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Topics - PonoBill

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Gear Talk / So I bought a Hobie Eclipse Mirage...
« on: March 20, 2017, 05:06:15 PM »
I've been thinking of doing this for some time--I like the idea if not the execution.  But my paddling workouts were curtailed this winter by some carpal tunnel syndrome and while my weight hasn't changed my waist size has, so I need to pick things up a notch.  I went into the local Kayak shop who are Hobie dealers to ask about availability, and they had one. So I bought it.

I haven't gotten it wet yet, but I thought I'd start a thread about this since I think it's going to head in interesting directions. Today--unboxing.

First off, it's an impressive piece of work. The board is nicely designed and the workmanship is flawless. I'd like to know the construction method, it looks molded. The deck is complex and just really looks well made. the well for the drive and the steering mechanism are very well done, very precise.

So I put everything together and realized how dorky the handlebars look. Take away the bars and it's a great looking rig. I expect to do that anyway, but now I'm even more convinced it's necessary. I plan to add handles like an elliptical machine to engage my core more, and put the steering controls on those handles.

I have to say the handlebars and their related locking system and steering mechanism are extremely well designed and built. I've come to the conclusion that the dorkiness and functionality is a marketing choice, not an engineering/design mistake. There is nothing about this board that indicates in any way that these folks lack vision or that they can't design and build anything they chose to. The elliptical machine design is obvious, and I don't expect it will take me long to design, build and perfect it. If I can see it, they can see it. I presume their marketing research tells them to make it accessible and friendly. the dorky bars do that. It doesn't look like the high-performance torture device I want to turn it into. It looks like fun for the whole family. Yup, yup, yup.

So now we fire up the lathe and the TIG and fuck that up.

Foil SUP / Geezer Foil 2
« on: March 15, 2017, 06:05:02 PM »
So,GF2 needs to be a lot stiffer, a lot stronger. Two ways to do that--1. use very strong materials, or 2. use a strong structure. I'm going mostly with 2 with a bit of 1 tossed in.

The front foil will be boxed, the rear, i'm not sure yet.

Here's the start of building the box and a new connector foil. There will be two fences coming down to the joint of the main wihng, and a brace across the top that the board connects to.

Here's the wing and center foil pieces. I cut through the top of the wing sections, leaving the aluminum intact, then flexed the pieces into this position

Glued with Gorilla glue

Added carbon strips to reinforce the joints,

Good start I think. I'm not going to try bagging this. the center foil is going to be a wet layup. I'm thinking a thin skin of spruce ply on the top of the wing, glued in place, and then carbon. The fences reinforcing the joints are going to be thin plywood with carbon on each side--a thin sandwich, but it should be strong. Top piece probably plywood with fiberglass over it.  Maybe some carbon too--why not. I have a lot of 10oz scrap.

Total width is 29 inches. the center foil is 22"X8" The angle wings are 13" X8". I'm fudging a bit on the foil coefficient, but according to my calculations the full wing (center and angled wings) gives 240# of lift at 4mph. The coefficient might be better, we'll see. There's nearly 200# of righting force available if the foil tilts 30 degrees at 5mph. Lots 'o fudging in those numbers.

Random / Double Vision
« on: March 13, 2017, 10:21:59 AM »
Got the MRI results this morning--nada. No tumor, no lesions, no sign of infection. The doc thinks it will clear on it own, but what a pain in the ass. Nice that it's nothing malignant, though.  So I got that going for me.

Probably going to curtail my car racing this year--vision has to excellent for that to work. So I'm reshuffling my shop priorities. I'm going to finish cleaning up, find someplace to store Peyote out the way (probably just stick it in the trailer) and get to work on the Geezer Foil II and the electric TR3.

The problem is with the sixth cranial nerve, either viral or vascular since there's no sign of infection or lesion.  Naturally I've been reading up on the little bugger. It's surprisingly vulnerable, makes kind of a tight 90 degree turn before it passes through the skull, potentially making it more sensitive to swelling than the other ocular nerve.

I'll go see a few other docs and see if there's some treatment that makes sense. In the meantime I'm walking around like the old Hathaway Shirt man--or at least the "might be homeless" version of that elegant dude.

Someone needs to tell this guy that his tie is too short. He probably can't see it.

I had kind of a Holy Shit moment this morning while I was reading a few somewhat related articles about Tesla. I posted it in the self-driving car thread, but I think it deserves separate attention.

The larger question is not the technology, which is coming fast, but what it means for transportation in general. With Uber's current funding round valuation ($62 billion) They could obviously afford to buy the full output of Tesla for the foreseeable future. If they don't, or are not allowed to, then they probably disappear.

