Back at it.

  • I broke a spoke and flatted on my road bike yesterday, so now I need to fix the wheel and deal with tires. The rubber on that bike is pretty old, and while it looked to be in ok shape, it has some cracks and signs of age- so that’s likely to be  a new set of tires. I need to find out how large a tire that bike will fit, so I’m going to try to get in contact with the builder and see what he can tell me. Ideally, I’ll be able to fit a set of Compass 26c (or, maybe 28c) extralight tires. Maybe even a second set for the gravel bike (they have a 26″ x 1.8″ and 26″ x 2.3″ I’ve had my eye on…)
  • My Raspberry Pi 3 B+ came, and it’s up and running a Minecraft PE server. Setting up a Minecraft server on a RasPi should be easy, but because my kids play the PE variation of the game (via iOS devices instead of desktops), the sever software is more obscure, and finding a version that will run on a Pi is… annoying. Regardless, it seems to be working. Now I need to look into plugins and whatnot.
  • The “new” stereo is up and running. As per usual with me, there are things to work out, but for right now it seems to be working ok. It looks like the speaker’s woofers will need re-foaming, but I’ll get that sorted.
  • My Software Defined Radio came- it’s super neat to be able to listen to all manner of stuff floating around the airwaves. In theory, anyway, as my antenna is pretty small and I’m not finding many signals I can actually hear. I’m working on a better solution, so we’ll see.
  • I still need to build my rack mount for my office. I don’t want to rehash all the things that have gotten in the way, but there’s just been no time to get it all done. Soon, I hope, as it’s nearly the only thing between me and a finished studio.


Whoops! I managed to blow up my bandwidth for last month, so this site was inaccessible for a few days. I’m back, now. Updates!

  • I’ve gone through the media files for this site and thinned things out a bit- I foolishly left some photos at pretty high resolution (and thus larger file sizes…), so I’m hoping that’ll do the trick and keep bandwidth under control this month.
  • I’ve been ill, so my riding has been pretty much nil for last couple of weeks- and now the weather is super-duper hot-and-humid, so… yeah. Biking is frustratingly on hold for a bit as I recover.
  • As always, I’m an adaptor away from greatness: I was recently gifted a vintage NAD amp/receiver with some Boston Acoustics speakers, and those have becoming my new office sound system- but, as would always be the case, I’m short a pair of slightly obscure adaptors to make the final connections work. Typical.
  • My kids are starting to play a bit more Minecraft- and now they want to play together in-game. That’s pretty easy at first- they all play on iOS, and the can see local games. But it’s fickle and requires the host to always be in the game- they’d like to share a game a be able to work on it whenever. So: I’ve a Raspberry Pi inbound to be built up as a local Minecraft server. Should do the trick.
  • I’m still writing my newsletter. I just sent out #93 a couple of days ago, and (as per usual with newsletters) I had a few people immediately unsubscribe. That’s how it is- I get that. It’s just a drag to see your subscriber count creep slowly down every time you actually send something out. I’m trying to figure out what my goals for that newsletter are (or even what my purpose for it is). Am I writing it for me? Am I writing it for some imagined audience?

Research List #42

I’ve not done one of these in a while, and I’m trying to write here more, too. So: currently researching:

  • EF-M 22mm Lens from Canon
  • Maranez Watches (and other micro brands, especially those using Seiko’s NH35 movement)
  • A desk mounted iPhone charging dock (that accommodates a case)
  • PowerPC “Modern” browsers (I don’t know if this is even a thing)
  • IKEA Spänst lights (usb powered light tubes)
  • Alternatives to iTunes on a Mac (I’m using TinyPlayer right now)
  • Compounding interest
  • Bookmarklet Javascripts to modify webpage CSS


It’s been a long hard week. I’ve had to make some difficult decisions, I’ve gotten sick, and the wind-down of the school year for my family is always rough. Regardless, it’s officially summer now, so let’s do an update.

