Friday, August 31, 2012

The Hand Mitre Box that never wears

After a life time of chasing the latest power tool, and riding the high of the ego trip that is arriving at job sites with the newest this or that thing - I've been checking non-power tools - hand tools - back to a time for carpenters, before the 'grid'.

Away from the failed automobile/freeway urban model and the resulting catastrophic global warming. Away from the inhuman out-comes: noise, super-local pollution of the air, isolation that the long distance commute to far away work produces; the longer work hours that the dying petro-economy incarnated as neo-liberal capitalism; the road rage that we are all victims of - the result of too many vehicles in the finite urban space - and on the positive side: Towards a longer life, and most importantly a better quality of life that New Urbanism's "Livable Cities" outcomes produce.

This is the new reality that New Urbanism aims to morph our cities into.

I, as one one individual in this great transformation have a unique story to tell.

I'm not an university educated architect - but what I've been doing for years before New Urbanism came to the administration of cities, was to create neighbourhood any-which-way I could --- for myself. To me that meant no car; and that meant local shops and local work - and bicycling to both. As a carpenter that meant a variety of strategies for both getting materials to job sites, and getting my tool kit there as well.

Hand powered tools are lighter, just as fast and less noisy to operate. On short-run type jobs: one offs, custom installations in people's homes - power tools are too much: too powerful, too noisy - and for this modern urban man - too stressy. There's already enough things making noise in my urban acoustic landscape; cars are by flar the biggest (and they are ubiquitous). I don't need to add to the cacophony in my personal work space, doing something I other-wise quite enjoy.

The Bosch 5312
Dual Bevel Slide Compound Mitre Saw
The absence of for example, of the startling, ear damaging noise that a circular saw motor makes - blasting the acoustic serenity of a carefully drawn line - makes my day.

Besides, they're too heavy to transport by bicycle.

So like I said, I've been checking out hand tools. Compound Sliding Mitre Saws are wonderful things, no question about it - but I have found they are for the shop, not to take into people's homes.

So, I invented this (I think) - a better, simpler Hand Mitre Box:

This drawing (I haven't built it yet) shows a one setting Mitre Box, for 90°. By adding other hard plastic 'liners' (which guide the saw's body) at other angles, you can get all the common mitres in one small wooden box: 90°, 45°, 22.3°. Horizontal angles can be achieved with this design as well. The wood for the body can be the lightest of the hardwoods - because the saw never touches the housing. I'm thinking Birch (a light weight plastic could work also - but I don't like to encourage the petro-cabal - I will not buy anything plastic that could be wood).

Rigid-backed Mitre Saws
This concept allows the carpenter to use any fine tooth hand saw - no need to bring a special rigid-topped hand mitre saw (see image to the right) - because the liner keeps the blade straight - any hand saw will do.

As well the saw is easier to sharpen because it is separate from the contraption (see Image #3, below); and because you're using a regular fine cut hand saw - you don't need to bring an extra saw to the job site just for mitres. Plus the saw stores away separately, making the mitre box easy to pack away, easier to transport by bicycle than any other Mitre Saw I've see on the market.

Because the cutting teeth never touch the guides - or the wooden box that holds them - the Mitre Box never wears; mitre's are always accurate no matter how may times the box is used (a major design flaw with the standard Hand Mitre Boxes - see image #1 below). 

Some better Mitre Boxes have been designed to over-come this flaw () see Image's #2 and #3), but they are too complicated and inhibit the smooth motion of the saw because there are too many accute points of contact that are in motion. And all except the oldest design, have the saw built-in, which make them bulky and difficult o transport to job sites with out a automobile.

What's out there in Hand Mitre Boxes:

Image #1

Image #2

Image #3

Top image via ProReview | "Bosch 5312 Dual Bevel Slide Compound Miter Saw Review" |

Other images via the links under each.


Monday, August 27, 2012

New CBC Player one step closer to an open internet metric that works

Alert! CBC embed will begin to play on load - to turn off scroll down.

On Saturday I wrote a  piece here about CBC's new 'Player' pages (Saturday, August 25, 2012 - This Week on "A Translation of WireTap with host Jonathan Goldstein") - specifically on the way CBC Radio show, "WireTap with host Jonathan Goldstein" is making content available for embed through the new Player.

I commented also, by way of constructive criticism, that the embeds available through the new player would annoyingly, play on load; and that how content available to embed would shortly thereafter disappear behind an itunes paywall. I commented on this second quality that, the appearing and then disappearing content destroyed the buzz the content was creating in the social networks. As an example, I posted the three of the most recent 'Featured' shows.

