SitRep

It’s not been an awesome week. A roundup:

  • I’m suddenly and unexpectedly staring down the barrel of a possible car purchase. It wasn’t on the list of things to do, and certainly not with this car (my car was up for replacement next).
  • I broke a nearly-new chainguide on my mountain bike, and while I think I’ve fabricated an acceptable replacement part, I’m not entirely pleased. We’ll have to see how it works. If it explodes (again), I’ll have to decide if I want to replace it with another chain guide, or if I want to replace the chainring with a unit with more aggressive chain retention- right now it’s a Shimano ring, and they don’t really do narrow-wide rings. A new guide likely costs less, though.
  • The new chest harness for my GoPro is pretty awesome- it’s exactly the right point of view, and I’m pretty excited to ride with it on more. In my test footage, the camera’s in-built stabilization seems sufficient, but of course GoPro has to go and release a new camera (Hero 7 Black) that has such good digital stabilization (apparently) that a gimbal is unnecessary.
  • New phone is ordered. My better three-quarters’ phone came today, but I have to wait another week it seems.
  • I’m lifting weights again. My wife started a month or two ago, and that’s been a very good motivator to start lifting again. I’m doing really short sessions right now, and I’m trying to do them two or three times a day (because they’re so short).
  • The having my google voice number patched into a regular old-school house phone has been excellent- it’s nice to keep the cell phone free and get calls done around the house.

 

SitRep

Updates.

  • I ordered a new phone. Xs MAX might be the dumbest name yet, but that’s what I’ve got coming. 64gb, Space Grey. Got an Xs for the better three-quarters (64gb in Gold). I figured that my 6s+ was getting a little long in the tooth to be relied upon, so there we go.
  • I’ve been experimenting a bunch with my new Cricut Explore Air 2. Being able to cut vinyl is useful; being able to cut 1.5mm craft foam is cool. Lots still to learn (and I’ve not even touched upon heat transfer vinyl, yet). Heck, I’ve got it plotting out a lavishly detailed exploded diagram of a Nikon F3P on craft paper. It’ll take it… a while.
  • Got a new phone line in the house. Ok, technically it’s VOIP, but it’s got wireless handsets, you know? Seems to work a charm.
  • I moved my newsletter from tinyletter to substack. There were nasty rumors about tinyletter going away, so I got proactive and moved. Substack allows for charging for a newsletter- don’t worry. I’m not doing that. I am, however, approaching the 100th edition. That’s something!

SitRep

Time to gear up some new projects:

I need to make a big push to finish the new studio. The rack needs built, the large-format art storage needs built, the room dividers need built- it’s something like a day or two of concerted effort and I have a fully functional work space.

I took a look at re-purposing an old Mac laptop keyboard as a USB desktop keyboard- and while I’ve not given up just yet, it’s not looking great. The internal interface isn’t USB (what with a 30 pin connector), so I’d have to assume that it is a matrix- that might mean I could hand wire it to a Teensy 2.0 and upload QMK firmware to it, but I’d have to map the entire matrix blind (and probe for each keystroke). That’s not sounding overly fun right this minute.

I’ve been planning longer-term to add a Tandem bike to our fleet. Right now, assuming I buy a new bike, that’s looking like a Salsa Powderkeg. It’s a steel framed MTB tandem with a rigid fork and 29″ wheels. That makes it especially well suited as a gravel-capable bike, but I’m trying to plot ways to take it offroad on New England singletrack. That likely means a suspension fork of some sort (though they publish a travel limit of 100mm, so that’ll be a challenge). The frame has clearance for 2.4″ tires, but I’m always curious about things like swapping the wheels to 27.5″ and running 3″ tires. Who knows?

I’ve been working on some sketches of a cable cam rig to use with a GoPro Session camera. It’s a long run of cord with a powered pulley car that can run along that cord with a camera suspended below. That’s pretty simple from the outside- just a couple of wheels and pulleys, a motor, and a frame. But: I’d like to be able to set a variable speed, and I’d like to have a delay from when I push “go” until it actually takes off. That’s still not a crazy build, but I need to figure out some stuff before I start buying parts.

 

Random Bicycle Advice

I don’t know where else to put this, and thought it might be useful to someone here (maybe). Some obscure/esoteric bicycle advice:

  • If you’re using inner tubes in a performance oriented bike, spend the extra couple of bucks to use ultralight tubes. The difference is worth it.
  • Use good tires. Yes, they cost real money- but they dictate an awful lot about how your bike performs, so they’re the last place to scrimp on.
  • Advice from racers/pro’s is worth precisely squat unless you’re a racer or pro. Pro cyclists are paid to ride what they ride- they would (and do) ride all sorts of horrible shit because it’s their job. Their opinions/equipment choices shouldn’t matter to you unless you’re getting paid to ride, too.
  • You don’t need more gears; you need the right gears.
  • The front brake should be your best buddy. When you need to stop in a hurry, it’s where all your braking power is- make friends with it.
  • Frame pumps are better than mini pumps and CO2. That there are no good mtb frame pumps in production seems to be a market gap.
  • Steel is a perfectly lovely material for frames, stems, and forks.
  • Change your brake and shifter cables more often than you do. Change the housing, too.
  • Wax chain lube is gross and weird.
  • Full fingered bike gloves are better than half-finger gloves. Yes, even on road bikes.

SitRep

Extra super busy with the start of the Fall semester, so I’m a day or two behind on this post. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath.

  • I’ve moved the Minecraft PE server from a Raspberry Pi to my Mac Mini. It’s way less fickle, and seems to put virtually no load on the Mini at all, so… yeah. Better.
  • With my recently free Raspberry Pi 3 B+, I’ve installed RetroPie. That’s a vintage video game emulator, and it’s pretty sweet. I’ve been playing SNES and N64 games pretty easily (though for some reason my Pi froze and struggled to play Doom on N64- I’ll have to look into that).
  • I’m moving my newsletter tool from tinyletter to SubStack. I’m not thrilled about doing that- it’s a bother and one more thing to do, but there’s been noise & rumors about tinyletter getting shut down so… yeah. SubStack is pretty nice, it seems- and it supports the ability to monetize. I’m not going that way, mind you.
  • I’m looking to carve out some time early this autumn to finally finish work on the studio. The rack needs to get built, and I might as well build two room dividers while I’m at it. It’ll be nice to have the space finished.
  • I’m still playing on Mastodon- but I’m not finding it (or twitter, honestly) very compelling right now. I’m toying with the idea of dropping both. Maybe. And with twitter talking about some god-awful thread function and even-worse-awful online indicator? Yeah. We’ll see how that goes.