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Dead Hacker Society – Dodge Bros.

Detroit is full of dead hackers that started the auto industry. The two Dodge brothers started their company in 1900 to supply parts to Olds and Ford, then started producing their own cars in 1914. They both died in 1920 from spanish flu and their widows sold the company in 1925 for $140million. If my sources are correct, that’s $1.74billion in 2010 money.

The tomb is an impressive Egyptian Revival that backs up to Millionaire’s Lake at Woodlawn Cemetary. The Night Train has a nice post here about the overall place; Detroit History Tour: Woodlawn Cemetery.

Both their widows lived more than 50 years and were big philanthropists. One of them is buried in the pink tomb next door. She was a big contributor to my alma mater Michigan State and donated her 1,400 acre estate as an extension campus, which became Oakland University. The other left money for a nice fountain in Hart Plaza(too far of a bike ride for a pic for now) and probably some other nice stuff too.

At least the sphinxes weren't hissing and charging at me like the geese. I've heard they're a menace to other bloggers.

So, I thought it might be nice to tie in my biking adventures with the blog. I’m a big fan of nerdly stuff like architecture and history as well as being that freak in a cemetery. I’ll be posting these things in the new Tour de Dork category as I continue exploring. The past few days I’ve been riding in the Palmer Park area, between 8 Mile and 6 Mile just west of Woodward. It’s a really nice neighborhood full of mansions, and everything you haven’t heard of Detroit. Unfortunately, exploration was halted at 6 Mile because of the suddenly large amount of glass on the street and number of burned houses (As a side note this is also where Eminem burned the house from his 8 Mile). There is still plenty to see, a rare and hot F.L Wright house has been spotted in the area as well as more dead hackers to visit.

Categories: Detroit, Random, Tour de Dork

Civ Inspired Hacker Organization

A long time ago in a galaxy, eh no. More like back in February and six blocks down the road, I ended my reign of engineering terror. Well, that isn’t right either cause it wasn’t my decision to end it. Anyways, I looted the place I worked before it shut down and some of this booty forms this post; getting my unemployed ass organized. Because it would be a damn shame to blow this opportunity of free time, sunshine and government money on mere drunkenness and sloth, so I’ll need my priorities in order!

Like any proper hacker, good or evil, I work on multiple projects at once. But in the confusion of new ideas, it’s hard to know what to do first. Here is my attempt at order by using a magnetic white board, a couple rolls of magnet labels and the technology tree from your choice of Civ games; I like IV. The magnetic labels are mini white boards in themselves, for quick changes in ideas, and color coded using the available colors in my garage. These can be placed around the board and connected in series. One project leads to another, just like the flow of technology.

The best irony would be for me to succeed at business when the materials were swiped from a failed one...

So far my priorities are getting some home improvement projects done( i.e. a complete bathroom, with working sink!) and the CNC machine operational to make circuit boards and such. While working on one, I can figure out the next steps on the others. Below this are the ultimate projects I’ve been thinking of; a house CAN, Fuzzy & neural network PIC systems and possibly a foot into Arduino-land.

For me, the project was free; even a large supply of markers. Other hackers will prolly have to pay for the same setup. But then again, the best part is thinking up a cheaper solution for one’s own evil purposes with the evil supplies on hand.

Categories: Home Improvement, Random

Black Rynius and the Curse of the Handyman

With the day looking cloudy and in between ideas, I decided to do a little demo work in my kitchen. FYI, the house was built in 1919 and I bought it from the 3rd owner in 2008 after the housing market crashed, but before fiscal implosion. This previous owner bought the place in 1942, was definitely a handyman and seemed to do much of the modernizations from the ’50s thru ’70s.

Now that fashion has faded, I’m rebuilding in my own hacker ways. When the house was built, the arts and crafts movement was easing into art deco and Detroit’s golden age. My thoughts are to combine the renewed interest in DIY with the old style to redo the kitchen. The first step is to dismantle the space-wasting, boxed in area between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets, which was what I began today.

Setting in with a hammer and pry bar, the trap was sprung. Nails nailed on nails, over a couple more nails. One nail won’t do, three must be pounded into the wall where a sane person would use one. After that, a couple screw, pre- philips age, are sunk for good measure. All for a decorative touch; the cabinets are hung on the wall.

Scrap metal, may be some wood. Also, that wall paper is as delighfully textured as it is tacky.

Brute force and rage got through the forest of nails with few cuts and scrapes until the dirty construction secrets appeared. The handyman never cleaned up from building and closed the trash inside, along with more unused nails. Nasty insulation covered in grime covered big chucks of heavy plaster. A shop-vac cleared it away and I forge on through more and more nails.

While I still have more work to do and probably won’t start rebuilding anytime soon, the lessons are clear. Don’t use more fastening devices than required(NAILS, screws, glue, etc.), and clean up you damn mess! Two very good rules to follow if you don’t want your hacking predecessors to judge your work poorly.

P.S. Popsicle sticks were used as shims in a few places.

Categories: Home Improvement, Random