Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
The oceanographic research vessel White Holly was moored Sunday at the US Army Corp of Engineers Pier in Sausalito.
The first thing I noticed about the ship was its 3 rudders, so I decided to take a closer look. Then I noticed the Mini-Sub on the forward deck, and the shark cage.
White Holly was built in Napa, California in 1943 as a 'lighter' for the US Navy to carry ammunition and cargo from shore to deep-draft vessels anchored off-shore.
From 1947 to 1998 it was used by the Coast guard as a buoy tender.
In 2005 the ship was granted Oceanographic Research Vessel status by the Coast Guard, and completed an expedition to the Line Islands 1,200 miles south of Hawaii.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Changing the oil on a Mini is like changing the oil on any other car except for two things: The oil filter, and the oil change indicator.
I used the instructions printed below to reset the indicator. It reset to 15,500 miles which is the recommended mileage.
The oil filter requires a 36mm socket. If you don't have a 1/2 inch ratchet, you'll need a 3/8 adaptor. With the adaptor on the ratchet I barely had enough space to swing it, so a 1/2 rachet might be a good investment. After you've drained all the oil through the drain plug, loosen the oil filter a few turns so that the oil inside the filter can drain into the sump. Once all the oil has drained from the filter, remove the filter housing. Remove the paper element from the housing and practice screwing the empty housing onto the engine until you get a feel for it. Next push the new filter element into the filter housing. It takes a firm push. Screw the housing back onto the engine.
The rest of the oil change is just like any other car.
Friday, October 20, 2006
What to do about satellite dishes and airconditioners growing like warts on a residential building in Albania? Ignore them? Disguise them? Remove them?
This solution lets the utilities take over.
I think this is a two-way solution:
1) It tries to solve the problem on this particular building.
2) It reminds others not to let their utilities deface their building.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Makoto Aida - Harakiri School Girls, 2006
The artist's work may also seem juvenile and misogynist. Isn't this what you expected from Japan?
From SF Weekly:
"...a glimpse of something unsettling, reminding us that all is not well below the shiny happy surface...Aida's subject is Japan's damaged national psyche."
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
My coworker for 13 years died from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) on Saturday. There will be a memorial meeting for the Bay Area on November 11, 2 p.m., at the Fellowship of Humanity Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland (near Telegraph and Broadway).
Caroline was a member of the UAW Local 2244 Executive Board, but her best work was done talking to Union members on the shop floor, and publishing "The Barking Dog". She offered the membership an alternative to the collaborative 'business unionism' of the UAW.
Caroline and I organized a fund raiser in 1995 for workers locked out by the A.E.Staley company in Decatur Illinois. This was the first such solidarity drive at a US Toyota factory, and something I am very proud of. I think we raised about $6,000. More importantly we spoke with coworkers about the issues surrounding the lock-out, and the other strikes in Decatur at Bridgestone/Firestone, and Caterpillar.
Caroline was educated and well spoken. She was always more than a match for management and the conservatives in our Union. Her achievements for the membership are too long to list here. We will miss her.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Google Mobile Maps works well on the Treo 650 with GPRS. It loads quickly enough to be useful for driving directions and traffic conditions. In fact, it felt about as fast as Google Maps on a PC.
I notice that the maps and satellite images are now covering more of the world. I could even see the house in NZ in which I grew up. And that's in a small rural town!
In this last picture (of my coworker's house in Birmingham, England) you can even tell that the white car is a hatchback with a glass sunroof.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Made in Czechoslovakia.
"Albin Liebisch designed these very unconventional machines, most of which all shared the same 598cc ohv Liebisch engine. With such unusual features as cast alloy wheels and, on some models, three seats and two fuel tanks, the marque features strongly in the history of motorcycling."
My brother rode a Jawa single, so I have a soft spot for Czech motorbikes. But that's not the reason this bike caught my attention: At a quick glance I thought it was a modern design concept. A utilitarian design similar to the Honda Ruckus:
Thanks Funtime via Make
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Palm announce details of the Treo 680 on Thursday, price to be announced. It's pretty much like the Treo 700P minus the antenna, with a choice of red, orange, white or silver.
The design of the case looks a little cleaner than my 650, and the colours are appreciated.
Even thought it uses the same old operating system with no multitasking, I'm inclined to buy one, and spring for wireless broadband. Both the 680 and the 750 are rumored to come out on Cingular.
Video demo of 680 here.
Pictures of the 750 here.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Installing the camber plates was almost as easy as I thought it would be:
1) Jack up the car and rest the body on axle stands so that both front wheels are off the ground (this will release all tension on the front sway bar).
2) Remove the wheel.
3) Disconnect the sway-bar, brake line and ABS wire from the shock.
4) Remove the lower bolt that secures the shock to the suspension.
5) Support the front suspension with the jack while you remove the 3 nuts from the shock tower.
6) Using the jack, lower the suspension, then 'wiggle' the shock free from the suspension.
7) With the shock on a work surface, attach the spring compressors.
8) Replace the bearing at the top of the strut with the bearing from the camber plate.
9) Bolt the camber plate to the top of the strut.
I left the camber adjustment in the middle position, which is probably about -1˚.
The final step will be a wheel alignment. I'll get 1/16 inch toe out and -1.5˚ camber.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Finally my coil spring compressor has arrived, so this weekend I can fit the camber plates on the Mini. I have to compress the springs; take the tops off the struts and replace them with the camber plates. Easy but dangerous job. If the spring slips off the compressor it could kill someone.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Javier Olguin, a design student at Valparaiso(Chile?) sent me this photo of his beautifully made miniature R&B chair: "...now this week I start with fabricacion...scale model first (1:2) to make experimentation with material."
It really helps to see the chair in 3-dimensions before constructing it. Javier has the right idea.
Complete plans for the Rietveld Red and Blue chair are impossible to find on the internet.
To get the plans for this and other Rietveld furniture, it's best to buy the book "How to Construct Rietveld Furniture" published in English and Dutch by Thoth publishers of Bussum, Holland. I found it at Borders Books here in the US.
The plans may only be used to construct the chair for personal use. Since 1971 the Italian firm Cassina owns the commercial rights to reproduce Rietveld furniture.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Episode 395 of The Dawn and Drew Show has guest hosts Nick and Jayne from Balclutha NZ! That's just a few miles from where I grew up. The kids keep it clean, talking about their High School, Paris Hilton and Showbiz Dad.
Other Podcasts I'm listening to:
The Naked Scientists is a one hour BBC radio programme. Light hearted fun with science.
Brain Food Podcast. Thirty minutes of science explanations we can all understand.
Studio 360 Podcastis a 50 minute NPR style look at the arts.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
If an XJ220 and a XJR15 had a baby, it might look something like the car above:
This is an XJ220 restyled by Pininfarina for the Sultan of Brunei. The result is a smaller, lighter car that borrows styling elements from the XJR15. Still not as pretty as the XJR15, but the face-lift addresses my criticisms of the XJ220 styling.