What Kind of Experience Do You Have?

In manufacturing there is an adage: Do you have 10 years of experience once or 1 year of experience 10 times. Have you been learning new skills, solving new problems, expanding your background or have you been doing the same things over and over again for the last 9 years? We will not understand the true scope of one’s experience if we fail to consider it for more than just its length of time.  What kind of experience is it? Have you delved deep into the fine details to master the intricacies of your craft? Do you understand all the other tasks that affect your work and in turn are affected by your work? By looking more closely and broadly at the skills you have acquired, you can determine your level of competence and develop what I call the “Superior Experience”. Continue reading “What Kind of Experience Do You Have?”

The Competent Man/Woman

What do Indiana Jones, Ferris Bueller, James Bond, Barney Stinson, Angus MacGyver, Westley (as you wish!), Buckaroo Banzai, Tony Stark, Batman and many others all have in common? They are the Competent Man, a stock character of literature that’s best summed up by Lazarus Long, a character in Robert Heinlein’s novels.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

— Robert Heinlein

What have you learned to do today?


Podcast Recommendations, February 2014

More podcast recommendations to give your brain something to think about. Don’t let some trivial task go to waste. Get some mental stimulation or entertainment and make the time fly by faster.

Revolutions From the producer of the the History of Rome podcast. As of this writing he has covered the English revolution and is just now starting on the American revolution.

Americas Test Kitchen Radio From taste tests and recipes to kitchen gadget reviews and interviews, this show has something for everyone when it comes to food.

Freakonomics Radio Their tagline is, “the hidden side of everything” and they succeed in bringing brining just about everything to light under the critical eye of economics. Continue reading “Podcast Recommendations, February 2014”

Liquid Logic Kayaks Tour

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited along to tour the Liquid Logic Kayak manufacturing plant. Getting to see up close the techniques that they use to make their boats was really amazing. And then we got to see the testing lab.

drop test of liquid logic kayak
Drop test of a Liquid Logic Kayak

This kayak was filled with water and dropped on it’s bow from a height of 20 feet. For whitewater boaters such as myself, this is a comforting sign. Not only did the boat crumple in a controlled manner, it didn’t loose it’s water tight integrity, insuring that should you have such an incident occur as you are kayaking, you won’t have to worry about a sinking boat as well.

Liquid Logic said that they had video of their testing and would be posting it soon, so for now check out some of their other “testing” methods.

Security Bar Testing: http://youtu.be/12ZQ3j9HN_w

Sledge Test: http://youtu.be/pSc70bl-B7Y

Book Scanner progress Feb 9

With some more time on the milling machine I now have a few more machined parts to assemble the book scanner. Machine screws, shoulder bolts and bearings that were ordered from McMaster-Carr also arrived which facilitated the assembly process.

piviot block
Close up of the machined pivot block for the shoulder bolt.

Continue reading “Book Scanner progress Feb 9”

Book Scanner progress Jan 27

The Book Scanner project is moving slowly, but moving nonetheless. Pictured below is the lower frame and the beginnings of the collapsible pivot mechanisms. The lower frame is held together with four 5/16-18 bolts and the specialized washers used for assembly of this extrusion. The plate seen in the lower left of the image is .25″ thick aluminum and will be the lower pivot attachment point The two rounded blocks on the end of the single length of extrusion are 1.5″ x 1.5″ aluminum and will make up the pivot blocks and upright arms. Not shown are bronze bearings and shoulder bolts that will attach everything together.

book scanner lower frame

Keg & Carboy Washer

A clean brewery is of primary importance to any successful home brewer. Most of home brewing is the cleaning beforehand and afterwards, so if you like washing the dishes, you will probably make a good home brewer. But, like many other home brewers, I’m always on the lookout to improve the performance of a process and make it easier for me as well.

Like many other home brewers, I was immediately intrigued when I heard Dr. Scott describe his keg washing setup on The Brewing Network many years ago. Since then I have followed the various builds that home brewers have done over the years and taken note of the changes and improvements that people have made to the original design. Some of the designs that I found during my research can be found here, here and here. Continue reading “Keg & Carboy Washer”

Podcast recommendations, May 2012

More podcast recommendations for dull or boring physical tasks. Give your brain something to think about! Mowing grass, painting trim, drilling parts or digging holes don’t provide much in the way of mental stimulation, but an audio book or podcast can provide some mental stimulation or entertainment and make the time fly by faster.

This time the focus is on history related podcasts;
History of Rome
My History Can Beat Up Your Politics
The History Chicks
The Ancient World

And as an entertaining diversion, make sure the check out the YouTube channel for the History Teachers.