Showing posts with label robot font. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robot font. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gojira vs. the Mayan Destructors!

Godzilla is back and he's mad!  But can he save us from the Mayan Destructors?

Agent Svetlana Optima is still on the job and has gotten close enough to watch the terror unfold.

No two bit Mayan robot monster thing is going to stomp San Francisco!  That's Godzilla's job!
The Vintage Technology Obsessions team was pretty optimistic when the photos started coming in over the satellite uplink.  Godzilla has some new and unexpected tricks!  Sure, he vacillates between being for or being against human civilization, but today he is with us and that is all that matters.

Ha!  Take that, Destructors!  Godzilla now has Atomic Balls of Doom at his command!
The photos gave us a lot of hope.  Godzilla has faced much worse.  Mecha Godzilla almost did him in.  The King of Monsters will not be denied!

And then a message was delivered from the office to our underground lair:

That's it.  Three more days and it's over.  We don't even know what happened to that brave giant robot who did battle with these same Destructors yesterday.  Godzilla didn't even slow them down.

The EMP from the last atomic blast took down Svetlana's sat comm.  At least the Stasi built up their agents' resistance to radiation.  She is a survivor.  We should be so lucky.

Seventy-two hours and counting...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Robot in Red - Olympia SM-9 Redecorated!

This partially redecorated Olympia SM-9 features the Senatorial typeface, more commonly known as the Robot font.  The workbench is a serious mess.  I just noticed the eraser that came with a newly arrived compact typewriter in the background.  That and the shroud from a partly torn down Barr that needs attention.  I need a time turner.
Can you tell it has been over a week since I typed anything?  My regrets for subjecting you to many typos.

As the SM-9 so lovingly stated in robot (Senatorial) font, Claire is the artist of the family.  I can't draw, so I take photos.  Here is her latest repurposed work in progress.  For scale, look in the background of the first photo.  Yes, in certain ways, she is very much my child.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Year Anniversary: Picture Heavy!

Today marks the first anniversary of Vintage Technology Obsessions.  Before I go any further, I want to thank all of you who regularly visit this blog.  I'd like to think that I would keep going without page views, but the truth is I like to see the number go up and the comments and conversations are greatly appreciated.

In the spirit of this blog and the Typosphere, this is a hybrid post.  I think I will use a few different typewriters.  Do you recognize the machines from their typefaces?

Yeah, typewriters are real; typographical errors and all.  The machines:  Underwood Deluxe Quiet Tab, Royal Signet, Olympia SM-7, Remington Mark II (a plastic Torpedo) and a 1932 Royal known as Keylime.  I lust after a machine with German blackletter or an Olivetti Graphika.

I've been surprised at some of the posts that have picked up the most hits; mostly from Google searches.  I'm glad that I diversified content from the beginning.  I blog because I love learning about many obscure subjects that have nothing to do with my professional life.  I also love photography and this is a fun avenue for me to share images.

Here are some of my favorite images from the last year:

This little guy was a graduation gift for a friend of the family.

Svetlana Optima is our mysterious Cold War throwback.  She was manufactured in East Germany in the early '50s and has some pretty serious trust issues.  This comes from her new ribbon day.
And now for some statistics.  Thanks to readers such as yourself, this blog passed the 16,000 pageview mark on August 11.  The top ten posts by pageview, paraphrased and in descending order, are:

ITAM Special Report: The Eight Millionth Remington
Remembering Ralph McQuarrie
Zeiss Ikon/ICA Folding Camera
Juvenile Cold War Space Fiction
Happy Typewriter Day from Keylime
The Birthday Blog Post from Space
Royal Typewriter Rescue(feature Old Red, a Royal with the Vogue typeface rescued from choppers)
A Tale of Two Cameras (the modern Sony NEX3 coupled with Olympus PEN F lenses)
Mousiest Royal Futura (a not all that fun to type on Royal with an awesome cursive typeface)
B-36 Restricted Report (Features an SM-9 keeping track of the dreaded Svetlana Optima)

And here is the subject of the top post, Remington number 8,000,000.

Just full of awesome and kind of OK to type on.  This machine receives plenty of Google search hits.

