Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An idiot's guide to Apple TV DVDs

Short entry. We got an Apple TV to replace our DVD changer. Here is what I learned about ripping my DVDs (in Windows):

1) insert a DVD in your drive
2) copy your DVD onto your hard drive using DVDFab Decrypter
3) using the Apple TV presets, use Handbrake to make a movie file from the DVD file you just made. I usually use the Apple TV presets but click "Two-Pass Encoding" and "Turbo first pass". If the program has horizontal lines in it where there is motion, redo the file after checking "decomb" or "deinterlace"
4) Use MetaX to put nice tags on the movie file (Movie poster for the Apple TV display, ratings, synopsis, etc.)
5) Import the file into iTunes. I set up my iTunes library on a USB hard drive. This is cheap storage, and it means you don't have to use the Apple TV's hard drive.
6) When setting up the Apple TV, make sure to set it up to stream content out of iTunes rather than Sync with iTunes.

You're done!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gangsta Wrap

I'm not going to be able to do this project justice with the time I have tonight, but here it is in brief: I have been fascinated by DuPont Tyvek for some time now. I know that people make wallets and ground cloths (for camping) out of the stuff. Also, there are hazmat suits made from Tyvek. The cool thing about it to me is that it is like poor man's Gore-Tex. It is waterproof and breathable, and it costs about $50 for a 150-foot roll at Home Depot. As I understand it, Tyvek is difficult to sew, but special Tyvek tape can be used to tape Tyvek together and the resulting bond is as good as a sewn seam.

My favorite jacket, the one I commute on my bike in, is a vintage Marmot Gore-Tex shell. It is one layer of Gore and one layer of nylon. Basically like a heavy windbreaker. Somehow the air space between the Gore and the nylon allows me to bike in the jacket at any temperature between 15 and 50 degrees F. If I could find another Marmot EXACTLY like it, I'd drop $300 for it in a heartbeat.

So it occurred to me a while ago that I could replicate my favorite Marmot in Tyvek. For about $10, I got all of the hardware I needed at a sewing store: Zipper, Velcro, Elastic cord, Cord stops. I had a roll of Tyvek left over from doing our basement ceiling.

The order of battle (go slowly and think through this stuff before you do it. It is basically a 5-hour IQ test--it forces you to figure out what 3-dimensional shape will result from the joining of 2-dimensional panels, and then you have to invert shapes mentally):

1) trace pieces from panels of coat, inside and outside, using a sharpie. Cut them out. (I purposefully left the DuPont Tyvek Homewrap logos on the outside).
2) tape up the liner, and tape up the shell. Use small pieces to go around corners. Only tape one side of the liner and shell (no tape against skin when wearing it, and no tape seams exposed on shell)
3) Turn liner inside out (tape next to skin)
4) Turn shell inside out (tape exposed)
5) Put on liner over shell.
6) Be really smart, think ahead, and tape the two together. Include zipper. Leave a gap so that the whole thing can be pulled inside out.
7) Reach into a gap (I left the bottom of the shell and the liner unattached--the waist part) and grab the inside of the hood and pull it so that the liner/shell turns inside out. It should now be right side out. Think of this as having a ziploc bag inside-out and then pulling it so that it is right-side out.
8) You probably forgot something, so be ready to go back and turn it inside out, or inverted, to tape whatever needs to be done.
9) The hood was the hardest part.
10) Don't panic if you messed up--you can always cut something out and then tape in a patch.

I went out to run the snowblower in 20 degree weather with the jacket on. In 2 hours outside, it was fantastic. The only problem was that the zipper came unstuck from the tape around my mouth. I think it is an area of high stress, and the condensation from my breath didn't help. I will probably go back and sew the zipper to the Tyvek tape and then tape over the stitching. I also am planning to throw the jacket in hot dryer for ten minutes in order to get the adhesive in the tape to really fuse to the fabric. The Tyvek starts out feeling like very stiff paper or sail cloth. After the construction process and a few wearings, it has softened up. If I had to do it over (which I may at some point for fun), I would make it a little larger. I think the stiffness of the Tyvek makes the coat feel tighter than the Marmot equivalent.

Also, nb, the photos of the parts below are all taken from a specific height. You could probably blow up the photos to make patterns if you were really excited about doing it. Also, nb, this will be a high-visibility coat for biking, but it blends in with snow like nobody's business. Be careful.

The pile of panels:

Hood parts:

Back panels:

Hood parts:
Chest panels:

Taped up liner sleeve:
Liner back and chest panels taped together:
Liner sleeve joined to torso (back and chest) panels:
Hoodless liner and shell:

Wearing liner inside out (tape side in):
Shell over liner:
The whole shooting match (getting ready to go out to shovel):
Can I get an endorsement deal? I look like Ricky Bobby: