The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, February 04, 2001

Two Dollars

One of the techs here at The Company just got a talking to. Apparently, it is not appropriate to state that the Microsoft NT servers go up and down more often than a two dollar whore.

Random CVS Notes

I've been thinking of running CVS so I can check source code out from home to work on it elsewhere (oh, say, like from work!). Via camworld I came across this:

- cvs sucks. But it sucks less than anything else. Be prepared for weirdness, but don't panic– there are *so* many people using it, the weirdness is likely relatively harmless or relatively easy to fix.

Random CVS notes

Uhhh …

Random Links and Green Lasers

Woo hoo! It's Links Night!

I already owned one green laser pointer. I bought a 2nd one specificly to take apart. I knew that there was a risk but I have been doing this for years (taking things apart that were not supposed to be) and have become very good at it. I don't care what anybody says, there ARE user serviceable parts inside. :)

Dissection of a Green Laser Pointer from Sam's Laser FAQ

This guy spent $350 to take apart a green laser. Ouch! Now I'm begining to feel as if I should have gotten that military spec 486 at the HAM fest.

Black Coolness

So I'm using the black IBM PS/2 keybaord and I'm finding that while it has a slightly “different” feel than the other one, it's still a nice feel that I like. Really like.

And it's so black, it's cool!

The New England Rubbish Deconstruction Society

So, it wanted to start in reverse, but we wanted to go forward? No big deal, we left the transmission there for just this class of problem. Our solution: “reverse-reverse”. To get rolling, we would start with the transmission in reverse, and the engine controls in "full gear" reverse. Once rolling we would switch both engine and transmission into a forward gear, in a process of complex coordination that deserved the “fire drill” name it got.

This was a four step process that had to be both done quickly and be coordinated between driver (controller of the shift lever) and motorman (throttle, and Johnson bar). At a signal, the motorman closed the throttle, and started moving the Johnson bar. (This was held from moving by a wing nut, which took pliers to budge). Once the throttle was closed, the driver would start to shift. The shift took time, as the crankshaft (with flywheel) was spinning not just at a different speed (like trying to shift a car without the clutch), but in the opposite direction. You had to use the synchronizer to help bring things to a stop. The motorman would announce that the bar was locked in place, and (in the eventually adopted system) the driver would open the throttle, once the shift was completed. We even managed to shift correctly some of the times during the race. We also blew a few, luckily without any real trauma to our engine. Our coupling system did take some significant knocks while learning to do this. Anything less than the motorcycle chain we chose would have parted.

While steam engines are not the best at containing all their fluids, ours seemed worse than usual. We discovered that the piston gland leaked, as, to a lesser extent, so did the cylinder end covers. Again, with the luxury of testing time, we were able to find the problem and after a bit of tightening, we were significantly reduce (but not eliminate) the leaks. We didn't have to put up with the power (and steam) losses they represented, because we didn't find them until we were actually racing.

Steam Car in a Day

I came across the The New England Rubbish Desconstruction Society; The NERDS, which is an American team that has appeared on the Brittish TV show Scrapheap Challenge (Junkyard Wars to those Brittishly challenged). Fascinating reading. The wet-sub. The steam powered car. Stuff that sounds so fun to do, and underscores just how much math and science it takes to have real fun.

Just reading this makes me realize just how little I really understand of mechanical engineering (as if I really needed reminding of that).

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[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

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