b3ta.com user JimM
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Profile for JimM:
Profile Info:

Bit of a lurker here. I'm a poor artist, but I like b3ta's sense of humour. I tend to be better at making things with glue and hammers than on Photoshop.

I am an engineer of all sorts, a software engineer by trade and an amateur mechnical engineer in my spare time.

Things I have built:

Souped up toaster

ZX Spectrum Laptop

Robot Wars entry

Recent front page messages:


Best answers to questions:

» DIY Techno-hacks

The ZX Spectrum Laptop

I love making pointless electronic and mechanical devices. I did the souped-up toaster in newsletter 324, and above is the one I'm most pleased with so far, a Frankenstein-style combination of a Libretto and a ZX Spectrum. I haven't got around to loading a Spectrum emulator onto it yet but it will come.
(Fri 21st Aug 2009, 22:04, More)

» How nerdy are you?

I entered Robot Wars
Many of my friends at university followed Robot Wars and spent ages talking about how to build a winning robot. I was one of the few who actually went on and built one. I wish I'd been able to enter the first few series, when robots were mostly wheelchair motors screwed onto wooden boxes. Unfortunately, by the time I had a house big enough and enough money to enter, it was onto series six.

By this time, most of the entrants were serious mechanical engineers with their own machine shops, and were making some very professional robots. I had a cordless drill and a hacksaw. Even so, I managed to spend about 2000 pounds over two years trying to get a machine ready to fight.

Naturally I was beaten in the first round - the qualifying rounds before the first televised rounds. To make things worse, my opponent drove straight into the pit on the first fight, so I can't even say I was beaten by anyone that good.

"Cayenne" now sits in my front room under a sheet of plywood acting as a coffee table.
(Thu 6th Mar 2008, 18:16, More)

» Pointless Experiments

Not dangerous, just pointless - me and a mate got into an argument about what colour Tizer is. His ridiculous assertion was that it was orange instead of red. So we photographed a glass of it with some white card behind it, imported it into PSP, and lo and behold, it's closer to #FF7F000 than it is to #FF0000. Something's very wrong there.
(Fri 25th Jul 2008, 16:20, More)

» Dumb things you've done

A-Level Chemistry Practical Exam
This was a fairly standard titration experiment, titrating some substance (I forget which) into potassium permanganate solution. Permanganate is a deep purple/brown liquid which stains everything it touches. In a rush to get everything set up, I filled the burette (a long thin glass tube that's very difficult to clean) with permanganate instead of the solution I was meant to use as titrant. That of course wouldn't be dumb enough for a post here. With no chance of cleaning it out myself, I sheepishly caught the attention of an invigilator and asked for a clean burette. Luckily, he managed to find one quite quickly and I was back on track, a bit delayed and very embarrassed but otherwise none the worse for the accident.

Relieved, I pressed on and filled my shiny new burette to the top with potassium permanganate.
(Mon 31st Dec 2007, 12:47, More)

» Job Interviews

Spilt coffee
I had already had to reschedule my interview due to hitting my head on a concrete block. Five days after the original date, I turned up with my smartest clothes and a three-inch cut on my head.

Nethertheless, the interview started well. This was quite a big company and they held the interview in one of their nicer rooms. They got me cup of coffee and after an initial round of questions left me with a short test to work through. Pretty much as soon as I'd started I spilt most of my coffee over the desk. Rather than leave the room in search of some paper towels and admit to my cack-handedness, I pulled out the map I'd printed out to find the place, mopped up the coffee with it and folded it up into a makeshift coaster for my coffee cup.

Once I'd finished the test and was waiting for the interviewer to return, I went to throw away the bit of paper. Unfortunately, the wet inkjet printed map was not particularly colourfast and most of the ink had soaked into their rather nice meeting room table. I left my coffee cup covering the stain for the rest of the interview, and left before they noticed. I was offered the job a couple of days later.
(Sat 22nd Jan 2005, 12:11, More)
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