Monthly Archives: March 2013

Open Source Wedding Rings (update 2)

Polishing rings with a dremel

Polishing rings with a dremel. This technique will quickly burn your fingers, and is not recommended.

On 2013-03-14, Suzette and I had been married 10 years. We had a 10th anniversary ceremony with Mr. Gerald Williams, who was the celebrant for our marriage/elopement 10 years earlier.

As I noted in previous posts, I’d designed wedding bands with OpenJsCad for the occasion, and had them cast in platinum (actually a 95/5 platinum/cobalt alloy). I ground off the sprues and polished them myself with a dremel.

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Risk Aversion and Job Security

[Intelink-U mirror]

Most federal civilians have really good job protections: while they are subject to furlough and sequestration, taking actual punitive actions against a general schedule civilian employee is pretty uncommon.  In particular, things like the Employee Rights & Appeals process, and Merit Systems Protection Board exist to protect employees, and they do this so well that when I was a military officer with civilian subordinates, I was candidly advised not to bother – demoting or firing civilians was just too hard.  (Unless their performance was really bad.)

Now, if you had really strong job security – as most federal civilians do – you could afford to take a few risks, couldn’t you?  So long as you aren’t committing an actual crime – what’s the worst that’s gonna happen to you? If your project doesn’t work or you make a mistake, you’re gonna come to work tomorrow and keep collecting the same pay.

So why are federal civilians so unbelievably risk averse?  Continue reading

Cost As an Independent Variable (CAIV)

[Intelink-U mirror]

What the heck is CAIV?

CAIV is an idea that when buying systems, Cost should be treated As an Independent Variable (CAIV). The concept and term were popularized in the 1990s Defense Acquisition Reform efforts, and (I think) comes from the Military Operations Research community.

Traditionally, there is a waterfall-like process for buying things in the military: first, ask the “warfighter” what they need, and they come up with requirements. Then figure out what that costs, ask Congress for the money, and build it.

Wait, what? The users decide what they think they need, before considering how much it will cost? How does that work? Continue reading

Open Source Rings (update 1)

Unfinished castings

Unfinished castings

The castings of my 10th anniversary wedding bands arrived today. I had them made by Techform Casting. They came out well.  As they advised me, there are small pads that they added for the casting process – presumably they are residual sprues, although the casting folks didn’t call them that.

I had a lot of angst about the size of the rings.   We measured our fingers with sizing rings, but they were narrow, and these rings are almost 10mm wide.  Also, the metal shrinks during casting, which either makes the ring smaller or larger, depending on who you believe.

My ring came out fine, but Zette’s came out too small.  I had tried to err on the small side, on the theory that it’s easier to stretch rings than to shrink them.

I plan to finish the rings myself, but I’m anxious about that too.  Tempting to just get a jeweler to do it, but then they wouldn’t be quite as personal.

Title 10, Authority and Responsibility

[mirror on Intelink-U]

In the DoD, “Title 10” is a big deal.  “Title 10” means Title 10 of the United States Code – the law that defines the structure of the United States Military. There are other portions of US Law that affect the military – much of the Federal Acquisition Regulations derive from Title 41. Titles 40 and 44 includes stuff about Chief Information Officers of Federal Agencies. Title 17 is the Copyright Act, which we have to follow, yadda yadda yadda.

But at the end of the day, in DoD, most people are only familiar with Title 10. Even then, people just say it like it’s a mantra. “Title 10, y’know,” they sigh discontentedly, as if that explains all the dysfunctions of the day.

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