Only two ways of doing things

It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating. Both are much too simple to require any literary explanation. G.K. Chesterton

stevewatr’s videos

Steve Watroba lives in Webster, Massachusetts, United States. He describes himself has a guy who « ran a audio video service company for over 15 years, then (…) retired from that, and went into hot tub repair. » In addition, he is « an avid antique collector, [and] also love old « junk », tractors, motors, machines. [He builds his] own PC’s, fix own tractors, buil[d] own house, and enjoy selling on ebay… »
Steve documented everything he did to that tractor on YouTube) the repair of an old tractor (an Oliver 770 Industrial, pictured above) salvaged from several years of parking in the woods. It is long (over 135 videos) but contains good lessons in troubleshooting captured live.

This video-bonanza gives all its meaning to the concept of video-documenting. How else can keep trace (especially if, as in the first 25 videos, your tractor is in an inaccessible forest 10 miles away from your workshop) of your repairs and fails and simultaneously engage with community of fellow tinkerers? It gives a different meaning to the use of gopro.

Also credit to who build those pieces of kit in ye ole times. It is open to hacking, and was indeed heavily hacked. Steve’s tractor boast and added cabin/roll cage, an upgraded alternator, a fuel pump, and a lot of upgrades or battlefield repairs…

Steve is not into restoration, museum style. His work is to make the kit work the way he wants it. He also repaired, and documented, an Arctic cat, a Earthmaster tractor, a Yamaha Grizzly 600 ATV (1st video was viewed more than 9.900 times…), a Makita 5611R generator, a Kawasaki Prarie KVF400 ATV, a Bush hog 305, a 2003 Honda XR100R, an International Utility 300, a Yelm Earthmaster and scrapped a Brown & Sharpe milling machine. All on YouTube

Lessons learned from stewatr:

  • Document failures. Document troubleshooting. Will be useful one day. For you or someone else.
  • Low-cost repair. Steve tries to to the best with what he has at hand and not ashamed of it.
  • Repair well. Steve’s repairs can be low-cost, or training-oriented, but are made to stay.
  • Get ready to redo. It happens. If it’s not working well, you have to do it again.
  • « …Well when it comes to repairing those sediment bowl assemblies, you know you really have only a couple choices you either repair what you’ve got or you replace it. Now I could buy a new one of those sediment bowl assemblies complete for about twenty eight to thirty five dollars at a, say like a tractor supply. The problem with that is that now those are poorly made. You know « they don’t make them like they used to ». That adage certainly applies to sediment bowl assemblies. So this one has got some age to it, but I like it. There are no cracks in it and I kinda like it, this is all brass including the little lever there. I think we can do al little bit of tune-up on this one and save it and end up getting some mileage out of it… » [x]

[via Hackaday]

Stack OverSilk

Further activity attributed to Mr Ulbricht took place on Stack Overflow – a question-and-answer website for programmers – where a user named Frosty asked questions about intricate coding that later became part of the source code of Silk Road.

BBC News: Silk Road: How FBI closed in on suspect Ross Ulbricht

Even the finest programmers could use a little help from their friends on Stack Overflow now and then. The site, which invites users to ask and answer one another’s questions about specific coding problems, has become a global hub for software engineers, catering to pros and amateurs alike. Silk Road mastermind “Dread Pirate Roberts,” it seems, was no exception.

Future Tense: Silk Road’s Dread Pirate, Ross Ulbricht, asked Stack Overflow question under real name.

And of course: Did the Stack Exchange staff members assist in the apprehension of Ross Ulbricht?