How To Choose A UNIX

I wrote this years ago and have only just stumbled over it. I thought I’d share.
Firstly, weigh up all the points in this post to influence your choice, then finally go back to point one. This is the most important point.

  1. Use a friend’s recommendation – not because they will make a better choice, but because you need someone to blame when it all goes spectacularly wrong. not as wrong as a Vista installation mind, so cling to that when all seems dark, lonely and cold.
  2. If you are of a cautious persuasion, install vmware to run your linux inside your other PC. The principle thing this offers is to make your hands warm as your laptop runs hot – it can be a chilly and isolating process as the night draws on, the dawn rises and your eyes are pickled.
  3. You need the right distribution – there are lots out there and some forethought and research now into choosing the right one is crucial.  Before you choose a linux, you should do a lot of research. Lots of research will improve your confidence in your choices. Not that your choice will make a difference, but at least you will feel good before you start.
  4. The most important thing in your choice is the name, not because all linux all have subtle differences and one will be more suited to your needs than another, but because they all have funny names. You will inevitably be involved in a religious war with someone who’s made a different choice to you, so you may as well be armed with an infuriating choice. for me, all the distributions have funny names and i have highlighted some of their relative strengths for you:
    1. centos implying half man half horse who stole his big hairy bollocks off a shady bloke with a red hat,
    2. ubuntu who’s so limp they have an unhealthily large vowel to consanant ratio in their name, and they call their distributions things like “fiesty fawn”.
    3. goblinX which if you ask me was deliberately designed to serve porn, especially considering it was based on slackware. as such i think they should follow the ubuntu idea, and call their distributions things like “cock socket” or “a2m”.
  5. Do not take conventional backups before you start, but make a memory box. In this box you should include in a notarised photo of yourself so your kids and loved ones can be reassured it’s still you when you emerge haggard and blinking into the light when you’re finished. Be sure to take a non-bootable backup so the recovery from your journey should be as exciting as the journey itself. this should be a life affirming experience, don’t forget. think fear and loathing in las vegas.
  6. Have a separate computer or laptop stood next to the one you are installing on. You will inevitably need to scour the internet for support to iron out the subtle wrinkles in your installation. subtle wrinkles like not understanding disk partitioning. When all else fails, your secondary machine will at least be able to take you to for support.
  7. Assume the right attitude. linux (unix, whatever) assumes everyone is an expert from the beginning and makes little concession for those that aren’t. You must approach it with the right attitude to show it who’s boss. If you don’t understand any options you’re being asked about during the install, don’t worry – select any old thing, but do so with a confident flourish. Remember, because it assumes  you’re an expert it doesn’t give out much in the line of threatening warnings, so everything will be OK. You don’t even need to feel as reckless as Ford Prefect when you install, just look confident and all will be OK.
  8. The GUI environment means everything is easier to do. If you found it easy to think of, odds are high it will be easy to do. Just keep clicking. After all, your DVD recorder runs linux, and that’s easy to setup and operate, right?
  9. By now, all should be running fine and you can marvel at the speed, power, flexibility and reliability of what you’ve managed to install, the experience you’ve managed to gain and the new friends you’ve made on line.
  10. Refer to rule 1.
  11. Buy a mac.

Power to Weight Calculations

Well, spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska!

I’ve done the power-to-weight calculation (it’s an addy-up and then a divide) for the new engine, other bits, etc. and I should be seeing 383 bhp/tonne.


  1. I get those carbon-kevlar seats I’m after,
  2. The weight-loss changing from pinto to duratec is 40kg. I haven’t managed to weigh either engine yet, but the going rate seems to be 50kg.
  3. the engine makes 215bhp, but I’ve bought all the parts from one of the most reputable teams in the business and I’ve stuck with them so I don’t end up with mis-matched components.


Flogging a dead hoop

I’m listing my roll-over hoops for sale, so am putting a photo up here for James to see; he may wish to buy.

