Saturday, September 13, 2008

Futuron Labs - A Town / Space Model

I just rushed up a flickr set ( ) of my Futuron Labs model. It has been substantially expanded since a work-in-progress (WIP) version of it was shown at DGXPO - it's also possible that this is the last time I'll open it up to show the things inside.

Normally, I know better than to goof around with Town or Space ideas while I have so many other things to do, but this really only needed some tiles and a few more clever vignettes to brush it up for the Brick Science contest at Reasonably Clever.

This is my first "real" MOC to be presented thoroughly online. I really thought I'd do that here, but I like the idea of making things available to fellow LEGO fans who might like to try the "note" feature. I don't know if I'll ever go pro (I'm out of sets already) but I'm thinking flickr's interface has some definite advantages. I also tried out their new flash uploader here and was satisfied with it.

I might put up some other photos this weekend if I get the chance as well, although the extra time I found myself with in the previous post has since been used up.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Attacked by Corrupt Politicians - For A Different Reason Now

So if you're here in the states, you've probably been hearing BS for weeks about how safe off-shore drilling is and how we've supposedly never lost a drop of oil. Now I can't leave the house because of a gas scare...and we're not even sure if it's real or manufactured. Apparently the gas companies are saying right now that they're losing oil and shutting down operations because of a hurricane. Now there are 45-minute lines to get petrol - blocking off highways in parts of the state.

...and people really keep electing these morons, and continuing to enable this garbage? This is not a political blog, but when your idiotic political ideas ruin my ability to pursue my projects, I'm not going to let you off the hook.

SUPPORT GAS MILEAGE REQUIREMENTS WITHOUT GIVING OIL COMPANIES CORPORATE WELFARE. FORCE ACCOUNTABILITY INSTEAD OF VOTING FOR PEOPLE BASED ON PROMISES TO OIL COMPANIES. ACTUAL terrorist attacks do less to screw up the economy and people's lives - if we don't tolerate those, why should we tolerate this?

Seriously, how can anyone consider voting for McCain / Palin when they're openly lying to us and forcing us into situations like this? Their policies and lies are now DIRECTLY ruining the lives of ordinary people, and we're still seeing nearly half of the country take them seriously. I have other gripes with these fools, but now it's become even more personal. What the hell is wrong with this country?

Just a quick edit: I will allow sensible discussion in the comments here, but not trolls. The McCain campaign has infamously encouraged supporters to engage in internet trolling, and I will tolerate none of that. Any despicable or dishonest comments left here will never be shown on this site, so don't bother trying. You're welcome to try to defend the McCain campaign or the oil companies involved in this snafu, but I suspect it'd be too difficult to be worth your time.

A second edit: Don't insult me by pretending Bush hasn't done any damage. I have no interest in maintaining contact with anyone that morally bankrupt. It's unlikely that the damage done to our country's reputation and budget or our citizens' rights, beliefs, and property will be fixed in my lifetime, and it's fundamentally dishonest for anyone to pretend that we don't need to reverse the disgusting damage done these past few years. I will certainly not post any comments featuring a distorted view of Iraq here either, and I will never take seriously any complaints about verbal gaffes made by someone who has trouble with spelling and grammar (computers have spelling and grammar checkers - at least be decent enough to use such a check before being unfairly harsh on others).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Busy Day

Nothing tops off a busy day of studying, working, mailing, driving, and otherwise ignoring your blog duties quite like getting back at the end of the day and realizing you've just been plugged by the Brothers Brick (and not just a "via" link, I mean a real link where they mention you by name). Should I get a screen cap and frame it? Some people get really excited about these things.

Of course, it's not for anything I built, and it forced me to rush up a few posts so that first-time visitors wouldn't see my "new format" announcement at the top of the page, but it's still exciting.

...since I know people are going to ask, I am planning on properly doing that LAML radio post on the NCLUG site sometime tomorrow - and that's when I'll figure out what's going on with those Collector's Guides as well (not sure how people will feel about me not having time to send an e-mail properly but finding time to talk about it...but oh well - it's all get done soon enough).

I hear we have a hurricane coming up this way - not sure if that means I'll be taking Saturday off of yard saling or not yet. There aren't that many people having sales, anyway. Of course, it looks like I'll be stuck on campus at least part of the weekend, working on a Java server project (then again, I like JSP - they're fun and remind me of those thrilling days working with ASP as a kid).

As for building projects - as of yesterday the final parts for the...rockin' blockin' robot I'm planning on bringing to the September NCLUG meeting are now in the mail. I'm also planning on putting finishing touches on something and entering it in Reasonably Clever's Brick Science contest. I'll probably bring both of those to the next meeting (work permitting), along with my newly-replenished bley tile bin (still 10 cents each, any size). There's also a slight chance that I'll explain that NXT idea I've uploaded to my flickr account sometime in the near future too - I mostly just photographed it to make the parts available again for...that Bionicle thing.

OK, it's after midnight here now and I've just rambled on for several paragraphs about how I don't have time to type up several paragraphs because I have better things to do. Time for some sleep so I can go back at it full-throttle tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Trolley System Build: A Failed Attempt with some Good Ideas

A few weeks ago, I described a bizarre building standard without explaining what it was for. It was for a trolley system. The polarity of the 9V power changes when the train hits the trigger mechanism - on one side that's hooked directly into the switch, on the other end the mechanism is geared in through a long axle lineup. The reason for the standard was to figure out how long a stretch of track this would work for.

I have a fairly limited LEGO workspace these days, so I wasn't able to test a decent-length stretch of track. When we tested it at the big table at the library, we found out that it was able to go about 5 inches further than my previous test had shown - and that the result didn't get any better with a heavier vehicle (I was running my tests with DUPLO Thomas - which I'll blog soon). Additionally, the speeds were higher than optimal for a layout like this, so the stops were a bit abrupt even at the lowest speeds that the mechanism could handle. Thanks to Mike Walsh for letting me use his trolley at the meeting.

Photos and explanations of how to build the various modules of the mechanism are on flickr ( ), if you are interested in trying this out or improving on it yourself.

I sold a few sets there as well - I have records of that elsewhere so I won't post it here.

I'll do a proper wrap-up of the meeting on the NCLUG website soon. Here are picture links in the meantime.

Matthew's photos:
Dan's photos:

Trip Odometer reading 8/21/2008

When I refilled my empty gas tank on August 21st, my trip odometer read 333.6 miles.

That is all.