I love wooden rulers, and even more so, wooden yard sticks. I just found out about a local company that makes them, and they even do the brass end plates that I love so much on the end of the yard sticks. I haven’t purchased one from them yet, but from the pictures on the site, they look exquisite! Check them out for yourself: skowheganwoodenrule.com
This seems to come up every now and then in conversation. I use copper pipes. Almost everyone I know is switching to running PEX due to low cost and easy installation. Here is my take on the situation.
Copper pipes have been used for hundreds of years and typically have a lifespan of 50-100 working years in domestic water situations. The only thing that brings this lifespan down is acidic water, and frozen pipes. A split copper pipe can be easily repaired though, so freezing isn’t all that bad. Plus, unfreezing copper is easy – heat it with a torch! On the downside, copper is twice as expensive as PEX. Installation of copper pipe requires a basic propane torch, solder, and flux.
PEX piping is relatively new (a few decades) and has an unknown lifespan. PEX is plastic and all plastics leach some chemical into the water. If this is a safe amount or not, I’m not sure, but I feel unsafe using it in my home. PEX is cheap, flexible, and when it freezes it typically doesn’t burst (though it can). On the downside, PEX can be chewed through by mice and rats and it can’t deal with high temperatures or UV rays (no outdoor exposure). PEX requires special tools to install.
I will gladly pay more for the copper and sweat it in myself. I like the fact it doesn’t leach chemical. I like that it looks nicer when exposed (PEX is ugly). I like that it is safe around rodents (mice and rats are commonplace on the homestead at times). And I also like that I can heat it with a torch if it freezes.
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.
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.
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!
This is seriously one of the most interesting tag clouds I’ve used. I guess that is a bit telling about who I am.
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!
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.
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.
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.