I’m famous!

I helped design a watch with MWC, and they are now on their website for sale in black and olive!

mwc-1966-on-wrist

MWC’s production version of my redesign of their “vietnam” watch.

To be fair, I only redesigned an existing watch dial.  The rest is all MWC.  It all started with me asking a bunch of questions about their “vietnam” watch.  They were very responsive and even gave me manufacturing details as far as movement type (Miyota 2035), and manufacturing location (Japan).  I wasn’t sure on the 24hr design, but it was such a handsome watch that I ordered one anyway.  After getting it in, I decided to do a little photoshopping to adjust it more to my liking and then shared the results with MWC.  I specifically removed the 24 hour numbers, reshaped the hour indices and changed their color.  They liked it so much that they decided to make it.  MWC then added a pheon, making the design officially theirs, not mine.  They have recognized me officially on the website though and will be sending along an official letter stating my help in the design of this watch as well.  Way cool!  They also sent me a couple of the watches and two of their nice zulu straps as well.  What a great company.  Right from the get-go they’ve been very fun talking to back and forth and a real joy to work with.

 

watch-versions

Left: MWC “vietnam” watch. Right: My photoshopped redesign of the “vietnam” into a 12hr dial.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.33.53 PM

Screenshot showing where they mention my name on the website.

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Series telecaster wiring, stock 3 way switch

Top: stock telecaster wiring. Bottom: Joseph Raymond version of series wiring scheme

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New counter weight

A while ago I added about 1 ounce of BB’s to the output jack of the telecaster to help offset the neck dive. I just upgraded to a 2.25 ounce weight by using washers! They are steel washers, 5/32″ ID, 7/8″ OD. 14 of them plus two similar size rubber washers, one on each end of the stack. They are rubber cemented together into a column and the cable for the output jack runs right through. I should have taken a picture or three, but I was so excited to get it together I forgot.  I still have a little dive, but it’s better. I think a lighter neck and tuners will be the only real fix.

image

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Passive headphone level mixer

My old guitar amp doesn’t have a line in jack to allow me to mix my guitar signal with an audio source as a backing track.  To remedy this, I created my own mixer.  More details here:  http://www.ssguitar.com/index.php?topic=4028

The short of it:

1 x small wooden box
1 x 1/8″ stereo jack
1 x 6′ stereo 1/8″ cable cut in half
4 x 200 ohm fire-resistant 1w resistors (1/8w would have worked and they don’t need to be fire-resistant, but it’s what I had)

For each channel coming from each device you put a resistor in line with the positive.  So Device One’s left positive goes into a 200 ohm resistor.  Device Two (amp) has it’s left positive go into another 200 ohm resistor.  Both of these resistors terminate at the left positive of the headphone out jack.  Do the same with the two right channels, tie the grounds all together and you’re done!

mixer-inside

“Gut shot” of my passive mixer.

mixer-outside

Beauty shot showing both 1/8″ input lines and the shared output jack.

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Nifty tag cloud

http://www.wheel-size.com

This is seriously one of the most interesting tag clouds I’ve used. I guess that is a bit telling about who I am.

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Siravo

I love rock music.  More specifically, I love alternative rock.  The kind of music we had in the late 1990’s from bands like Lit, Paranoid Social Club, Jeremiah Freed, Incubus, System of a Down and so many others.  Well, there is finally a modern band that just kills.  And it so happens that my brother is their bassist.  Siravo.  I love their music.  The guitar chops are excellent, vocals are spot on, and of course the rhythmic drumming and bass lines are fantastic as well.  Check them out on youtube to have a listen!

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Why I chose MWC

MWC Vietnam watch. Black on black. MSRP $55 USD.

MWC Vietnam watch. Black on black. MSRP $55 USD.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am very particular on which products I choose to purchase. Things like quality, environmental impact, manufacturing location, and customer service all come into play along with smaller nuances.  So when I was searching for a new quartz wrist wrist watch (so I don’t beat up my antique mechanical one) after much research it came down to two watches.  The Bertucci A-1S and the MWC “Vietnam.”  I have a small wrist, so I needed something in the sub 40mm category.  The Bertucci is 36mm and the Vietnam is 33mm.  They both utilize the Miyota 2035 quartz movement, made in Japan.  The Bertucci is assembled in the US with a Chinese case and US strap (unsure on face and hands).  The MWC is entirely made in Japan.  Bertucci had accessible customer support, but getting information about the watch’s build was like pulling teeth – they just wanted me to go to their website.  The problem was, the website just said “Japan movement” and I wanted to know what one.  Eventually they did help and told me what it was.  MWC, on the other hand, was extremely helpful right from the first contact.  They were very quick to reply to email messages and were informative, forthright, and friendly.

Bertucci A-1S model 10004, black face and black strap. MSRP $90 USD.

Bertucci A-1S model 10004, black face and black strap. MSRP $90 USD.

I do have to say, the fact that Bertucci is an American company is a big plus (MWC is head-quarted in Sweden).  And I’ve heard they make a quality piece.  But the prices are high and it bothers me that the cases are made in China.  Also, functionally speaking, it was no better (given the same movement) as the MWC that was about half the price.  Aesthetics were an issue as well, with the Bertucci being a bit clunky despite it’s small 36mm width.

