Thursday, June 30, 2011

00592 Day 122, Outriggy


Drifters Drifters Drifters

Being so small, I really appreciate the fact that someone would go to the effort of making tiny boats. I myself am only 1.5cm tall and so find it difficult when trying to traverse large stretches of water. There never used to be anyone prepared to cater for the miniature traveler (unless you count toymakers, but don't get me started about how they're not taking the issue seriously).

Now this guy has stepped up to the plate I think we're going to see a massive increase in a number of different areas, from larger exports and imports of tiny little jumpers right up to a big surge in cultural entropy as the miniature international barriers come crumbling down.

In general I think it's fair to say that people under two inches in height have always been widely overlooked.

STOP SNIGGERING! When the revolution comes, we'll see who gets trampled underfoot!
(just as soon as the project to interface tiny feet with massive shoes bears fruit)

00591 Day 121, Frameagain


I had a friend round for a frame making tutorial, who conveniently described the process of making this frame and so to curtail the wear and tear caused by blogging, her post is here.

Not only that, you should see her blog, cos it's niiiiice.

00590 Day 120, Scoreboard 2.0

Scoreboard 2.0

Scoreboard 2.0

Scoreboard 2.0 Scoreboard 2.0 Scoreboard 2.0

Dear Agony Aunt

I am writing to you in the hope that you can help me. I am a married man in my forties and am suffering from a significant increase in aggressive domestic verbal traffic (ADVT). This is as the result of the following:
1)I am right and my wife is wrong
2)I am wrong and my wife is right.
There appears to be no middle ground and I am going out of my mind. What should I do?

Yours on the verge

Killer Husband

Dear Killer Husband (love the userID)

I've got just one word for you (followed by a number) - SCOREBOARD 2.0

Increment the appropriate score each time one or the other wins. First one to ten is the winner. Loser takes a fatal dose of sleeping pills and backs out gracefully. Problem solved.

Yours calling the police

Agony Aunt

Sunday, June 26, 2011

00589 Day 119, Boxy


A container

12mm Ply
PVA glue
2.5" panel pins

Mark let me use his Festool plunge saw and I am now selling my children to get one.

They are nearly new.

They are nearly newer than me.

00588 Day 118, Untidy


Dear Mum and Dad

I have run away from home.

Please don't try to find me, I don't want to come back.

If you're wondering, it wasn't because you hassled me about the state of my room.

I was listening to you talking the other night and I overheard what you said about where I came from.

I never minded finding out about Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy (although I think there's still a chance that you were wrong about the Bogeyman), but when I heard that I had been made up from disused components some guy picked up from the dump, that really pissed me off.

Goodbye forever

Your Son, 530K

00587 Day 117, Sublime PCBs

PCB mania

PCB mania

PCB mania

It is our most sacred law that the work that flows from our hands must be unique - every piece must tell it's own story.

Yes, yes, I realise that, but it's just that I'm really into this thing right now and I'd really like to get better at it. I mean look at it, the tracks have got much thinner and I've got really good at this toner transfer method and the etching thing is really coming along too. I mean, you only have to look to see that it's going somewhere awesome.

SILENCE! The elders have spoken! There will be no more said on this matter, it has been decided.

Yes, I understand all that, it's just that I've kind of found that every time I make one of these things it has it's own uniqueness hidden deep within the detail of the tracks.

What did I just say about being quiet!

Look, I'm sorry, but I think I'm in the right here. All these boards I'm making are beautiful in a singular and very different way. It's all just a matter of perspective. I mean you know I would never go against the wisdom of the elders, it's just that sometimes I feel I have to challenge the received wisdom.

STILL YOUR TONGUE! The second most sacred law is that you must NEVER challenge received wisdom!

Oh, I didn't know that. Sorry.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

00586 Day 116, Breadstickmobile

the Breadstick Mobile

the Breadstick Mobile

Conjugate the verb "breadstickmobile" in the present tense.

I breadstickmobile
You breadstickmobile
He breadstickmobile
She breadstickmobile
We breadstickmobile
You breadstickmobile
They breadstickmobile

Everybody should breadstickmobile.

(I think it was coincidentally breadstick man who first coined the phrase "to the Breadstickmobile, Loafboy!" - of course in this case it is used as a noun)

00585 Day 115, the Rake Thing

Doing the rake thing

Doing the rake thing Doing the rake thing
Doing the rake thing

There is a time and a place to go out to the beach.

There is a time and a place to draw circles in the sand in the rain.

There is an appropriate time and place in which to indulge in sand raking tomfoolery.

And there is, sir, a time and a place to take pictures of this ephemerality.


00584 Day 114, Solargraph

the Solargraph

the Solarography Camera

Hi. When I've come in from a long bike ride around a neighboring island and it's dark and windy and rainy outside, I like to treat myself to a little something special.

And that's why I head straight out to the cliffs with a flashlight. What could be better than looking around for a tiny plastic box left at the top of a 200foot drop in the pitch black, while the storm force winds lash the rain at you and the spiky brambles and gauze bushes rip at your legs? I know there isn't a thing in the world I'd rather be doing.

But then again, I have been chasing buses and licking windows.

