Improved Celeste ripening. Jujube’s has fruit set.

July 4th – All the figs are doing well but the Violette de Bordeaux which is barely growing. At last count, I have 5 fig trees in the front, 4 in the backyard, 2 in pots, and 2 at work.

The Honey Jar Jujube finally set fruit this year, it has been in ground 2 winters. The Shanx Li and the Chico did not set fruit although they bloomed.

Violette de Bordeaux has been a slow grower for 3 years, even with irrigation.

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Honey shed coming along

The shed keeps moving along.

Shed coming along


Ingenious use of string and weights (outside of shed) that pull up the form. It made it so I could lift up the form slowly without a 2nd persons help.

You can see the form I use to guide to build out the curve of the catalan arch roof.

I’ve also tried making Texas persimmon jam.

Texas Persimmon Jelly

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Modifications to my Downtube 9FS bike

So I got a Downtube 9FS in 2015, with the intent to modify it to a eBike with a Bafang BBS02 motor. Then take it on an epic tour through the Carribean islands.

A bike out to the festival and camped.

A bike out to the festival and camped.

The Downtube is a folding bike, permitting multi-modal travel. Take it on a bus, no problem, train, no problem, trunk of my wifes Honda Civic… tight fit, but no problem. So it has some big pluses. After I’ve put 2000 ebike miles on it, I understand its utility a lot better.

The bike

First, with the Bafang ebike motor, you get to use the gears. And the 9FS has 9 gears. Big plus as I live in a hilly area of Austin. I chose the 44T chainring model as I wanted more torque over speed.  Wow, does it climb hills,  up 20% grade hills at 9mph in bottom gear pulling only 16amps.

Second, I put on big apple tires, 2.15″ tires. Gives more cushion, steering feels less twitchy, but the big tires caused some derailour problems and I lose my lowest gear due to clearance to the tire. I’m thinking these maybe too big for the back wheel._1320029

_1320031Third, the battery is heavy, like 15# and now the bike is very back heavy and prone to accidental wheelies.  Part of that is I chose a handlebar throttle and not a thumb throttle. So I accidentally can throttle sometimes. And part of that is the handlebar throttle is not very linear. Turn it 1/2 way and nothing, 3/4 and you are at full throttle. Somewhere at 11/16th you start to feather into the throttle. Not a good throttle and I should get another, but I’m cheap.

Fourth, my pattern is using under 5 amp-hours for 95% of my trips. The bike normally can do 2.5 miles per amp-hour of battery. So 5 ah= 12.5 miles of range.  But I’m lugging either a 20ah battery or a 26 ah battery around when i should have a 5-8ah battery. Preferably one mounted in a bottle rack.  For instramentaion, I went with a WattsUp wattmeter to tell me how many amp-hourss I have left, because

The blue WattsUp meter will tell me how many amp-hours I've used. Not as good as a Cycle Analyst, but more appropriate and low profile.

The blue WattsUp meter will tell me how many amp-hours I’ve used. Not as good as a Cycle Analyst, but more appropriate and low profile.

the Bafang has no useful power readings.  Bear in mind the only measurement you really want to worry about is amp hours. You run outta those and you have to pedal home.

Sixth, speaking of racks, putting a rack on this bike was a pain to research what would work. I eventually went with a Biologic rear rack ( and a Axiom Journey Lowrider rack

Biologic back rack

Biologic back rack

for the front fork (

Axiom front rack for suspension bikes.

Axiom front rack for suspension bikes.

Then I bought Axiom panniers for front and back.

Seventh, after all that I realized that most carribean islands I want to tour are so damn small I should just take a light folding bike with no motor. Even Aruba can be toured in a day. So I need to buy a Nova and put on a rack and I’m good to go.


Ultimately, I’ve discovered that this ebike excels at letting me ride around town, out of town, and all around, and then I can take other modes of transportation back. It is a keeper.

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Notes on Authorship lecture

I’ve uploaded the notes Fast Track to Writing Books.

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Green Pumpkin Wonderness for Holloween

Halloween fun!

The Green Ruby Pumpkin from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

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Top 10 Creative Music Videos on YouTube

There are many hidden gems on YouTube. True Genius that has been missed by most. Here are some music videos that make my list. I won’t put them in any order. None is the best, or none the worst. Music is all subjective, and I have a weakness for complex syncopation.
Clearly some are more polished than others. Some had budgets, most were made with camera only.












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Streaming music from FreeNAS to Android

First, you need FreeNAS installed on a server. Then you’ll need to turn on a service (under services) iTunes/DAAP. Config this by selecting your music directory and following the logic of the page. If you installed FreeNAS, this config shouldn’t be an issue.

==update Jan 1, 2014 =====  So FreeNAS is no longer FreeNAS, it is now called NAS4Free and some company has acquired the rights to call their bloated NAS “Freenas” and have the old website.  So stick with NAS4Free because it will run on older, weaker hardware and have all these wonderfully mature and stable options like DAAP.

Second, go to the Droid market and download the free DAAP app. Configure it to point to your FreeNAS server and it will read your music library in a minute or so.

That should leave you good to go.


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Common Misconceptions

An excellent wiki entry to annoy people at parties. Everyone should read this.

Like … Napoleon wasn’t short, his height was measured in French feet, which caused the misconceptions.

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Joining the Prime Search

I’ve always been fascinated by large numbers. Math is pure and unhindered by politics, emotions, and the frailties of mankind. Back at Texas A&M, my Greek friend and I got a grant to use the Cray YMP-2 supercomputer to try to compute out Pi past the million digit place. The Cherdnoski (sp?) brothers had discovered a new formula that permitted the computation of it. Alas, we didn’t make it far.

So now there comes the GIMPS project which is looking for special primes. GIMPS stands for Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. So I have joined it by loading it on some server clusters I own that would otherwise be idle. So far, GIMPS finds a new prime about every year and a half. Of course my odds are about 1 in 100 over 10 years. But hey, it is free CPU cycles. I thought of running other BOINC projects like SETI@Home and Rosseta@home, but they make my server unstable, so I can’t run those. So I’m happy looking for big numbers.

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New meteorite video series

Found this to be pretty neat.
Out of a Blue Sky Meteorites

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