Both watches have lume.  The Bertucci uses swiss luminous on the hour markers and swiss super luminous on the hands.  Reviews have shown that the hour markers do not stay lit for very long and are effectively useless.  The MWC uses an unknown lume on it’s numbers and hands, but in my opinion it holds up pretty well.    Under a good charge it definitely is visible in the dark for 3-4 hours without issue.  Some say it lasts longer than that, but I haven’t tried.

In the end, I chose the amazing customer support, excellent build quality, Swedish company with Japanese manufacture as the winner and now sport an MWC “Vietnam” as my daily wear watch.  I couldn’t be happier.  It was fairly inexpensive, has been very reliable (I got it 2 months ago), and looks great.  The Miyota 2035 is quiet and feels very sturdy yet refined when setting it.  Now granted all my other watches have been inexpensive Timex and similar, but still, this is head and shoulders above that.  I will say, even though the Bertucci isn’t perfect, it has me intrigued enough that if I could afford it I’d get one just to try it out.  I just can’t see myself wearing it often with those huge strap tangs.

Note:  There are many on differences between the two like mineral glass on the Bertucci (recessed about 2mm to keep it from getting scratched) vs acrylic on the MWC etc, but those ended up not making a big difference in my decision making process.

Obligatory links:

Bertucci A-1S
MWC Vietnam

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The Clicky Keyboard

1994-clicky-model-m

IBM Model M PS/2 keyboard, circa 1994. Built by Lexmark in the USA.

Ever since I was a little kid, I had an infatuation with the “clicky” keyboard.  Anyone older than probably 25 that is into computers probably knows the keyboard I’m talking about.  IBM’s majestic “Model M.”  Technically there were some other older models that used this same “clicky” buckling spring actuation, but the M is the one most folks had their hands on.  The buckling spring actuation allows for the keystroke to be recognized by an audible click, a physical abrupt drop in the key, as well as the electronic signal being sent to the computer.  This allows for typists to be 100% sure they have actuated any given key.  The buckling spring also allows for the keyboardist to set their fingers on the keys without worry of accidental input.  The keys hold a fair amount of weight before being triggered, and when they are triggered, it is so overwhelmingly obvious that you are sure to not have any “extra” entries in your papers or code.

Now the issue.  These keyboards were only produced from the 80’s on into the mid to late 90’s.  This means that the newest keyboards are now 20 years old.  Finding one in good shape, or at all, can be a chore.  And because so many people love them, when you do find them they are typically selling for $50-$100.  They are also limited to the old PS/2 “keyboard/mouse connector” rather than using the more modern USB.  The good news is that these old keyboards typically still work, and should work for many more years – they last practically forever.  The even better news, if you want a brand new one you can get it from Unicomp.  While they aren’t technically the old IBM Model M, they are virtually identical.  Unicomp bought the rights from Lexmark (who had bought them from IBM) and now they make a reproduction keyboard.  What’s better, you can get them in USB format!  And you can even do custom keyboards with different labels, colors, and key amounts (101, 103, 104, 105 etc).  Just to make things even better, these keyboards are made here in the USA!  They sell these new keyboards for between $84 and $105 at the time of this writing.  A lot of money, but for a keyboard that will last 20+ years and be a joy the entire time – I think it’s worth it.  If my old 1994 IBM model M ever dies, I will be getting a Unicomp for sure.

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Raspberry Pi – 2 & 3, First and Second

Over the last few months I’ve set up and installed two Raspberry Pi’s.  The first install was at work where the school wanted to have “digital signage.”  I used a Raspberry Pi 2 running Raspbian and using the PiPresents application to run a slideshow, all connected on a big TV on a wall via HDMI.  There is no keyboard or mouse, so all commands are run via SSH.  The second install, just two days ago, I set up a Raspberry Pi 3, still running Raspbian, and this time using the Pi-Hole app to handle ad-blocking at the DNS level for a customer.  This installation is headless so it also needs SSH to run administrative commands.  Good stuff, I love these things.  Now I just need more Raspberry Pi uses so I can keep doing it 🙂

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Quadra 650 – “Quad Serve”

Apple Quadra 650 set up as webserver, circa 2004.

Apple Quadra 650 set up as webserver, circa 2004.

Stock Now (2004)
Processor 68040 @ 33 Mhz Overclocked 68040 @ 42 Mhz
Hard Drive 250 mb 2.1 gb
RAM 12 mb RAM 104 mb RAM
CD-Rom 2x CD 4x CD
Operation System Mac OS 7.6.1 Mac OS 8.1

The year was 2004.  I was given a 10 year old Apple Quadra 650 from one of my sister’s friends.  It was dirty.  It was heavy.  It was slow.  I decided that even though this machine was designed before the dawn of the internet, it would be a great idea to make this a little server – because, why not?  So I did.  With some upgrades (as described above in my table from my old website), this machine did handle a light HTML-based website with ease.  Of course, there was little to no load most of the time either.  After less than a year of running this machine as a server for HTML, IRC, and FTP, I decided to take it down and purchase some “real” webspace.  It was getting expensive (and very warm in my closet) running this 24/7.  Since then it has been in storage.  It really doesn’t have a good use (for me) anymore, and I have found it a new home, on a shelf on display in a classroom.  So this is my last “thank you” to the wonderful “Quad Serve,” the first computer I overclocked, my first server, and my first major overhaul/upgrade – thank you Quadra 650.

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