Five years old and my Asus Eee 900 fan was telling me in no subtle way that it was about to die. Based on previous experience, I thought that a drop of general purpose lubricant in the fan’s bearing would breath new life into it so I went to fetch my screwdrivers and started disassembling the little machine.
It took about 2 minutes for me to realise that I might have been a bit hasty. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I almost got hospitalised. Or killed, I don’t know. In all other respects, it wasn’t a particularly interesting day: a Friday morning, sunny, warm…seemed like the time of year to hang up my winter helmet and gloves and wipe the dust of my summer helmet. I was looking forward to wrapping up some work that’s been dragging on and then looking forward to the weekend. I was driving to work in the morning rush hour, avoiding main roads as I usually do, but I have to cut across them somewhere…
I went into a bank a few days ago with a bill from Germany. This was how the conversation went:
me: “Hello, I have this bill from Germany I need to pay. How much will it cost?”
clerk: “Can I see?”
me: “Here you go.”
clerk: “Ah…the bill is only 15 Euro…I see. [looks embarrassed a bit] The transaction fee will be 15 Euro, but you’ll also need to open an account at our bank, which costs you another [don’t recall how much] per year… [continues to look embarrassed]”
me: “So, significantly more than the bill itself?”
me: “Never mind, thank you for the information. Bye.” Read the rest of this entry »
In order to be able to communicate better what driving a bicycle in Zagreb is like, I have long been toying with the idea of building a simple bicycle camera stand. Since spending a few months assembling a 3D printer like the Prusa to be able to print out the camera stand seemed just a little bit excessive, I opted for the more down-to-earth, nuts, bolts, scissors and pliers approach.
These were my design goals:
- very cheap parts
- very easy to build
- robust enough to prevent damage to the camera
I focused on these because I wanted to allow others to easily copy the design if they want. Along the same lines, I assumed that a good number of people now have a phone with a usable camera which they would be willing to use. It makes a lot of sense, given that even my 3 year old phone has a 640x480px@30fps camera, a reasonable power supply, more than enough internal storage for footage, is light, small and all that for about 50€ second-hand.
Like any other emerging technology, electric bicycles have their rough edges to iron out. With hub motors, one of the issues that might occur is wheel strength. Namely, my rear wheel came with the standard spokes you find on most bicycles, only shorter because the motor makes the hub wide. In my case, the motor weighs about 6-7kg, so the problem with using such spokes is that the motor gives them a heavy beating and they often snap. Although the motor represents a very small part of total weight (6kg, vs. 110kg bicycle + driver), this weight is directly hung on the spokes and there is very little amortisation. If you’ve ever chopped wood with an axe and the axe gets stuck in the log you’re chopping, you know that if you turn the axe upside down, the sheer mass of the log splits the log when the axe lands. That is (more or less) the effect the electric motor has on the spokes. Read the rest of this entry »
Some people have decided not to care about politics and I can surely understand them. Others do pay attention and have a kind of patience threshold: the threshold is the point where they can no longer handle the steady stream of various scandals large and small which eat away at their patience. We tend to expect high-calibre individuals in high office, but time after time we are disproved by people like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dick Chaney, Silvio Berlusconi etc. Still, at one point an article in the newspaper will trigger that (maybe all too familiar) “this is too much!” reflex, and this time, a Croatian diplomat, Ingrid Anticevic Marinovic, was the trigger.
If I was a brilliant engineer, but didn’t know English, I don’t believe I would even get noticed, let alone hired by my employer. I would also not Read the rest of this entry »