And how better to unwind than to find out that your (does quick calculation: 114-74) 40 day experiment does indeed work, although you should have pointed the camera down a little?

Note: those are the tracks of the sun and the dark bit at the bottom is the headland on the other side of the bay)

00583 Day 113, Collage

the Collage

the Collage

Destiny. It's everywhere.

Take for example this simple collage made by spending too much time with a block of mdf, a coin battery, surface mount electronic components and some superglue. Can you see the paths of destiny entwining together in a dance that reaches across time? No?

Well then come with me on a journey through the numerate region of the cosmos and marvel as the integers of fate combine and change one another until they reach the one inevitable truth:

We live in a universe where EVERYTHING is connected.

It's simple. We have arrived at day 113 - and 113 is the 30th prime number.

Subtract 30 from 113 to give 83.

add the digits of 83 to give 11.

Deduct 11 from 113 and we have 102.

There are 102 components in the collage.


Join us next time when we discuss the meaning and implication of tenuousnes

Thursday, June 23, 2011

00582 Day 112, Jacob's Ladder

It was only relatively recently that we first started experimenting on U.S. Servicemen.

we had reviewed a large range of media concerning the subject in the course of our research and became interested in the idea of Jacob's Ladder.

After a number of laboratory-based tests, we finally moved onto clinically trialling the procedure.

Although initial results were promising, we found that prolonged exposure eventually led to significantly high "Meh".

Jacobs ladder

And that's where the search for toys designed to increase combat effectiveness reached it's conclusion.

If this makes no sense, watch the film "Jacob's Ladder", but be sure to seek counseling immediately afterwards.

00581 Day 111, the Shield

Part 2: The Board

The thing about addiction is that its soooooo morish. The itch that couldn't be scratched was from the early 90's and had "NEC SuperScript 610" embellished on the front of it.

the Shield

This was never going to be easy, the plans were waaaaaay more complicated that before and because of the new CAD software, much higher levels of complexity were now possible. And so began the search for the modular microcontroller board, something you could program to turn things on and off and then plug it into something that needed to be turned on and off.

Turned out lovely:

the Shield

Just needed a bit more tweaking.

00580 Day 110, PCB via NEC

Part 1 - The Laser Printer

the Printer

It was two O'clock in the afternoon when he got back home with the printer. An old man had placed an advert on a local website looking fro someone to take it away. It must have been really old, because he had to use an old laptop running windows '95 and using hacked drivers. And so it was that after much to-ing and fro-ing, the first prints started running off the printer.
It wasn't quite as simple as that, of course. In order to make the whole thing worthwhile he'd had to learn how to use a printed circuit board CAD program which cost him most of a weeks early nights.
But the results were worth it, because as it turned out, what you really, really need to make the most successful prints which could then be ironed onto copper-clad boards, was FRESH LASER PRINTS.
And so it came to pass that the first of the kick-ass PCB's rolled off the production line.


The first of many.

Hell, this was so huge, he just looked at it and then tossed it aside and moved onto more complex matters, as we will see in part 2.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

00579 Day 109, Spaced


I heard a story once about a man who was printing high volumes of raffle tickets for a PTA event. He had to sit in the school secretary's office loading the printer and pressing the "Print" button until he had amassed 6000 tickets. So, safe to say, he had some time to spare.

At around 11pm, the caretaker came in to lock up and found him hunched over a piece of paper, listening to his iPod. On the piece of paper were hundreds of scavenged electronic surface mount components along with a cluster of batteries and mdf, all stuck together with superglue. The caretaker watched for a minute as the man picked up one of the tiny components, carefully applied a small amount of glue and stuck it onto the cluster with a pair of tweezers. There were a lot of components stuck to the cluster, so he must have been doing it for a very long time.

Spaced Spaced

It was only after several minutes that the man looked up and noticed that he was being watched.

"I can explain", he pleaded.

But he couldn't.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

00577 Day 107, Quicksa...


"liquid underneath with a sort of dried crust on top, rather like a mouldy rice pudding."

Friday, June 17, 2011

00576 Day 106, the Podcast


Here's the blog traffic report:

There's been a huge pileup with the massive podcast HGV grinding to a halt (mainly because of something inherently wrong with it's chassis) in the middle of the MAD carriageway. Stretching out behind it is a tailback containing a large number of the recent daily projects and it looks like none of them are going to be getting home anytime soon.

The Police (that's me) are on the case and by this evening they hope to have pulled the stalled vehicle onto the hard shoulder, which should allow the backlog to clear.

Now if I can just get the AA (that's me too) to turn up and bump start the HGV (remember, that's the podcast), then the traffic (that's the posts, if you didn't get that already) will be able to flow freely and normal service will be resumed.

Ironically, this is a massive car crash of a metaphor.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

00575 Day 105, Maker Roulette

It's simple. Make a game.

Establish the objectives, number of players and the rules.

In this case one player, a dice throw and some outcomes based on the dice throw.

The outcomes:
  • 1-5 Go to bed
  • 6 Make something really BIG

Maker Roulette


Sunday, June 12, 2011

00574 Day 104, Scoreboard 1.0!

Scoreboard 1.0

Tired of losing? Argumentative, but ineffectual? Fighting a rising tide of failure?

