The Things We Experience

November 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s kind of a funny thing to realize how different one’s own life can be from those around you. There are a lot of people who have spent their entire adult lives in romantic relationships. Spent time together, felt romantic love for each other, engaged in all the subtle and not-so-subtle trappings of a romantic life. Sometimes, I am envious of this.

I was thinking today. You know, I never thought about it, but I have realized that I’ve never really experienced that kind of thing. There was a girlfriend, once. Religious complications lead to that ending in a manner I wish it hadn’t. There is this realm of experience that is so common to those around me that is completely alien to me. It’s very strange. What do you do with that? How well can I understand people without that experience? This is a legitimate question. I’m not sure it bothers me particularly. Romance is a mixed bag. It is wonderful, and often the good outweighs the bad, but it is foolish to see it without considering the bad.

I worry, too, about my ability to handle such a thing. I have trouble with things that are incredibly easy for most people. To me, they can be almost impossible. I am concerned that should I engage in such a relationship, it will go poorly because of this.

Either way, thus far I enjoy what I can. The friendships I develop I cherish. It is very easy to forget just how much we have. One mustn’t be neglectful of the good things in life.

Also: this is not a thanksgiving day message. It isn’t thanksgiving in canada. I’m just being generically introspective.

PS: Hooting morons near me in this building. Please do shut up. Or go to a pub, where the other patrons are sufficiently intoxicated not to care about your primate impressions.

Piston Rings

June 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There’s a thing with piston rings. When you make them, they start out round. You cut a notch in them with a slitting saw, then put a piece of 1/4″ or so of steel and heat it red hot then let it cool. The idea being that the gap will be pressed closed when it’s in the cylinder. There’s a bit of a problem with this, however. When they go in the cylinder, they are oval. Philip Duclos discussed a way of dealing with this by holding the ring in a clamp with the gap closed and finish machining it. This is a nuisance. The other option is waiting for the rings to seat.

This can be sped up by using something like timesavers. Timesavers is an abrasive that breaks down with time and doesn’t embed. As it wears, it becomes a finer and finer grit. This way it can speed up ring seating without damaging the cylinder. I need to pick some up. I’ve been working the piston back and forth in the No. 1′s cylinder, and you can see how the rings are oval. They’ll seat in time, though. Just need to make sure all the grit(from honing the cylinder) is out of the steam passages.

Twitter Glitch

June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Okay, this should fix that twitter glitch.

Projects in Progress

June 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve got a couple projects in the works at the moment. A list:

  • Kozo’s Pennsy A3 Switcher
  • Tiny Power Ajax
  • Stuart No.1
  • Stuart Sirius
  • GWR Collett(from Engineering in MIniature)

I’m thinking of adding the Darjeeling engine from Model Engineer that they just started. Very nice engine, and I’d like to follow along with the article as they print it. I need to cut some steel for the frames on that one.

There’s another project on my mind. A model of 6069, currently parked in Centennial Park. I’ve been volunteering with a group that is restoring it presently. It occurs to me that this is a perfect time for measuring to design and build a miniature. It’s a beautiful engine. I need to get the works drawings so I can figure out the frames, I’m thinking something in 5″ gauge.

Further progress in the shop.

June 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The Stuart No. 1 is progressing nicely. I finished drilling the upper cylinder head yesterday. A photo:

Photo on 2010-06-07 at 12.04.jpg

The spigot in the center needs to be taken off. I loctited the head to the cylinder, and mounted the rig in the mill on a rotary table. I drilled both with the tap drill for 2BA. After drilling, I knocked them apart with a hammer and opened the holes in the head out to clearance size. I was then able to clamp them together(using a large kant-twist clamp) and use the head as a tapping guide. Got the studs in perfectly straight. It’s a touch snug, but goes on wonderfully.

With the head off the cylinder:

Photo on 2010-06-07 at 12.11.jpg

The head and top of the cylinder where lapped together using clover compound. I applied a few dabs between the two and used the mill to spin the head while I held the cylinder against it. The meeting face has a nice dull sheen.

In this picture you can see the port face:

Photo on 2010-06-07 at 12.11 #2.jpg

This engine employs a garden variety d-valve. The steam passages are cast in. I still need to lap the port face to flatten it. I think I will do this before drilling for the steamchest bolts. It’s a pain and a half to get the lapping compound out of the holes.

Photo on 2010-06-07 at 12.11 #3.jpg

This shows the lower end of the cylinder. Undrilled for the lower cylinder head. That has to be tackled next, and it’ll be difficult. I removed the chucking spigot prematurely. I’m going to machine out the gland and use it to mount the part to an arbour. Pictures will be forthcoming on that one too.

