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[personal profile] xiphmont

Sadly, no Chinese manufacturer to date has cloned an SZH, but there are clones of other Olympus focus blocks.

None of these will fit as-is of course, the SZH is weird. But several look to be moddable with a little effort. So I chose a clone of a nicer Olympus coarse/fine assembly.

And now, a review of the FYSCOPE STEREO ZOOM MICROSCOPE COARSE AND FINE FOCUS ARM A4 76mm Size! Read more... )

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[personal profile] xiphmont

The SZH is not without its faults.

This is the focus block for an original Olympus SZH. It moves the microscope body up and down to focus on the work surface.

The SZH is a heavy body, even by stereo scope standards. But hey, the focus block looks beefy enough--- nice big knobs, large dovetail with hardened opposed cylinder bearings, even an internal articulating spring assist to counterbalance the microscope weight.

And like every other SZH focus block I've checked, the internal gearing is completely destroyed.

Here's what's left of the brass rack gear. It looks like someone tried to mod their way around the damage and failed spectacularly:

The racks disintegrate so easily because *this* is the pinion:

All that design work to handle the weight, and they used a tiny pinion that only has at most one tooth fully engaged at a time. That's facepalm territory.

Olympus must have realized the mistake, because the pinion was greatly enlarged in the updated focus block for the SZH10. A variant of that updated design is still in use on their current scopes. But one pretty much never sees SZH10 focus blocks for sale without the rest of a microscope.

Spare racks for the original SZH block are impossible to find, and I'm not equipped to hob out a new part. But why would I want to? The design would still be failure prone. And that leads us to FrankenScoping for fun (but not profit)...

Fortnightly catch-up post

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:47 pm
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[personal profile] dr_tectonic
Committee Meetings
At the Inclusivity Board meeting Wednesday before last, I volunteered for the committee that is sorting out how we communicate with city council and other entities. This resulted in a committee meeting at one member's house last Wednesday, and another one this coming week, and in me spending a chunk of this weekend writing up what we decided, and I would have said "foolishly volunteered" because it's not like I'm swimming in spare time lately, but I felt like this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to contribute to the Board, and that getting it right matters, so here we are. (The solution: organizing our communications around the scale of the issue, and identifying whether it's a board-level, individual-level, or committee-level issue. And then impedance-matching the incoming message. Everything else follows naturally.)

Thursday Food Trucks and Gaming
The HOA has arranged for food trucks to come hang out in the parking lot near the (other) swimming pool on alternate Thursdays evenings, so Thursday of last week Jerry and I wandered over there and got teriyaki on a stick for dinner. Kinda pricey, but very tasty. Afterwards we went to Floyd's for game night and played a couple boardgames. Can't remember what the first one was called, but it was sorta like a sword-and-sorcery-themed 7 Wonders with buying cards and choosing actions instead of drafting. I liked it, but I won, and that usually helps give a favorable impression... For the second one we finally got to play Kanagawa, the Japanese mural painting game. Also fun.

Triple-R Brunch
Sunday we went to a housewarming brunch at Ray & Ron & Rich's new place, which they've been in for a while now but which I hadn't yet seen. Got a house tour. Socialized with bears, including Joe B., who I normally only see through work. (We only talked shop a little.) I was good about not eating baked goods.

Spirit Island
Having worked a long day from home on Friday and spent Saturday doing lots of wedding prep (q.v.), after the brunch on Sunday I was out of cope for actually doing anything productive, so Jerry and I played a two-player game of Spirit Island, which finally came in the mail. (I kickstarted it ages ago, and it was much-delayed in getting here.) It's a cooperative anti-colonization game, and there is a lot of game there. It solves the alpha-player/quarterbacking problem with simultaneous play and giving each player enough to manage that there's no hope of keeping track of all of it. We weren't even playing the full game and I thought it was meaty and satisfying. I enjoyed it enough that on Monday night I went over to the Nevilles' and played it with them, too. It's got a stupid amount of replay value, and I'm looking forward to exploring it.

Work
The last couple weeks have been spent fighting fires, mostly in the form of provisioning data for other people's projects so that I'm not the bottleneck. Satisfying in the sense of providing good service (sometimes getting that lovely "OMG you are amazing" feedback, when it turns out I can do in 10 minutes what would take them a day or two to do), but a little unsatisfying because I haven't even touched my main project in ages. At least I had the sense to completely punt writing a 3-page short paper for a workshop in September rather than making myself crazy trying to get it done in a day and a half.