Tesla executes the Tesla Networks concept, Tesla autonomous car owners release their cars to the network when they don't need them, earning a return on ownership of their cars. The USA then has a fleet of autonomous taxis larger than the current fleet (250,000), probably by a factor of ten. The cost for getting a ride wherever you want to go, without any appreciable wait, drops to some fraction of what it is today. Tesla has a new continuous revenue stream that dwarfs anything Uber ever sees with no added cost other than developing and maintaining software and TCO of a Tesla drops well below anything that burns gas.

I don't think I'm speculating here. I think I'm articulating an obvious game plan. The only open question is whether or not Musk thinks there is any advantage in partnering with Uber.

I think not.

In other news, there's a twitter thing going on about Southern Australia's blackout situation. Musk offered to install 100 megawatts of utility-level powerwall in Australia to curb the problem in 100 days. When challenged on the timeframe Musk said "If we don't do it in 100 days then it's free".

Not only would this raise the understanding of the value of local storage hugely (100 MW would probably solve most of the problem, even though it's less than the output of a typical gas turbine generation plant, it would substantially change the nature of the current problem. Might not eliminate it, but local and distributed storage is a lot more important and useful than central generation. This could be an important development, especially if it's coupled eventually with a lot more solar. Australia's solar potential is huge.

Downwind and Racing / Back in the Hood
« on: March 02, 2017, 02:36:01 PM »
Arrived yesterday with a sick wife in tow. Diane got a virus a few days before we left, which turned into pneumonia. Nothing showing in the chest Xray, but presenting all the symptoms. I got the same bug probably, but for me it's just a runny nose and cough. I'm unloading the truck and trailer today. What a job. Fully 2/3rds of the bulk is dog damage protection stuff. Diane covered about every sensitive surface in the Trout's house with something. And of course the dog behaved himself the entire time. I used to think I overdid stuff until I married Diane.

Good to be back in the Hood. The wind is pretty strong today, and I'm tempted to try to put together a cold weather downwinder, but I'd probably just prolong this sore throat crap. Besides, I'm still only halfway unloaded. If we do this again I'm going to insist on just a truckload--no trailer.

There's snow on all the hills. This is the earliest we've been back in HR, but it's very good to be back. LOVE THIS TOWN.

Random / Warren Buffet's Investment Letter
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:14:26 AM »
Warms my heart. I've spent a bit of time every few days over the last few years writing a book on retirement, inspired mostly by the egregious actions of the financial advisor business. The letter appeared today, and in Mr. Buffet's inimitable pithy style, says pretty much what I've said--though I'm up to about 350 pages to do so.

It's a great letter. Mr. Buffet is also about to win his million dollar bet that a straightforward index investment would beat a basket of hedge funds over a ten year period. It's not just small investors that would profit from listening to Mr. Buffet.

Of course Berkshire Hathaway outperformed both of the two investments in the bet. When I first selected two investment advisors to manage my money a decade or so ago, I said "why shouldn't I just put this money into Berkshire Hathaway". The answers were not convincing, but I went with them anyway. I should have gone with Warren.

Random / Spam, spam, spam, spam sapm and spam.
« on: February 17, 2017, 01:54:47 PM »
After years of my spam filters working reasonably well, I'm suddenly inundated with stuff that looks easily recognizable. Old school crap like reams of hidden text and leading with .PNG or .JPG pics instead of text. Have the filters gotten stupider, or is something else afoot. I'm not seeing anything remarkably clever.

Random / The economy of fake news
« on: February 07, 2017, 10:19:48 AM »
I posted this in the shitshow thread, but it deserves it's own:
Interesting article on Fake News and its genesis and economy:

Random / Falcon 9 -- welcome back
« on: January 19, 2017, 11:56:19 AM »
So glad the Falcon 9 is back and Spacex isn't dead. What a beautiful rocket that is.

Pretty much stuck the landing on RTFI (what they should have named "just read the instructions")

the 9 comes off the pad like the old Saturn rockets--fast and straight.

Random / Lilly Drones Goes BK
« on: January 13, 2017, 09:55:37 AM »
Lilly is ending operations and refunding at least part of the crowdfunding bucks. Also 3DR, one of the pioneers of drone controllers and autonomous flight, has ceased selling components and drones and is focused on the software side of commercial mapping.

Start of a shakeout for sure. It's a lot harder to make these things safe and reliable than people expected. I wondered how that would work as more drone manufacturers started to concentrate on the non-hiobbyist, technically limited, general public. Answer: Not well.

DFI has probably slammed a lot of doors by raising the bar with the Phantom 4, Mavic and Inspire 2. Especially the Phantom 4. Any high-performance drone manufacturer looking at the Phantom 4 or Mavic is probably in the same boat as a DIY-focused eCar conversion company looking at a Tesla.

