Deconstructing Technology

Send it Through the Tube

The pneumatic tubes at the bank are intriguing things, especially to a child. Mommy puts the check in the bottle, sticks it in the machine, whirring sound, wait, wait, whirring sound, and there is a wad of cash and some Dum-Dums. Pure magic.

But have you ever said to yourself, I have seen these things at the banks forever, when in the world did somebody come up with this? Continue reading Send it Through the Tube

Deconstructing Technology

One Thing, Vasili…

Can we sneak by him, Ramius? We don't know how to play "Chicken"...

“What are these doors? Those are too big to be torpedo tubes…

“I’ll be… This…This could be a caterpillar.”

Skip Tyler never got that confirmed by Capt. Vasili Borodin (who was too busy wishing he did get to see Montana) in McTiernan’s film adaptation of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October

…and especially since Vasili and Skip never talk.

But Tyler was right. Continue reading One Thing, Vasili…

Deconstructing Technology

Will Someone Please Build the Analytical Engine?

A long time ago in October 2010 we learned a little about one of the first computers to be invented. Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, had it been built, would have been the first programmable, Turing-complete computer. In 1837.

Now, with steampunk at an all time high in popularity, and with this being the […]

Deconstructing Technology

Brewing with Elegance and SCIENCE!

Yesterday, after the hoardes of pepper-spray wielding Black Friday zombies had dispersed, my wife and I went to the mall to get a few things for ourselves and to try to wrap up our Christmas shopping. Of course, that means a stop in the Williams-Sonoma store to drool over things like the Bodum Santos Stovetop Vacuum Coffee Maker.
Continue reading Brewing with Elegance and SCIENCE!

Deconstructing Technology, Holiday Shenanigans

Turkey Timers: Simplicity Defined

This is a pop-up turkey timer. Basically, there a soft metal or wax plug in the bottom. When it gets to a point where it melts, the red stick indicator is released and pushed out by the spring. Make sure the metal or wax melts at an appropriate temperature (165 F if I […]

Deconstructing Technology

There’s No Replacement for Steam

So we moved from large engines, to large steam engines and now to steam. Steam has been used for power, by turning or pushing, for half a millenia. It’s been used for heating and to drive steam engines. We’ve had steam-powered cars, airplanes, ships, and trains. We don’t have any of those any more. What we do still have is steam heat and steam used in power generation.
Continue reading There’s No Replacement for Steam

Deconstructing Technology

Regulators! Mount up!

Pressure is good stuff. With steam pressure, giant locomotives could pull hundreds of tons of goods across the continent. With air pressure, your car can ride on tires that help to absorb small imperfections in the road. With gas pressure you can cook a filet or heat your home.

But sometimes the pressure is just too damn high.
Continue reading Regulators! Mount up!

Deconstructing Technology, The Technology of Music

A Brief History of Music Delivery

Round is apparently best for music.

I was cleaning up my basement when I realized that I have almost all the forms of music delivery that have ever been present in one place.  Let me expand that thought.

It started with just music.  We beat on logs, later skins with a group of […]

Deconstructing Technology, Startup

Startup: A Piece of String

Behold, the power of string!

This is a suspension bridge. No really, it is.

Continue reading Startup: A Piece of String