The hoop needs to mount to the top turret and underneath. They also need to go into the chassis from underneath, so when you put them in they have to go in early and they’re in for good.

Animation of a lovely bracket I created in CAD

Here it is.

I’ve designed a bracket that will take a wishbone going into it or rather, the captive spherical bearing in a custom designed wishbone. It’s not easy to design a wishbone well – anything one makes that is adjustable invariably is weaker than the fixed part. However, this means it’s tricky to just got it right out of the blocks.

So, the plan is to design an adjustable wishbone, get the car properly set up by cornering force, then take the wishbones off, jig them and make custom ones that fit the jig. Saying that, here’s the bracket.

It’s been thickened to give good support for the bolt (so the holes don’t oval) and the holes in the back go into a bracket with a set of stepped holes, thus the bracket can be moved up and down to provide height-adjust for the suspension.



Things to remember when getting stuff sandblasted, involves duck tape.

So, I’ve sent more parts out to the sand blasters and powder coaters and I forgot a cardinal preparation rule, and have paid a minor price for it. I’m writing this post as much to remind myself as inform anyone who may be going down this route.

So, if there’s stuff you want protecting, you don’t wrap in in duck tape. You wrap it in newspaper, then you wrap over the newspaper with duck tape. If you just wrap with duck tape then the heat of the coating process melts the adhesive and sticks the tape much more tightly to your piece. Hence you wrap the paper around it first. What you get back is a really stiff mess that can be easily cut away.

If you wrap it in paper and only seal the ends with duck tape, then there’s a chance the blaster will go through the paper, and very find sand at 90psi will get everywhere.

In my case, it went into the steering column top bearing, which couldn’t be removed (due to the weld-on quick-release boss). So, I’ve washed it out, air blasted it and now I have to hope for the best (i.e. pack it with LM grease). it doesn’t really do much – just provides a loose top mount for the column. Worst case of all is that I ditch the column outer and use a rose-joint at the top to support it.

So, silly me.

The good news is that you can get universal-joints blasted and powder coated (think steering column lower linkage). Rather than try and protect them, I just thought I’d take a chance and if they were mullered then I’d make my own.

They came back looking lovely, and the gentlest of turns cracked the seal around the joint mating surfaces and they work a treat. The heat when setting the coating didn’t make any grease leak out of the seals. Some good news then.

So, after watching this video about a BMW test driver taking his wife for a ride, it brought back a couple of times when I’d taken friends out and it surprised them with what a kit car can do.

Firstly, there was my sister in law who announced that I should give it the beans and not take it gently like I did for the MIL. After about 10 corners she was begging to stop. I did before she ate her lunch backwards all over the footwell.

It’s odd how people automatically assume that you’re going to brake for every corner whereas the majority of the work is in positioning and settling the car. Moreso, she wasn’t ready for just how immediate the acceleration is or how brutal and late the braking is; I love it when they reach for the imaginary brake. I’ve frequently got 5s to 60 according to my timing gear (hall effect racelogic jobby) and that’s more than most muggles are wired for.

I took another friend out, a very good friend over many years. When we got back and he got out he fell over; I’d messed with his inner ear. I asked him how this happened (If I knew he had a condition, I would have been easier on him) but he said “we were coming up to a corner at 110 [indicated – probably more like 90] and I was reaching for the imaginary brake when you put it into 5th and planted it – I kept my eyes shut until we stopped”.

I think from now on, passengers will need a safeword, and it will be Nihno.

New tool. It’s rare one is this useful.

In accordance with Rule 13, I have bought a new electric screwdriver (Bosch PSR Select) and it’s so good I thought I’d write about it here. However, I’m not associated with anything or trying to flog anything (see – no affiliate links); I’m just genuinely pleased with this.

The great thing it does is keep all the bits in a barrel you rotate, so you can flip one bit into the driver and another out (you can take the bits out and swap them).

Finally, it’s got a little light on to illuminate the piece. Very handy if you’re having to fix something at night at the roadside.