GoToMeeting fail

Things I am thank­ful for: con­fer­ence calls with slideshows. Because I love hav­ing to infect my com­put­er with your shit­ty cor­po­rate soft­ware that can’t even upgrade itself like it’s 2014.

December 19, 2014 December 20, 2014 rants by Scott No Comments

I’ve been clear­ing out our base­ment on and off through­out the year. And by “clear­ing,” I mean that I have demol­ished pret­ty much every­thing that wasn’t hold­ing up the house. Some find­ings:

2014-11-08 18.11.35 Jars of fas­ten­ers, most­ly attached to the ceil­ing. Already prov­ing use­ful. Giv­en the num­ber of jars, I can safe­ly con­clude that a pre­vi­ous own­er had a seri­ous weak­ness for her­ring!

2014-11-08 18.13.22 Haz­ardous chem­i­cals and out­dat­ed elec­tri­cal para­pher­na­lia. Inevitable.

2014-11-08 18.28.12 A giant bun­dle of col­or­ful cloth-braid­ed tele­phone inter­con­nect wire. I can’t bring myself to throw it out. They don’t make wire this visu­al­ly inter­est­ing any­more. Back in the hey­day of cop­per phone ser­vice, Ma Bell had a com­pli­cat­ed col­or cod­ing sys­tem to help dif­fer­en­ti­ate the hun­dreds or thou­sands of pairs found in cables and wiring plants. I’m more famil­iar with the major/minor 2-col­or scheme used today, but some of these wires have 3 col­ors. Good luck sort­ing that out!

2014-11-08 18.23.22 A lump of coal. Sav­ing it for Christ­mas.

2014-11-08 18.15.19 A wood­en box for a David­son Patent Foun­tain Syringe, No. 16. Suit­able for use as “irri­ga­tor, vagi­nal, anal, childs, sprin­kler, and nasal.” I’d pre­fer not to think about it. The box is full of mis­matched iron hinges.

2014-11-08 18.22.45 From above the ceil­ing and behind the walls, a cor­nu­copia of tools. Every­thing from a tiny oil­er to an arborist’s pole saw to a hefty axe marked “prop­er­ty of City of Boston, Sew­er Divi­sion.” And a rusty cleaver (Hal­loween?).

2014-11-08 18.17.29 Ancient and mod­ern sand­pa­per from Minnesota’s favorite Min­ing and Man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny.

2014-11-08 18.26.34 2014-11-08 18.26.53 The “Win­ter Vaca­tion Sec­tion” from the Decem­ber 4, 1949 Boston Globe. I wish we could still trav­el to Flori­da on the only rail­road “stream­lined for stream­lin­ers.” Or get trav­el plan­ning help from Miss Hos­pi­tal­i­ty.

2014-11-08 18.27.23 It was rolled into a tube bound with wire and used as pipe “insu­la­tion.”

2014-11-08 18.29.01 A bot­tle of booze hid­den in a secret crevice behind the work­bench. Because life was hard­er back in the day.

November 8, 2014 November 8, 2014 home by Scott 2 Comments

I like strange murals.

portsmouth, nh

waltham, ma

November 5, 2014 November 5, 2014 observations by Scott No Comments

Jeff and Helena

More than a year late, but who’s count­ing? A new gallery.

October 26, 2014 October 26, 2014 photos by Scott No Comments

Either is mon­i­tor­ing my news read­ing habits, or it’s just suc­cumb­ing to para­noia. Here is what it rec­om­mends I buy today:

bunny suits

October 17, 2014 October 17, 2014 observations by Scott No Comments


At the Seashore Trol­ley Muse­um.

October 7, 2014 October 7, 2014 photos by Scott 3 Comments

On the way to work yes­ter­day, I was passed by a mas­sive (and very new-look­ing) Cam­bridge Police armored vehi­cle.

Aside from obvi­ous ques­tions about whether it needs to exist at all, or whether it makes sense to dri­ve it around in pub­lic so soon after the Fer­gu­son sit­u­a­tion, I have one sug­ges­tion for the city of Cam­bridge: change the paint job! The vehi­cle is paint­ed dark green (for­est cam­ou­flage?) and sports the same black-and-gray Amer­i­can flag insignias and under­stat­ed let­ter­ing that spe­cial forces sol­diers wear.

The whole thing looks extreme­ly military–not police.

Why not paint the vehi­cle in bright, friend­ly police col­ors? It wouldn’t be any less effec­tive at, say, dri­ving into an armed hostage cri­sis. And it would send a strong mes­sage to the police that it’s not OK for neigh­bor­hood offi­cers to play com­bat dress-up games.

September 27, 2014 September 27, 2014 observations by Scott No Comments

pedal-wood-03-pair File this one under “first-world prob­lems.” Since putting togeth­er my belt-dri­ve city bike last fall, I have been look­ing for a bet­ter way to ride (occa­sion­al­ly) with nice leather-soled shoes. Every met­al- and plas­tic-sur­faced ped­al I tried rubbed uneven­ly against the shoe, destruc­tive­ly dug into the leather sole with sharp points, or both.

The solu­tion seemed to come in the form of the Moto Urban Ped­al, which has an unusu­al­ly large flat fric­tion sur­face as well as a dis­tinc­tive ply­wood body. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the fric­tion is pro­vid­ed by “strong grip tape.” While their adver­tised claim is true–that the skate­board-style grip tape pro­vides slip-free con­tact even with wet leather soles–the man­u­fac­tur­er doesn’t men­tion that grip tape also destroys leather by grind­ing it down. As I found out, grip tape is just coarse sand­pa­per with an adhe­sive back­ing. That solu­tion is per­fect for the skate­board-indus­tri­al com­plex because it ensures a steady cycle of demand for new skate­board­ing shoes, but it is unsuit­able for my needs.

So I began my Edi­son-style exper­i­ment with every kind of fric­tion mate­r­i­al I could get my hands on. I tried sev­er­al dif­fer­ent mod­els of 3M Grip­ping Mate­r­i­al, the amaz­ing stuff that sim­u­lates gecko feet, but it quick­ly became clogged with debris. I tried a tex­tured self-adhe­sive neo­prene prod­uct designed for guns (?!), but it lacked the dura­bil­i­ty and adhe­sive strength I need­ed.

Final­ly, Feld­meier sug­gest­ed that the best fric­tion mate­r­i­al for shoes might be anoth­er shoe. From an online cob­bler sup­pli­er, I obtained two sheets of sol­ing mate­r­i­al: a 2 mm SoleTech sol­ing sheet for dress shoes and a 4 mm sheet of Vibram 7175 boot rub­ber. The Vibram mate­r­i­al is amaz­ing but way too thick and heavy for this appli­ca­tion, so I put it aside. The SoleTech (check-tex­tured SBR rub­ber) is per­fect.

I made a tem­plate of laser-cut acrylic so I could cut per­fect ped­al-shaped pieces from the sheet with a knife.

2014-09-14 11.19.01

Rub­ber con­tact cement pro­vides a per­fect (although pos­si­bly too per­ma­nent) bond to the plas­tic pieces that form the plain bear­ings in the Moto ped­als. It also smells awe­some.

2014-09-14 11.41.37

The new ped­al sur­faces are work­ing great so far, wet and dry. And they don’t destroy leather. We’ll see how they hold up in the long term.

2014-09-15 09.13.14

September 18, 2014 September 18, 2014 cycling by Scott No Comments