ENSMB at Honkfest!


Originally uploaded by eidolon

Today Zach and I stopped by Davis Square to take in Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band‘s performance at HonkFest. There were zillions of people around, with at least 3 different bands playing at any one time (far enough apart so they didn’t overlap at all), and tons of great costumes, dancing, and just plain fun.

Naturally, ENSMB’s show was awesome as ever, taking place out on the greenway along the bike trail. There was plenty of room for the band, the Madcap Rumpus Society and an audience hundreds of happy, dancing folks.

Handsome Chuck threw his always exceptional level of energy and drive into the show, and the band kept the kickin pace up for the full hour I was able to watch them.

Thank you ENSMB and Honk!

Data Recovery: DENIED


Originally uploaded by eidolon

So what happens when you’re retiring a computer that has had your personal financial information on it for the last 7 years, and you really don’t want that information falling into someone elses hands?

Why, you uninstall the drive, get a hammer, hand both to your 9yr old son, and say “HAVE AT YE!”

I’d like to see Drivesavers recover THAT information. (Note – I’ve had to use that company before, usually after an executive does Something Dumb with their laptop, such as check it. At an airport. In a soft carrying case. When an advanced, powerful machine consisted of 20lbs of NEC v80 powah.)

Gotta Love Americans


Originally uploaded by eidolon

Or maybe it’s just New Englanders.

Shall we run down the list here?

1) Big ass SUV.
2) Parked as annoyingly as possible (I suppose they could have gone diagonal and covered 3 spots)
3) Bike rack that sticks a good 3.5 feet out into the lot (empty)

Understanding that at one point I actually owned a Suburban just like this, I think I can safely say I at least had some clue how to park it.

Maine Fireworks!


Originally uploaded by eidolon

This past weekend I was up with the Fam in Maine doing our traditional July 4th joy. A lot of fun to be had – the weather cooperated (not too hot, not too cold), we got some good time on boats and ate gobs of food.

Thursday night we went to Sanford, ME, as we usually do, and saw the fireworks show there, alongside probably 5000 other people all camped around a lake. As always, it was a great show.

This time I decided to try and photograph it. For the camera geeks, I used my 50mm lens, F-stop all the way open to 1.8. ISO was wobbling around, but I settled down to a very low 200. I was worried it wouldn’t be fast enough, but with a 1/15th second shutter speed, it worked out fine.

The gaping F-stop meant my depth of field was measured in feet, even 300ft away from my subject (the fireworks themselves). I could not autofocus for obvious reasons, so with a lot of experimentation, I found “All the way out, backed off about 10th of a turn” seemed to be the ‘sweet spot’ for focus.

As usual for these sorts of shoots, I shot a LOT. 320+ images for 1/2 hr show (filled my 1gig memory card). From that, I ended up with less than 50 useable images.

I may take a handful and postprocess further into a nice gallery, but this was a good first attempt. The one thing I didn’t expect was the reflection you can see in some of the brighter images. What I’m guessing it is is the image reflected onto the UV filter off my primary lens. I should have thought to remove that filter for such bright shots, but that’s the joy of experimenting, eh?

Anyway, enjoy!

Oh yeah.

on the lake

Originally uploaded by eidolon

Now I remember why we come up here.

Today we spent the day doing the ‘second’ phase of prepwork necessary to get the Maine house ready for the summer. Last weekend was plumbing, electrical, and ‘gross’ maintenance. Today was things like leafblowing and mowing the field, other basic house repairs, and the big project of re-installing the docks.

We have a two section floating dock that is stored on shore for the winter. Moving it back onto the lake and into position involves some pulleys, a tow vehicle, 150′ of heavy line, and a lot of muscle. All in all, it went smoothly, but boy is it a lot of work.

Tonight it’s cool, quiet, and done. We had a great grilled dinner with friends from DownLake, and now the house is quiet, aside from the MIL watching the Celtics game (one of the few times the TV is turned on).

We did retrieve our Caravelle powerboat from it’s winter storage, and it’s sitting on the trailer in the field. Tomorrow we’ll launch it and, if it’s warm enough, we’ll get some skiing and tubing in.

It’s good to be back.

Piece by piece, Mame cabinet progress


Originally uploaded by eidolon

With Ubercon coming up next week, and the successful debut of my cabinet at the last event, I wanted to get some more work done on the assembly before we shipped out. To that end, I had been pondering using industrial pipe assemblies to build a sort of ‘framework’ to hang the monitor on.

