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Have you done anything big: start a business, climb a mountain, build your own house?

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KeepItSimpleStupid

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Restored an automobile. Yep. People do that all the time. Just not when their 15 YO and didn't have a license to drive. The paint shop said the body work was very good. I did upholstery from scratch using a treadle sewing machine. It was the second carb I rebuilt. I pulled the head and had it machined and "ported" the intake manifold. Electronic ignition upgrade. Dad was inspirational. When I ran a lawn mower without oil, when I might have been 10 or 12 YO, guess who had to re-build the engine. Oh, and when I was 6 YO, I did 3 large paint by numbers (12" x 3') of Japanese women, Still hanging up. I won the grand prize for three years in the three grade school science fairs I entered and an honorable mention in a regional high school science fair. A person I helped also won a prize. All big at the time.
 

spec

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Hi Keep,

Quite an achievement for someone so young. What was the automobile?

spec
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

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A 1965 Ford Galaxy 500 6 cyl. Anyway 4-door, green, hard top. Some varieties are here. http://momentcar.com/ford/1965/ford-galaxie-500/
It was bought for an unheard of price of $25.00 USD in maybe 1973. It had seen a tree up close. The guy driving was drunk. So, you know it was messed up.

The paint shop was really impressed with the body work.

It had one particular problem that drove me absolutely nuts for a while. I forget the symptoms, but the flex hose at the gas tank (Hose was about 3" long) to the metal fuel line had a slit in it at the top. No visible gas. That was better than my parents' car that would not climb a large hill. Had to go around. A check valve in the fuel pump popped out.

Later, I learned about etching before the body work and don;t EVER have Maaco http://www.maaco.com/ paint your car. I prepped another vehicle that I actually had painted twice. I stripped everything exterior and the bumper was removed when it was painted. I busted my [whatever] prepping this car. The idiots used a paint system that required a clear coat that they didn't use and they blamed me for the pealing that occurred later. I probably have photos of that one (not scanned of course). The second shop that painted the car didn't tighten the battery and it cost me an alternator. I painted the plastic bumper using "An Air brush"? with the proper flex additives, of course.
 

spec

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I would love to have a yank classic: Lincoln Continental, Thunderbird, Mustang, Camero...

spec
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

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What I don't miss is the "mechanical" warm up of a non-computer controlled engine. There's no hiccups anymore. The car starts and runs.
I don't like the magical keyfob with no on off switch. Creapy not to have an OFF button.
Adding something on a car with a CAN bus just seems to be way out to lunch. Try to ask the question to the black box your building, "Is the engine running"?
The darn light bulb has a CAN bus in it, I think.
So much for hot wiring a car. That only works in the movies now.

I like to have heated seats. I'd like a sub-woofer. 4-doors are more practical. Love the feel of a low to the ground stick-shift sports car, but you cant "drive" it anywhere. I could use a cabin air filter. Don't have one.
 

Ian Rogers

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When we started out, I remember I was very scared... You are entering the unknown... Will you have money to pay the bills... Well.... Everyone I know who has taken the plunge has no regrets... Once you get a good, I mean a really good, accountant it is pretty much easy all the way... Now 10 years down the line I wish I had done it much sooner!!

There are ups and downs but that's business... I'm currently looking to diversify as the backside had fallen out of the mobile crane market I'm so used to... I also got into winches on shipping, but alas the oil crisis burnt that tree as well..

Still no regrets though, even if it all ended tomorrow.. I would probably start somewhere else...
 

spec

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Hi Ian,

Yes, that is the characteristic of some businesses: ups and downs.

Of the people I know who have started businesses, half got fed up with the paperwork and aggravation and went back to the security of a paid job. About 25% are jogging along enjoying their work and about 25% are filthy rich. One of our school dropouts started a clothes import business and now owns a huge dude farm north of Bristol.

I started a business doing design consultancy, but it was only a one man show; it is just ticking over now that I am retired, but it was great because you just did technical things and were away from the BS and politics and, of course, the cash flow was advantageous.:)

spec
 

tcmtech

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These threads are always interesting to me as a reference point for my life accomplishments. I don't see myself as having done much but then when other talk of what they have done in life I tend to feel way better about what I've done!

I've been self employed more than normally employed.
Basically homesteaded the place I live at now. Started on it in the fall of 1999 as nothing but a overgrown hillside. Gave it hell for a month with a rented dozer and loader and went from there.
Fixed up an old house and lived that for ~16 years and now am working on a newer one as a multi year project which means I sort of have two house on the same property.
Built my own 32' x 64' pole barn shop mostly by myself while ws in my late 20's.
Collected a lots of interesting tools equipment and other stuff to the point I am now better equipped than most basic contractors around here.
Been married and divorced.

But most days I just consider that if I get out of bed and face a world full of fools and idiots, that seems to be getting exponentially more every year, without killing one every day my biggest accomplishment! :(
 

JimB

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But most days I just consider that if I get out of bed and face a world full of fools and idiots, that seems to be getting exponentially more every year, without killing one every day my biggest accomplishment!
TCM, that philosophy of life is similar to mine, I like to "do my own thing" and if the rest of the world will just leave me to get on with it, then so much the better.

As for doing anything "big"...

At the age of 15 or 16 I rebuilt a CR100 communications receiver from a blank metal chassis.
For the majority who have never heard of a CR100, look here:
http://portabletubes.co.uk/boats/cr100.htm

I built a car from a fibreglass body kit and a rusty old mini, the overall result looked like this one:
http://midasownersclub.co.uk/gallery-2/
No, that is not mine, just a convenient pic from the interwebs.

