built to handle not only tools and whatnot, but also filming gear. I’ve been in the development phase for a while, but I’m making good headway with the design brief, and I’m hoping to get started on the pack soonish. Maybe when the new sewing table is ready.
  • After the studio overhaul, it’s time to overhaul the garage. I’ve got (mostly) enough storage, but I really need to do a better job optimizing it. That means, in this case, ripping apart what I have and reworking it all. Again, I’m waiting for things to be just a teeny bit warmer before ripping into that.
  • IMG_3696I’ve been wearing my “Space Shoes” now for a few months, and they’re holding up pretty well- and so I’m just starting to think about what a summer pair might look like in the same vein. I’m also looking at some changes to construction- building certain aspects of the shoes somewhat differently and learning from the first pair.

SitRep

Updates are needed and warranted.

  • My love for Hypercard has been re-kindled, it seems. I used to love playing with it, building games and data sets and whatever, but… it’s been gone a long time now, and I’ve never found an especially good alternative to it. The solution was to grab an ancient laptop off the shelf that still boots Mac OS9, and install Hypercard. Looking forward to playing with this more.
  • The Studio Desk v0.3 work continues. I’ve been working on the electric plans for this- figuring out what gear goes where and how things should be wired for maximum flexibility. It’s currently looking like two 7′ desks (wall mounted) and a 28u rolling rack unit besides it (for A/V gear), as well as a rolling rack for my computer underneath. I’ve started compiling hardware as well- breaking down the current setup a bit and sorting out the bits I’m going to need once the desks are built. I’m also going to have to build a second Mobile Parts Rack for analog tools overflow, so there’s that, too.
  • Slowly getting back away from proprietary formatted document storage (gdrive, evernote, etc…), and moving back towards txt and rtf files. They’re robust and wildly compatible, and within the bounds of the formatting the offer, they’re elegant. I’ve re-installed nvALT for the first time in a long while, and it’s going to be my home for a lot of those reference files I keep.

Research List #41

Currently Researching:

  • DIY Motion Controlled camera sliders (with, ideally, pan and tilt, but that’s likely outside what should be the initial scope of the project)
  • Better rivets for clothing (closer to what’s used on jeans)
  • Modular Panel Mount connectors (for new desks)
  • NAS solutions (it’s hard to find decent non-Atom based units for reasonable money)
  • Alternatives to the GShock GA100
  • Backup generators (given the number of multi-day outages I’ve had in the last two years…)