Wiretap's oldest post in the 'Feature' section (WireTap | Aug 10, 2012 | The Big Thrill | 25:20) has now gone dead in my blog's embed. Next week the second oldest post, the David Rakoff Tribute, will go dead. The week after that, "The Lothario" (a repeat from Season 2 - 2006/05/14) will follow the others to the itunes, open internet graveyard.

Interestingly - even though it is not a part of the Apple Inc. itunes paywall contract - the Season 2 post from 2006 will go likely go dead along with the others, because the webmasters at CBC have placed it in a new player, rather than the Season 2 player - which I embed here as an experiment:

WIRETAP | May 14, 2006 | The Lothario | 27:30

I fear that CBC executives will take from these observations that embeds interfere with the paywall - so disable embeds.

But what I have tried to show here, and in all these posts on WireTap over the years (as part of my learning), is that the social networks are a key part of the metric of social network marketing. Paywall if you like - but don't put up open internet episodes for a time and sequester them later behind a paywall. Pretending to an open internet meme and then pulling down content destroys the connections established in the social networks; and pisses of internet users going forward as they run into, not paywalls, but dead ends!

From observing CBC's online strategy from the user's point of view - when a company releases a security to the open internet it must stay up until it has run out of energy pushing eyes to the 'pay-for-view', most recent episode (perhaps, the life time of the production).

Therefore, sequester the most recent episode behind a paywall for a time - and then release it to the open internet, with all the fanfare and celebration that a release to the commons deserves. The smart phone market, people who have already purchased the episode in the 'immediate market', can then brag with-in the fanfare that they have already heard the episode - and then talk about it, adding to the buzz.

NPR's "This American Life" has the idea properly sussed. At their site all the episodes are up for free: to download, to stream at the site in a player, or via various smart phone apps.

To monetize, "This American Life" have a separate tab called 'Store' where content is sold as DVD's, in 'Collections' and 'Behind The Scenes' productions. Also T-Shirts, Books, Mugs and Posters from the shows periodic Live Events are offered - along with unique toys like a "Custom USB Drive With Rare, Unreleased Interviews (Plus TAL "Behind the Scenes" Video)".


Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Week on "A Translation of WireTap with host Jonathan Goldstein"

Alert! Three CBC embeds will begin to play on load - to turn them off scroll down.

This Week on A Translation of WireTap with host Jonathan Goldstein - I review the new "CBC Player".

The new video / audio player allows people to embed CBC content on their websites. These embeds can act as a portal through which users can transport to the CBC Player. In this case to the Wiretap Episode Archive:

The new CBC Player - in it's radio incarnation - has two key issues:

1) Autoplay

The embeds begin playing with out prompt; which I will not have on my web site - except in this instance as it is a review of new technology. The reason I don't allow auto play content here is because if someone loads my blogs landing page, and this post is buried down on the front page - all three player will begin making noise and the user won't be able to easily find the off buttons - so they will 'bounce'.

I always ask the user whether of not they want content I offer.

WireTap | Aug 24, 2012 | The Lothario | 26:27 (repeat, season 2, 2006-05-14)

WireTap | Aug 18, 2012 | David Rakoff Tribute | 26:29 (new, 2012-08-18)

WireTap | Aug 10, 2012 | The Big Thrill | 25:20 (repeat,season 7, 2011-05-20)

2) Appearing / Disappearing Content

Above, the August 18, 2012 content embed will disappear in a few weeks - as it is CBC's policy with regard to this particular production (a Wiretap / CBC co-production) - that only the two most recent episodes are made available at the CBC portal. I assume that - in order to drive paying customers to the itunes download - some time soon this show will be taken down; thus rendering the CBC Player embed here dead. That's bad for readers who got here via search, because of the CBC Player content embed. An unsatisfactory dead-end to their search of CBC content is likely to leave them with a bad taste in their mouth, and thus less likely to continue from here to the CBC Player.

I think the solution to this conundrum is to recognize that the itune's pay market - as opposed to the market defined by other devices - other user 'place' experiences - constitute two different markets. The up-to-the-minute, always-on wherever-you-are, smart phone market has a immediate temporal quality that defines it's value.The archive of past shows has a different value, and should be priced (or not) accordingly - at the same time it is important to remember that the two memes drive each other.