Random / DJI Inspire 2 and 5k camera
« on: December 31, 2016, 08:19:59 PM »
Flew my inspire 2 today. I'm having some challenges getting a tablet to work right. I don't have my iPad with me, but I did a bunch of experimenting last night with Diane's iPad, and it was plug n' play. Piece of cake. But I decided to get a cheaper Android tablet since they generally have GPS standard (iPads don't in the wireless-only config). Turns out the Android stuff has all kinds of problems. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab A, but getting the controller to talk to it is hopeless. Lots of pages on the web of people going nuts getting this to work.

So I guess I'll buy another damned iPad with mobile connection that I won't use.

As far as the Inspire 2 goes, it's pretty fricken' amazing. A drone that feels like a high-end camera. Everything is click, snick, snap--beautifully machine parts, locking together. Flies great. You really don't need piloting skills to manage this thing, it's much more about camera knowledge.

A lot of new stuff to learn. The control system feels like it's from somewhere in 2030. The documentation is 1965.

Random / You may be a geek if...
« on: December 26, 2016, 09:58:01 AM »
You're thrilled to find out that an RGB LED can be used as a full spectrum, modulated photodiode. I didn't know that, but it made my little geeky heart flutter to make that work. So that's my morning. Going for a bike ride.

Happy Boxing Day.

LEDs are photodiodes!!  Who knew! Thanks AdaFruit. Hmmm. You may be a geek if you get the AdaFruit newsletters. You ARE a geek if you immediately dive into your handy travel electronics kit and check out the information.

General Discussion / Between the toes???
« on: November 27, 2016, 02:16:10 AM »
Covesurfer calls the bottom at Puamana "razor blades covered in pincushions". We surfed there a while today in baby waves, and I was careful, but I brushed my feet lightly on the bottom twice. In one brush I got a slice on the bottom of my foot. On the second, two urchin spines between my toes.


didn't know until I got home. the slippah strap that goes between the toes was bothering me. Yup. Hurts like a bitch now because I dug some of it out--at least enough to have a flat surface.

Random / Now I get it...
« on: November 22, 2016, 01:17:28 PM »
I almost decided not to write this given that the Trump thread isn't in the recent posts list. I hope it stays gone. But I had an epiphany today, watching the video of the Hamilton incident. In all the media, the only mention of the booing when Pence's presence was mentioned and the lead actor read a statement directed at him, was the actor himself saying "there's no cause for booing" or words to that effect. But the crowd did boo, and continued to.

The lead actor called it "a conversation", but a lecture isn't a conversation. If he wanted a conversation he could have made an invitation for Pence to meet with the cast. He called him out, in front of the crowd, and while the words were polite, the meaning was clear and confrontational.

I don't have any problem with that, and I don't have a problem with people choosing to boo Pence (though I think it's incredibly stupid). I just realized what it means, and why the democratic party has been decimated in every place that counts--totally tone deaf. And too arrogant to understand what a caricature they have become. The media is screaming about Trump continuing to harp on this. And everywhere but in the few remaining blue states, they sound like idiots and Trump sounds like a guy standing up for his choice of VP. How can they not hear that? Simple, they are lying to themselves as well as to us. They didn't focus on the disrespect shown to VP-elect Pence, they loved it. And they don't mention it because it doesn't support the notion that Trump is a maniac.

If they plan to crawl back to any position of power, they need to stop listening to their own echo chamber--which is working really well now that it's nearly empty--and understand that there are a large number of people in this county that think they are arrogant, clueless, dicks.

If they have any hope of curbing Trump they need to understand their position and start focusing on substance--not whether he does a few tweets. It's funny to see twenty news outlets going totally screwball, convening panels, creating special graphics, all saying that he's over-reacting and not focusing on issues he needs to pay attention to, when it's three tweets, about forty letters each. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so typical.

Random / The Grand Tour
« on: November 20, 2016, 02:02:30 PM »
Just finished watching Episode 1 of the Grand Tour, If you're an Amazon Prime member (kind of crazy not to be) it's free:

The first episode is fun. Great opening sequence and the cinematography is superb. It's a bit too much like top Gear, but then what would one expect. They'll travel around a bit more. Amazon is obviously dumping a fair bit of bucks into this. I figured it would just be Clarkson, but he has Captain Slow (James May) and Richard Hammond--who famously got his ass handed to him trying to do the Gorge Paddle Challenge downwind race with minimal training and experience.

I enjoyed the show, but I expect it will get boring quickly unless they freshen up their somewhat tired schtick. In the early days of top Gear I loved the show--they did some outrageous shit. But then they fell into a pattern of sameness. I suspect part of it was budget, and part of it was trying not to kill all three of them.

The three cars tested in this episode are all hybrids--but not a Prius in the lot.

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