2022 was a challenging year due to a kitchen remodel that went poorly.
During the process, I came up with a list of Advice for dealing with contractors that covers the pre- and post-hiring details that were overlooked.
A lot of frustration could have been avoided with more due diligence during the hiring and contract negotiation process.
I was almost ready to give up on chain-driven bikes and switch to belt-drives when I tried waxing my chain for the first time last year.
Once I figured out how to do it, it dramatically improved the cleanliness of my bike.
While it’s definitely not suitable for wet weather, I can’t imagine a better upgrade for most bike drivetrains.
The Varvara personal computer system with its Uxn virtual stack machine hosts programs that are inevitably ascetic and must prioritize usability over feature creep due to the limitations of the virtual hardware.
However, it throws out fundamental advances in making computers more approachable like accessibility, internationalization, and data loss resiliency in the face of crashes.
On the spectrum between Varvara minimalism and mainstream maximalism, there’s likely room for a more forgiving middle ground that still conforms to Varvara’s build-it-in-a-weekend litmus test.
I’ve experienced more variable weather this year so I’ve had to think carefully about what I wear on bike rides to stay comfortable.
Even though I’m relatively well-geared for biking in cold weather, I’ve found it a lot harder to get motivated for fitness-oriented rides.
In any case, just about the only weather that I can’t bike in is when wildfires are burning and smoke is thick in the air.
Earlier this year, I bought a pakiT folding bicycle from Bike Friday in Oregon with the hope that I could use it for running errands.
Unfortunately, it didn’t end up working for that and the bike is now my dedicated wet-weather commuter.
I’m not soured on errand-running folding bikes and a Brompton is probably in my future.
I’ve started to get back into Pen plotters again after upgrading my AxiDraws with a coreless servo from Evil Mad Scientist.
With the art process sorted out, I’m focusing on Motion planning, probably using GRBL’s cornering algorithm, to plot as quickly as possible.
Since there’s some theory involved, I also had to add support for typesetting math to this site.
Since the release of version 10 a few weeks ago, I’ve been using The Nova text editor a lot more.
I even wrote a few small extensions for it, including one to more easily publish this site.
Nova still has some rough edges, like the lack of ad-hoc and low-friction extensibility, but its development trajectory is really promising.
I’ve started a note with details about the hardware and services I run on my home servers.
The list of tasks on the roadmap is vast, but they’re already doing useful things like monitoring the air quality of my office.
I’d like to integrate PG&E metering data next, but I might get distracted by mounting all the hardware to a small rack since all of the devices are currently just sitting on a carpeted floor.
I recently found PG&E’s API for accessing bulk historical energy usage to visualize with my little dashboard server.
Unfortunately, it’s designed for integration with other businesses and was a little tricky to configure as a residential customer.
I haven’t started reading data from their service, but I wrote about how to set up the authentication in a new section of Monitoring electricity usage at the meter.
I spent the last few weeks Using Ansible and Docker for home servers, so I wrote an extensive note on how to harness both technologies.
Overall the process of setting things up was pretty painless, despite my abysmal Linux system administration skills.
It’s been fun to visualize metrics about my utility usage and make plans for future services I can run.
I swapped road bike drop bars on my bike for a swept back design to make the thumb trigger shifter easier to reach while braking.
So far, it’s been nice to be more upright during easier rides, but anything with a prolonged climb causes my hands to go numb.
I also replaced the dynamo headlight that couldn’t be turned off while walking the bike for one with a physical switch, along with silicone-sleeved wire.
I recently set up two Raspberry Pi 4s to run services on my home network.
They’re managed using Ansible but use Docker and docker-compose for server software that prefers to be installed using containers.
One runs a Samba share and the other monitors things like electricity with VictoriaMetrics and hosts Grafana dashboards.
I found an in-depth site called Bicycle Rolling Resistance that reviews tires for their rolling and puncture resistance, so I added it to Web bicycle resources.
It seems like the only Rene Herse tires that have been reviewed are the 700C × 44mm Rene Herse Snoqualmie Pass range so I’ll have to extrapolate to the 650B × 48mm version I’m running.
It’s impressive how many Watts a high-pressure road tire can shave off, but the testing conditions don’t seem realistic.
I’ve compiled a couple dozen books on woodworking I want to read.
Overall, my reading list just keeps getting longer and I don’t have any habits for winnowing it down or working through it.
But I’m excited by the content of these books, despite them focusing mostly on tools and specific joinery techniques, instead of specific plans or general project design.
I’m about halfway through with a pair of Low Japanese sawhorses, so I spent some time drafting more precise plans.
I can’t figure out how to make SolveSpace export the models at the correct scale, though.
And there were some manual steps in preparing its SVG output to something that works with the site layout.
I was working on a pair of low Japanese saw horses today and had my first real woodworking injury: I sliced my the right side of my left index finger with a chisel.
Never hold a piece of wood in one hand and use a chisel with the other – a chisel is not like a knife.
I’ll probably write up a note on woodworking safety, along with the projects I’m building.
I’m writing a few notes about the basics of woodworking with hand tools.
I have most of the tools and a few pieces of lumber, but I’m waiting to set up a more permanent work area and the tools I do have will take some effort to break in.
It’s also been tricky finding tools that don’t contain Materials I will never work with.
I’ve been biking more for fitness and I’m looking to take a multi-day trip this year.
While looking at route options, I found a well-researched site called Bay Area Bikepacking with ride reports and photos from routes I could reach without driving a car.
To keep track of these, I added the site to San Francisco Bay Area bicycle routes, along with some more ambitious ones from Bikepacking.com.
I stumbled across a great gearing calculator on Observable by Tyson Anderson called the Bicycle Drivetrain Analyzer and added it to Web bicycle resources.
It leans heavily on visualization to show any number of drivetrain gear combinations, overlap, and spacing, primed for comparison.
Only Shimano groupsets are built-in options, but it also supports manually specifying any kind of cassette or chainring combination.
I’m adding a stream of entries to the site so it can hold ephemeral thoughts and for others to follow changes.
These entries show up for RSS users when significant changes are made or I have something to share.
I’ll try to keep them short and leave the long-winded content for notes.