Fixing things

You know, when I am trying to eat something disgusting, I just think of the Mayflower, and how on that boat, at a certain time, anything made out of food was a delicacy. Then the bbq ribs I dropped on the hair-covered mat at the foot of the refridgerator in the garage taste delicious.

Same type of deal goes for fixing things. When something breaks, I imagine I'm a kid in India and that thing is all I've got. If you gave an impovershed kid a perfect cell phone with a broken charger and a bike with broken gears, he'd already be pedalling his way up a dusty path on his new bike sad that nobody he knows has got a phone to call.

The other day, that Indian kid (me) got a water-damaged and 8-year-old watch that even Dicken would agree had no life about it. It was dead. I immediately took it apart and looked inside. There were indeed traces of water in there--it was dirty and kind of greasy, no condition for the inside of a watch.

I pried the movement away from the case and took a look. As I looked closer, I saw that there were actually individual parts to the movement, and that the battery cage had fingers which held the 3 main parts (the display / microchip, the microchip housing, and the plastic battery house *note, in the pics the display / microchip is never removed from the microchip housing*) together. I pried the cage off and the movevment fell apart. Oh, and a teeny tiny spring sprang. Oops.

I looked very closely at the microchip, and saw that there was greenish foamy corrosion between some of the contacts. I took the display off the microchip and saw the same thing at the corner of one of the connections. I held the movement with my left hand and gingerly removed the corrions with a knife in my right.

After putting the movement back together, (sans itty bitty spring) and popping in a new battery, it came to life.

Good news, except the backlight didn't work, and the water sealing issue hadn't been solved. I looked at a "change your Baby-G battery" tutorial online, and saw that the watch was missing a rubber O-ring. I called Casio and ordered the part (For $0.50 + $1.13 shipping!). It took two weeks to come.

I opened the package and got back to work.

There was still the problem of the escaped spring, and so I took the movement completely apart and started looking as closely as I could at all the contacts to see if they looked worn in anyway (aka they used to have a spring against them).

Finally I saw it! What a relief. The spring went through a seriously small hole and provided an electrical connection between the metal battery cage and the back of the microchip. This, I thought, must provide power to the backlight. I put the spring in the tiny hole and snapped the movement back together.

It worked!!!

Now I was getting really excited. I gave the inside of the case a thorough cleaning with Q-tips, which put tiny cotton fibers everywhere, so I had to spend a couple of minutes using tweezers to extricate them. I finally used a layer of lightly-Windexed paper towel over the edge of a knife to get rid of all the gunk.

Then I put the new o-ring in its place, cranked down on the caseback, and gave it a water test (in this picture you can see the other spring *from two pictures above* poking through the rubber movement backing).

And... The finished product:

I can't decide whether or not I'm surprised that it works, but I do know that I'm the proudest kid in India.

RIDER Project 2006: cell2Cell2CELL

Michele Gambetta knows that Ryder trucks bring back memories of Timothy McVeigh and the 1993 WTC bombings, but this guerilla puts a new spin on the old white box—she uses her truck to do culture and positive idea drive-bys in ‘hoods like Harlem and Bedstuy (you can see "Ryder" through the tapestry attached to the truck). After noticing that conventional museums fail to reach those who aren’t actively seeking exposure to art, she devised the RIDER Project—a rolling gallery that showcases 40 pieces of art and is housed in a truck. The circular artworks are inspired by Dada, and are a response to the recent world-turmoil of genocides and war.

The result is startlingly effective: a giant plastic garden on top of the truck grabs your attention, warm light draws you off the dark street, and after exploring a few of the pieces, Kafresssss!, you’ve been culture-fied.

Here's a walkup of the exhibit That's a severed arm attached to the spinning wheel at the end. it was inspired by a breakup.

Great Googley-moogely

Calling everyone who has ever been jealous of computer drawing software, but always thought it was too difficult--there's a new kid in town:

Just got done spending my day's downtime playing around in Google Sketchup. What an AMAZING program. Amazing in that it is so unlike any drawing program I've ever used--creating a rough sketch of what you want has never been so easy. In AutoCAD, ProE, or Solidworks, creating what I drew today would take hours and be incredibly frustrating. Google sketchup is barely frustrating at all (computers will always be a little bit of a pain.

The coolest bit? The tutorial--it's a monkey-see monkey-do setup, where you are "sharing" the workspace with the tutor. Take a look (keep in mind that when you click the tabs or do an exercise, the whole view shifts smoothly from one vantage point to the next. SO COOL and
useful. All tutorials will be like this in the future).

I get the feeling that it is difficult to draw something perfectly accurately (read: CAD/CAM type stuff) but if you're just screwing around, and want to see what your apartment would look like with a humongous dining room table, this is your program!

This is what I sketched up while at work (couldn't figure out how to move that wheel).

I also learned that if you double click in Google maps, it zooms in. Double right click and it zooms out. Neat-o

Interested? Go to sKETCHUP.google.com today! You'll be amazed at how quickly you pick it up.


Huge news! NYC's master bike plan

Today is very exciting for NYC cyclists. New York City today announced a new three-year plan to "complete the backbone of the City's planned bicycle network," promising to introduce bicycle safety programs and to install 200 miles of new on-street striped bike lanes, car-free bike paths, and signed routes.

The DOT also released the results of a study (see link above) that examined citywide cycling deaths and injuries in the past ten years. Ninety-seven percent of the 225 riders killed weren't wearing crash-helmets, so the City plans to supply bikers with free lids as well.

There is even more good news- the Parks & Recreation department announced plans to create mountain bike trails in Staten Island and Queens.
Of course, you might say it is too late- Similar plans have been in the works for years and hundreds of cyclists have since died. But big cities can take a long time to get moving, but I'm certainly glad NYC finally is.

One potentially important note is that the plan calls for cyclists to follow traffic laws (see below). I'm ashamed to say I'd rather have the right to run traffic lights than a ton of bike lanes.

Increase enforcement of laws against motorists who park or drive in a bicycle lane, and enforce traffic control obedience among motorists and bicyclists.


Lucy and Paul got married!

My sister got married this weekend--her husband is perfect for her! Here are some stereo pairs of the wedding weekend. Relax your eyes so they are pointing parallel (pretend you are drunk), and "push" the left and right sets of images together. Once they align, (so there are "3" images) the "middle" image will look 3D. Click on the thumbnail for full size.