Osculating Circles

Fine gold circles drawn on a black background. Circles decrease evenly in size and are arranged as it to form a spiral from the points where the circles touch
Gold pen on black paper, 13 × 13 cm

So I guess I did learn how to plot circles in G Code successfully …

Fixing a broken boombox

Catherine‘s Insignia CD Boombox with FM Radio Model: NS-BIPCD01 (CD-player/iPod dock thingy) just stopped working. The traces on the power connector broke when it got bumped. It was a bit of a bear to open up. I was going to submit this to iFixit, but their editor is horrid.

You will need:

  1. Phillips #0 screwdriver
  2. Phillips #1 screwdriver
  3. Nice thick guitar pick.

Insignia-NS-BIPCD01-opening1Underneath the device, peel off the two sticky feet next to the product label at (1). Underneath are #1 Phillips screws you should remove. These are countersunk, and should be kept separate from the other screws.

Insignia-NS-BIPCD01-opening2At (2), peel off the sticky covers and remove the #1 screws.

Open the CD door, and remove the #1 screws near the top at (3).

Remove the #0 screws in the handle at (4). We’ve accounted for all the screws holding the case together, but there are a couple of clips we’ll need to work on.

Starting from near the top of the handle, pry the two halves of the case apart with the guitar pick. There’s an insert in the handle which will fall out; keep it aside.

At (5) and at (6), there are clips inside the case which you’ll need to press on with the guitar pick to get them open. They’re quite fragile, and I broke two out of four. If you do break them, make sure the loose bits don’t rattle about the case.

The case should slip apart now, and there are several short cables connecting buttons, displays and power supplies. If you lay the box on its back (with the iPod dock uppermost) you can set the top of the case up on the main circuit board. This will allow you to get at the power/audio board, which is secured by two large-flange #0 screws.

2014-03-15-131248… and there’s the problem: the power trace (the lower of the three near the middle of the picture) has cracked. I re-soldered it, and also ran jumper wires between the pins. If this cracks again, the jumpers will be much more robust.

Nordic Ware Microwave Rice Cooker Instructions

Because I can never find them when I need them, here — badly scanned for the Whole Internet — are the NordicWare Microwave Rice Cooker instructions [PDF].

For me, brown basmati needs nearer 30 minutes than 20, but your l/100 km may vary.

Re Skip’s suggestion below, the abbreviated instructions are here: Rice Cooker | Microwave | Nordic Ware. (PDF print link for the perfectly paranoid.)

Canadian Wheat Boards: #1 & #2

Canadian Wheat Board #1

Canadian Wheat Board #2

— Organic Canadian wheat on red cedar, beeswax encaustic; 72 × 182 mm.

In the Synthetic History of Canada, there was no symbol more evocative of hearth and home than the wheat board. Reconstructed here by the artist in the traditional materials of cedar [strength], wheat [abundance] and beeswax [cohesion], the wheat board is a forgotten part of Canadian lore. Its rediscovery as a domestic art form brings new hope of a progressive national identity.

The return of Arthur

Pretty much since the new year, I let me hair just go. This was mostly because I’d lost the coordinates for Arthur, the Scottish barber who first dealt with my hair in 2006, and I’d been following him from location to location. I have weird hair, and Arthur knew just what to do to make it behave.

A couple of weeks back, I was wandering idly along the Danforth, and after looking into a barber’s window, cursed the fact that I’d lost touch with Arthur. I walked a little further and — as if by magic — met Arthur. It seems he’s moved to the neighbourhood, so now we’re back in touch. The haircut I got on the weekend is awesome.

Arthur now does house calls (preferably near TTC stops), and is looking for some new clients. He’s been doing this for longer than you’ve (likely) been alive. I hesitate to post his phone number, so please contact me and I’ll pass on the details.

the good old Sally Ann

I scored a brand new, complete and unused Kelly Kettle for $4 from the Salvation Army today.

Kelly Kettles are a marvel of thermodynamics. Instead of lighting a fire under them, you light the fire inside the double-walled boiler. The tapered walls make the fire draw something fierce, and you get boiling water in a very few minutes. I kippered myself a bit making the morning coffee, but it was worth the effort.

eBay.ca: Garmin Geko 201 GPS plus extras

I’m selling my Garmin Geko 201 GPS plus extras on eBay (item 320106781450). I’ve been very happy with it, and the only reason I’m selling it is because I just upgraded to a GPSMap 60CSx. Dave has a similar unit, and I was very impressed with the way it handled routing when we drove around Vancouver.

Most of the reviews of the unit seem to be pretty on the mark: accurate location, quick acquisition, and an ability to find a signal with little or no skyview. While the 60CSx does appear to work indoors, it suffers from weird track  jitter.

ebay chicken

For the last week or so, I’ve been playing eBay Chicken. I have to say, I’m pretty good at it.

The trick is to bid as high as possible on an item that you might want, but not high enough so you might actually get it. So far, I have bid on about 7 items, and quite failed to get any of them. I’m pleased to say that on a couple of them I was the second-highest bidder.

In a small way, I’m doing my part for the world gross domestic product. And doesn’t that feel good?

Update: The above is all well and good unless you happen to be in a just woken up and befuddled state, and realise that the auction you just bid on was in GBP, not CAD, and thus you’re just about to pay twice as much for something …

tidyin’, fixin’, payin’, all the while livin’ off plastic

  • Income taxes filed. Some tidying was required in order to find all the necessary paperwork. I know it’s ages before the deadline, but Catherine needs it early for her US taxes.
  • Noticed the last two water bills were double what they should have been. A $3 flapper valve for the loo should sort that. You’d never get that with a British syphon flush …
  • One of the neighbours just got a Linksys wireless router (with no encryption and default passwords, no less), so I had to rename and rechannel ours. Most hassle was getting the WET54G wireless bridge to talk to the new location. It didn’t help that it had the oldest version of the firmware in the world, plus it kept trying to rejoin the neighbours’ network.
  • Braved IKEA. I now have a basement server/printer rack fashioned from multiple Rast bedside tables screwed together.
  • Opened up the outside tap, now that the threat of -20°C weather is gone for the year.
  • Paid many, many bills, some of which were routed from their mulching sleep while I was  looking for tax paperwork.
  • Joined worthy societies like FOE and Greenpeace.
  • Saw Sharkwater. You should, too.
  • My new Interac card is less than interactive. I’m sure I managed to get it to work once, but now it’s gone dead. This means a trip to the Honkers & Shankers on Spadina, always a joy …

“It will feel strange …”

Leo Marks, on hearing of an old couple who died within days of one another, and were buried together:

It will feel strange
Not to nudge you
Or to talk to you
Or keep you warm
When you’re lying there
Only a few feet away
Or perhaps even less
But we shall get used to it in time
Of which we’ll have plenty

We always treasured silences
In which we said everything
We shall continue to treasure them
And to say everything
Throughout the longest silence of all.

 — from Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s Story 1941-1945.

home again

The 4000km holiday roadtrip is over. We’re back home now. It was good to be away, but it’s also good to be back.

rip the carpet up off the floor

It’s moving day. We’re moving the office from North York to downtown. Very downtown, in fact; 200 University, almost my old Oanda stamping ground.

In celebration of leaving Vic Park & Sheppard, I guess I really must have one last burger from Johnny’s…