Hacks: April 2017

“Well, shit, that month didn’t go so well, did it?” That was the first thing that went through my head when I started this draft and started thinking about what tinkering I’d done in April. Of course, I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that it was April 18th when I started the draft and that I had almost two full weeks left in the month. Here’s what I got after in April:

Web/Code Tinkering

I undertook a project to rebuild my front-end web dev skills, which have been mostly fallow for ~15 years. I’ve been kinda considering a shift in my career focus, plus this will help with my freelance work.

Recently, I discovered the idea of preloading HTML documents, and set out to build a WordPress plugin that will intelligently preload content on a given page. I don’t know if I’ll give it away or not, yet. It seems like it’d be a good arrow to have in my quiver for my freelance work. We’ll see. I’ve got it more-or-less working, but there’s some clean-up that needs tending to before it’s ready for primetime. I’m hoping that preloading becomes available in more browsers soon.

I also continued tinkering around with web server configuration. The newest shitshow: multiple virtual hosts on a single IP address, each with their own SSL certificate. Big twist: Apache.

The solution here turned out to be ditching Apache outright, in favor of nginx. Rather than try to install nginx on a server that was already running Apache, and switch over, and then excise Apache, I have opted to build a new server out. Seeing as my future likely involves setting up a bunch of servers just like this one, I decided to sit down and write a script that manages the whole process for me. Like you do. One bash script with some mild Q&A, and I can have a fully-provisioned, secured server up and running PHP 7.1, MariaDB, nginx, and WordPress in a matter of mere minutes. Over time, as I decide what plugins constitute a “standard” install, I am going to add those to the script as well.

3D Printer Build

Due to an overabundance of time spent on freelance work, combined with massive back pain, I opted to put the D-Bot CoreXY build on the back burner for most of the month. I’ve recently restarted work, and have been taking a ton of videos and photos so that I can document the whole process. That whole multi-part series I’ve been writing is going to be massively tweaked, too, to get rid of a bunch of the cruft, and focus more on the build and the effectiveness.

CX Frameset Build

Got some headway going here. The seatstays are on, and it’s “functionally” complete. I need to put some bridges in, and do shit like bottle bosses, and other braze-ons, and then she’ll be ready to head off to paint.

I’m torn right now on paint. I’ve been contemplating an orange-to-purple fade with some really light metalflake in it, but now I’ve been kinda thinking about a super-black paint. No idea how durable it is, so I may save that idea for a future bike that I want to murder-out.

This one slowed down my whole month — I spent so much time hunched over it getting the seatstays taken care of that I wound up blowing my lower back out completely. Since that session, I’ve made four trips to the chiropractor and one trip to a back specialist. Hopefully, once things are on-the-mend, I can find a way to accomplish the remainder of the frame without crippling myself.

Singlespeed Bike

Surly Steamroller, Piss YellowI decided late in the month that this needs to happen. I need a commuter bike that I won’t be overly butt-hurt about should it be stolen. And I’ve got a fuckton of spare parts floating about in boxes in the garage. Been looking at the Surly Steamroller in the horrible piss yellow1 as a potential frame, as I’ve had little luck finding a serviceable 59cm or 60cm used frame with horizontal dropouts. With a little luck, the only other new parts on the ride will be the chain, wheels2 and the crank3.

Other Miscellany

  • Playing around with SketchUp, doing some learning here.
  • Playing with Stud.io as a replacement for the LDD package.
  • Conceived of a Lego table for the kids. Started designing in SketchUp.
  • Learning Sketch, which has some fundamental differences from Adobe Illustrator.
  • Need to look into a membership with the Minnesota Tool Library.
  • Purchased a set of 8 Arduino e-books from the BoingBoing store for $10. Actual value: $246. Sweet. Had an idea for an athletic sensor that I don’t think many people are actually using. Would be fun to look into. Maybe. Someday. Double maybe.

What I Learned

  • More about bash scripting than I ever thought I needed.
  • Sketch is amazing, and reasonably priced.
  • Some of the neat APIs in HTML5 that gave me all manner of great ideas.

On-Deck for May

  • Finish both big clients’ freelance work.
  • Progress on the CX frame.
  • Get the #(*$ing D-Bot CoreXY working.
  • Progress on my “Fastlane” project. More about that in the future.

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