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  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:21 am on March 4, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , but I really like this photo, , , , , , head, Magician, Minchiate, , , , Rider-Waite tarot deck, Sherry Netherland Hotel, , , Tarot of Marseilles, The Magician,   

    The Deadprogrammer Tarot Project 

    For a very long time I wanted to create my own Tarot deck. Complex symbolism of classic Tarot decks such as the Rider-Waite-Smith makes it next to impossible to recreate them faithfully in photographic format without posing people and items (which would look lame of course). I do want to stay relatively close to RWS canon though, so I am thinking about digitally altering my images to add swords and other things not commonly found in XXI century New York.

    Please treat these as sketches, because final versions will probably be way different.

    The Tower: Brooklyn College heating plant’s smokestack is as good a Tower as any. Maybe I’ll shoot it some day in a lightning storm.

    The Moon: I need to reshoot this with the Moon between the towers and with the pond visible in the picture, but I think this is the right location for the card. The towers are Pierre Hotel on the left and Sherry Netherland Hotel on the right.

    The Magician: I saw what is probably a bicycle inner tube rolled up in an infinity symbol along the glistening subway rails one morning, and the first thing that came to my mind was the Tarot card. Theoretically this should be a man with an infinity symbol over his head, but I really like this photo.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:21 am on August 30, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aerospace screws, consumer device, , , , head, I store, , , metal ones, , , , , , plastic vs. metal motherboard standoffs, , soft metal, Tamperproof Screw Company, , , Torx   

    WML : Screw You, Computer Hardware Manufacturers! 

    Continuing with the screw theme, let me share with you another piece of fastener lore that I’ve learned over the year. As any person who ever cut her hands on ragged edges of cheaply made computer cases knows, when you buy a filthy overpriced little baggy of computer screws there’s a weird and confusing variety inside.

    Here are the most common, left to right: chassi screw, cd-rom screw, floppy screw and hard disk screw. Now here’s the confusing part – The hex headed chassi screw is a bit bigger than the very similar cd rom screw. But the soft metal of computer components makes it possible to use it to fasten everything – floppy drives, cd roms, hard disks. It is the most useful screw of the four. I get the feeling that the hard drive screw is just a tad bigger, which makes it almost as useful, but it will get stuck if you try to attach a floppy drive with it. The cd rom screw and the floppy screws are next to useless – without knowing the proper type of screw to use, most people already embiggened the holes with chassis screws, and the little cd rom screws end up pretending to go in, but then falling out. They end up filling up all the useful space in the little box where I store my accumulation of computer screws.

    Since I mostly buy cases with motherboards already mounted in them, I am not going to delve into the whole plastic vs. metal motherboard standoffs. I’ll just mention that the metal ones sometimes cause shorts by themselves, and plastic ones are sometimes not strong enough to prevent shorts from flexing. There, I said it. Now I’ll merrily continue my screw rant.

    But at least the computer screw weirdness makes peoples life harder not on purpose. But some fancy pants computer (cough Hpaq cough) and consumer device (cough TIVO cough) manufacturers use torx screws and tamper proof torx screws. For that exact reason I own a whole bunch of torx screwdrivers. That is a bit sneaky.

    But not as sneaky as the hardcore tamper proof screws made by Tamperproof Screw Company of New York:

    Snake Eyes®, which I see a lot in elevator button panels, Tri-Wing® that I hear is used in GameboyTM devices, OpsitTM, which is which is built to make mockery of the holy mantra of “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” – it tightens conterclockwise (just like MTA lightbulbs). Тhere are other weird things like philips or torx screws with a pin in the middle and one way screws.

    Also there seem to be a whole bunch of Pozidriv screws around. I think that the last cam out fiasco that I had was caused by me trying to use a Pozidriv bit on a Philips screw or the other way around. It’s very hard to tell them apart. Luckily I had screw drill out set similar to this one. It works ok on easy cases, but for every screw that I remove with it there seem to be a couple where I end up just completely breaking down the head of the screw leaving the rest under surface.