For the last 10 years or so of my working career I was a self employed one man company.
This came about by my recognising a situation with the company where I was employed, such that I could leave and provide the customer training function at a price which was cheaper for my ex-employer and far more profitable for me.
It worked out very well for both of us, and they were rather lost and had to think hard what to do next when I finally retired and hung up my laser pointer.

Other than that, not much apart from all the hard work and brain ache during my various "day jobs" over the years.

JimB
 

Rich D.

Active Member
Well if you don't count my work as a teen mowing lawns, I tried to get a business going in photography (back when film was used, a light-sensitive chemical spread over a clear plastic), some weddings, some parties, some ads, some portraits but not enough to live on, so I went to technical school instead. (and used some student loan money to buy a telephoto zoom lens.)

About 15 years ago I tried my hand at a live recording & photography business, but found musicians - however talented - to be both flaky and lacking in cash. Now-adays everybody just uses a computer.

More recently I dabbled in hobby electronics, making pcb's that are to be used in other projects. A Kickstartr drive was successful, but my website (which is still there) is full of cobwebs and crickets. In spite of many marketing efforts and dollars, I suppose my stuff is just too expensive and not interesting enough. The only real profit I got from this particular business is that I also threw in electronic engineering/consulting, which makes it all profitable - but really it's just a part-time job with an old employer.

Never rebuilt a car in one project but changed my share of batteries, tires, fuel pumps, radiators, windows, headlights, fuses, hoses, radios, wiper blades...that I feel like I did!

In electronics though, I've taken on many rather ambitious projects at home, such as an analog synthesizer, digital synthesizer, MIDI processor, rhythm generator, DMX light controller...My work stuff of course I can't talk about too much, but those were seriously extreme in complexity and generally my own ideas (as an electronic manufacturing test engineer).

I still don't know how to use my phone though.
 

JimB

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I still don't know how to use my phone though.
My mobile phone was the biggest and oldest design in the shop when I bought it 12/13 years ago.
These days it hardly ever gets used, mostly it just gets switched one every so often to charge the battery, just in case I need it.

As for these new smart phones with the "fire lighter app"... nah, not interested.

JimB
 

spec

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Go ahead and laugh at me. But I am totally serious!
Not laughing at you but with you. It is a constant bone of contention that my phone does everything apart from allowing you to make and receive phone calls. The other day the phone rang and all I did was pick it up and before I new it I had updated Android, taken a picture of my foot and bought a Thai wife on ebay for £200. Could I answer the phone call...no.

It is the same with our automobile radio; I have no idea how that works either. if I accidentally hit one of the many buttons, it takes me half an hour to get it back to simply tuning in to a radio station.

Afraid that these days the user interfaces on some equipment are a nightmare. End of rant.:wideyed:

spec
 

MikeMl

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...Afraid that these days the user interfaces on some equipment are a nightmare. End of rant.:wideyed:
Coded by know-nothing programmers that usually do not have a clue as to how a real user thinks.

Ham radios where the most-used functions are buried in third-level down menus, Clocks that are impossible to set to the correct time, Entertainment radios that are impossible to tune, Hands-free Blue Tooth stuff that is impossible to sync, Cell phones that do anything but make phone calls, etc, etc.

I was hired as a consultant to evaluate some new COM/GPS equipment for use in the cockpit where the use-model was so clumsy as to be un-useable and down-right dangerous. They didn't like my evaluation, and hired someone else. When marketed to the pilot community, the product flopped badly.
 
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Rich D.

Active Member
I have always carried extra quarters with me in case I needed to make an emergency phone call "out on the road". I have this new phone now, but I still can't figure out where to insert the quarter!

The other day the phone rang and all I did was pick it up and before I new it I had updated Android, taken a picture of my foot and bought a Thai wife on ebay for £200. Could I answer the phone call...no
Ha ha ha haa, ahhhh. to be clear, i am laughing AT you! Seroiusly, that was pretty funny.

I'm amazed at how many products are made where usability is compromised for economy. It's like controls are too expensive to have on devices any more. Better to have time-consuming menu driven options. Remember when manufacturers tried to force upon us those dreaded up/down volume buttons on radios & receivers & amplifiers just because TV remotes had them? I hate those things.
 

spec

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Coded by know-nothing programmers that usually do not have a clue as to how a real user thinks.

Ham radios where the most-used functions are buried in third-level down menus, Clocks that are impossible to set to the correct time, Entertainment radios that are impossible to tune, Hands-free Blue Tooth stuff that is impossible to sync, Cell phones that do anything but make phone calls, etc, etc.

I was hired as a consultant to evaluate some new COM/GPS equipment for use in the cockpit where the use-model was so clumsy as to be un-useable and down-right dangerous. They didn't like my evaluation, and hired someone else. When marketed to the pilot community, the product flopped badly.
A familiar story Mike. It is nothing short of scandalous the way the user interfaces are designed. The frighting thing is that, so called MMI (Man Machine Interface) specialists are some of the worst offenders. I could tell many stories about MMI goofs- may be a good subject for another thread on ETO.:D

Dismissing someone who is critical is how the situation continues. I have been in your position a few times.

spec
 
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throbscottle

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Cycled from Leeds to London and back when I was a teenager, about 500 miles. Did it in 10 days - 7 days there, 3 days back, mainly by back roads, visited a few towns on the way, camping all the way. Think I slept for 2 days solid afterwards! This with me being a complete non-athlete, no training. Just packed up my paniers and went.
Think that's about it as far as "big" things go.
 

spec

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Quite an adventure throbscottle. I bet the traffic was not so bad when you did your megga ride. Did your bike need any maintenance en route?

I take my bike for a spin from time to time. The other day I rode for over two miles, but there were a few stops on the way.:happy:

spec
 
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