Rotten old cars.

I’ve had, for a little over a year now, owned a shit ‘sports’ car. A ‘JDM’ Eunos Roadster, imported from Japan some time in its history. You lot would probably instinctively call it an MX5 and if it WAS, the insurance would be a lot cheaper.
I drove it around for about 10-15 minutes before realising it was filling up with water, much like everything else that I own. I think that’s my fault for living in Scotland, which as far as I can tell is as far below the water table as much of Holland.

Since then I’ve been upgrading the engine to forced induction with a turbo charger, and wondering if I can get rust out of it faster than rust grows.. obviously not. Dust to Dust etc. You can only ever borrow metals from the earth.

Web forums have been the main staple of information for figuring out which bolt to undo first, and which bits are worth buying and bolting on and I had been hanging around on a forum called, stylishly mx5nutz. That used to be a community run thing (well, one guy with a webserver) but at some point it got sold to some ad spammers who whilst they’re enabled it to keep being a resource for some time, recently ‘upgraded’ it in a ‘there’s no data left in it any more’ kind of way.
As a consequence many rattles^w hair brushes have been ejected from many tiny ladies’ cars and a solid bunch of people have moved themselves over to Mighty Fives which is a forum for MX5s, eunos roadster, general mazda, turbo, naturally aspirated and similar crap.

Anyway, it’s not got a good search engine presence so here’s a link to my build thread: I have a car I’m not allowed to drive \0/

Here’s a picture of it when I had the side window glass out of it…
A jolly eunos http://mighty5s.com

Oops, ignore the last post…

Looks like I need a little more aggressive confidence to get away with that. I crashed twice identically in a slightly spine jarring way, failing to edge change fast enough coming off a roller into a berm, then target fixating myself into a crash outside a gate. Invalidating the run even if I get up and carry on.

Being an older fool with a moderately serious spinal injury it makes sense to step back and work on a few things I learned from this; dropping out of gates and weight positioning along with gung-ho arrogance. Basically to brake is to commit to screwing up.

There will be no times posted on the score sheets for me.

Zomg zomg zomg.

So, I’ve… oh wait… SPOILIER: utterly boring snowboard content:

Yeh, so I’ve had a weirdly productive Sunday, hung over from last night’s exertions *all* over London; seriously we did Oxford Street, Soho Square, Trafalgar square, China Town, Camden, Southwark, pretty much the lot except Stratford.

I’ve booked onto my First Aid course, so I’ll be learning how to laugh at your broken leg properly on the 13th and 14th. (laughter lowers stress and releases endorphins, right? (oh, YOU want the endorphins? Sorry!))
The paperwork for my CRB still hasn’t shown up so I guess I’d better call those guys tomorrow.
I’ve booked my plane flights to Barcelona in January to meet the bus transfer over to Arinsal and having that done does start to make the trip seem a little more real. WOO; mini season!

So, no work in the morning since I’m unemployed but I can trundle up to Hemel and get some more hours on the shadow train.

Fun times.

Yet more (bloody) snowboarding.

Yeh, it’s all I talk about, right? I do plan to get some music on the go at some point but there’s a little too much else going on right now. I’m moving house this month and I have some job interviews to have a go at.

I promised that if I passed my BASI, then I’d get stuck into some other things that will make me a better all round coach and certainly more employable on a mountain, so last wednesday this happened:
Oh help!
Which resulted in a blister on my right shin which still hurts now and a *strong* desire to buy a set of my own ski boots which are only like £250 🙁 gah.

I didn’t suck half as bad as I anticipated. I have skiied before. I’ve been round three valleys sulking my way down red runs with far too many snowplough turns, no clue and having no fun at all. So that means I’ve had a chance to get some terrible habits down.

We started out at “level 3” of the 6 level training course, but had a really quick run through level 2 as well just to make sure. First up, controlling speed and direction with pressure and rotation of the skis on the baby slope. A quick look at edging for traversing and a chat about speed control in turns and we scampered over to the main slope to have a go at parallel turns.

This is where it got a tiny bit sketchy, because I’ve got a nasty little habit of stepping through the last part of my turn if I feel a bit fast or a bit wobbly. So I’ve got that to work on. Happily I remembered how to skate on the skis so I can get around on the flat ok. That’s sort of fun but possibly what lead to the blister.

Long story short, I’ve been signed off as a rec level skier, so I can go on my own and practise. But I’ll be back in for another lesson as soon as I can. If I work really hard, I might be able to have a go at the teaching qualification this season.

