Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beats Antique

Been busy with other projects for a few days. Trying to finish up a website so I can send a bill out and pay my rent for the month, and get a little design work done to spruce up the blog a bit. Look forward to a new layout very soon. Anyhow, Here's some funky bluegrass gypsy breakbeat courtesy of Beats Antique.

If you dig this, check out their website for more info (they do have a pretty sick website). I'm hoping to catch them at Bonnaroo this June.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Test post

Just testing connectivity from my iPhone app.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Crabfu Steamworks

We've all probably taken notice of the fantastical contraptions common to steampunk design and wondered how somebody could possibly make that sort of thing happen. It often seems fantastical, unobtainable, and otherwise illusory. Here is an example of how these notions can be practically applied to create a real and functional construct.

I-Wei Huang, the creator of Crab Fu is an artist and steam enthusiast who decided to take his fascination with steam engines to a new level and create steam powered remote control vehichles. All of these function completely off of steam power and are generally driven by a small coal engine.

His designs are a good example of how the fantastical can be made into reality. Check out some of his other creations here.

Correlations between Steampunk and Hacking

See more about how this project came together here.
We are all familiar with the concept of hacking. For those of us who take it at face value, we understand it as some sort of pasty nerd who knows way too much about computers, sneaking around through the back alleys of the internet and for some reason being able to skirt the normal boundaries of computer security. For those of us who know a bit more about it, we understand that hacking is not confined exclusively to technology. Rather it is a drive to create an easier existence by modifying that which is already there. A "hacker" might be able to break into your email account, but he might also know nothing of this, but be able to modify a simple webcam and some spare parts into a home security system, or be able to set up some way to tell his coffee maker to start brewing remotely from his smartphone by wiring it into a bluetooth device connected to his home computer. Hacking is much more diverse of than simply breaking past electronic security; it is an understanding of how to use technology to make life easier, often by modding things to work in ways they were not designed to.

Steampunk is similar to this drive, but remains somewhat different. Rather than creating an easier path for things to function, the focus is on innovation and aesthetics. Steampunk goes hand in hand with invention. Rather than change something to function better, it is about creating something lasting, visually appealing, and distinctly unique. While many steampunk creations are not exactly the most practical of devices, they are distinct in both form and function, making use of materials beyond the typical cheap plastic and disposable stylings of our current society. You will find that steampunk is largely about creating your own existence, just as hacking is. Not merely accepting that which is given to you, but breaking free of what we are told is "good enough" for our consumption to create something unique, lasting and personal.

Here Dr. Steel describes his hypothesis of Reality Engineering, and how realization of this frees us from a great deal of the restraints that are put on us by the world we live in. Realizing this, we are given a choice as to whether to simply accept what is already there, or to put in the effort to create our own way.

Airship Pirates

Abney Park is one of the quintessential steampunk musical acts. This song "Airship Pirates" is one of my personal favorites. Check out their band page here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Electrolytic Machining

One of the mainstays of steampunk culture is the fusion of aesthetic design with quality materials. Brass has often been chosen due to it's resistance to corrosion and tensile strength. If you would like to achieve the look of precision etched brass but lack the necessary tools for professional engravery, fear not. In a testament to ingenuity common to the steampunk scene, Mr. Von Slatt of The Steampunk Workshop shows us how to accomplish this task with nothing more than a common inkjet printer, some RootKill, a car battery, and an iron. Learn more with his guide to Electrolytic Engraving. I'm sure he would appreciate a new visitor.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Giant Mechanical Spider

Check out this mechanical monstrosity created for Burning Man. Now if only it ran off of a coal engine!


While attempting to take more of a 20's-50's-ish take on the subculture, Dieselpunks is still a good resource for connecting to steampunk culture and finding like minded people. The music player is nice too. Stop in and pay them a visit if you have a few minutes to spare.
Dieselpunks - Dieselpunk & Steampunk Culture