Tinkering/Nerdery: January 2018

Going to try to be more on-the-spot with these posts in 2018. In 2017, I was busy pretty much constantly and unfortunately, some of the tinkering fell by the wayside. So let’s chitchat about what went down in January of 2018, and what my nerdy goals for 2018 are.

First, the Goals for 2018

I don’t want to get too far into the specifics — I find that as I talk more about the details of a goal, the less likely I am to actually accomplish that goal. So here’s what I want to accomplish, broadly speaking, in 2018:

  • Get good enough at coding and server side stuff where I can land a gig as a full-stack developer, if I’m so inclined.
  • Finish my steel CX frame that I’ve been working on for far too long now.
  • Get the 3D printer up and going by the end of March so that I can start printing molds for carbon fiber.
  • Self-publish a science fiction novel on Amazon.

Okay, so those are the general overview of things. Here’s what I’ve been up to in January of this year.


First off, I took some time to look into the problems I’ve historically had with mysql1 crapping out every so often on my webserver. The original solution was to just have a bash script that checks to see if it’s running, and then set it up as a cron job that ran every minute. Guarantees downtime of less than a minute, but not exactly the most elegant of solutions. I made some attempts to get error logging working in a more-isolated fashion, but for now, I’m digging through syslog to find error messages, and I’ve set it up using IFTTT Webhooks so that I simply get a SMS message that the database server rebooted.2

I’ve been doing a lot of front-end work this month, but am going to be delving into building a few WordPress themes and plugins to support some client materials I’ve had going. I’ve learned about a bunch of stuff in HTML5 that I should’ve paid better attention to, gotten better at jQuery, and have been doing a lot of stuff to really mess with how WordPress works. More on that at a future date.

Oh, I also really dug into tinkering with Google Charts in January as I wanted to make my 2017 Reading Review and Metrics post a little more flashy and less reliant upon graphics that I have to generate in Microsoft Excel. I think it worked rather nicely, but I’m now I’m also pretty curious about d3.js as future tech to use for that application, and for one of the little projects I’ve had rolling around in my head. I’ve got some stuff I can experiment with before I try to apply that to the 2018 reading review.

3D Printer Project

This kinda stalled during the holiday season — both due to time commitments and the money situation. However, I did spend some time figuring out what I needed to do to get the design modified to handle a dual-material setup. That involved some design work and I need to get the parts off to a service bureau for printing.

I’ve been contemplating building another printer almost right away and using it as a baseline to write a book on the topic, along with getting some HOWTO videos on YouTube. Pretty sure this is a good idea. (Oh and then cross-market the absolute hell out of it — DIY series on Reddit, etc. Maybe even a follow-up book on applications, as well.)

CX Frame/Bike Stuff

As previously mentioned, the CX frame bike has been moving slowly since its inception. I’d like to wrap that up this spring, if at all possible. I need to spend some time filing fillets and I need to figure out what I’m going to do about getting a fork on it. (Non-tapered head tube, planning on cantilever brakes, so not a lot of carbon options.)

Mods to the singlespeed road bike can happen whenever I’m so inclined. I’m holding off for awhile as what I want to do is trivial, but I’ll have to maul the powdercoat that’s on there so that I can braze on things like the cable stops and the fender mounts. And repainting it isn’t going to be cheap. Sigh.

I’ve also got the possibility of getting a new TIG welded steel frame bike. I just need to come up with the tubing and the design. Been thinking about a true, dedicated track bike, with Hellenic seat stays3, super-aggressive track geometry, and taking it to the velodrome.


Did some good brainstorming for the novel I want to write.


No nifty MOCs4 this month. I did build a few sets, though, which were part of my birthday/Christmas haul, that haul included: 75196, 75204, 75187, 70611, and the most awesomest 21309.

What I Learned

  • Some nifty jQuery stuff.
  • Some nifty stuff about the WordPress back-end.
  • Sometimes it’s better to leave a stupid kludge that works in-place rather than to spend the time trying to unfuck it from a different angle.


  • data-* attributes in HTML5 — holy shit I would have killed for these back in the HTML4/CSS2 days.

For February

  • Launch both freelance client websites I’ve been working on.
  • Make some headway with the 3D printer, ideally get it completed.
  • Document my server-provisioning process.
  • Clean-up work on CX frame fillets.

Previous Years of This

You can see the 2016 series here, or the 2017 series here.

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