Wedding Prep
Preparation and planning progress proceeds apace. We're in good shape, but man are there a lot of things to do. We ordered rings today! My mom had the excellent suggestion of going to the jewelry counter at Wal-Mart to find out what our ring sizes are without pressure from commissioned salespeople. (Jerry went ahead and got an inexpensive silver ring to wear while practicing.) I got some new nice dress pants without cargo pockets. (Also new socks.) We went up to NCAR last weekend and figured out how various things would fit into the actual space. We have roughed out the ceremony itself and some of our vows. We got a portable bluetooth speaker that puts out a LOT of sound, and this week the little in-line amplifier that will hopefully let us plug a mic directly into it arrived, but of course, we have to get yet another plug adapter before we can test whether it actually works... (But if not, we'll just talk loud.) We've been spending lots of time on the choreographed thing, which is coming along nicely. Oh, and of course nagging reminding stragglers to RSVP. So many things done, and yet so many still left to do! I don't know how people who haven't already been together for at least a decade manage to get married.

Baby Driver

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:20 pm
dr_tectonic: (Simon & me)
[personal profile] dr_tectonic
Jerry and I saw Baby Driver this afternoon. It's good! And definitely one to see in the theater; not only are the visuals scoped for a big screen, the soundtrack matters a lot, so you want to see it in a venue with a good sound system.

Spoilers behind the cut )

Monday's comic!

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:41 pm
skybreak: Reynard (Default)
[personal profile] skybreak posting in [community profile] girlgenius_lair
Via the Sneaky Gate: www.girlgeniusonline.com/ggmain/strips/ggmain20170724.jpg

And the main page is now up: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170724

England is so going to be turned in a pile of wet tea leaves.

Also I played Pokemon Go all weekend

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:55 pm
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[personal profile] flexagon
Yes, I am a total dork who was willing, this time, to mess up her workout schedule for the sake of legendary but virtual birds. Yesterday was the big Pokemon Go festival in Chicago, which was kind of a disaster on the ground -- but a ton of tolks turned out in Boston, catching as many Pokemon as we could during the three half-hour "catch challenge" windows. The idea, which was cool, was that we could help unlock stuff for the folks in Chicago and they, in turn, could unlock stuff for us. I hung with some nice people, racked up lots of points and helped raid a Muk so that someone could get her first.

The day's plans for Chicago kind of fell apart. So, in apology and very unusual fan-service, Niantic unlocked ALL the worldwide rewards that were supposed to be possible if the fest went really well, and also released two different legendary Pokemon as part of the raid system. Nobody knows whether these two are going to keep being available after this 48-hour window of double candy/XP/etc, so today Boston was SWARMING with groups of people carpooling from one legendary raid to another. I leapt out of the house myself, and rode in a lot of strangers' cars, with my Pokemon T-shirt and my big external battery providing street cred.

And what a day! My very first legendary raid (for an Articuno) yielded not only the Articuno itself, but also Level 34 for me. I got one more Articuno out of two more raids, and one Lugia out of four Lugia raids (that fucker's hard to catch). I figured I was done, and very happily so as it was already really late for lunch, but I was going to tag along for another raid near home -- then the girl I was getting coffee with said there was an Unown in Harvard Square, and I leaped into a Lyft and we raced for it! The driver was awesome about it. He wasn't into Pokemon but wanted to know how it worked, how long we had to get there, etc, and we got there and he watched me catch it while I explained. Then he gave me a huge grin and high-five, and yeah, I tipped him pretty darn well. I worked off the buzzy energy by walking around getting quadruple points on new Pokestops for a while, then headed home for real for a shower and a start on my promotion rationale for work.

So fun.

Microscope! So why an SZH?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:14 pm
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[personal profile] xiphmont

I actually like my AmScope. It's not exactly precision-manufacture and god only knows what glass it uses, but it's durably made, fairly ergonomic, and works well for the price. Only one regret: The camera port is damned near useless.

For some reason, Chinese stereo scopes mostly appear to be clones of old, low- and mid-range Olympus designs. That planted the Olympus bee in my bonnet.

You've probably heard that Nikon is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make cameras. Well, Olympus is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make microscopes.

Looking for no-holds-barred top shelf stereo optics, the current top of the Olympus stereo line is the SZX12. Which is awesome and even broken surplus parts are so far out of budget it's not funny. Mostly the same for the SZX10, its slightly less featureful little brother.

