WordPress Directory

Posted by jerry on February 12th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

Some good news- Mindsigh – this humble blog has been added to the new WordPress directory of blogs – under the category of Humanities – performing arts. In an era in which spammers are severely muddying the waters, these directories will become a major part of the search strategies used by people wanting to get to real content providers quickly. Bouquets to WordPress for
getting this service up and running 🙂

Wordpress directory


Restoration – large timber beam

Posted by jerry on February 12th, 2007 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

At Historic Home Repairs dot com you can see a series of videos and images with text on restoration techniques for historic homes. These include the ‘reports from the field’ videos – rough and ready but that clearly show how to do the job. This one is about the restoration of some 1920s wooden beams that had badly deteriorated. The video shows how the damaged part was removed and the rest mated to new timber, and the checks and cracks filled, then the new timber shaped to simulate the adze marks on the original timber.

repairing a timber beam

Thanks to The Wood-Whisperer for the link 🙂


Writer Response Theory – social bookmarking

Posted by jerry on February 11th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

The concept of referencing is ancient – and goes back at least to Akkadian times on cuneiform tablets. Between notions of body-as-text and and the emergence of social virtual worlds, like Second Life, it is perhaps not too surprising that Web2 provides a whole new dimension to social referencing – and social bookmarking, whether through shared possessions via Amazon or LibraryThing or through the varieties of online community that emerged in the last decade of the 20th century, through to YouTube and Flikr.

One aspect that characterises the new web is the increasing capacity to annotate or edit socially written texts – through wikis or collaborative projects, such as those referenced in Mark Marina’s ‘Marginalia in the library of babel‘ project. Diigo software adds a further dimension to social bookmarking:

If social bookmarking allows us to share our library catalogs, social annotation sites allow us to share our libraries complete with their underlinings, highlights, and marginalia.


Web2 has been with us for some time increasing possibilities for social transparency transforming notions of privacy and ownership into a new form of social space and cultural intimacy. This is beautifully illustrated by the short video Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us by Michael Wesch


Many thanks to Angela Thomas for pointing to WRT and for WRT pointing to Professor Wesch’s site – see what I mean?!!


Steam engine conversion for small IC engine

Posted by jerry on February 10th, 2007 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Motorcycling, Steam, Technology

There have been a number of projects over the years to convert internal combustion engines (petrol engines) to work on steam, either for vehicles or, more widely, for small generators.

Some use a bash valve, welded onto the piston of a small two-stroke motor, such as this steam conversion of a Motobecane moped.

Steam moped

But Lynx Steam Engines discuss in detail how to convert a small four-stroke motor to work on steam or compressed air, to run electricity generators, mowers ec – perhaps even small karts. Their approach is a good one, keeping it simple, and making minimal modifications. This one requires modification to the cam by smoothing the cams to round, and adding a valve lift lobe to the correct timing (90 degrees between inlet and exhaust) by adding round-headed screws 90 degrees apart on the cam. And there is some discussion on the site on making a steam generator that complies with various laws on pressure vessels (best to get it made by a certified boilermaker) to produce a near silent engine that won’t disturb the neighbours. These would not be self-starting motors, but seem like a good beginners project using off-the-shelf components.

Steam mower engine

The 90 degree valve timing is consistent with the model steam engines I have previous tried making, and seems to be a good standard – with teh main variation being in the cut-off or ‘dwell’ of the valves – ie how long they stay open once opened. The beauty of this design is it uses low temparature, low pressure saturated steam, making it no more dangerous than a kettle, and able to operate without having to worry about separating the oil from the steam when you re-use it.

I also like the way Lynx engines have put their concept into practices as an apporpriate technology project to power a coffee producing firm in Nigeria, using waste biomass as fuel, rather than expensive petrol.


Instructables – DIY Laptop Bag

Posted by jerry on February 8th, 2007 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Technology

There’s a great simple design for a laptop bag on the Instructables site – looks easy to make with no sewing skill required and an elegant way for it to go together! I like the integrated mouse pad too.

Better yet – imagine this with a crazyquilted exterior 🙂


Go check it out!