January 01, 2011

Lazarus Video

flip.gif

My beloved but infrequently used and ancient Flip Mino video camera quit functioning after sitting dormant for several months. The white charging light kept flashing, but it wouldn't turn on or even mount the drive so that I could access the videos stored on it. I tried resetting it numerous times, and charged it on several different USB connections for over 2 weeks, but still no joy in Mudville.

Flip's tech support was beyond useless. They didn't even actually read my questions, but instead gave me several bizarre and increasingly complicated reset instructions, none of which worked. Oh well, time to pull out my spudger.

iFixit has some Flip repair guides and teardowns posted, but none of them were exactly my model. However, after reading someone else's comment and following this teardown for a MinoHD, the fix was surprisingly simple. All I really had to do was open the case, loosen and get behind the logic board, unplug and replug the board and then put it back together. It then booted up fine and the battery was even charged!

Thanks, iFixit!

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2009

GYWO

I never would have made it though the Bush years with my sanity partially intact without David Rees' brilliant Get Your War On. Caution - naughty word warning, but that's how we do.



Posted by Hal Eckhart at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2009

IFixit repair guides

img_1943a_tn.jpg

It's so simple to change components in Apple's desktop computers that it usually doesn't require tools, a manual, or more than 5 minutes unless you're staring in slack-jawed amazement at how wonderful it all is. But laptops are a whole nother type deal, as we say in Minnesota. They are by nature 10 pounds of poo in a 5 pound can, and if you can actually figure out how to get them open, it's not easy to figure out which glued down ribbon cable you should pry off first to get at the component you want to swap out.

That's where IFixit's repair guides come in handy. I've now replaced 2 hard drives using their instructions, and it's really a lot easier than I would have thought. It took about half an hour and $100. (via Amazon Prime) to change the 120GB drive in my MacBook Pro to 500GB.

Before doing the switch, I cloned the old little drive to the new big one using a great little utility named SuperDuper! After the switch, upgrading to Snow Leopard went without a hitch and now I have a bunch more room for stupid cat pictures!

IFixit has repair guides for Mac laptops, IPods, and IPhones.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2006

Dan Hopper's TUBEFIT Program

About once a month someone asks me for a standalone version of my Coping Calculator, so they can run it on their computer out in their garage where there are no internets. Since the script relies heavily on the power of PHP, ImageMagick, and GD, it's not really something that can be easily translated into a separate program. At least not one that I could create.

However, Dan Hopper has written this little standalone program that's vaguely similar to the Coping Calculator, but without all the bells and whistles. It runs in a terminal window and sends a postscript file directly to the printer via DOS. I really don't know how to set up a printer in DOS, so I had to find the spooled file (which went to LPT1, but that might just be my problem) and then drag it over to my USB printer. If anybody knows a better method, just let me know and I'll post your tip.

Dan's coping method differs from mine in that he's designed it to cut the tube with two passes of a power hacksaw, and then grind off the excess. However, the pattern looks very close to mine. For all I know, his math is better. He certainly explains it better anyway.

Unzip this file and put the contents wherever you want. The OVL file needs to be in the same folder as the EXE for it to work. It seemed to work for me, but there are no guarantees or promises from either Dan or me that it won't blow something up. Obviously, that's not the intent, but consider yourself warned.

TUBEFIT.zip (updated 5/19/06)
Derivation of Dan Hopper's TUBEFIT Algorithm
A brief bio of Dan
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

How to make the continents on a big metal globe in 10 easy steps

Or maybe not so easy. I had such a hard time figuring this stuff out that I thought somebody else might benefit from my experience. I don't want to drive down business, but a few more big funky metal globes in the world wouldn't be a bad thing. And if you have the wherewithal to do it yourself you probably wouldn't be hiring me anyway.