But it turns out the very top of the discontinued predecessor line, the SZH10, is similar enough that it takes many of the same accessories and was every bit as good a scope. And the SZH10 was just a minor feature tweak of the earlier SZH.

And the SZH line is so gloriously 1980s. I mean, just look at this ad. It's not a stereo zoom. No, it's a *super* stereo zoom. And raytracing is involved somehow. And lightning. This here 'scope is obviously real wrath-of-god stuff.

Anyway, the rest is serendipity: There just happened to be enough cheap-ish parts on eBay to hopefully piece together a complete SZH with no major flaws.

Parts have arrived, so here we go...

A time to cast away stones

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:05 pm
flexagon: (simplify)
[personal profile] flexagon
My breakup with dynamic acro is A-OK so far. No more stress about finding bases, a clearer head, and a nice date night with [personal profile] heisenbug after handstands last Monday. I did meet up with someone on Thursday night to work on that long, difficult acroyoga flow, and I don't know if it's the right thing to work on that when he's also maybe working on it with someone else (sigh), but it's different and fun and he's an old, comfortable friend.

I sold my bike yesterday, with all its accessories, after an eBay post had been up for a week. I met up with its future rider, and it turns out she'd been stalking my exact model of bike for years, including the era -- my bike is from ~2009, just before they changed the brake system to be less gorgeously archaic. She'd already paid my asking price before meeting up, and even declined the offer to take it for a spin on the bike path before making a final decision. Already in love, she said. :-) She told me a story about having been a serious long-distance bike racer before having kids, and how she now wants to just enjoy riding and not go fast. That, of course, is what Dutch city bikes are for, so it's perfect, and I can feel good about all of this. (Update: oh no, I jinxed myself! It doesn't quite fit her, and she is returning it.)

Goodbye to my therapist? A couple of appointments ago, my therapist and I began to bat around the idea of stopping seeing each other. It's been about fifteen months, and the truth is that we often haven't had a lot to talk about lately. I do find it scary to contemplate giving up the guaranteed, high-end emotional support, because what if something bad happens and I can't handle it? But getting my Tuesday mornings back would be phenomenal. And the changes I initially said I wanted, when I started working with her, have indeed come to pass in the time we've been working together. She suggests a "conscious uncoupling" of sorts, during which we spend the last appointment or two kind of summarizing the things we've covered and learned together, and packing it up as a toolkit that I can take with me. I like that idea, and it might be time.

this week: St. Maria Skobtsova

Jul. 23rd, 2017 02:07 pm
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[personal profile] elbren
St. Maria Skobtsova opened her door to refugees, the needy, and the lonely, feeding the bellies and minds of those hungry for food and understanding. She provided shelter, escape, and false papers for Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied Paris. She wrote poetry, smoked cigarettes, drank beer, crafted embroidery, acted as mayor to defend her town’s residents, and relied on the integrity and wealth of her interior life to endure Ravensbruck and inspire her fellow captives to not succumb to despair.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Every. single. time. my shell hosting company announces a planned outage for an upgrade for something having to do with email, and they assure me that it won't impact me at all and I won't have any email outage, every single time they've wrong.

I'm not going to embarrass them in public because they do try so hard and are quick to fix broken things when I bring them to their attention.

It's just that, by now, I'd hope they'd just email me, "Hey, Siderea, we'll be fucking up your email at this future date and time. We'll be around on Twitter until this subsequent date and time. Please be available during this window to exercise your account and let us know what we've broken this time."

Instead, I email them in response to the planned outage announcement and say, "Hey, what can we do in advance to make this work?" and they're like "nothing, it's all going to go perfectly!" and I'm like, "ooookay, when exactly will you be flipping the switch, (so I know when to check on you, but I don't say this part)?" and they're like, "oh, sometime on that weekend." *throws hands in the air*

(I miss nyip.net so hard.)

Berries!!!

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:35 pm
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[personal profile] ceelove
So you know that drought we haven't had this past spring? You know how rain makes things grow? You know how I have a wild obsessive-compulsive love for berry picking? (You do now!)

This is by way of saying that I'm going berrying again tomorrow morning, having verified today that the Fells are resplendent with berries. Mostly tiny wild blueberries now, with a few black raspberries, and huckleberries soon to ripen.

