Watch with strap extension on motorcycle riding glove

HodgeBodge contributor Peter sent in his latest timepiece bodge.  He writes,

“It’s a bit too short.”

This statement has plagued man for time immemorial, especially those of us sharing my exotic tastes and needs.  I am referring, of course, to my predilection for wearing a watch on the outside of my glove on occasion.  This is important so I can monitor the time closely enough to be fashionably late after a long day of riding a motorcycle, skiing, stirring vats of hazardous waste, etc.

Those of you who have tried to wear a watch over a glove realize there are two common problems that arise.

  1. Strap length is insufficient (as above)
  2. Removing one’s hand from the glove with the watch strapped to it is difficult if the urgent need to say, pee, arises.

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Nametrix: Doctor or Dancer? app for iPhone and iPod Touch

Nametrix: Doctor or Dancer? v1.4 is now out, and I think it’s pretty slick and more fascinating than ever.  Since its initial release, I’ve added several new features including native iPad support, political party analysis, a much larger professions data set, and sharing via e-mail.  It’s also snappier due to major performance improvements.

App store link

The original idea for the app occurred to me when my wife and I were coming up with a name for our (then future) daughter, and I realized that there’s so much more to a name than the basic popularity info and “name meanings” text that all the baby name apps and websites I found centered around.  Nothing out there provided much in the way of real data.  What do people named Julia tend to be like?  Turns out that Julias tend toward filmmaking, professional snowsports, and tennis.  They’re also usually Democrats.

I got started on the app during our daughter’s naps while I was on paternity leave, and the first version of the app was ready for launch 6 months later.

When I showed a pre-release version to some friends one night at happy hour, and they crowded around wanting to find out about their own names and their friends’ names, I knew that I had something special and that it’s an app for everyone, not just expecting parents.  Hence the name, “Nametrix,” which you could view as “Name + Metrics” or perhaps more as a feminine (“-trix”) version of the word “Namer.”

Here’s the latest description in the app store:

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Baby name research app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

I’ve bodged together another app for iOS, and Apple has just released it to the App Store.

It’s called Nametrix, and it’s 99 cents.  Here’s a direct link to it.

I created the app when I realized that I could build an app with really interesting name analysis tools that no other apps have.  There are hundreds of name and baby name apps in the iOS app store, but as far as I’ve seen they’re all pretty much the same basic census data plus fluff.

Nametrix’s content is based on census data, occupation data, and political contribution data.  With that, I’ve built what I think are some unusual tools, including these:

  • View what occupations are disproportionately common for a given name (e.g., Aerospace Engineer is #1 for Alexander)
  • View year-by-year, state-by-state name popularity heat maps, and animate via a slider
  • View graphs of male vs. female popularity
  • View full name rankings for 1910 through the present by gender

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Open a screwed on watch back

Here’s another watch-related bodge sent in by Peter:

A Swiss Army knife, duct tape, and a cricket ball can save
YOU tens of dollars!

I like that this blog has offered ideas on how to reduce the use of
batteries (e.g., the vacuum cleaner suggestion).  I am all for this
approach, and have stemmed the flow of lithium into my carbon
footprint by employing only good old-fashioned mechanical power in my
wristwatches.  Sure they’re not as accurate as a quartz watch, (or
your phone), but who needs to know the exact time anyway?  Besides,
being late is fashionable, especially if you’re a municipal bus.  The
problem with a mechanical watch (and a battery-powered one for that
matter) is that, from time to time, one must get inside the working of
it to service or regulate it, and the manufactures have managed to
make that pretty difficult without special tools.  But fear not!

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DIY pocket watch stand

Peter in Auckland, New Zealand sent this one in.  He writes,

Is there anything more useless to the modern man than an old pocket watch?  I mean, who wants to be constantly reaching into his pocket to check the time on something that doesn’t make phone calls or play Angry Birds?  I would posit, however, that yes, there are many things more useless than an old pocket watch, among them broken chairs and 1 foot-long scraps of flooring mouldering under your house… but more on those later.

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There are several techniques for drying a hydration pack’s bladder, though none of them are very quick — typically hours or days. If you want to store your hydration system or don’t want to risk mildew / bacterial growth, you’ll need to speed up the drying process.

I considered using a hairdryer for this, but anything more than mild heat is best avoided, and drying the drinking tube would be tricky. So I had a better idea.

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Lullaby Lyrics iOS app

I’ve bodged together a simple little app for iOS, and Apple has just released it to the App Store.

It’s called Lullaby Lyrics, and it’s freeHere’s a direct link to it.

I figured I’d create the app when I realized that I could remember few words to any lullabies, and there wasn’t a nice and quick way to access lyrics on my iPhone while attempting to calm my baby daughter.  Made-up lyrics are fun and all, but it’s nice to have some real verses at the ready.

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Clip-on fan

I recently bought a clip-on fan for our nursery, and I noticed a slight buzz when I turned it on.  Perfectly normal for a typical fan, but I thought I’d take a few minutes and see if I could make the noise go away.

Turns out that it was possible to eliminate the buzz pretty quickly, and all it took was a few drops of glue in the right spot.  A similar fix would probably work for most of the fans out there that have a slight rattle / vibration / buzz.  Read on for the details of my quick bodge.

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Master cylinder cap with air connector

I knew I bought that air compressor for more than just inflating exercise balls and blowing dust off of stuff in the basement.

I’d always been a little wary of bleeding brakes as it sounded like a tricky process (“have one person pump the brake pedal while the other person controls the bleeder valves, release the pedal slowly, make sure there are no bubbles…”). Moreover, the more thorough job of a brake flush (replace all the brake fluid in your car) sounds intimidating and something best left to the dealer or independent shop, which would like to charge a lot for the task given the “special equipment” required.

It turns out, though, that with an air compressor, some tubing, and a modified brake fluid reservoir cap, it’s actually surprisingly easy to flush the brake system on most cars, not to mention bleed an individual corner.

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Hatch with no anchor / tiedown points

On some cars, there’s no good way to secure the hatch or trunk lid when transporting large items that stick out the back.  On my Saab 9-2x / Subaru Impreza hatchback, for example, there’s no place anywhere on the hatch on which to attach a bungie cord, rope, or strap.  A few times, I’ve resorted to running a rope around the exterior of the hatch and risked damaging the paint.  It turns out that there’s no need to do that, though, as there’s a great solution.

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Self-fusing silicone tape

I was looking for something or other a few months ago on Amazon and came across this stuff called “self-fusing silicone tape,” which had a lot of positive reviews.  I bought a roll out of curiosity, and it’s turned out to be really useful — definitely something to have in the toolbox and possibly glove compartment and backcountry pack.

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