With some advice from my brother in law, I ordered up the pieces from MSCDirect (in conjunction with a fortuitous find on ebay), and tonight, with most of the parts in, I set about assembling the stand.

This is the one part of the build I had NOT worked out on paper ahead of time, but working with metal assemblies has the advantage of “Don’t like it? Disassemble it and try it a different way!” They’re just like big tinker toys.

The piping is 1 1/4″ aluminum conduit courtesy of Lowes. It was relatively low cost, convenient, and easily strong enough for what I was doing (in fact, I could probably have done this with 1″ piping – the fittings are sort of overkill for this type of work, but it lends to that industrial look 🙂

The monitor hanger is another ebay find (got 5 of them for about $15), though I needed to modify the mount to fit into the crosspiece (it’s times like this I pine for some shop tools I don’t have, like a drill press. Drilling holes in an clamped aluminum pipe with a handheld drill is NOT fun).

The two assemblies right above the control panel are going to be braces going up to the monitor hangar. Because I’m missing some pieces still, they’re not yet hooked up.

I also took the time to fasten down the control panel properly using angle brackets and some machine bolts I had.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the result. Next step will be to make sure the software interface and emulators all work properly.



Originally uploaded by eidolon

Everyone is prepping for their move to Mosaic in their own way. Having worked with groups of friends many times on big projects, it always seems at the end that you end up holding a hammer going “Okay, whose is this?”

If we’re all living in the same place, we’re going to be sharing tools and the like constantly. Why not adopt the same scheme we’ve used in the Techno-Fandom world, and use paint pens (or tool dip) to mark tools and personal items with a unique color scheme?

My scheme, used in the TF crew, has been Black-Blue-Silver for about 10 years now, so it makes sense to use that in Mosaic as well. Most of my convention gear is already tagged, but a lot of my tools haven’t been yet.

A nice rainy Saturday morning, and some spare time, and voila – another handful of items marked up.

I still have to do my big toolbox, but at least this part is done.

Snowy Porch


Originally uploaded by eidolon

A quick pic before I go out and assault the walkway and the driveway. We’re in the middle of a January snowstorm here, and stuff is piling up outside. There’s been various forecasts of anything from 6″ to 14″. It keeps fluctuating. We’re at about 6″ now, and it’s still coming down.

Our house, taking shape!


Originally uploaded by eidolon

I’ve been pretty lax on the posting front lately. Certainly not for lack of content that I’d like to share with ya’ll, but primarily from lack of organized thinking time.

One banner of light in all the nuttiness is receiving regular updates on our house, currently under construction at Mosaic in Berlin. On Sunday we had the opportunity to go on-site and see the work up close. We had a rep from the builder with us, who did a great job of answering all the annoying technical questions we had.

On the Mosaic side, only one building is fully framed, and that happens to be… OURS! Cat and I have the right most side in this picture, a large three bedroom unit. We’re looking at the ‘back’ of the building here. The left side has 2 1 bedroom flats in it, one of which is already sold to our current roommate. Yay!

Zach got to actually go inside the building (there’s no ramp up yet, so the builder-guy just lifted two of the kids up inside). I was able to hang on the rear window frame for a while looking around our living room, getting a feel for the size and space. Models and drawings are great, but actually seeing the space for real, and looking around… it was a pretty emotional moment for me.

It was the first really warm day in weeks, and of course that meant mud. Some folks fared better than others (one of the kids unfortunately ended up face down in a puddle), but all in all, we had a great time.

Zach and his XO

Zach and his XO

Originally uploaded by eidolon

After waiting almost 6 weeks, the XO laptop came via Fedex today. I had been rabidly refreshing my browser watching for tracking information, but didn’t actually see it in the system until it showed up on the doorstep.

Zach has latched onto it with quite a bit of excitement, and is happily writing stories in the word processor now. He fiddled around with the web browser (getting it onto the wireless network was a piece o cake), and played around with the Turtle application (very similar to Scratch), and is now just writing stories.

I’m tickled pink by how attached he is to it. We’ll see if it settles into a long term happiness, but I think this is the perfect combination of teaching toy, game machine, internet tool, and all around handy machine for him right now.

Thank you OLPC and the Give One Get One Program.