[nSLUG] Re: Selling Used Computers

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Fri Mar 26 03:12:03 ADT 2010

Dop Wrote:

> I wouldn't be averse to more tales of Mike Spencer's emacs
> experiments in blacksmithery...

Oh my, someone *enjoys* my OT digressions? [blush]

Despite having several instances of Emacs on-screen all the time, I
don't recall that I ever found a way to exploit it directly for

I do have a smithing-related Linux/C project: a model of a mechanical
power hammer that will emulate mass, KE, spring constant, elasticity
of impact etc. etc.  Many users of Little Giant or Jardine hammers
can't get them to work right.  Has to do with spring constant, spring
pretension and open die clearance inter alia.  The notion is that, if
the model is good, you can measure your spring constant, enter some of
the constants for your hammer and then vary the spring pretension (and
maybe some other things) in the model until the model hammers right.
Then go set the real hammer to match.

A year ago I had a "pay no attention to the man behind the
curtain"-level demo. Then in April I upgraded to Slackware 12, only to
be totally outraged that it wouldn't support Netscape 4.76. [1] Much
time spent proving that there was no tenable workaround, getting a
Slack 11 DVD, installing and customizing that with the usual attendant
alarums and excursions.

So the winter slipped by with no progress on the hammer program or the
(supposedly more or less straightforward) setup of zoneminder with a
TV card and fairly versatile camera.  Ho hum.

OTOH, there's progress on a new and larger forge.  Now that the 300#
air hammer is working, I've learned that a short heat (i.e. raising
only a short length of a bar to forging temp) is an invitation to
adventures in advanced orthopaedic and reconstructive surgery.  See,
there's a temptation to work just a *little* further along the bar
before you reheat it with the possible (probable?) result that the
hammer may ram a piece of iron the size of, say, a 4-foot 2x4 through
your jaw.  (Think of Phineas Gage.)

And then, well, the dies in the hammer are suitable for a railroad
shop hammer crew but not so much for single-handed, free-hand art
forging.  Modifying the dies will be Yet Another Project.

On the side, I'm trying to get Peggy's 2nd loom fixed up.  A bit of
blacksmithing but no Emacs there, either.

So I think I just dotted the last 'i' and crossed the last 't' on my
Slack 11 customization.  But now it's warmer and I can do stuff in the
(unheated) shop.  And garden time will be along RSN. I already have
the seaweed spread for the potato patch.

To get back on topic, I have no trouble with the occasional Free Stuff
or For Sale post that's even remotely computer or Linux related.
Indeed, I've benefited from Jim's generosity. Mercenary marketing
campaigns would, of course, be unwelcome.

- Mike

[1] Details of why I require this, deprecations, even fustigations,
    notwithstanding, is another conversation.  How do you persuade
    Firefox developers to implement what they may well think of as a
    retro-feature when they're constantly bombarded by requests for
    cute new Wowsa Whizbang features?  I don't know how even to
    *begin* that conversation.
Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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