Raspberry Pi GPS tinkery

I’m playing with making a vehicle position and tracking logger for various reasons, not least if I forget where I left a vehicle it’d be fun to ask it where it is and have my phone tell me how to get back to it.

So I’m messing around with the bu-303 GPS mouse from my car pc project of a million years ago, a raspberry pi and an orphaned sony ericsson phone which as yet doesn’t have a sim but I know can eat AT commands up its usb hole.

So far I’ve found that the rasperian distro is a bit stroppy with the gps out of the gate. It’ll start gpsd on boot and on insertion of the bu-303, but although gpsmon is quite happy to talk to that arrangement, some of the other tools are less happy.

I’m currently looking at xgps x-forwarded to my mac after killing the autorun gpsd and manually running it as root with:

gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0

This lets cgps and xgps get at the data. It may of course be a horrible security problem, but the gpds has come up as running as nobody looking like:

gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0

rather than:

gpsd -F /var/run/gpsd.sock

I’ll go init script hunting for trying to make that work right on insertion. I just wanted to leave this here in case anyone else gets similarly a bit stuck.

More to come later, perhaps.

I MAED A THINGS

I’ve been experimenting with microprocessors. I have little idea what I’m doing and I’m learning day by day about how the code works and compiles into my tiny little arduino AVR thingy.
For now, here’s a couple of cute videos. It’s not half a lot of wires to make a heart shaped box.

Aerial win

It’s take quite some time to collect all the components of my new helicopter together, get batteries charged and transmitters programmed to get decent and stable flights sorted.

I’ve still not got the sensitivities set up to my satisfaction, but whilst working towards this end I made a little video. I think I’ve got the swashplate dialed in ok, but the rudder sensitivity is lacking, and I can’t for the life of me work out what the gyro is or isn’t doing!

As they say, any landing which you can walk away from is a good one, and you’ll notice a quite deliberate touch and go, which is a story I’m sticking to, definitely not an unplanned ground interaction!

Hot Hot aliens.

It’s got hot, my lovely window seat at work has the midday sun shining directly through the single paned shoreditch glass. Heat kills computers, and tech workers. Boo.

Laurie (Last.fm sysop wonderman) rigged up the portable aircon unit, balanced on a box with the exhaust poking out of the window, which he subsequently overclocked with a standing fan poking in the inlet. A bit like a supercharger really.

18C of PURE MAYHEM
18C of PURE MAYHEM

Over on my side of the office I didn’t have the luxury of a box blasting cool sweet air at the back of my head, so I’ve gone for a different approach, I don’t expect much of the sun will be getting into the room on my side, nor any brain modulating space rays from aliens!

Yes, it's really tinfoil.
Yes, it's really tinfoil.

Showcase55

I’ve just got back in from showcase55 at the King’s Head pub in Acton. I do some promotional work for showcase55 connected with last.fm.

One of the best nights of live music I’ve been to recently. I saw Spekki Chris there one night when I work working the sound desk and that was a magical night, but tonight was up there with that night.

The show stealer was Hannah White who has an amazing voice and a remarkable groove. She played effortlessly with wonderful control over her vocal phrasing and guitar picking. It was an accoustic set and she played along with a djembe player who also plays with Twisted Harmony I’d suggest checking her out if you can. Totally enjoyed! I’ll get some photos up on the last.fm event page as soon as poss. She’s on last.fm here, which could do with some details filling in.

Choppers.

For my sins, I’ve taken up a new hobby.

When I left Zen, the cruel staff clubbed together to give me a very thoughtful and vicious send off gift of a fully 3d capable model helicopter. It’s been over two years since that wonderful act, and I’ve only managed to hover that helicopter for a few seconds in the back yard at the flat between the scary scary unforgiving concrete walls.

A trip to the local flying field confirmed suspicions that the slightest breath of wind, from a seagull farting, or a dog burping, was enough to send the heli sprawling into a wonderful set of half controlled spirals ending up in the grass. No significant damage, but no grace.

I’ve since had a single lesson on a 600 sized IC helicopter which was a wicked experience, although an expensive one. I managed a few manouvres on that which I’ve not been able to on any other airframe and the flying bug is firmly nestled in my brain now. (A May bug, I suppose)

After some agonising I’ve treated myself to a Trex 450 electric helicopter which is well capable and suitable for outdoor flying. With the long summer evenings and glorious London weekends beckoning I’m rather excited.
A Trex 450