The following is a rough and incomplete outline of one method of doing this. There are other methods. Easier methods. There are also probably open-source (and free) replacements for Photoshop. I just haven't found one that actually works for this. Gimp can output the PPMs and convert back to PNG (probably quicker than ImageMagick) but it doesn't create paths and it doesn't open RAW files without a plugin. I couldn't figure out how to make the plugin work, so I gave up. If anybody can really do this (as opposed to saying they know that it should work), just let me know. I'll try to keep this page updated with anything useful, and you can always add your own notes to the comments.

This "tutorial" (if you can call it that) assumes that you know your way around the block. I'm too lazy to make this into "The Idiot's Guide for Globe Construction". However, it should help point you in the right direction or at least give you a few ideas.

Minimum Tool Requirements


Steps

  1. Go to the Globe project at NOAA, and get the tiles.
    Yes, they are big, but they are free (unless you buy the CDs for $260). One of them is nearly 60 MB, but most are 20 to 30. Better make sure you have either broadband or a whole lot of coffee.

  2. Import to PhotoShop and combine the whole thing into one big image.

    Lose the irrelevant channels and save the image as a two-color PNG.
    Your file will now look sorta like this:

    mercator_tn.png

    PPM is a very inefficient format, because the file is written as a rectangular grid. A 1.1 MB PNG can become a 667 MB PPM, so make the PNG as few pixels as you can get away with, or the next steps will be really slow.

  3. Convert to PPM with ImageMagick like this:
    convert in.png out.ppm

    And then go have some coffee. Across town. Walk there.

  4. Split the PPM into gores with Perl and make_gores.pl
    Usage: $0 in.ppm out.ppm number-of-gores
    Like this:
    perl make_gores.pl in.ppm out.ppm 12

  5. Convert back to PNG like this:
    convert in.ppm out.png

    Your file will now look sorta like this:

    gores_tn.png

  6. In Photoshop, create a path by selecting some white, select similar, new path from selection, save path, export path to illustrator, yadda yadda. You may have to screw around with various settings to make it work.

  7. Open the path in your CAD program and clean it up. I managed to get the path open with Rhino , but only after saving it with DOS line endings in BBEdit (it doesn't suck™). Otherwise, Rhino wouldn't open it and just crashed.

    You will want to be careful to get rid of the tiny islands, or you will have a lot of little dots that you couldn't use even if you could figure out where the heck they go.

    You can reduce the detail, but don't get too carried away. Look at Japan and England. They should be more or less recognizable.

    Some things may want a little redo. Greenland can generally be one piece, but it gets cut up because it's so close to the North Pole. Either patch it back together in CAD, or go find a map online. It's not hard. And Antarctica. You really don't want 12 or 24 pieces. Find a map and scale it. And then cut maybe 4 darts in it so you can make it spherical.

  8. Export to your favorite CAM format and cut it out. I saved the file as a DXF and converted it for my cutter with SheetCam, which is a fantastic cheap 2-1/2D CAM application with G-Code and HPGL output.

  9. Hammer your pieces into shape and weld to the globe's frame.

    Which might look sorta like this:

    This 8 foot CorTen steel globe (to eventually be part of a sculpture in front of my building when I have time) was made with 24 gores. It should have really been more, or perhaps segmented somehow, so that there were more segments near the equator. Oh well. Next time maybe. And maybe thicker material (this was 11 ga.) would have helped. The North America on the wall above the globe was 1/4" stainless (same scale) that I did as a test. It came out remarkably smooth, although it's higher up from the equator, so the width of the pieces was less.

  10. There is no step 10. Unless you want to go back to the coffee shop. You don't have to walk this time. You can ride your bike.

Ancient History


The first globe with continents that I was hired to make was a challenge and a bit of a nightmare. It was a large globe (16 feet across and 10 feet tall, to make a little room in a theme restaurant bar), so I thought I could just beat some aluminum into shape and piece it together. After an hour of hammering, I was so frustrated that I was ready to cry. I'd made a huge amount of noise and an unsightly lump in a 4' x 10' sheet, but there was no way it was going to be usable. I didn't have a clue what to try next.

