It’s been about a month since I broke myself from Expo. Certainly learning from that for the future.
I’ve tried taking some downtime in the interim but other matters have kept coming up. The most rest I’ve had has been over the past week or so, but only from being bedridden with salmonella poisoning.

We still need to re-home the last pair of “kittens”, and frankly their mother too now. Shelters/RSPCA won’t take them anymore as there’s just too many cats out there now.

Rant about YouTube changes
The alleged copyright infringement on my YouTube account has finally been resolved, and my 15 minute limit lifted. Sadly just in time for the interface to be updated and made awful for instantly managing subscriptions.

Instead of being able to instantly remove videos you don’t want to watch from your subscribed uploads, now you can’t at all, and they don’t even self-remove once watched. Also they form a monolithic list of all uploads in chronological order, so multiple sequential uploads from one channel get interleaved with uploads from others. I can’t see any way to filter. The only option made available is to add them to a playlist, so I presume the logic is that you’re supposed to go through, make a playlist of the ones you’re interested in, then load the playlist and watch them from there, then remove them from that, and keep a perpetually modified playlist to emulate the functions removed, but with more work involved.

They’ve also decided to put your subscriptions list in a bar filling up a 3rd of the screen estate. Do people really remove their subscriptions that often? Because you subscribe via set videos or channel pages. If you’re subscribed to more than 7 channels then you’ll need to go to a separate subscription management page to edit them anyway. If you have less that 7 or so then odds are all the videos from those channels will already be shown on your homescreen as it is. Why is this there? All it does is reduce the amount of page space available for actual videos.
Suggested channels was previously an option at the top of your recent subscribed videos list. It could be clicked away to make your page more usable. Now it’s a permanent sidebar addition along with the useless subs list and your personal info header (which contains duplicate links of the top-right account pull-down menu).
And the subscriptions activity is now only visible when merged into the recent uploads. Again it’s no longer tiered by account so each entry stands on it’s own, readily jumbled into a raw unsorted feed.

Interface updates are supposed to improve things. This means adding functionality, removing or replacing useless items, hiding or removing little-used functions and making navigation easier and clearer. This update has added redundant duplicate links, listings that take up screen estate which are functionally useless, jumbled updates into an unfiltered and now unfilterable single feed and drastically reduced the amount of information visible on each item, apparently all to give YouTube a modern-for-2002 3-column design makeover.

Do Google do ANY beta testing before these things? They’ve removed functionality and added obscuration, and suddenly I’m finding it distinctly unenjoyable to use YouTube as a result. The only ok thing has been the minor cosmetic changes made to the video and channel pages, but I still dislike the new video control icons which with the exception of the replay button seem less intuitive. It’s all about adding channels, but has removed the ability to actually deal with the videos you’ll get from them.

The mill
The milling machine is finally in the country. Due to the poor sales at Expo, I didn’t get enough money back to pay for it, so I’m borrowing from within the family to get it here.
Friday I’ll be taking some bulky items off to the Hackspace for use/loan which will clear needed space. Delivery is set for next Thursday, and I will need to take the garden gate off it’s hinges to accommodate it. It’ll have to be dismantled in the front garden to move through the house to the workshop, which isn’t such a bad thing as I can remove packing grease as I reassemble it.
Once it’s here I’ll be able to measure and order the correct size of couplers and build the stepper mounts. The control gear is ready to go and the spindle servo drive is nearly there. Got an idea for re-positionable optical end-stops too which I think I’ll be trying.

