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

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Microship Status Reports

Vanishing Gizmology

This snippet from the old Microship blog (in the Blogger platform) captures the approximate moment when I started working on the platform-independent toolset that came to be called Shacktopus… something that can best be visualized as the equivalent of a 2012-era smartphone but weighing about 15 pounds and looking like a very fat laptop. In…

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The Microship Puget Sound Mini Expedition

My life changed rather dramatically after the first real Microship adventure… relationship upheaval, a health issue, and a subtle but inexorable shift in passions. I found myself less and less able to visualize the planned expedition, yet the massive inertia of the 8-year project kept me working on it for another two years before finally…

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Echinoderm Envenomation and Microship System Design

Note: the photo above is not a black spiny sea urchin… I did not get a chance to take a picture of the one who got me, nor any of his Cozumel brethren. This is a green one,¬†Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, whom we invited aboard for a visit and close examination one day in 2018. The black…

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Microship Test in Wisconsin & 7,000 Mothership Miles

I’ve been doing this for so long that it hardly seems strange… until I think about it for a minute. I mean… it’s Monday night in a campground at the foot of Mount Shasta. I’m reclining on a king-size bed suspended above my old pickup truck by a 44-foot gooseneck trailer, tapping on a Mac…

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European Interlude

Ah, this one really takes me back to a simpler time. This was a break from the immersive Microship project, which by then was an all-out mad push hampered by unanticipated absurdities (like the landing gear) as well as the ongoing necessary distractions of speaking tours, interviews, and research. My partner of the epoch hailed…

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First Amphibian Launch of the Microship

This posting to the huge Nomadness mailing list was a pivotal one… it was the first reality check of the Microship with deployable landing gear. The event was described in the local paper a few weeks later, but the text below tells the story in much more satisfying geek detail, and the entire decade-long project…

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Landing Gear Steering and Deployment

By mid-1999, the new lab on Camano Island was in full swing, and we were audaciously publishing expedition plans. One little snag, though… the landing gear project was turning out to be far more complex than anticipated. Here we discover, with a vague sense of horror, that the Microship would need a custom hydraulic Ackerman-steering…

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First Microship Launch

This was an insanely intense time… with a film crew from Canada, we did the last-minute push to get the Microship ready for its first-ever launch, at the Sea Kayak Symposium in Port Townsend. Like trade-show deadlines, this had a galvanizing effect, compounded by being on camera. The piece opens with a wonderful video 3.5-minute…

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Life Changes and Micro-Trimaran Development

Oh my. Y’all touched my soul. Two and a half months have flown since our pivotal tale of downsizing from Mighty Hogfish to a pair of micro-trimarans, and we have a lot of ground to cover in this issue… but first, I want to profoundly thank the 75 or so of you who took the…

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Embarking on a Non-Sequitour

During the decade-long Microship project, I published 138 Status Reports as well as a few more general pieces in the old Nomadness series, and for years those have been squirreled away in a rather obscure corner of my website as clunky text pages without any images. Eventually, I want to fold everything into this archival…

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