I ending up making 1/12th vertical gores about 4 feet wide with horizontal darts in the edges about every 16 inches. Then, after hammering and welding them into shape, I eyeballed the continents from a 12" globe and cut everything out. It was a ludicrous amount of work, and the result wasn't as smooth as it should have been. Here it is.

A couple of years later, I got asked to do the same exact thing again. In the interim, I'd built a CNC plasma cutter, so I imagined I could cut it out easier. Since I couldn't figure out where to find good geographic information, I used the same 12" globe, traced the continents on vellum, and scanned it into the computer. I then had to manually draw all the shorelines, which was another fantastically labor-intensive task. And thus, my lifelong hatred of CorelDraw.

Finding a way to import the basic geographic data without a lot of hand work has been the global holy grail for me. The process isn't perfect yet, but it's a whole hell of a lot better than my first pass.

* Can't I just open the path in Illustrator and save it as a DXF?


Don't bother.

For whatever idiotic reason, Adobe Illustrator has seen fit to export its DXF files with only Macintosh style (\r) line-endings. This is completely insane, because 99% of CAD programs that people actually use run on Windoze, and most of them will only read Windoze (\r\n) or Unix (\n) style line endings. So if you want to open the friggin file, you have to run it through a line-ending converter. Yes, they're easy and available everywhere, but it's not something that the ordinary guy is going to know about. And it's completely avoidable. For Chrissakes, a DXF file is supposed to be "a CAD data file format, developed by Autodesk as their solution for enabling data interoperability between AutoCAD and other programs." Since AutoCAD won't even run on a Mac, what the hell is the point of a DXF with Mac line endings? I don't know what they're smoking, but I want some of it.

To make matters worse, every curve is written as a spline, which often causes problems with CAD/CAM systems. And the only way to fix this in Illustrator involves turning the whole thing into about a zillion tiny little straight lines. Which will frequently cause other CAD/CAM issues. Sheesh.

However, Illustrator does have some nice features. It can simplify curves and reduce points, which is helpful. If you have it and can deal with the problems, it might be helpful after all.

(This applies to the Mac version of Illustrator CS. I have no idea what the latest version does.)

And finally, if there was a decent CAD program that would just import SVG files, all of this bitching would likely be irrelevant.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

The Universal Tube Coping Calculator

There's now only one version of my Tube Coping Calculator. Trying to maintain various versions scattered all over the internets was too confusing, and it seems that Google doesn't like content that appears to be nearly indentical. It will be interesting to see if it breaks.

Update:
I've hacked it to save your last entered info in a cookie. Cookie/form/PHP tutorial to follow.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2005

How to Bend Tubing and Pipe by Hand


wiggle.jpg
Most people seem to think that you need expensive machinery or heat to bend metal. It isn't generally true. Basic bending can be done with nothing more than ordinary shop tools, a bit of elbow grease, and some ingenuity.

Somewhere around 1978, I took a theater materials class and learned how to weld. As part of a sample prop I'd decided to build, I needed to make some 3" rings out of 3/8" steel rod. The only way I could figure out how to bend them was to weld the rod onto a piece of pipe, clamp it in a vise, and twist it around the pipe. Before I did this, my teacher walked by and told me I'd need to heat up the rod with a torch in order to bend it. "Oh yeah?" I replied, as I wrapped the rod around the pipe three times. I suppose I've felt a certain smugness about my metal mangling abilities ever since.

When I first started working in professional theater shops, the only way I saw metal tubing bent into shapes was by cutting partway through the tubing at intervals, bending it, and then welding the kerfs closed. It's a simple method that's easy for a hack like me to understand, but it's tediously slow and usually produces a weak and ugly product. And welding the kerfs closed causes a lot of warpage, so you never know exactly what you'll end up with.