If only I could keep the bench this tidy.
Being an Art Deco icon, this machine starred in its own movie "Last Stand at the Remington".
This is an outtake from the hit movie "Last Stand at the Remington".

Yeah, totally growing up would be pretty boring.
This is the first typecast with our Senatorial Olympia SM-9.  Racoons had recently dug a hole through our roof.
This man of mystery was a hit at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

The dreaded Dollar Store "Spacebot" testing out that old saw about the pen being mightier than the sword.  However, Bill has some muscle in the form of a junk part R2-C4 unit.

I'm still bitter about losing a whole summer worth of B-grade movie reruns to the Watergate hearings.

You don't want to know.

Here's our family mascot, Trollie!  Isn't that the most creative name you've ever heard?

Gotta love southern Florida.  There was a guy shooting a monster handgun towards a 40 foot fiberglass panther on the other side of the parking lot.  Ah, the memories Trollie and I have together.

Two extremely shiny typewriters.  They don't get used nearly enough what with my weird typeface fetish.  The gold Royal goes by the name of Margo.

Thank goodness we have a good copy editor in the house!  What fate awaits this tough Royal?

Like a candle in the Windy City.  Poor Marilyn is about to lose her head.

Keylime and Old Red, the Vogue typeface Royals.  The one on the right is named Keylime.  That was redundant, but I am too lazy to reconfigure the link.

Such a happy couple.  Too bad they are about to be mauled by zombies!

"Do you hear moaning?  I swear I hear moaning."

Imaging the Transit of Venus with a pair of binoculars.

Shopping for the perfect violin for Hannah.  It was a great experience.  The bow cost more than my first car.  Sure, the car was a beater, but you get the idea.

In the violin finish lair.  This strings shop is a great maker space.

My portable typecasting machine for our summer vacation.  We came back to a very long stretch of hot and a drought that came out of nowhere.

Something shiny from the Art of the Car Concours.

This is a nice rat rod from the Kansas City Good Guys show.  The Duesenberg at the Concours was worth more than a Belgian dressage horse.  The rat rod?  Not so much, but it is awesome!

3-D printing pretty much rocks.  This is from the 2012 Kansas City Maker Faire.

Souped up kiddie cars in the Power Wheels racing series.
This is Super Awesome Sylvia and her dad, the Tech Ninja doing some live science at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

This is precisely why we need maker culture.  We are so proud of Curiosity's team!  I still have a rendering of the skycrane lowering Curiosity set as my wallpaper.  We haven't forgotten Opportunity, either.

The team, as seen on my LCD during the live streaming of the landing.  Dang, where is that sexy Mohawk Guy?

Ahhhh!!!! Not only is he adorable, the Christmas Squirrel will bring your family socks and undies.  Part 1 on "The Origins of the Christmas Squirrel" is found here.  Yes, there is a Part 2 and the story involves Nikola Tesla, Erwin Schrodinger and a certain Mr. Edison.  It was cold outside and I was on vacation.

Claire's most awesome repurposed Christmas present to me.
This is one of Claire's friends.  She is a convert to the ways of the typewriter.  We gave her an Olympia SM-9 with the Senatorial (robot) typeface.  She is a total typeface junkie and can tell you about the history and design of many typefaces.  That may be atypical for the average eleven-year-old.

Claire (aka: gingercat) and the Six Fingered Man's twin brother at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Thanks again to all of you that follow or have happened upon this crazy, mixed up blog of mine!  It's gotten a little serious in the last couple of months.  Me thinks it is time to break out some Hong Kong knock-off robots and a jumbo Machinder.  Yes, that would do nicely!

Copyright:  The Copyright is a noble beast that I, the owner of the blog known as Vintage Technology Obsessions, claims for my own.  With the exception of the images of the amazing Curiosity, all images and text are mine and are copyright 2011 and 2012.  Regular readers would not need to be reminded that, in addition to legal recourse, if someone were to pilfer my images for use without attribution or for commercial use of any form they would likely be awakened in the middle of the night by the buzz and hiss of a flying, steam powered Oliver Number 99 hovering over their bed.  Thieves, you have been suitably warned.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

FIRST: A Day at the Kansas City Robotics Competition

Claire (aka: gingercat) loves showing off her swag.  This is the collection from an hour and a half in the pit area.  Teams swap and give goodies away.