Business
I’ve crashed pretty hard since Expo. I did a lot of late nights and a lot of all nights to prepare for it, things went wrong at pretty much every turn. Moulds failed or ripped, equipment broke and repairs were useless, supplies were wasted, suppliers sent the wrong replacement materials, and I ended up with less of a product for sale than intended that finally turned out to sell very poorly there. It was a huge amount of work and pain for relatively little return.
The horns did generate a lot of INTEREST, but few sales. Expo is not the place to sell costume parts or things that work best as part of an outfit, only stand-alone ready to wear items. In retrospect trying to ape the activities of other people I know by selling directly at conventions has been a costly mistake at almost every turn. I’m a supplier not a trader, and I should be sticking to my strengths so I can grow the business rather than limp along using my strengths to recover from self-inflicted mistakes.
Getting the base products rebooted, remoulded and tuned for ready production. Stay away from custom orders/mods unless I genuinely have the free time. The rush job has an allure, but it’s always costly and I can’t set prices at what they’d need to be to make up for the extra effort without killing the order and alienating clients.

Time management
Someone’s sending me a PDA. At the momment my desk is smothered with paper, mostly notes and to-do lists. It’s bad enough that I’m loosing lists amid other lists. A PDA makes sense as it can be updated on the fly and paper you end up filling up.
Made some time for drawing and managed to progress a picture. Started having a hard time with finishing details though. Out of practice and don’t have the time to get my hand back in.

Money
I’m in a hole. I may have to sell some things I don’t want to to try and get out of it, but mostly I simply need more income, which is back to improving the business.

Going to stop here as I’ve reached my daily limit for rage/depression/bleak-determination.

I’m a bit afraid right now.

The milling machine’s been delayed another month. ETA is now early December. But I’m not complaining. Technically I don’t have enough money for it anymore. Once it arrives I’ll have at most a fortnight to pay the rest of the outstanding balance.

Since the £700 set aside for it was going to be sitting in my bank account for some 3 (now 6) months longer than expected, I decided to try and grow the money a bit before it went finally into low-fluidity material goods.

I’ve been spending a lot of money this week. A lot of it either on repairing or replacing tools, but mostly on these horns I’ve won on ebay tonight and the upright rotary table for the 4-axis mill project.
And I’ll be spending more once the horns arrive. I’ll be casting a lot, painting, trying out foam-rubber casts, mostly in the hope of getting enough wonderful quality items ready that I’ll be able to storm both Etsy and MCM Expo with them.

I think I can do it. But I’m still gambling again. And to be honest with myself, my previous gambles haven’t had very good returns.

It’s a supportive routine though. Waiting for supplies and parts to arrive sets me up with a waiting list in my mind, so I get on with immediate jobs a lot faster.

All I do is talk about what I do now. I’m sorry it’s likely not a very interesting subject to most.

Backlog/owed items are almost all done. Legacy projects are either scrapped or progressing. Things are generally improving. Life’s clearing out the chaff.

Will try and get back on Skype in the workshop again tomorrow. Talking while I work may help further.

The enclosure found on ebay arrived today. My guestimates (since internal size wasn’t mentioned) look to have panned out, and it’ll contain all the parts quite nicely.

Fortunately I had a piece of aluminium plate left over from my grandfathers materials which will provide the needed backplate for the plastic box. It feels nice using something that was his in any of my projects.

The driver board will just about fit in, though I’ll need to be creative with mounting the power supply. I’ll be cutting some holes in the top access panel for the driver’s D-connectors, the IEC connector will probably go on the top or side where gravity shouldn’t let it fall out. Bottom is probably going to have the illuminated mains switch and the five 4-pin XLR connectors for the steppers and motor drive. The left-hand panel will have the filter-protected exhaust vent.

A fine wire filter grill will be going on the front panel to direct air onto the PSU, which will flow across the box and out the exhaust. The box should be kept at positive pressure. The box is far more environmentally sealed than I really need. All I really want to ensure is no dirt and spiders get in it.

Also found a few little 12v fans that should replace the defective one on the driver board. Got a 24v 80mm fan for the front that came off an old LaserJet printer. Not sure where to put the emergency stop yet. Got to be the soft-off interlock on the driver board I think, since cutting power might still leave steppers moving for a short time. Also might not want it on the enclosure itself, but remote.

Mounting the readout is also a puzzler, but can be done later.

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