Paying a vendor to do roll bending is one alternative, but it slows down the creative process, and it's not useful for artsy shapes or ellipses. Machines (unless they are very expensive) usually only bend one radius at a time. You end up having to weld a bunch of pieces together, so it's not much better that the kerf and weld method.

After years of frustration with this, I finally saw someone bend tubing with a homemade jig. It seemed magical at the time, but it took me a few more years of intermittent fiddling to understand the process well enough to be able to produce consistent results. In the years since then, I've learned a lot more through trial and error. And spilling some blood. I hope that the following ramble will help you understand the process and its pitfalls a little quicker than I did.


A Word of Warning

I mentioned blood. Metalwork is dangerous. You will hurt yourself. How bad is up to you.

Bending metal requires some strength, but mostly it requires that you figure out a way use the metal you want bend as a lever to bend itself against a form that may be destroyed in the process. When that happens, you need to be prepared for the outcome. Flesh is weaker than metal, and concrete is harder than your ass or your elbow. If you do much of this, all these things will become acquainted with each other eventually.

Consider yourself warned.


Tools and Jigs

What sort of equipment you'll need for bending depends on the size of the tubing you want to bend. For anything 1" and up, you'll definitely want a sturdy, well braced table bolted to the floor. You can get by for a while with a plywood top, but it will eventually get destroyed. My table has a 1/4" steel top, which allows for permanent holes for jigs and stops that won't tear out without serious abuse. This will work well for any bending up to about 2". For anything heavier than that you'd probably better call a professional anyway.

I've mostly always used 1/2" steel pins and bolts to locate the jigs. 5/8" would be better for heavy bending, but it isn't usually necessary. Bent pins are easy to fix or replace. A few large C-clamps will help keep the jig from slipping and tearing out the holes.

Spend some time thinking about where you're going to bolt down the table. Ideally, you'll want at least a 20' radius (from the jig) of clear space on two sides of the table, and a good 10' on the outfeed side. The best way I've found to anchor the table is 1/2" threaded rod and anchoring cement. Normal anchors, even big ones, always seem to fail after a while.

You'll also need a heavy duty stop to hold the tubing against the jig and a bunch of holes in your table for bolting it down. The stop and the jig must both be extremely square to the table or the tubing will twist. My favorite stop is made from a very heavy piece of 1-1/2" tubing with a bit of pipe welded on the end. The holes are offset so that I can swivel it to get a tighter fit against the tube.

jig_stop_tn.jpg trammel_tn.jpg

One other tool that's invaluable is a sturdy router with a large trammel. Routed jigs will bend smoother and with less kinking or twisting than a jig cut with a jigsaw. If you can't get your hands on a router, just make sure that the cut is as smooth and square as you can make it.

Your trammel can be anything you want, but basically what you need is to attach a stiff bar with holes in it to your router. It can even be as simple as a strip of plywood. Most routers have plastic plates on the bottom that can be removed. Just use those screw holes to mount the trammel. I've made trammels up to 35 feet long, but I have to admit that was pushing the envelope.

The jig material that I use the most is 3/4" medium density fiberboard, or MDF. 1" or 1-1/4" is even better, but I don't have a convenient source for it. 3/4" plywood will suffice, but you might have some trouble with kinking, as it's not quite as consistent as MDF.

3/4" MDF will make a perfect jig for 1" square tubing. For 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" square, you'll want to prop up the jig with some shims so that the jig is more or less centered on the tubing. With round tubing, centering the jig is even more important. If the tube is too heavy, or the jig too soft, round tube may destroy your jig. One way around this is to bend a thin strip of steel to protect the edge of the jig.

unbent_tn.jpg bent_tn.jpg
This is 1-1/4" MDF and 1" tube

For bending big tubing or pipe (like 2" tube or 1-1/2" pipe), you'll want to use a steel jig. The easiest way to do this is to bend two pieces of 1" tubing with a wooden jig and then weld and brace them together. This is actually better than a bent 1 x 2 because it's more consistent and the seam between the two pieces of 1 x 1 is the contact point where the 2" round hits the jig. And since the jig is 2" thick, it's the perfect size for a different sort of end stop. Just take some 1/4" x 1" strap, make a U around a piece of 2" round, and weld it to one end of the jig.

