Category Archives: Automotive

My other Web site is a Volvo (and it just made “Make”)

An article I recently posted on another site just found its way into geek-chic Make Magazine‘s blog for Do-It-Yourself-ers‘. As a geek-for-all-seasons, I can’t help but be tickled about this.

The article includes plans for a “ramp pit” that allows easy access to the underside of one’s automobile. When built correctly — and used with caution and a willingness to lose a limb or two in the quest for automotive Nirvana — the ramp works out well. Still, most code monkeys — including me — should not try building this at home! I just posted it here to scream “Look at me!” to the two people who are tired of waiting for a May update to Turdhead.com

So, um… look at me! Again.

Flash geek lifts car with one hand — 1970s style!

It’s been a while since I’ve built anything that didn’t require a computer screen to view it, but lately I’ve been toying around in the garage again — and after giving up on high-tech CAD drawings and machined gizmos, I’ve finally had some success.

As some of you may have read, I’m restoring an old Volvo 1800 (restoration journal linked here) in what qualifies as my spare time, and frankly, I’m not very good at it: In the two years I’ve had the car, I’ve spent more time driving it than working on it, and until last week, I still hadn’t managed to gain enough clearance under the thing to get to a few rust spots I knew needed attention.

But thanks to a one-page, three-paragraph article buried in a stack of 31-year-old magazines (which I snagged on eBay!)*, I finally managed to lift the thing up enough to reach the trouble spots.

I’m a geek at heart, but sometimes pushing pixels around a screen just doesn’t quench the urge to build or break something in the physical realm. The publishers of Make Magazine get this, but even they could learn a thing or two from the prolific, do-it-yourself gods of yesteryear’s Popular Mechanics.

In addition to building the ramp, I’ve also been drooling over build-it-yourself air-hockey tables, solar houses, AMC Pacer add-ons and, of course, the elusive “perfect knotty pine” paneling of 1975. I heartily recommend finding a stack of 30-year old geek mags for yourself (again, eBay is perfect for this kinda thing).

Sometimes, you’ve just got to go old school.

* Yes, I’m aware these are referral links, but I was linking to eBay anyway, so I figured, why not? Feel free to just type eBay into your address bar if you’d rather starve me and not click a paid link. Thanks!

Making screensavers and other goodies using open-source Screenweaver

I’ve been playing around with Screenweaver OS lately. Now that it’s been released as an open-source project, who can resist a readily available means of making real, honest-to-goodness desktop applications from Flash?

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve done anything earthshattering yet, but I’ve at least been playing around with its simple-to-use screensaver building tools. I originally released this screensaver on another Web site devoted to the Volvo 1800 automobile, but I figured I’d place it here in case anyone else was interested. The 3d model was designed by Josh Isaacson for Turdhead.com and will later appear in one of Turdhead’s game-o’-the-month features, as well as one or more Classic1800.com utilities.

Not much to say about it, but I figured it might get a few others’ interests peaked in both Screenweaver development and my favorite classic Volvo sports car. Happy motoring!

Calling all 3d artists! We need a model…

Editor’s note: Thanks for the interest. The job is filled, and the work is being done as I type.

One of my Web sites, Classic1800.com, needs a 3D model of a Volvo P1800 for use in games, Flash animations and an eventual application interface we’re planning. Since we (I) suck at 3D modeling, I (we) figured I/we’d check to see if anybody here might be interested.

Basically, we need the 3d source files (3ds, Max, Maya, Blender, zModeler, WHATEVER…) and full reproduction rights that we can use for whatever P1800 projects we might have in the future.

If interested, please leave a comment here, and please provide a link to some of your work and a price and timeframe that you think is reasonable (I’m poor, though, so please be gentle!). Designer credit can always be given, too!

If you need inspiration, thousands of pictures of the car can be found at http://www.volvo1800pictures.com.

I look forward to seeing what anybody can do!

I think I wet ’em! (aka “A few of my favorite things”)

I was wondering how to plug my latest Web project to the Actionscript-oriented audience of this Web site, when suddenly Macromedia itself provided the perfect excuse: In one beautiful demonstration of Flash technology, the company has merged my two favorite things into one great site: cutting-edge Flash technology and the 1960s-era Volvo 1800 sports coupe.

Eh? Weren’t expecting the car thing, were you?

It’s true, though. These days, I have two things that take the majority of my time: By day (and often by night), I work with Macromedia Flash MX to build applications and e-learning activities for my employer. By night (and sometimes by day), I work on my dream car, a 1971 Volvo 1800E, a car for which I recently began publishing www.classic1800.com, a Web site devoted to the cars’ restoration, preservation and promotion as a classic. (Yes, my favorite car is a Volvo — As if the ActionScript Jabberwocky didn’t already reveal my own idea of cool…)

Regardless, when I visited the Macromedia Flash Web site today, my two worlds collided: Front and center on the company’s Web site is a feature story on how Volvo, now a Ford company, is using Flash video technology to sell their message to the public. Better yet, the Flash piece features a museum-quality P1800 in its “Volvo Museum” section.

Life is good for a classic Volvo-loving Web geek today. And surprisingly, there’s quite a few of us out here.

Want to know more about the Volvo 1800? Check out my new Web site, www.classic1800.com. There’s more information coming, and plenty of great links. There’s even a first-of-its-kind Volvo 1800 calendar in the works!