Monday, May 31, 2010

Iron Man II

Just got back from seeing Iron Man II. Worth a watch.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This Next G is pretty good....

66km offshore diving on Jackson's reef and I still have three bars of signal. That's pretty awesome.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Learn your CPR

It's very important that everyone learn their CPR in case of an emergency.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

So where can we buy some cesium? :P

I reckon a lump about the size of a besser block would be good value.

Preferably deployed off a raft via remote control at some distance, mind you.


Now this is IMPRESSIVE.  Notice the individual cylinders taking off...

We dunned maded a string jig

Steel hacking commences:

Welding and grinding (my welding is not pretty):

Bit of cold gal spray, stick bolts through holes, by some miracle it actually lines up:

Making a clamp bolt for the sliding extender:

Trial run!:

Mervyn servin':

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yet another tax

Just walked into the movies to be told that they only take cash or credit card - no EFTPOS - despite the fact that they clearly have the facilities to do so. When I inquired what people without a credit card are supposed to do, I was informed there was a private autoteller across the room. When I inquired if that wasn't just a blatant way of extracting yet another $2 fee from people, there wasn't a satisfactory reply forthcoming. I instructed the young lady to place the charge against the credit card; and Reading could pay the merchant fee instead of me.

In a similar outrage I notice that McDonalds now doesn't require a signature OR PIN for transactions under $35! WTF, where does a retailer get off not doing the security checks that protect MY account. I will be contacting Westpac this afternoon to see what can be done to prevent this.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Workshop fun

Had some fun today in Merv's workshop making an arrow saw. We made the whole thing out of wood and a piece of alloy angle. I've made similar rigs before but nothing so well built, mine are usually crude and designed for a single use; this one has a sliding clamp tailstock with 5" of length adjustment, feed shelf, and a fancy split clamp assembly for the cutter that I don't have the workshop tools to reproduce (a function of it being solid 35mm plank)...

It works really well, will post some pics in the next few days; I was a complete slackarse and forget them today.

Wow. Just wow.

The implications of devices such as this are just scary.

Moderate paranoia

Apparently I was a bit paranoid when I set up the wifi network at mum’s place last time I was here.

The SSID is *<M_YMgT#%.ulEmB4i*$T;=-\" and it’s not being broadcast.  Encryption is WPA (and I suspect only because her older hardware won’t do WPA2), there’s a MAC address filter for her machine only, the client IP range the router will accept is, the DHCP server is off and the DNS relay in the router points you a set of rubbish addresses…

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tragedy has struck

Had a fairly smooth run today to Townsville.  Automatic fish feeder appears to be working, home brew finished filtering, didn’t forget anything and a smooth run out to the airport.  Decanted Calley at the departure line with a metric shitload of luggage, dropped the car at the parking mob, had a 2 minute wait for a shuttle bus, then all of three minutes in line for check-in.  Luggage was pronounced as being bang on what we weighed it as.  Got handwaved through security complete with wedding dress (bugger explosive shoes, if you want to get onto a plane with no questions asked I say carry it on stuffed up a wedding dress ANYDAY – I could have had Achmed the dead terrorist up there for all they knew).  Plane crew (every since of them gay) were really good, carried it on for Calley and kicked a bunch of people out of a locked to make room for it, then got her priority service off at the end.


Then I went to pick up the hire car.


The car that they had allocated me was due to back to have its rego done in 4 days, and I need it for 22 days.  Bugger.  Need another car.


There aren’t any more full sized sedans.


So the only solution was to upgrade me to an XR6 at no extra cost.  The XR6, when inspected, had 112km on the clock.  It has a few more now, and a slightly lower tread depth.  (Hint: the second button on the bottom row of the binnacle makes the traction control go away and livens the transmission RIGHT up.  So does sticking the box into semi-auto mode.)


Damn shame all around, really.  Buggered an otherwise smooth operation.  I shall have to grin and bear.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Desperately need a copy of "Can't stop falling into love" by Cheap Trick.

Sat with a dozen downloads queued in eMule while I moved the entire lawn, cleaned the shed, vacuumed and washed the car, and cleaned the fish tank.

Come back and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE FUCKING THINGS is still "on queue".

Fuck this.

Find in Youtube, easy.

Use Keepvid to download the entire thing as a parsed MP4.

Fire up Super and extract the audio stream and convert to a MP3.

Honestly, when piracy is this easy, you really have to ask what's stopping us.  That was accomplished in minutes with freeware.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Good read

Found this earlier today, you can explore here for a few hours.

Woo hoo!

Woo hoo - just passed my advanced accreditation exam with a 99/100 score, so I'm now qualified for recall duties.
And two of my written answers are now part of our process documentation, as they're apparently better than what was there already.  :D

Saturday, May 8, 2010

11 on the awesomeness dial.

Sit down.

You may want a beverage, you're about to lose 18 minutes of your life.

You won't regret this.

New bling

Decided to bling up my bow with some side rods this week.  The side rods slightly help dampen out lateral rotation, but more importantly bring the balance point of the bow back a bit (it's a little too heavy for me now with the right amount of weight on the end of the long rod to stablise adequately).

First, yez all needs a v-bar.  I found a nice Win&Win carbon fibre one on eBay, makes a change from the normal machined aluminium.  Nice stainless inserts, too.