    Wow, it looks like Philips screw company has special aerospace screws, like this wicked looking ACR Torq-Set. I would be way cool to get a box of those.

    This is just like one of my favorite Russian sayings – “Ð?а каждую хитрую жопу еÑ?Ñ‚ÑŒ хуй Ñ? винтом. Ð?а каждый хуй Ñ? винтом найдётÑ?Ñ? жопа Ñ? лабиринтом”.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:57 am on August 30, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: depth control/snap-off tool, depth tool, depth/snap-off tool, , , , , head, Klingon device, , , Metalworking hand tools, , Parquetry, Pilot hole, sci-fi author, , , Vise,   

    WML : Mr. Squeek No More 

    Here’s yet another edition of WML – What Michael Learned. And the subject of today’s post is one of the things that I hate as much as I love hardwood parquet floors – squeaks. In SAT-speak I am somewhat corpulent and nocturnal. And a sonorous squeak of a parquet floor in the dead of the night is not one of my favorite sounds. I am certainly not one of those people who think that squeakiness adds character to an old floor.

    A few years ago I searched for a way to repair squeaky floors and kept finding advice for those who could access the floor from below – in cases of houses with basements that expose the underside of the upper floors. Then recently I found a solution in an episode of Ask This Old House that works for me. It is marketed as “Squeeeeek No More“. That’s right – 5 e’s. Luckily Google suggests the “correct” spelling even if you use less e’s.

    I bought my kit over here. It came with 50 snap-off screws, a square driver bit, a special stud finder screw (he heh) and a depth control/snap-off tool that looks like a Klingon weapon or instrument of torture.

    Here’s how it works :

    First of all you shoo away the cat (7). Then you need to find a parquet plank that squeaks. You do that by first finding the general location of the squeek and then with your foot sideways pressing on individual planks. Usually it’s only one or two loose planks that generate the noise when they move. Each one of the planks is nailed individually and it’s the nails that make the sound . You don’t need to worry about finding a stud – just drill a few pilot holes (so that the wood won’t split). Then using the square driver bit (1) you drive the screw (2) a few turns into the pilot hole. Then you drop a depth tool (3) over the top of the screw and continue driving the screw into the floor with the driver bit. The driver bit has a fat section at the bottom which will prevent it from driving the screw further than necessary when used with the depth tool.Then you use a T-shaped hole in the depth tool to gently break off the head of the screw (2a) by rocking it side to side. The screw will break off under the surface of the wood leaving a small hole (5) and (6) in the floor that can be filled in with wood repair sticks.

    I found that it takes about three to five screws per squeaky plank. The Klingon device is not really necessary for parquet floors without carpets.  The screw breaks easily with the tool, and doesn’t when you screw it in. It would be a good idea to practice on some scrap wood (which I didn’t do of course), but I’ve had no accidental snapoffs so far. It would become a problem if the screw would break off above the surface. I guess the best way to fix that would be to pound the crew in with a nail set (which is not an easy matter for sure).  If you do not predrill the hole a split in the plank would not be an easy fix as well. On the plus side, the holes are not very visible even unfilled. I guess the best time to do this fix would be right before floor refinishing.

    There is a cheaper version of the kit marketed as “Countersnap“, which seems to be exactly the same thing, except the depth/snap-off tool that comes with it can’t be used on carpets. Actually I think that’s the one I’ve seen Tommy use on Ask TOH.

    Of course this system will not work for people with radiant floor heating, pipes and electric wires that run under the floor, super expensive museum quality floors with highly polished astronomical mirror grade finishes and landlords who do not allow driving screws into the wooden floors no matter how squeaky you or the floor gets.

    Oh, right. 50 deadprogrammerTM points to the reader who can tell me the sci-fi author who inspired the title.

     
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