  • The studio is starting to break in nicely. The overall design is one thing, but it’s when the space reacts to heavy use that the details start to come out. The SD card reader mounted to a shelf, the USB switch to move some of the peripherals from one machine to another easily, the mounts for the webcams… all that starts to solidify. An finer example- I’ve got a birds-eye view webcam over my analog desk. That camera is mounted (via a Manfrotto plate system) to a SuperClamp that’s gripping the overhead shelf. It means I can either use the webcam there, or with a flick of a lever, swap the camera to a proper video camera (or still, for that matter) to shoot higher end video. Fast, easy, and versatile.
  • I’ve begun some work on a proper update to my most popular YouTube videos. Years ago, I made a short series of videos about Lord of the Flies, and it’s time to update them. It will be a project for the next couple of months- and after those videos, I’m hoping to make a set for Catcher in the Rye. After that, who knows. But my better half and I are starting to break down the segments and outline the topics, so it’ll still be a while until you actually see any of them. But I’m working on it.
  • This site has been eating through it’s bandwidth this month- there was a pretty hefty spike in viewership, and at the same time I put up some uncharacteristically media-heavy posts. I’ve redone the media for those (a bit smarter with the jpeg compression is all), so that should help.

Slowing Down.

Borderland PathThe only metric I keep track of at all it’s how long I’ve been out on the bike. Mostly, that’s because I have obligations as a dad to my family, and I need to make sure that I’m where I’m supposed to be at any given time. Because I don’t chase numbers, it leaves me free to slow down sometimes. I’m not chasing an average speed; I’m not chasing mileage. I’m not chasing anything.

Because I can slow down, I found that I often stumble across things that I’ve ridden past dozens of times and never seen before. A new trail, a new road, a new path to venture down. If I was more numbers obsessed, I’d go screaming pass these trying to push my average speed up or cover more miles. But the benefits of slowing down can’t be overestimated.

So, here’s to slowing down- to finding a bench to sit on, a path to get lost on, and a view to admire.


Here’s where things stand:

  • I’m in a small holding pattern on the custom rack cabinet build for the studio- it’s really just a matter of finding the time/weather combo to make it happen. It’s likely a one or two day build, but those two circles in the Venn diagram just haven’t aligned, yet. Some of the power management I was waiting for is there, though, so that’s one less holdup on the buildout (when the cabinet is done).
  • I found an excellent solution to storing large format art that’s not framed. I’d nearly resigned myself to needing to hunt down a map file (and find a place to put that), but I’d been stalling (as they’re expensive and bulky). Through sheer dumb luck I’ve stumbled across a method that involves hanging the work off stringers- and it’s totally something I can build.
  • I’ve been working on a streaming setup- I don’t really know why, but it seemed like a good idea? Anyway, I’ve found that my Mac Mini I’ve hot rodded still doesn’t quite have the horsepower to deal with three HD cameras at the same time, so… it’s also patched into the xserve (which I mostly leave off, these days, as it’s loud and power hungry… but when you need horsepower, it’s got it (still!)).
  • I haven’t been filming a lot recently- there have been too many other projects on the front burner, and something(s) had to give. I’m trying to get back to that, now- as well as putting some time on on my still photography. I’ve been away from it for a little while, and video and still have always been good at pushing some creativity back into my routine, which has obvious benefits elsewhere. The gallery of one of my bikes in the previous post would be the very start of this project.


Bridgestone MB-3


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I got this bike in high school, around 1994 or so. Actually, it wasn’t this bike- it was a teal MB-4. It was a gift, and a way to get me to stop borrowing and breaking my mother’s MB-5. I broke a chainstay on the original bike a year or three later, and this was my warranty replacement frame and fork. That was a bit of luck, too, because by that time Bridgestone had pulled out of the US, and I had to track down the former rep and see if he had a frame around that he could give me. He did, and I’ve ridden this bike ever since.

Originally, of course, it was built up as a regular mountain bike. The sub-genres of bikes we have now weren’t yet a thing, so that meant it was setup for twisty technical New England singletrack. Think: narrow flat bars, toe clips, 2″ tires inflated to 35 psi, and a rigid fork. Classic. The build evolved over time (and as I broke things), but it was pretty much always setup for trail riding.