Yes, you may come with me. Yes, you may ask me where I go, but understand that I suck at directions and maps, I really only know landmarks, so I'm vastly better at taking people than sending people. (If you come with me, though, understand that I wasn't kidding about that obsessive-compulsive thing: I can happily pick for hours.)

spend some time at the range

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:06 pm
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[personal profile] solarbird
Hooo, practice range time makes a huge difference learning Widowmaker play.

I spent a bunch of time on the practice range yesterday and the day before and the impact has been immediate. I had a couple of twitch headshots at lunchtime overwatch that were just nuts. Intent was there, sure, but the mechanics? Pure reflex. Twitch, headshot. Good night, Hanzo. Twitch, headshot. Good night, McCree. Go to sleep.

Plus a few more deliberately aimed headshots. I had some good numbers today. Their McCree was the only one who could get anywhere near me. But more, I'm picking up the always-be-moving part. Not perfectly, of course. But I was thinking of her as best played more still than she should be, and that's wrong. Move. Always.

Also won another couple of duels with enemy Widowmakers, and one - ugh, she was terrible. I'll have this reaction when I'm playing enemy Tracer, when they're terrible - "oh, sister, you shame us all" - and I had that today, as Widow, about an enemy Widow. And I was right. I was a factor. She wasn't. We won, and they barely even ever slowed us down.

Also also, double-kill with a venom mine. That was both a first, and hilarious. "Here, have some deadly neurotoxin I got from my best friend online. Ooh, did that sting? Thanks, I will tell her."

I really do kind of think Widowmaker and GlaDOS would be evil online friends. You know, what with the common interests in deadly neurotoxin and killing. I should learn how to say "the cake is a lie" in French. Google translate says "le gateau est un mensonge." I suspect if it's gonna get anything right, it's that.

Someone should draw them getting together at a café for cake and neurotoxin. Tell me that wouldn't be great. :D

Huh, I guess it's official. I need a Widowmaker icon.

Day 21 -- Russe and Veliko Tarnovo

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:04 pm
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[personal profile] skreeky

The boat docked this morning in Russe, Bulgaria, which you will also see sometimes spelled "Ruse". We had a brief bus tour of Russe on our way out of town, but this was one of those days where our destination was a couple of hours away on the bus, so it was very brief indeed. Read more... )

<

Read more... )

My First Superfuzzy!

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:36 am
xiphmont: (Default)
[personal profile] xiphmont

At first I thought a bird hit the window. I opened it to check for casualties, and in she fluttered...

I've been waiting a long time to see a polyphemus in person. She's battered and spent, but still beautiful.

Friday's comic!

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 am
murgatroyd666: (Default)
[personal profile] murgatroyd666 posting in [community profile] girlgenius_lair
Via Sneaky Gate: www.girlgeniusonline.com/ggmain/strips/ggmain20170721.jpg

Officially: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170721

I was wondering when he would show up!

Yes, we seem to be very near the end of the volume.

Middle Eastern food?

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:51 pm
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[personal profile] cos posting in [community profile] davis_square
We were in Davis Square a couple of evenings ago when someone said they wanted Middle Eastern food. Other than Amsterdam Falafel, I couldn't think of anywhere right there. I know Sabur in Teele Sq, which is kind of Middle Eastern (and pretty fancy). Googling around didn't turn up anything else in Davis Square, though I found a Lebanese place on Mass Ave nearby which I don't remember trying. Anyone know of any Middle Eastern food in Davis Square, or others a short walk away that you like?

Old Soldiers

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:33 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird
prelude
[2076, autumn]

"Why'd you do it, Gabe?"

"Do what?"

"Send those killers to her house."

"Lena, I don't know what you're talking about. Fill me in."

"Why'd you send those idiots after Gérard Lacroix?"

"I didn't! Hell, they weren't even field agents. It never should have happened. Not the way it did, anyway."

"Amélie doesn't know that."

"Amélie should know that, she has the logs. She just doesn't want to."

"Wot? Why not?"

"As long she doesn't know that, there's someone else alive to blame."

"That's shite, Gabriel."

"Is it?"

"It is, and you know it. She blames herself. Always has."

"'Course she does, girl. But she also blames me. I was head of Blackwatch, so she's kinda got a point."

The younger assassin just grunted, a "huh" sort of sound.

"Trust me here, having someone else to blame? It helps."

Venom thought about that, for a moment, sizing up Gabriel Reyes through anger-narrowed eyes.

"I'm not so sure it does."

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.
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