Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Microship Hydraulics

These tattered drawings recently turned up in the lab… and it occurs to me that I have never done a proper article about the rather too-elaborate engineering of the hydraulic systems on the Microship for rudder and landing-gear control. Here is a quick overview of this essential subsystem. The boat’s hydraulic system is made up…

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Video Tour of Datawake by IEEE Spectrum

Back on August 24, I welcomed aboard a delightful visitor named Kristen Clark from IEEE Spectrum, and she spent the afternoon asking good questions… getting me to show her around the boat while the camera rolled. The article just appeared on the IEEE site yesterday, and the video is embedded below… a fun 3-minute snippet of the Datawake project, complete with…

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The Boat Machine Shop

by Steven K. Roberts Nomadic Research Labs For the first few months aboard, every attempt to fabricate a part involved clearing a tiny space on the bench, plugging in a funky desk light, and trying to find tools that I had just seen only minutes before. This was demoralizing, so I finally fixed it. This post…

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Datawake Scanner Installation

Keeping my ear to the ground… by Steven K. Roberts One of the central themes aboard this geeky ship is expanding the sensorium. I’ve always been fascinated by data collection in all its forms… not just sensors that reveal system health or the state of the environment, but real-time information that shifts my awareness into a much larger…

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No Pressure – the Maiden Voyage

News from No Pressure (formerly Nomadness) Saturday, Nov 12 – 3:00 PM Friday Harbor to San Diego transit complete! Saturday, Nov 12 – 12:45 PM – Arriving San Diego Saturday, Nov 12 – 10:30 AM Final approach to San Diego… Friday, Nov 11 – 9:00 PM They only stayed in Santa Barbara long enough to acquire fluids…

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Audio and Comm Console Development

by Steven K. Roberts October 2, 2016 I catch myself doing it again: waiting for closure on some project before writing about it, an old magazine-freelancing habit. Something should actually be done before you publish the details, right? Of course, this isn’t a single-threaded project. Subsystems and components are interleaved and interdependent, the objectives evolve with…

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Datawake Historical Photos – Circa 1976

Vic Franck Delta 50 (The Chief) in her early years One of the little treasures I found aboard the boat now known as Datawake was a binder of photos from her youth. I think these are from the late 1970s (she was designed by Lynn Senour and built in 1974), and they are quite a contrast…

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Popeye and the Dawg

Witnessing an inter-species encounter photo ©2016 by Steven K. Roberts (All rights reserved – please contact for usage info) Every now and then, a photographer gets lucky… the right palette of colors, a self-organizing composition, and a sweet vignette all align at the moment of shutter-release. This was one of those, caught through the 83X zoom of the wonderful Nikon…

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Rebecca Parks and her Under Pressure series

My dear friend Rebecca moved to Missouri last year, and in addition to her many family activities and house-renovation projects, she is exploring a new artistic realm. When she posted this image of her latest pressure-washer work in the porch-mildew medium, I was inspired to write a bit of ArtSpeak to help solidify this emerging genre. Under Pressure – an…

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Building a Feline Outhouse

Take it Outside, Kitty… Building a Boat Cat Litter Box by Steven K. Roberts, aboard Datawake OK, so I admit it… I love this cat. Isabelle lives aboard with me, and her tubby cuddly awesomeness increases the quality of life in lots of ways. But even a quirky Russian Blue who pushes all the right feline buttons but…

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