Archive for August, 2010

Kinetic Hula Hoop

Posted in essay, how to, hula hoop, work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by tymora42

Kinetic Hula Hoops? They don’t work. There is lots of kinetic energy rolling around in a hoop as you spin it, twirl it, trick it, and work your body to keep it going. Unfortunately, this is a difficult energy to harness. It seems like the 30lb force magnet does not get enough force to travel fast enough through the wire coils to conduct the electromagnetic energy needed to power the 5mm LEDs. The centrifugal force tends to hold the magnet in place rather than rotating it quickly around the hoop. To harness the energy I would need spikes jutting from the outside for the magnet to travel up, but this would be unsightly and cumbersome for the hooper.

I was excited to write this article once the prototype was finished and proved to be viable; however, it failed. There are many articles on how to do something that does work. There are very few that tell you how to do something that does not. This is my eHowNot. Why? Because maybe you can tell me how to fix it. It is also a warning to others who decide to embark upon this venture. There are no articles online with the tags “kinetic” or “friction powered” combined with “hula hoop.” At first I thought, “Yes! I can be the first.” A month into the design and creation made me realize why.

This was the final implementation of my design including all of the experimentation that went along with it. Learn from my mistakes. And if you find a working solution, please let me know. I would also appreciate any suggestions on improvement.

I decided upon two tubes: an inner tube with the wire coils wrapped around it and the magnet would travel inside of that one. The outer tube would be for hooping comfort with holes cut into it for 5mm LEDs and their reflective housings. I chose the LED size of 5mm because it would take the lowest amount of energy to power them. The reflective housings were to strengthen their luminescence. The magnet was a 30lb force cylindrical 1″ x 7/16″ neodymium. This was the strongest at that size that I could find. The size was important because it had to fit inside the 1/2″ inner tube and be unrestricted in the travel around the hoop. I also used a spherical 7/16″ ball bearing magnet with considerably less pull. Both were tested in a foot long piece of the inner tube with the wire coiled 750 times in a 1.5″ section. This test proved that it could power the LEDs with enough force. The spherical ones were less effective than the cylinders and the more cylinders, the less friction necessary to power the light.

The ??? gauge copper enameled wire was wrapped 1500 times within a 2.5″ area on the final product. In one case it was wrapped 1370 because the wire broke in the middle of winding. In another case it was wrapped 2000 times for experimental purposes. I should have wrapped one 1000 times and one at 750, but I did not. When I feel like working on it once again I am sure these will be problem solving techniques I address. Both the LED leads and the ends of the wire attached to them were filed with a fingernail file to scrape any protective residue from them to ensure a sound connection. The conductivity was also tested with an ohm meter from the LED leads and the ends of the solder.

Each unit was treated as an individual circuit powered by one magnet. Two spherical magnets attached to either end of one cylinder were attempted first. The final problem I encountered in the structure was to connect the inner tube inside the outer tube’s connector piece. It was not a solid fit, so I resolved to put an assist on the cylinder magnet with the spherical magnets. To compensate for either way the hoop might be spinning, the spheres were attached to both sides. Also tried were a single ball, multiple balls, only the cylinder and two cylinders. My next trials will be the same combinations with grease on the surfaces of them.

The LEDs were secured using a nonconductive cement glue around the edges of the housing. I had no problems keeping them fastened despite much roughhousing with the tubes. They were dropped, pulled, and thrown in the name of testing and not necessarily frustration.

See? This was helpful. I found numerous new experimentation methods just by talking about it with someone to maybe make it actually work. The greasing is the prize, I think. First, I will try wrapping the magnet in wax paper like we used to do with slides in elementary school. This will keep it from getting dirty inside the seals. The other test will need to be the coiling amount and the span of the area. These will be done on a separate piece like the initial tests before doing the entire hoop. Truthfully, though, I believe it is the speed of the magnet that needs to be addressed.

Again, comments would be appreciated.

The Whole Picture

Posted in computer, death, life, photography, technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by tymora42

Funny thing about working with digital media compared to tactile media (is that the name for it?) is the ability for it to be irretrievably lost to the binary gods as opposed to simply plucking it from the waste paper basket, smoothing out the crumples, and recopying the important bits with a physical reference right at your side. The delete option only goes so far as to send it into oblivion. It is like scratching it out, drawing a single line through a bit of text, or smudging the pencil lines around with a rubber eraser. There is enough of a remnant still there to bring it back whole or in part with the undo function. Even sending it to the trash is completely salvageable unless you are an anal recycler like myself. It is soooo easy, though. Too easy. Even easier once you learn all the quick keys instead of dragging and dropping like the predigitites.

A laptop is like a portable desk hence, the name “desktop.” File folders are like the drawers with little subfolders inside of each. A computer is a well oiled machine in the department of organization. So, I was cleaning out my drawers the other day. they had become cluttered as they tend to do. I was going to clear the surfaces and give the silver mahogany surface of my Mac Powerbook a good shine. Somewhere along the way I would have probably found a new placemat backdrop for the screen from my photo albums. With 30 gig worth of photoshops and vacations and walking around town with my Christmas special Olympus Toughshots and whatnot from the last two or three years, I figured they were the first drawer to start the weeding out process. My music drawer was done at the end of spring after a hundred gig trade with a buddy down the street. My documents are regular enough given the tiny size needed for storing predominately text based items. The website content was not really anything I wished to tackle at that particular moment. The iPhoto library it was to be.