Then, I went away to college and needed to bring a bike. I took this, and before I went I put 1.5″ slick tires on it, got rid of the granny chainring, and added toeclips. It became my first commuter bike. Around 1999, I bought a Specialized Stumpjumper Pro, and that became my “good” mountain bike. The Bridgestone morphed into a single speed (32 x 16… remember when that was the thing?), and stayed that way for years. I raced cyclocross on it a few times like that with the addition of Conti Cross Country tires in 1.5″. As I got older and had my own children, the bike turned into a seven speed burrito slayer- single chainring, front rack & basket, flat pedals. Built for pedaling on bike paths with kids.

I’d been toying with the idea of putting 700c wheels on it- apparently they’ll fit (sorta?) and you can run adaptors to get the brakes to work… but I didn’t have any spare 700c wheels lying around, so I thought I’d test it out for gravel with the existing wheels. I swapped the bars and stem, got some vintage Dura Ace STI levers, re-geared it (and added a front derailleur for the first time since 1998!), and refinished a saddle to match.

It’s my “gravel” bike, now- and it’s totally in it’s element. The handling and frame still feel excellent, and the drivetrain works beautifully for the terrain I ride here. Eventually, it might be fun to see how 650b wheels look in there (the brakes don’t require an adaptor for those- I’m unsure of the tire clearance, though), but it’s pretty sweet as-is. I suppose a slightly narrower/lighter tire would be cool too, but that’s really just splitting hairs.

So there you go- a 24 year old bike that’s still finding new ways to be useful and wonderful. Long live the Bridgestone.


What’s happening.

  • The studio desks and shelves are basically done. I have one or two small half-depth shelves to get done/up for material storage, but the major surfaces are all there (including a wiring trough I’m super happy I built). A further update on that on the project page.
  • I’m ready to build the rack for all my gear. The only real hangups are getting the actual material (it’s another two sheets of 3/4″ Birch Plywood and a bunch of Maple 1″ x 2″), and the internal wiring for it all. I’ve decided to sub-divide the internal power management so I can enable various sub-groups of gear (and cut down on vampiric power losses). I’ll need a couple of rack mount power strips for that. And I need a big set of casters, too.
  • In the many years I’ve had a YouTube channel, here’s what’s happened with it: I made, about 5 years ago, a short series of videos meant to front-load some of the background information I needed students to know about William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. In the time since, I’ve posted many videos- some about making, some about bikes and bike riding, some about my kids. None of those has even come close to the viewership those old videos still see. Right now, five years later, those videos still represent the bulk of the viewing minutes/month my channel sees (which is, I hasten to add, not a large number). Maybe I should (finally) take the hint about the sort of content I should make (if, indeed I want to continue making content- which is another consideration entirely).
  • It’s increasingly looking like I might be headed back to school- first, for a graduate certificate, and then (if I’m still into it…) tacking on a master’s program to that. I haven’t done graduate work in a long time, but I’m feeling like it’s something I need/want to get back to. A way to relight some of the fire about education and it’s place in the world.


Updates Holy Smokes the studio has updates.


  • That’s both desks in, and I have some small half-depth shelves nearly ready to go in, too. Obviously, the large rack isn’t built yet, and clearly my cable management is still pretty rough. But progress none the less. Lots of full depth shelves to build, a rack to construct, lighting to deal with… so far, so good, though.
  • I got my road bike out for the first time in 6 years (or so). It’s amazing on a couple of levels- that it still works (it’s nearly 20 years old, now), that it still feels so good to ride, and that all the controls and whatnot still felt like… home… after all this time. I’ll be riding this more, I think. In a concession to my age (what with being 20 years older than when I built the thing and my lower back not being as flexible as it once was), I might be swapping the stem to something slightly shorter and taller (it’s a flat 135 right now).
  • The small parts storage expansion happened in a haze of sweat and humidity the other day. It wasn’t on my list the same way the studio had been, but I realized I actually had all the parts I needed. So out came the saws and drivers, and pretty soon I had a 100% increase in my small parts storage.



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.