Category Archives: machines

Prelim Tube(wo)man

I built a rudimentary tube visage from ripstop nylon. My approach is largely improvised. I learned a few things along the way.

Some rough idea of what you want to make, a bit of gumption, and the following things won’t hurt.

* blower fan – buy a proper blower fan for a tubeman or improvise one of your own. I used one of these HVAC duct fans for my proof of concept
* blow fan platform: i went with a simple moving dolly.
* Rip Stop Nylon:  I bought mine from EmmaKites through Amazon
* Scissors
* large cutting mat (I bought this kit with mat/cutter/ruler – you’ll likely need an even larger mat)
* rotary fabric cutter
* long straight edge ruler type thing
* hand sewing needles
* sewing machine
* sewing pins
* Polyester sewing thread 
* velcro ™ type sticky tape for fastening tube-ojbect to blower base
* lots of space!!!

* Sketch out a rough design on a white board. Think about height, arm length, colors and proportion of each. It would be wise to match the torsoe and arm colors were they intersect.
* Purchase rip stop of desired colors
* Setup your sewing machine on a long table or workbench. You’ll need the space.
* Calculate the circumference of your pump mouth so you know how wide to cut your rip stop.
* Cut your rip stop to the length of the circumference. Pad the value by an inch or two.
* read this article for an explanation of how to create a strong stitch for assembling the panels together, top to bottom. logon for viewing full-sized images: johndoe123 : 123456789

* sew your measured, cut panels together top to bottom one at a time using the method above
sewing according to your schematic. I would recommend using a simple reinforced single stitch.
* Experiment with the fabric and adjust stitch tension appropriately.
* you’ll end up with something like this.

* Identify the area where the arms will intersect and cut holes. The arms will likely be the most challenging area of construction. Consult with you local seamsperson first. I added mine after the tube was constructed which made assembly difficult.
* construct your tube arms according to the diameter of the holes you cut. Calculate the circumference of the arms from the diameter, as above.
* with the outside of the cut length of fabric facing INSIDE of your tube, pin the edges of the length of the tube together.
* sew up the entire length of the the tube
* sew along the top of the tube several inches below the very end of the tube. You can cut this for hair.
* Flip the entire closed tube inside out and pull head through nethers
* attach velcro ™ tape to bottom of tube and sew velcro to bottom of tube
* attach velcro to base of your HVAC fan and attach tube to blower
* attach fan to platform of some sort so it stands up

* give your tubesperson personality with custom face, hands, whatevs
* note: you may need to improvise holes in the head of the tube if your fan is pushing too hard against the fabric.
* here’s mine inside the house before the arms were assembled.

On Board Entertainment Reboot

The entertainment system was acting up one of my last flights. The flight attendants first rebooted the set of systems in our row. I noticed the system was running Redhat Linux. The crew then announced a reboot of the entire system. The advance notice allowed me to record the boot sequence.

Boot messages reveal a good bit about the linux system and how it interacts with the local network. A close inspection provides several suggestions for why the system may have been acting up.

Save running VirtualBox VMs from the commandline

Here’s how to save a running instance of a VirtualBox guest VM from the commandline.  I’ve needed to do this to safely stop a remote guest host on my desktop.

To locate the running VMs:

[androo@vmbox ~]$ VBoxManage list runningvms
Oracle VM VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 3.2.6
(C) 2005-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

"VMNAME" {5f6a113a-2d65-4f68-b578-6d0c8c67b6a4}

To send an ACPI powerdown comannd:

[amj47@vmbox ~]$ sudo VBoxManage controlvm VMNAME acpipowerbutton
Oracle VM VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 3.2.6
(C) 2005-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.