MobileMe Ought to be Free

June 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It is my firm opinion that MobileMe should have at least a free option. Frankly, the current price is too high. I would find it extremely useful, aside from the complete lack of server side scripting.

Drilling cylinder head

June 6, 2010 at 11:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Spent some time in the shop yesterday. Having some trouble getting the cylinder centered. I think there’s been an issue with my centering of the table under the mill spindle.

A problem with Linux

April 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I have for many years been a fan of Linux. I have adminned it, coded for it and used it. I remember GNOME and KDE were in their infancy. I remember using fvwm. Alas, it is GNOME and KDE that have brought me to where I am now.

My desire to use Linux is gone. Linux has gone down a very disappointing path, and I’m not convinced it will recover from this. Years ago, Linux was an underdog system. Hardware companies didn’t want to release documentation for their hardware to an open source project. The goal became popularity. To topple microsoft and rule the world with superior software. In the process of chasing that dream, people became confused. They thought the way to do it was to mimic microsoft. The problem with that, of course, is that microsoft makes hideous mistakes. They make terrible software.

The most pernicious and terrible of microsoft ideas have been hidden beneath the GUI. These include things like the MFC, COM and the registry. GNOME and KDE have both decided to include the latter two ideas. The registry was never a good idea, I would have thought any admin with sense could tell them how horrible it was. Text configuration files are simple, and when mangled can be easily corrected by hand. The inclusion of object request brokers has bloated the whole thing horribly. GNOME now involves no fewer than 50 packages, and takes ages to compile. It’s a monstrosity.

A similar issue has occurred with Firefox. For years people complained of memory leaks. One could watch the memory used by it grow, until it became too big and had to be restarted. For years the developers denied the existence of any memory leaks. Finally, they listened and began digging. When they had finished, they had found more than 300 memory leaks. Was the bug real? Hell yeah. Everybody knew it was there, but the developers denied it.

I believe it has roots in a problem that has plagued open source these past ten years. The desire to add features over fixing bugs. Finding and fixing bugs is hard work, and it seems that the novelty of adding a new feature is vastly to be preferred. Once a program is feature-complete few outfits stop. Today, modern Linux distributions are a complete mess because of this. Even getting it to do simple things sometimes requires a lot of effort. If you’ve tried to get wifi going via the command line, you know the pain of which I speak.

Here’s a puzzler for you. If you need a GUI to bring up wifi, but you need wifi to fix the broken GUI, what do you do? You have to mess around with a cable. My last machine to have Linux on it was a laptop. There were two things I could not make work. The wifi, and the sound. No matter what I tried, no matter how much searching I did, it was to no avail. It was then that I discovered the once lauded support of the Linux community has fallen apart. I was there when PCWorld awarded the Linux community a technical support award. And it was earned. You could make the machine do amazing things, and no matter the problem there was an answer to be had. Nobody answers questions any more. I have posted in forums looking for a resolution to the problem, and every time it has been ignored. Eventually I gave up, and begrudgingly installed XP on the machine.

I use a Mac now. To be certain, it’s not perfect. But it’s a hell of a lot better than Linux or Windows. It isn’t a pain in the ass. It’s stable. It does what I tell it to. It’s really too bad, I had high hopes for Linux. I also had a lot of fun with it. It just isn’t what it used to be.

Stuart no 1

April 1, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Considerable progress is being made on the engine. The connecting rod and has been rounded. Unfortunately, the radius is offset from the centerline. If I blend things well, I don’t believe it’ll be an issue. Next step is cuttig the slot in the middle.

Mtg, again.

March 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Mtg has pretty thoroughly eaten my brain. Dammit, it’s just so much fun! The art on many of the cards is truly beautiful, and there are so many strategies. Last time, it was so stinking close! We were both down to two life. One attack phase and that would be it. Then he drew… A card with trample! I had a creature I could block with and stay in the game long enough to hang him, but dammit! Trample! That did enough damage to end the game. Man, it was wild. There were many times when it was so close between us. I mean the whole game was close. It was great. In a game like that, you don’t even care that you lose. It’s an epic battle of wits. The wonderful turns of strategy are a delight unto themselves. I lost, but who cares? I got in some really good hits and so did he. The whole thing was a nailbiter.

Last game of the evening was a clinker for me. One of the great things about magic, is that even if your deck is crap and you have no idea how to play, sometimes you can still beat a vastly superior opponent. It depends heavily on what cards you draw. If he’s pulling bricks, and you get gold you can still win.

I’ve had problems with chess. I’m not a talented player, and honestly it is nigh on impossible for me to win a game. I always lose. A game stops being fun when you can go months or even years without winning a single match. There’s no point. You just get flattened.

As such, it is my opinion that magic is vastly superior to chess.

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