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

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Microship Status Reports

Microship Control System

Microship Hub Overview

It is both delightful and scary to have so many knowledgeable people on this mailing list! No technical error in my tales goes unreported… in response to last week’s April Fools issue (#101), I received detailed explanations about GPS encoding from both NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs and the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at…

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Microship Megabucks

by Steven K. Roberts Nomadic Research Labs Santa Clara, California — April 1, 1996 (Issue #101 of the Microship Status Reports) Lots of developments since our last update! The recent infusion of investment capital from the venture partners has made a spectacular difference in our productivity here at Nomadic Research Institute, and we’ve just rented the…

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The Catalina Adventure

The UCSD Microship lab epoch has ended after 2 years, and in this report we embark on a sailing adventure to Catalina Island on Lonnie Gamble’s boat Harmony (above)… then return to focus on the new lab quest. The entire project is in limbo, but Faun and I manage to have a bit of fun. …

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New Microship Substrate

A huge event took place in 1995 — the abrupt transition to Microship 3.0. I had already abandoned the original kayak-based system and its variants, and a Puget Sound adventure on a small commercial trimaran (Fulmar) revealed many deficiencies that called for a larger boat. This article was posted to my broad Nomadness distribution list,…

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The Hogfish Epoch

This was the beginning of “Phase 3” of the Microship project. This was kind of insane, but an amazing opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t resist. We luck into a great deal on a piece of multihull history, a folding 30-footer that predates the Corsair F-31 (though it’s a bare hull). We zoom to Seattle…

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Cat vs Tri

OK, let’s lay it out analytically. Cat versus tri? Tri looks most sensible for lots of reasons, and we target the 30-foot range at $15K. Build versus buy? We don’t want to be boatbuilders. Hoping to conjure something with a clear enough spec, we lay out a full set of requirements… The cartoon above, based…

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Thinking of Boatbuilding

Hmmm, so do we build a catamaran? Armed with study plans, we consider this…. while the video turret starts to work, a simple subset of pressure control seems within range, the manpacks practically dance under the tutelage of their team, and we proceed with general hackage. But what to float it all? The delightful image…

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The Boat Quest Continues

In all my years of system engineering and designing strange contraptions, I have never encountered such a plethora of trade-offs as I am finding in the selection of a boat. Weight, internal space, seaworthiness, appearance, solar surface, comfort, trailerability, hackability, speed… all these and more conflict in ways that make the old gain-bandwidth and freedom-security…

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Considering the Stiletto 27

I just spent the weekend making a brief airborne jaunt to San Antonio, Texas to visit Charlie Mayer and go sailing on Canyon Lake aboard his Stiletto 27. This issue of the Microship Status Report is devoted to my first observations about the boat, thoughts on a few bizarre but essential mechanical hacks, and the…

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Advancing in a Scattered Way

Hello from the Microship lab! As always, the feeling I have when immersed in many simultaneous projects is a frustrating one of making incremental progress in many directions — advances which, although adding up to equivalent net progress in one direction (minus context-switching overhead), subjectively appear as mere dabbling. A sketch here, a phone call…

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