Therefore, the architecture of this two-stream-content-matrix is to offer the newest episode to itune's customers for some number of days - creating a buzz there - and then present it at the CBC Player page, creating a secondary buzz which will amplify the first wave. And leave them up --- so, as new episodes become available at the Player - and in turn connections in the social networks are established - they stay established; and thus maintain their value in driving eyes to the CBC pages. Once users get to the CBC archives they are very likely to pay to listen to the latest episode on itunes.

I wonder if itunes recommends a multi-media architecture for content producers? I wonder if they insist on this kind of architecture?

That is all.

(translations may vary according to sub-cultural bias)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Digital Rights Management could save Public Libraries, the Open Internet - and vise versa

Originally published on my Wall, at Facebook

This really cool:

I'm reading "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt" by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco on my desktop!

I went to Toronto Public Library (TPL) online, searched the title; found the ebook entry and clicked on the preview button (a blurb beside the ebook entry says all 4 copies are out already.
(??? '4 Copies' 'Out' ? - that doesn't make any sense - one copy is an infinite number of copies - it's an ebook!!!)

So, like I said, I clicked on the preview instead - and nothing happens - my OS says it will search the internet for the right program to open the file, so I say OK. It came back with nothing. So I copy and searched "Adobe EPUB eBook" (which sits rather innocuously under everything in the Library listing) and that gets me to Adobe's site - where I searched the term internally, and that gets me to the download for the Adobe ebook reader, "Adobe Digital Editions" -

(Adobe is a victim of their marketing department - which turns English into brand names - which inside the sub-culture of the company become actual English - and then they try to use those words to communicate with us out here - and it doesn't work. I don't understand the words "Adobe Digital Editions", it sounds like a place where I would find ebooks - but I wasn't looking for an ebook, I was looking for an ebook reader - so search didn't work, trial and error got me to the page - it took me some time to get there; turns out "Digital Editions" is the brand name of Adobe's DRM enabled, ebook reader.)

The preview TPL is offering outside of the 'copies' it's being allowed to dole out 4 at a time, is Chapter 1 of the book, the story of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

I've changed my mind about Digital Rights Management. Hither-to I've been a devote of Cory Doctorow's take on the digital revolution with regards to book publishing. He makes all of his book available online in full from the moment they are published in paper. His take is that he'll make his wages through 'reputation', he makes enough money to keep writing full time by doing speaking engagements, readings of his books etc. - more than he'll earn from the actual sale of the books themselves.

I'm of the opinion now that DRM is great - because it allows Public Libraries to get inexpensive, digital copies of books immediately upon publication - to loan out.

The entire book downloads onto your hard drive - but it's in a kind of Temporary File that erases after a certain amount of time. Users can request a renewal of the ebook - and that is allowed depending on the settings the publisher sets in the loan agreement.

Now - if I was a hacker - intent on defeating DRM there IS a way - as soon as the text of the book makes it's way to my computer screen it IS copy-able - Somehow; I don't know how, but I am as sure as I am that the sun will rise - there is an interface that can be constructed to copy what appears on one's computer screen.

Print Screen of "Days of  Destruction, Days of Revolt" by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco  - page 13 (Chaper 1) in ebook reader "Adobe Digital Editions"

So then I am victorious-cyberpunk-hacker-champion !!! But what''s the point? The book's available at the Library for free. :)

This is the best argument for DRM I have ever heard.

And I came up with it !

But then the gobbledygook coming out of the special interest media towers isn't much competition - blinded as they are by greed, and the popular media of greed - money.

 * * *

Originally published on my Wall, at Facebook (edited for clarity) (

(I want a widget that can take posts I create in FB and posts them here if I click that button on my browser - I say browser because I know FB would never allow the app - at Faceboook it's Everything in - Nothing out.)


Monday, August 6, 2012

High-frequency trading 2007–2012: an animated .GIF

High Frequency Trading machines are computer programs that can trade stocks at rates measured in fractions of a nano-second.

.GIF representation of HFT trading 2007 - 2012, created by Nanex (

Nanex ~ The Rise of the HFT Machines

On May 6, 2010 - beginning at 14:42:46 and ending at 14:47:02 - the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped approximately 600 points (5.7%), and then quickly recovered. The so called "Flash Crash" was traced back to high-frequency trading programs that over ran Exchange computer's ability to handle the volumes.

See Nanex's report on that incident here:

Gif discovered via a Tweet (embed):

See also, Zero Hedge, 2012 Feb 06Presenting The "Rise Of The HFT Machine" - Visual Confirmation How SkyNet Broke The Stock Market On US Downgrade Day

.GIF hosted at