Now, we need the side rods themselves.  These are 12" carbon Doinkers with A-bombs - the rubber wotsits on the ends.  They're a bit like any anti vibration mount, two opposing bolts with the heads vulcanised into a rubber block.  The rubber is stiff enough that in normal use it's more or less rigid, but under vibration it allows some flex... to the nice little stainless cap weights, which eat up the vibration.


Here's what they look like assembled, albeit not on the bow yet.  Normally, you bolt the v-bar to the bow riser and leave it there, and just mount the bars as required.

And the finished bling.

Shit happens.

Shortly, too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Now we're talking!  That's 490 9v batteries....  4410VDC.

490 9V batteries - Watch more Funny Videos

Unfortunately, the the dielectric breakdown strength of dry air is about 33 kilovolts per centimetre, so even allowing for humidity you still won't get a very long spark.

Unless you up the voltage a bit.

To, say, 500KV.


Try staring at this for 30 seconds and see how you go.

Also ran across this, which seemed rather prophetic...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I *do* love making smartarse comments in tickets.....

*** NOTES *** [05/05/2010 14:02:30 VICTZ] c950xxx Action Type:
CT called into CFM Access Products at the GOC - he's a bit puzzled why the job has been handed to him as he's construction and maintenance. he has got a backhoe with him and offered to dig a hole for me, but I'm fairly sure that's not going to add much value towards changing a faulty CMUX AU channel pair.
checked the NE, there are definitely no spare LTAC-D channel pairs and zero disconnects. board or possibly TSCP-A replacement necessary.
advised CT to complete subcase and return to tester queue, could the tester who actions this please forward a subcase to the Network Access Products queue...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Commissioned the new fermenter this evening

First batch in the new fermenter…. Actually a double batch of the small fermenter runs to clear out stock, before I move to the full large run kits.


First impressions…. This thing is HUGE, and I’ve only got 15 litres of water in it, the full rig will take 21 litres.


It’s only been pitched for about 2 hours now, and already the airlock is showing pressure.  Fark, it takes 26 hours to do that in smaller batches.


The better yeast with the larger kits is rated at converting 6kg sugar to 14.7% alcohol in as little as 3 days, as compared to 6-7 days with the smaller kits – all to do with temperature stability.


I’ve dedicated the 26W heater pad to the new rig, and made a suitable insulation pad – 330mm square bluestone paving slab faced with nylon carpet for some airflow and non-perfectly-level stress relief.  Heat will stay off the the first 24 hours as the yeast gets going (temps are stable at 22° from pitch despite ambient being 18°) so it doesn’t need it.  The larger batch kits will be even more aggressive.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Home brew improvements

Made the decision today to ramp up the home brew production a bit.

I'm currently running on two small fermenters capable of producing 8 litres of usable wash each, using the turbo yeast and dextrose Still Spirits kits.

The economics of this has been that I can buy a twin batch kit for $40 that will ultimately produce 4 litres of drinkable spirit.  The spirit is essentially a sugar moonshine, which then requires flavouring etc, but that's beyond the scope of production analysis.

The problem with this method is that I have to clean fermenters and rebatch around every 7-8 days.  Cleaning is not a major issue (10 minutes with a hose) but it does include other fussing like sterilisation, yeast pitching, temperature monitoring, restirring, checking for clarification, monitoring specific gravity, dropping the yeast and carbon out of solution prior to stilling etc.  Add in the current low temperatures, which necessitate a heater pad to keep the yeast at an optimum 28° etc, and running two fermenters is a bit of a pain.

So let's up the size a bit.


I now have a 30 litre fermenter, which will enable me to use the 6kg dextrose kits.  These ultimately produce 6 litres of drinkable spirit for $50 (much better!) plus I have food grade containers to hold the fermented wash prior to stilling - so I can have another batch pitched and running while I still off.

Other advantages include only having to wash/sterilise/pitch once a week, plus I only have to temperature and SG monitor one batch, not two.  This is a not inconsiderable improvement, when you consider that heat plates are $65 each, and need timers to cycle them on/off to match the heat output to the thermal load of the fermenter and how much heat it dissipates.


I've found that a simple "blanket" (towel) wrapped around and over the fermenter can increase heat retention by a solid 2°, so with 10 litres of wash in a small fermenter an hour on/hour off cycle maintains 26° fine even with house temperatures around 16° during the day.  I will have to experiment with the larger thermal load (25 litres) of the bigger fermenter but I anticipate that once it's at temperature it shouldn't be much different; experience with heated fish tanks has told me that it's surprisingly hard to induce a thermal change in a reasonable body of liquid without quite extended exposure, even with quite basic insulation.

When we move into the new place, I'm planning to go to a full reflux still instead of the simple pot still I am using now.  Yields on these things are now in the low 90° margins as opposed to mid 60°s for pot stills due to the increased catalytic reaction surface area, and the new one on the market will produce 93° output with only 90-100 litres of water flow per hour through the condensor.


If you feed the drain into the washing machine you can recover a lot of the runoff, and combined with doing 25 litre batches and high efficiency I'd only need to run the thing for a couple of hours once a month.

I'm donating my organs when I die, but I suspect there's a fair chance my liver isn't going to be reusable.

Taking anal rententiveness to a new level

This is worth a read of the pictures - just the first two pages will do.

Warning - be ready to invest about 20 minutes of your life before starting.