Saturday, April 5, 2014

Do It Yourself ???

I just spent all morning doing things to the constant sound of one of the neighbours in the street toiling manfully and failing entirely to remove a brake disk from the front wheel of his 2008 BMW 5-Series ...

Now I don't generally interfere locally in case it gets me a reputation for being one of the "can you help with my ..." people on the block ...

... but ...

The combination of sympathy after watching him struggling in frustration surrounded by an ever growing pile of levers, bars, pullers, spanners, a mallet and various tools on whose original purpose I can only speculate (but all of which shared the common attribute that they didn't do the job) ... plus the good possibility that at this rate he would still be clattering and banging at midnight ... made me stroll over and ask him what he was doing ...

Once I was sure he actually was trying to remove the disk, and that everything actually had been undone properly .. I belted it, hard, twice, with a nice big mallet ...

... and then went back to my cuppa in the kitchen leaving him to ponder on how much less time it will take him to do the driver's side disk

Good deed of the day accomplished .. I can get back to being a regular asshole again now, comfortable in the knowledge that the karma of a single positive contribution of this calibre has probably paid in advance for a whole day's worth of my level of assholery

As my good friend Mark, owner of the Shack of Dreams, would say ... a 2 pound mallet is one of the most underrated pieces of high-tech engineering equipment ..

I wish I'd been wearing Google Glass to catch the expression on his face as the disk dropped off in after two well placed clouts .. hehehe ... my writing skills just couldn't describe the sound of a jaw dropping that fast

... but the truth of it is that I was just as surprised .,.. I was only trying to loosen up the soft corrosion grip between the disk and the bearing ready for a good pull !!!

( Who is Mark ??? ... this is Mark ... )

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Off to the official 2014 HTC One (M8) Launch

HTC have invited me to attend the HTC One Launch at London Olympia on 25th March. I'll be there in the front row along with 19 other lucky HTC fans to witness the spectacle and meet up with the big names at HTC.

There will also be plenty of opportunity to have some hands-on time with the new HTC One as well, and it it's anything like my 2013 model it is going to be a great experience. The phone itself has been leaked in the blogosphere and press until most people believe they've seen it all already, but for me, leaks seem so tawdry and sly. There's nothing quite like the razzamatazz of a product launch to add spice and whatever they show me, I'll be suitably excited.

Not only will I be attending, but along with 2 other fans on-site and one off-site, we will be delivering a live video feed of the entire proceedings. Three cameramen o-site and one controller back home will be using their owwn HTC One phone cameras to bring you the action.

This won't just cover the presentation, as most official videos seem to do. We will also be continuing to broadcast during the hands-on and entertainment session, so that we can bring you live action with the real, official, unleaked HTC One (M8).

For more information you can:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Small Disaster - Big Incentive

In early January I drove the J-bug down to Maastricht for the annual Kever Winter Festijn. Good turnout of Volksrods as usual and a good time was had by all. BUT ... Unfortunately whilst getting ready to leave the throttle cable broke (again). With the help of a few volksrodder friends, a repair was rigged and I was ready to head home with the guys. In total I have replaced the throttle cable three times in just one year so it's about time I did something to make a more robust and permanent solution.

Two years ago I was toying with the idea of an Arduino-based control and monitoring system for the car. It didn't get very far, but one of the ideas which stuck was a Drive-by-Wire throttle control. I planned to do some cosmetic surgery on the J-Bug anyway, so Ive decided to start the build as part of the upgrade. I'm in the process of picking up the necessary parts right now.

Thanks to e-Bay I now have an early Smart Car throttle pedal and connector, and I already had a good selection of different 'duino boards of one sort or another. All I need now is a servo motor and a bit of engineering to design the throttle actuator, but even without those I can start to design the pedal position detection algorithm and the failsafe tests to prevent dangerous situations.