Then you need Scoreboard 1.0!

Scoreboard 1.0 holds all the promise of Scoreboards 2.0 and 3.0 without providing the functionality of either.

“But how does it work?” you ask. It’s easy. The voltage regulator feeds the right amount of power to the PICAXE chip, the 7-segment decade counter and the single digit.display and the whole thing is tied together by a home-made PCB. Simply plug in a 9V battery and let Scoreboard 1.0 take all the agony out of keeping tabs on who’s winning. Press the button and the score will increment by one, when it gets to nine, just go back to zero and start again!

Here’s the beauty of it: Because there’s only one score, you always be a winner. Don’t waste time worrying about who’s in front. Tests have shown that if you’re losing, simply ignoring the opposition immediately puts you in pole position every time.

But don’t take our word for it, listen to what these satisfied customers had to say:

“I used to lose all the time, now Ii just keep one score and I haven’t lost since.”

“I was really down. It was 2-1, 4-2, sometimes even 7-0. Now it’s just 4, 6, 9 and I’m on top of the world. Thanks, Scoreboard 1.0

So don’t delay, order your Scoreboard 1.0 today and by the time we’ve processed your request, it’ll be obsolete.

Scoreboard 1.0 – “Yesterday, but Tomorrow”.

Scoreboard 1.0

Scoreboard 1.0

Scoreboard 1.0

00573 Day 103, the Joule Thief

In the dead of night he creeps unknown into the dark recesses of my home and quietly strips me of all I have.

Would I were different, I'd take him on, rip him apart and send him packing. But I have so little energy left and what little I have, he has taken away.

I am a battery, he is the Joule Thief.

The Joule Thief

Did I mention that I'm a talking battery?

Did I mention that I've not been sleeping well and it's all coming apart at the seems?

No? Not to worry, it should be pretty obvious.

00572 Day 102, the iPad Stand

the iPad stand

the iPad stand the iPad stand

102 is a semiperfect number,a sphenic number and the sum of four consecutive prime numbers (19 + 23 + 29 + 31). It is the sum of Euler's totient function φ(x) over the first eighteen integers. It is the third base 10 polydivisible number, since 1 is divisible by 1, 10 is divisible by 2 and 102 is divisible by 3 (this also shows that 102 is a Harshad number). It is, of course ironically the amount of times that I have lost count of the number of days the MAD project has been running (in my defence, I forgot twice on the second day, meaning I fully remembered that I had started on Day 1 - I'm not thick, y'know).

It should be abundantly obvious that there is little to be said about the production of a stand for an iPad, beyond the drawing of extravagant curves, the cutting of thick card with a scalpel and the fitting together of the pieces into a rigid structure which can then be broken down for travel purposes. I now use it every day and can confirm that it has an awesome rating of 6.234x10**14.

00571 Day 101, the Piktcha Holdas

Please note that the scarcity of MAD Project updates does not mean:
  1. The integrity of the Project has been compromised and control of quality has been lost.
  2. Your statutory rights are affected.

So then, to the meat.

the Piktcha Holdas

Problem: A large number of pictures to display

Solution: Glue miniature wooden clothes pegs to strips of maple to facilitate hanging.

Conclusion: Success insofar as the original remit of the project was concerned, but a newly acquired interest in the possibilities of wall hanging media using magnetic paint and neodymium magnets has surfaced, meaning that the overall project brief must be increased dramatically.

00570 the fight goes on ...

There is life beyond 100.

While the celebrations fizzle away and the after party hangover kicks in, scientists, engineers administrators and janitors have all been working away behind the scenes both day and night to ensure that, even with the century milestone now complete, the MAD project continues.

Yes, we all thought that it had reached a crescendo and faded away, but even as I type, Day 108 is underway and the backlog of posts for days 101 to 107 is being dealt with.

It may be that, because of time constraints, we will go into publishing a weekly post to keep up to date, but that will only mean more juice and more vim. Now that would be a cocktail! (although I think it might cause internal bleeding and vomiting).

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

00567 Day 100, Cocktail


It's a party! And everyone who has the same name and has made all the exact same things as me on the same days is invited!

OMG, there are five of you? But I've only got enough of this cocktail mix for one.

What's that? Because you've been making the exact same things on the exact same days, you've brought your own. Well, hallelujah!

Tayberries Mint

Gin, ginger and tayberry coulis and crushed ice cocktail.

Not too much ginger and make sure to add a fair bit of icing sugar when you make the coulis.

Oh, and don't spend too long photographing it afterwards. That Ice won't keep forever.


Monday, June 06, 2011

00568 Day 99, Rolr Skatr

Rolr Skatr

It's the 99th Day of the MAD project and we move from the more socially acceptable two digit couple to the wild and raucous treble digit threesome.

Man I hope one of the three doesn't get jealous and start a fight. I'd probably have to look at some kind of decimal notation, just to keep the peace.

BTW, that's a picture of me up there with the boombox and the skates from waaaaay back in the day. Do you like the ankle warmers - they're the 560 Ohm ones, warm, but not too much for a hot day.