First, I scanned the contents and felt assured that a portion of those files were already stored in the closet. After plugging in my photo/music closet (external hard drive) I briefly looked at the shelves of years past, taking mental note what was and was not included among them. Remembering a mishap that always occurs during severe cleaning, all of my photos were duplicated and triplicated from the initial transfer to the external because of that rascally “import to iPhoto” command. Of course I hit “import the whole damn friggin library” and it took it as literal as computers will, importing everything from “originals” to “modified” to the thumbnail data. I was not about to do that all over again. I learned how to control+select and “open package contents” and pick and choose what should stay and what should go. Then it is all a matter of option+deleting from the iPhoto window.

In my finder window under the Pictures drawer I had a series of years from 2000-2007 above the iPhoto Library icon. They were of Disneyland, The Alice in Wonderland Frye’s in CA, the trip Zombie Spiderman took to Universal Studios, all stuff I had brought copies out of the closet and worked on previously, but never removed. One by one I previewed and compared to those stored in the closet. All there. All accounted for. All the same version. Option+Delete. Option+Delete. Straight to the trash. Well, I option+deleted one too many times. I might have even used the select then shift+select to grab a whole bunch to option+delete in one big go. Whatever it was I did not notice until holding the select button over the trashcan in my dock until the command window popped up and telling it to empty, which is the same as recycling to all of you PC users.

The little box that tells you what’s going on started configuring. It said 124, then 256, then 592, which is about where I thought it should have stopped but it didn’t. It doubled. I figured these were the thumbnails. It tripled. The modified versions. When it hit 10, 000 I started to get really worried. It was too late.

After realizing my mistake I did what any 21st century man would do. I shouted a string of obscenities, threw around no-tech objects that could take a good pummeling, beat my sticks and clubs against the cave wall, slept on it, played a violent video game, then posted my woes on Facebook and Twitter. The responses for recovery programs flooded in from friends and spammers. I decided to check a few of them out. Maybe there was a chance. Not having another computer hooked online nor a hundred bucks to spend after the free trial, this process for free software ate away at the memory used to store these recycled documents in digital limbo. When I found what I was looking for it took two or three trial runs with it to come up with more useless crap to further disintegrate the photos into uselessness.

Finally, I was on my way. It took a day and a half for the program to sift through my garbage and find every .jpg and .psd still available among the coffee grinds and tomatoe sauce. Yes, I think someone made spaghetti, ate only a bite, and threw the rest away on top of my Hawaii trip. The most successful recoveries were from Moab, which Blake 182 had all of on his Borg Drive, and the two years I spent in Massachusetts from 2005 – 2007, all of which were already saved in their current form in the closet.

I wiped away the noodles from everything else for the next two days, which in the digital sense means getting rid of every website image visited, countless profile pictures stored for easy reference, and trace particle from a disc your buddy might have burned for you that you downloaded. It also means being satisfied with 300×500 pixilation. Only the iPhone camera gave me 1,000. Again though, all of those were already stored on an alternate device. Calling Robert was no help. He had lost the camera containing our adventures. I said my goodbyes to the bulk of Guadalupe, to Galveston, to Engineer mountain, to Boulder Creek Festival, to Zombie Jesus Day, to Christmas in Durango, to Copper Mountain were the South and the East collided, to Glass Beach on Kauai, and whatever else I committed to photographic memory and so consequently forgot. I would name them, but they are already gone like a dream from one wakes and has already had their coffee.

The Michael Cera / John Cusack Transference.

Posted in review with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by tymora42

scott pilgrim and one crazy summer movie posters

Just saw Scott Pilgrim vs the World and it confirmed my suspicions that Michael Cera is quickly becoming the John Cusack of the upcoming generation. I like to play this game. All things have happened before and they will happen again so who were they then and who are the them from then now. They have to be loosened most of the time to fit the time like comparing Hendrix to Smashing Pumpkins or Floyd to Radiohead (an obvious one). In the Michael Cera / John Cusack hemisphere they are closely akin and becoming moreso with each passing flick.

Here is my argument. They have that youthful innocence mixed with insecurity. An easy ralation to by the highschooler to early twenty something, perfect for the wry coming of age tween comedy. They are a bit dorky with interesting witticisms insightful to life that make them interesting but because of their overpowering lack of self assuredness, women seem standoffish although they are giving themselves completely to the character. They know this works so they keep on doing it and directors keep on hiring them to play these same parts because it sells.

Let us take the recent Scott Pilgrim movie and bring it back to One Crazy Summer or Better Off Dead. In both of these classics animation was used to express the internal emotions of the main. This is an expression of their juvenile nature battling for a place in their adult life. The same is true for Scott Pilgrim with the constant barrage of video game graphics. Their are evil exes rather than fluffy bunnies. They are rock stars rather than downhill ski champions. Both have kick ass soundtracks of little known then bands. And in the end a basketball swoosh might save the boat temporarily, but it will take something internal to win the girl he has been fighting for. I am not saying they are the same movie. They are the same type of movie. For this they will need an actor that plays the part with genuine believability, an actor that has proven hisself over and over again in this part, an actor that people already love. Replace Cusack with Cera in any one of the early roles and you will see. It is a bit more difficult to go the other way because Cusack has aged, tried various break out roles, and follows the path of the misunderstood adult or the loveable hitman. So I age Cera in my head and nod. I cannot wait to see him in a war movie playing it straight.

Two movies not enough? Let’s go through the gambit of the early years. First we start with Cera. Juno. Nick and Nora. Youth in Revolt. Superbad. Now Cusack. Class. Say Anything. Sixteen Candles. The Sure Thing. They are transposable. They play the same type of character with the same mannerisms and they rake in the dough at the box office. Critics think he has little future because of his limited range, if it is actually limited we do not know. We have not seen him try something different. He plays the part too well and we love him for it. In a way it is like watching an endearing part of yourself grow up and age and become a puppeteer inside John Malkovich’s head.

Of course they have aberrations like Year One or Stand by Me. Cera is not the all american boy that Cusack was. But he is. He is just modified to fit the time.