heavy_jig_tn.jpg wall_jigs_tn.jpg floor_jigs_tn.jpg
Some jigs


Small Bends

Homemade hand-bending may not be the best technique for really short radii. For example, 1" x 1" - 18 gauge steel tubing can be bent to a minimum diameter of about 30" before it starts to kink. This isn't an exact number because of the differences in temper and metal quality. And there are a couple of ways to cheat that number even lower. The easiest is to bend several times using successively smaller jigs. How far you can take this is something you'll have to find out for yourself. The other way, which only works for square tubing, involves pushing in the inside wall of the tubing. Here's a 5" radius jig I made for 1" tube that works like a conduit bender.

deform_jig_tn.jpg

This does cause some distortion, but the tube retains most of its strength and it's a pretty darn fast technique. The ridge inside the jig is only 1/8" square wire, but the tube wall collapses about 3/8".


Manual Power

If you're capable of lifting 100 pounds, you shouldn't have much trouble bending tubing up to about 1-1/2" by yourself. For 2", a friend is usually necessary. Spend some time thinking about how you're going to land when something breaks. Something will break. You will end up on your ass.

The forces involved in this may not be entirely obvious at first. In addtion to the weight of the metal and the force that you're exerting, don't forget about potential energy. The metal being bent is a potentially dangerous spring that really wants to smack you in the head. If your jig gives way, metal and jig parts can come flying off the table with surprising speed.

Cheater bars can help you make difficult bends. But they also increase the danger. Landing on your ass with both a 50 pound piece of 2" pipe and a 2-1/2" cheater bar heading for your face is not where you want to be.


Some Tips

Bend with the seam toward the jig. The weld seam is a little harder than the rest of the tube, so there will be less chance of twisting or kinking if it's on the inside of the bend. And it's usually less visible there.

If your floor is too slick, you may not be able to push hard enough. A very light misting with some nasty spray adhesive will help.

Use the tools that are available. Difficult bending can aided by the proper application of a forklift. Jigs can be mounted vertically on shop pillars so you can use your body weight. It looks silly bouncing up and down, but it's effective.

It's always better to slightly overbend than underbend. It's easier to pop it back out a little than to bend it just a little farther. A stub of 2" tube welded to your table 2" off the floor gives you a convenient notch to unbend your mistakes.


Bending Data

Metal always springs back from the jig. Here are a few charts that show results I've gotten. Some of the data may not make sense, and some of it may be wrong. Metal hardness can vary, even from the same mill. Aluminum is more unpredictable than steel.

Hopefully, these numbers will give you an idea of where to start. If you have a better idea, just let me know.

Happy bending!

* All material is steel unless noted otherwise.
* Frequently, bending using progressively smaller jigs will produce slightly larger radii than if you just use the smallest jig first. It's just one of the weird things about how metal reacts to force.


