To sail the (wide*) accountant-sea

March 11, 2010

A real post to accumulate some links on the bicycle I want to ride. Having moved to Melbourne from Sydney it is constantly amazing how many more cyclists there are. Another great reason to live here!

So I’m picturing a pirate bike. Ultimately in more ways than the obvious (towing Britain outside the 5-mile limit anyone?)

To get started, here’s what I’ve discovered:

Taking inspiration from these chopper style bikes at BicycleDesigner and this Micargi Prado Chopper I’d love to ride something along these lines. The concept of laying back, almost recumbent style is most appealing.

So the dream continues when I peruse the awesomeness that is Instructables. Take for instance the amazing work by ‘Atomic-Zombie’ in the Orange Chopper or Carnage Chopper bikes. Really amazing stuff. Reading these, I realise I’m only a few skills away from building my dream bike. Skills like tool use, welding, angle grinding, painting and so on.

Easy 🙂

Of course these bikes are nice enough, but there’s no serious geek cred in them – despite the awesome street cred inherent in building your own chopper, natch. Electric bikes are all the rage, wouldn’t that be nice? In fact, how about, seeing as we’re going to the trouble of designing a dream bike, leaving scope for an electric upgrade down the track?

A thought so amazing, it has been had before. At MIT. Bastards.

Thanks for doing the brain work guys! The so called ‘Copenhagen Wheel’ is a wheel with a regenerative-braking electric motor connected to your iPhone by bluetooth. Just pop the wheel on any bike and Bob truly is your Aunty’s live-in lover.

If that is too hardcore for you, and you are a peak cyclist, perhaps Active Spokes are more your style. Given the subtraction of 5 seconds per mile from your times, it really won’t matter a hoot to me. If you compete though, maybe it is for you.

That’s enough to get me started. How about you?

Witchiepoo on her broomWhat I’m looking for next is fibreglass (or any suitable material) to fashion a weather shield that could grow into a (decorative, or not…) ‘hull’ to create the pirate ship look. A little like this would be noice. (Minus the crooked nose, thanks!)

Any clues gratefully appreciated.

(* title updated with the missing ‘wide’ as pointed out by Paul – many thanks good sir!)

Addendum [17 Mar 2010]: Plans galore are available to buy from Atomic Zombie, while this Flickr gallery of inspirational bikes will provide plenty of ideas.

P.S. If you were looking for merchandise, try – a Witchiepoo 2009 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Doll? or H.R. Pufnstuf – The Complete Series on DVD

P.P.S. Yes those are affiliate Amazon links, so technically I could get paid something if you buy. Please do 🙂

One of the mavericks of economics

February 26, 2008

Frederick Soddy, scientist on the early 20th Century, was an economic maverick. I love mavericks – right now this has to go down as a to-do item of mine … what I’ve read so far is very intriguing. Take this quote as an example :

The Doctrine of Virtual Wealth

After separating, therefore, wealth from debt, the next step in solving the ‘economic paradox’ of poverty in a world rich enough to satisfy mankind’s basic wants with ease, is to survey the process by which wealth comes into being.

Starting with a scientist’s view of the process of production, Soddy replaces the traditional ‘factors of production’ of Adam Smith (Land, Labour and Capital), with an alternative three: Discovery, Natural Energy and Human Diligence.

Important Reminders in a River of Notifications

November 10, 2007

Twitter is fast becoming my primary communications channel. I find now that it is the first site I go to in a day and launch from there to other sites and conversations on the web.

Twitter is also aggregating useful information – local public transport issues, reminders (with RememberTheMilk) and so much more is being added every day. Just look at the last couple of natural disasters and see how the Twitter coverage has grown.

But what happens when I miss a few pages of Twitter notifcations? Twitter is best used as a River of News – that is, a place to dip into and grab whatever is happening. That use case is inconsistent with
important notifications – I may well miss a few tweets from my Twitter friends, but I don’t want to miss a single reminder or important note.

What to do? Complicating Twitter with categories like must read, should read, nice to read in’t much of an answer – Twitter rocks because it is simple.

Perhaps I could get these other must read notes sent into my reminder system, my to-do list? That would be great.

Consider : Last.FM now publishes a calendar feed of upcoming concerts in my city for bands that it knows I listen to, or bands I would like based on similar users. But buying tickets for a concert usually happens months in advance – I don’t keep an eye on next year’s calendar, do you? Rather, I would have new items from that feed pushed into my ‘Check these out’ queue in my to-do system. That way I would have a chance to see them in time to act.

Discuss 🙂

P.S. Yes I know there are no links here, that’s because I’m writing this wrapped in a towel from the shower where this idea came to me. Now I need to get ready to lead a Scout hike – hopefully I can flesh this out a little later.

Re-using an electric treadmill motor

November 8, 2007

I seem to remember, back in the warm glow of all those resolutions in January, something about building an electric car this year. Well that may have been slightly, err, ambitious. Although the project that inspired the resolution, which I’ve been following throughout the year – Project Forkenswift (an electric conversion on a beer budget) has been successful.

The year isn’t done yet, and I have an electric treadmill that was given to me (unworking) and my usual techno-mage incantations have failed to bring it back to life. So what to do? Well I have dug up a few relevant links in one of my procrastination sessions, so here they are to remind me when I get my Roundtuit for this job.

Vela Creations – Chispito Wind Generator

Wind power is abundant, clean, inexpensive and easy to do. It is our belief that anyone can be in control of where his or her electricity comes from. There is nothing more rewarding and empowering than making a wind powered generator from scrap materials. Most of the tools and materials in this manual can be found in your local hardware shop or junk pile.

Also see‘s Homebrew electricity section. has a page full of wind generator projects as well.

Now all I have to do is get started. What other projects could a non-working treadmill be used for?

Geek to Freak? I’m game

May 6, 2007

High Intensity Weightlifting – now it is time to start.

» From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks

Four Hour Workweek huh? Interesting ideas, that’s for sure.