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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Toy

We got a new toy at work today. I will give a product review after I
play with it. To wet your appitite the camera is a Flir i7.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building a Utopian Society

I found a great video about a grand idea that I thought was on a very interesting subject.  A scientist named Marcin Jakubowski created Open Source Ecology to develop and test the Global Village Construction Set, a set of tools to build replicable, open source, modern, off-grid resilient communities. By weaving open source permacultural and technological cycles together, we intend to provide basic human needs while being good stewards of the land, using resources sustainably, and pursuing right livelihood. With the gift of openly shared information, we can produce industrial products locally using open source design and digital fabrication. This frees us from the need to participate in the wasteful resource flows of the larger economy by letting us produce our own materials and components for the technologies we use. We see small, independent, land-based economies as means to transform societies, address pressing world issues, and evolve to freedom. (per http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Open_Source_Ecology)

You can view his lecture from the TED conference,http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski.html, to get a better understanding of his idea.

I love the idea of the Global VIllage Construction Set.  It makes you think of grand ideas.   It bring me back to when I was a kid and would take a blank piece of paper and draw imaginary cities.   I would dream up of where building would be place, where people would live, etc.   I would create whole towns and only be limited by my imagination.

Later in life I would play the computer game SimCity which was similar to my drawings, but introduced an interactive society, but would sometimes limited my creativity because of the software's short comings.   However, what Marcin discusses about creating a utopian society intrigues me due to the fact that he is trying to create a sustainable society with open source building equipment.

Check it out and build on,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iPhone 3gs digitizer

I like makezine.com's motto, "If you can't open it, you don't own it."   Well sometimes when you try to open it and break it, you do own it for good.  There is no take-backs.

Well,  my wife's iPhone 3gs fell out of her purse and lunckly only the digitizer cracked.   That is the outside screen where all the swiping happens.   So, I looked online on how to fix it and it looked easy.   (And is easy if you follow he directions.)   I ordered the part from ebay, got the part quickly, and the next day I decided to start fixing the phone.  The error in my ways occurs when I did not rereview the disassemble instructions before I began.  (Looking at the videio again I do not think it would have helped, because I had in my mind what I thought was the right place to separate the phone from the digitizer.  

Let's just say that I though to remove the digitizer glass you had to sperate the front cover from the back cover.   This is not the case. (No pun intended.) Once you remove the intital 2 screws on the bottom, the digitizer basically 'falls' out easily without the need to pry the case apart.  There are plenty of videos on YouTube about this subject if you are curious regarding the process.

By tryign to seperate the 2 case halves.  I ended up riping two 2-wire ribbon cables.   The phone now powers on to the apple intro screen but that is it.   Luckly, my wie is eligible to upgrade her phone, so no big problems.  So now I "own" a broken iPhone.   I might scavange the LCD screen and play with it on a microcontroller, but that is another project for another day. 

Until next time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Project: Treasure Chest featured on www.instructables.com

I just found out by email that 'Project:Treasure Chest' was chosen by the editor of www.instructables.com to be featured on the front page of the Living section (http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/category-living/).   Check out the website, it is great for project ideas.  It is full of great projects and has a good community of like minded garage engineers.

Go build!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Pirates Treasure Chest

Arrr, me matey!

Last weeks Weekend Build.

My oldest son's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and he wanted a pirate themed party.  So I thought I would build a treasure chest to hold the birthday booty.

My wife is creating a treasure/scavenger hunt and the "x" that marks the spot at the end of the hunt will be the treasure chest.  The best part of the chest that I like is the working replica pirate lock.  (E-bay is a wonderful treasure trove of goodies.)

I wrote up the build of the treasure chest and posted it on instructibles.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Back to the Future'

     A movie prop that has intrigued me since I was small is the Flux
Capacitor. It was used in the movie Back to the Future in the time
traveling vehicle the DeLorean. The flux capacitor is what makes time
travel possible.
      I have found a few builds on the internet that have helped me
start the project. I want to build a authentic prop replica but
replace the lights with LEDs.
     I worked on the electronics and got the lights working but I have
not had time to look for the correct parts to build the box. Some of
the parts used on the movie prop where rare at the time of the movie
shoot. Now 25 years later they are even more scarce. So this is an
on going project to find the parts.

Birthday gift - Treasure Chest

     For my son's birthday, in two weeks, I plan to build a wooden treasure chest to hold the goodie bags. I have the plans roughly drawn out.   The box area will be 1.5' x 1'x 8".  I am planning to document the build this weekend and post it to www.instructibles.com.

     However, the big news I have today is that I found an authentic looking, working pad lock with a skeleton key.   When I first thought of adding the lock,  I figured it was going to too cost prohibitive, but with wonderful ebay, I found a few of them and they were priced reasonably. 

     I can't get a picture of the lock off ebay, but I will post it when it arrives in the mail. But in the mean time here is the auction listing.  Ebay listing of pad lock.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Brainstorming tools

What are some of the tools that I use....

    1.The Internet     
     In today's age, information is king.  It is not what you know, it is your ability to know where to find that information.  If I get stuck on an idea or looking for a new idea, I like to turn to the internet.  There is so much information, sometimes too much, on the internet but if i have a question on a project there is usually a forum or website that has the answer.  Basically, Google is my friend.

   2. Journals
     I am 35 years old and I feel that I  grew up between 2 different worlds.   One, the old school ways with paper, pencil, and physical books and two the computer age.   I do like the easy of using computers, but I still like the feel of physical books.  
     When I am designing or free-form creating, I like to sketch on loose, white, blank paper or journals.   My favorite notebook is the . . .

Classic Pocket Moleskine

It is a little expensive, but I love the pocket size and the hard cover.   I like using bigger notebooks too, but hate carrying them around.   With this small size, I have it with me all the time.   I never know when an idea may strike.

     3. Writing Utensils
      I prefer to use mechanical pencils when sketching for the precision of its tip.  I think I like pencils because I was taught to use a pencil before I could use an ink pen.   Up until the past few years, I did not care what type of pen I used.  That was until I found this pen. 

Pilot G2 -07

Pilot G2- oh how I love thee. 

The roller ball smoothly applies the ink to the paper and the ink is smear-free.  The latter being a bonus for me because being left handed other types of ink smear on the paper as I write, but with this pen that no longer happens.

What are your favorite imagination tools that assists your creativity?