1/2" - 20 ga. round tube
desired outside radius jig radius
144" 54"
120" 50"
32.5" 25.5"
30" 24"
27" 22"
21.75" 18"
21.5" 17"
19.5" 16"
12" 10"
1" - 18 ga. square tube (Central Steel)
desired outside radius jig radius
192" 108"
144" 85"
114" 75"
96" 65"
80" 60"
72" 55"
65" 50"
58" 45"
53" 41"
49" 38.5"
45" 37"
42" 35"
39" 33"
37" 31"
35" 29"
33" 27.5"
31.5" 26"
30" 25"
29" 23.5"
28" 22.5"
26.5" 21.75"
25.5" 21"
1" - 18 ga. square tube (MetalMatic)
desired outside radius jig radius
67" 50"
49" 38.5"
34" 28"
29" 25"
24.5" 21"
1" - 14 ga. square tube (Ryerson)
desired outside radius jig radius
456" 144"
300" 120"
258" 114"
240" 108"
228" 105"
216" 102"
126" 72"
108" 66"
90" 60"
72" 50"
42" 34"
39" 29"
31" 25"
17.5" 15"
11" 9.75"
1" - 14 ga. square tube (Discount)
desired outside radius jig radius
168" 96"
158" 90"
104" 66"
63" 47"
60" 45"
57" 42"
34" 26.5"
22.5" 19"
18.75" 16"
1-1/4" - 14 ga. round tube
desired outside radius jig radius
33' 12'-6"
20' 10'
16'-6" 9'
15' 8'-6"
14' 8'
13'-6" 8'
12'-6" 7'-6"
12' 7'-6"
11' 7'
10' 6'-6"
9' 6'
8' 5'-6"
7' 5'
6' 54"
5' 52"
63" 50"
54" 44"
47" 38-1/2"
44" 36"
42" 35"
37-1/2" 32"
33-1/2" 28"
30" 26"
25" 21"
1-1/2 - 18 ga. square tube
desired outside radius jig radius
180" 120"
168" 114"
141" 102"
108" 84"
84" 72" first, then 66"
1-1/2 - schedule 40 alum. pipe
desired outside radius jig radius
204" 96"
108" 68"
132" 75"
67" 48"
48" 36"
2" - 12 ga. round tube (Ryerson)
desired outside radius jig radius
228" 144"
168" 120"
156" 108"
144" 96"
84" 75"
44" 36"
28" 25"
2" - 12 ga. round tube (Discount)
desired outside radius jig radius
173" 108"
115" 96"
96" 75"
84" 68"
75" 50"
70" 50"
54" 46"
36.5" 29"
31.5" 25"


These tables are admittedly incomplete. I will update them when and if I've got more data and more time. If you come up with a reliable list of your own, feel free to send it to me.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 02:34 PM | Comments (87) | TrackBack

March 05, 2005

How to draw an ellipse with a pencil, a string, and two nails

I keep forgetting the formula, so here it is for posterity.

In PHP, it looks like this:
$foci = round (sqrt (pow ($major_axis, 2) - pow ($minor_axis, 2)) ,4);

And here's a form to prove it:

Major axis      
Minor axis      

Place nails 1.7321 units apart, string is 2 units long.


For a nice explanation of elliptical math and nomenclature, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipse


Posted by Hal Eckhart at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

How to make Quark 6.5 see your PPD for an Epson Stylus 3000 in Mac OS X

Quark keeps on coming up with new ways to piss me off. And I don't even use it. Well, suffice it to say that having Quark running nicely is essential for the happy function of my household. Nobody can live with a homicidal designer for long.

Despite having a properly installed and well functioning Epson Stylus 3000 working, Quark seems to think it doesn't have what it needs to actually use it. And even if you figure out what it needs, and put it where it looks like it should go, Quark refuses to recognize it. Most of this is really related to Quark's silly spurious error messages. The printer works, but Quark keeps spitting out messages about not having the proper PPD installed. Go figure.

What Quark keeps asking for is a PPD for the Epson. There seems to be one lying around from an old installation of OS 9 that looks like it's supposed to go into your home directory in
~/Library/Preferences/Quark/QuarkXPress\ 6.0/PPD/
But if you just put it in there, Quark pretends it can't see it. Sort of like a naughty kid.

After a great deal of mucking about, I figured out that Quark actually gets its PPDs from:
/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/
This seems to be in the root Library, not your home Library, but either might work. The funny thing about the contents of this folder, is that everything in it is g-zipped. Quark seems to look at the folder when it boots up, and unzips anything it doesn't already have. But it completely ignores anything that's not g-zipped. So what you have to do is g-zip the PPD, and stick it in there, and it seems to work! At least it shows up in Quark.