One of the best things about FIRST is that competitions and the pit areas are free and open to the public.  As long as you are wearing safety glasses, you can wander around and talk to the teams about their robot designs.  The kids love to show off their bots.

A slice of life in the pits.

Tech inspection.  Robots are checked for weight and regulation equipment.
Before I go any further, I have to recommend my Spousal Unit's blog on the subject at
She is not a techie and will approach this from a different perspective.

Moving on...

The work doesn't stop with building robots.  Each assembly and sub assembly must be documented with CAD software.   The team has to build a website and create promotional materials.  Some of the teams go all out doing community outreach programs as well as promoting STEM to girls.  The latter is important given the number of engineers and designers we need to have this be a country of makers.

OK, that's enough of the semi-political advocacy for my girls.  Now we are ready to rumble!

You might want to watch the overview video at FIRST Rebound Rumble Animation on Youtube

A FIRST round always starts with an autonomous task with plenty of points to be grabbed.  The robots are programmed and loaded with sensors.  This year, they had to navigate into position and shoots baskets without hairless ape intervention (except for the little used Kinnect option).

The real action starts during the driver phase.  Each robot typically has two drivers and someone watching the clock and the field.  Microsoft donated Kinect systems to FIRST this year.  One of the regional teams opted to use one for hybrid control of the robot during the autonomous phase.

The parts kit includes the same batteries, PLC and I/O system.  Some of the motors are standardized as well.  There is a weight limit and a parts cost limit of $3,500.

This was a unique design and was foolproof as long as no opposing robot ran bumping interference.  That is legal in certain zones in the field.

Here is the amazing thing:  Each team started with the same box of parts, rules and specifications to create a practice field.  From there, design diverges as each team prototypes and builds their robots in six weeks.  They then crate the bot and ship it.

Of course they don't do this alone.  There are teachers, sponsors and mentors.  We talked to one team mentor who mentioned that their school is just outside the gates to the Fermilab.  Yeah, that Fermilab; the one with the particle accelerator.

There were a few catapults and many driven wheel shooters.  Some had turrets that could be rotated as needed.  We saw many different ball grabbing designs.

On top of all the other engineering challenges, the balls were made of Nerf like material that degraded throughout the competition.  Hardness, texture and friction changed as they went along.

Can you believe that every one of these machines was designed and built by high schools students in six weeks?  Bear in mind that almost all of these kids are in AP heavy programs.  It's fair to say that the bell curve is skewed two or three standard deviations in the arena.

Engineering is serious work, but so is Gracious Professionalism.  Teams cooperate.  They share parts in the pits.  The kids spent six very long weeks building their bots and then live in the pits for almost three days.   They are competing for the same scholarship dollars.  For the most part, they are loving every minute of it.

More about Gracious Professionalism and its partner, Coopertition are found on the FIRST website at

While the goal is to bring up the next generation of engineers, the teams are still in it to win.  This year there were two teams that absolutely dominated the field.  Here they are in a four minute pit stop between the semi-final and the final round.  That's just enough time to swap batteries and check all of the electrical connections.

Terror had two names this year.  Introducing the Bomb Squad and Team Titanium...

So now it is time to prep and shoot.

And shoot some more. 

To say that the Bomb Squad was a shooting machine would be somewhat redundant, but seeing an elegant design in action is inspiring.  Team Titanium was no slouch, either.  But I think that the Bomb Squad sucked up more balls and made more shots.

This was not the final round score, but you get the idea how this Red Alliance did overall.

We walk into Hale Arena each year to watch the regional competition and cheer on the local teams.  I remember the first time as I looked around and said "I smell nerd."  It's like being at home except a lot louder and with more and better technology.

Claire wants to go to the local high school that has an engineering program and a mature FIRST team that has been to the world championships twice.  If she chooses to follow through and makes the team, we'll miss her during the long, sleepless build weeks.  But we'll know she is in good company.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  All photos are copyright Dwayne F. of vintagetechobsessions (just like what's in the exif).  Please ask before using, be polite about attribution and do not use for commercial purposes without explicit permission.  Of course the Blogger platform does not provide a means to lock down  my intellectual property, but you wouldn't want to find a fleet of quadrotors floating around in your bedroom, would you?