Why this has to be so damn difficult is one question, and why Epson and Quark do such a good job covering up an answer is another. But in the battle for overall evil, I think Quark wins hands down. Least value for the money and by far the worst tech support. But Epson is sure working hard to catch up.

You can save the following as a plain text file named "EPSON StylusCOLOR3000 v2015.802" and turn it into a ".gz" file with Stuffit or right from the command line.
gzip EPSON\ StylusCOLOR3000\ v2015.802

Or you could just download the one below.

This does appear to be copyrighted, but it sure seems like fair use to me. Epson makes it ridiculously difficult to get this file, seeing as how you need one of their printers to use it. And you need the file to make your printer work. So if you want to be totally legit, you can download it from ftp://ftp.epson.com/drivers/MSC3K56DE.SEA.hqx, unstuff it, launch Classic, install it (it nicely quits all your running applications in both OS X and Classic, presumably so it won't simply crash everything), and then copy the file where you want -- once you actually figure out where the heck it went!

It sorta seems like they just want to make it hard to use their old printers so you'll buy a new one. Fat chance, when they treat customers like this. And from what I've heard, they've started using other idiotic schemes to piss me off when I do upgrade.

text file

gz file

More printer stupidity

And even more
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 12, 2004

Citizen of the Planet

Who am I to believe
That the future we perceive
Lies in danger and the dangers increase
Who are we to demand
That the leaders of the land
Hear the voices of reason and peace

When I heard Paul Simon singing these words this morning, I completely lost track of everything I had to do today. It seemed to synthesize exactly what I've felt has been lacking from the movement to replace our leadership in Washington. Like any good song, it's ambiguous enough for one to feel entitled to bestow meaning upon it. And of course our leaders do hear the voices of reason and peace. They're just not paying any damn attention to them.

I really don't know if a couple of old geezers singing with their guitars can change the world anymore, but it's worth a try. This song, written over 20 years ago and soon to be released for the first time, seems to this old geezer as likely a candidate as any I've heard for a tune to hum while taking back our country.

Paul Simon reportedly said the following in an interview for Playboy in 1984:

It was a direct statement about nuclear disarmament. Too direct for me ... I'd like to give it to some disarmament groups for others to sing, because it's quite a good song, but it's just not my voice.

It remains to be seen if it will catch on, but I'm certainly glad that he's finally started singing it.

NPR's Weekend Edition: Simon and Garfunkel, The Interview
Audio of interview (real audio - 17:50 - Citizen Of The Planet story and clip approx. 12:38 to 14:28)
Extended interview (real audio - 54:05)
Lyrics for Citizen Of The Planet
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 02:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

Preventive Warriors

Bitter old fart that I am, I expect the worst from our government of greedy messianic idiots. But even I am a bit stunned at what I've seen of this new documentary on our neocon leaders. It seems that the puzzle pieces are slowly finding their places. At least for me. Video and audio links of Democracy Now piece (18 minutes): [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/27/154222](http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/27/154222) Documentary site: [http://www.preventivewarriors.com/](http://www.preventivewarriors.com/) Trailer (18 Mb): [http://preventivewarriors.com/PWTRcolor.mov](http://preventivewarriors.com/PWTRcolor.mov) A DVD is available for about $35.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Robot

In lieu of anything else enlightening, here's a picture of a really groovy robot that my pals at Blue Rhino Studio built recently. I believe that's Jeremy up on the ladder.

this is a picture of a robot
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 07:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 25, 2004

Potato Chip Truss

chip.jpg Here's another big goofy thing I made a little while ago. It's not quite as complicated as it looks; basically just 4 ellipse segments at tangents to each other. It's all 1 - 1/2" and 3/4" schedule 40 aluminum pipe, hand bent cold using jigs bolted to a table. One of the many things that I someday hope to do with this blog is post some tips and tricks about tube bending. Someday.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack