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Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009, 07:51 am
ernunnos: Massad Ayoob on durable living.

Guns Endure

We don’t drive our great-grandparents’ cars, or keep our food in their handed-down iceboxes. Yet countless Americans hunt, and protect their families, with the heirloom guns of their forebears. Firearms are simpler devices, evolve more slowly, and take much longer to become obsolete. Finely made examples like this Colt endure. They are the ultimate in “durable goods.”

Read him on LJ at mayoob.

Sun, Dec. 23rd, 2007, 11:49 am
ernunnos: Why I don't like many bells & whistles on a car.

Users left in lurch by network shutdown

NEW YORK - When Adele Rothman bought her 16-year-old son a car in 2003, she made sure to pick one that had OnStar, the onboard communications and safety system.

What the Scarsdale, N.Y., resident didn't know was that the OnStar system in the car was already doomed to die. The federal government decided in 2002 to let cellular carriers shut down analog cell phone networks, used by Rothman's Saab and about 500,000 other OnStar-equipped cars, after Feb. 18, 2008.

It's the end of the nationwide network that launched the U.S. wireless industry 24 years ago, and it leaves a surprising number of users like Adele Rothman in the lurch.

OnStar told Rothman in March its service would stop at the end of this year, in anticipation of the network shutdown in February. "I was really upset," she said, "because that was my tieline" to her son.

Perhaps a million cell phones will lose service, but those are cheap and easy to replace. The effects will be felt the most by people who have things that aren't phones but have built-in wireless capabilities, like OnStar cars and home alarm systems.

It's a good lesson. Don't integrate non-durable goods with durable goods. The classic example is a TV & VCR combo. A 15-20 year old TV might still work, but it's unlikely that the VCR part will last that long, and even if it does, who cares when DVDs have replaced tapes?

Fri, Jun. 29th, 2007, 09:56 am
longhairedbum: Shoes

I have worn out my pair of standard everyday casual shoes. I picked them up a little over a year ago. It's a rare occasion when I wear anything else. They're good for work, dates, nights on the town, etc.

I really like the moc style, but the stretchy part started wearing away within six months of purchase, the soles of the shoes have almost worn all the way through near the heel, and the padding around the ankle started busting at the seams within a few months as well. I stitched it up myself and it held for another few months, but I don't want my shoes to look trashy with all my amateur hand-stitching. This all leads me to believe that despite how nice it is to have fru-fru slip-ons, they're probably more inclined to wear out than ones without elastic.

I'm looking to buy a new pair or two of shoes as opposed to handing the ones I have to a cobbler, because they weren't all that pricey to begin with. Less than the website showed, I believe.

So I guess I'm asking a few things:
  • How much should I expect a pair of shoes I wear almost daily to last if I invest in them properly? I'm willing to pay a lot if the shoes will last.

  • What brands or characteristics should I be looking out for that will indicate that a shoe is durable? It seems to me that the type of stitching and inclusion of non-leather materials are a reasonable indicator, but I don't know specifics.

  • Do you ever get shoes repaired?

Feel free to talk about any other aspect of durability as it relates to shoes. I'm all ears.

Thanks a bunch.

Tue, Jun. 26th, 2007, 10:58 pm
ernunnos: Tony Blair.

Appears to be a fan of durable living.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair revealed Friday that he had worn the same pair of shoes to his weekly question-and-answer session in parliament since he became the country’s leader.

The shoes in question — an 18-year-old pair of hand-made leather Brogues that have only been re-soled once — were made by Church’s in Northampton, central England.

“I know it’s ridiculous, but I’ve worn them for every PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) … I’ve actually had them for 18 years,” Blair told The Times in an interview, adding that “cheap shoes are a false economy.“

What an excellent adage.

Tue, May. 22nd, 2007, 06:13 pm
ernunnos: The jerry can.

How much history and technology can go into a gas can? Lots. This site sells them, but if you scroll down, you'll see the rest of the story.

One major weakness of Blitzkrieg was that the combat units moved a little too quickly. Supply and support units had to be able to keep up with the rapidly advancing infantry and armor units and keep them supplied with food, ammunition, and fuel. The thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, and trucks required huge amounts of fuel to remain on combat status. The German High Command foresaw this need and designed a fuel container (the same container that we know today as the jerrycan) well before invading Poland in 1939. By the time the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, they had tens of thousands of jerrycans already in their inventory and ready for the forthcoming Blitzkrieg across Europe.

The Germans, however, had done more than simply stockpile thousands of fuel containers. In a manner typical of Teutonic overengineering, the Germans put as much detailed and thoughtful effort toward designing these fuel containers as they had in formulating the art and science of combined-arms warfare. The result was a fuel container extraordinaire, the likes of which the world had never seen. The unique design features of the jerrycan were numerous and ingenious, and were sound enough that the jerrycan remains in almost universal use today in its original form.

Mon, Apr. 30th, 2007, 07:37 pm
ernunnos: Durable paint.

I'm thinking of picking up a new spotting scope, so I pulled my old broken spotting scope off the back porch to see of the tripod it came with could be salvaged. It's been sitting out there for literally years. To my surprise, after I tore it down, cleaned the dust off and greased the bolts and hinges, it was pristine. Then I noticed that the finish was the exact same stuff as my new Russian POSP scope. Has sort of a '50s industrial look to it. Like something you'd see on an old office chair or a tackle box. It's called "hammer finish paint", and most of the sites I'm finding it on have a .uk domain. There's a brand called Hammerite over there. Apparently popular for car parts, outdoor furniture, and other applications where metal will be exposed to nasty weather.

Well I can say for sure that it stood up to Arizona weather just fine.

Ah, in the US it's Krylon "Hamm-R". Rustoleum also has a Hammered finish. Seems like a good thing to have on hand.

Thu, Dec. 7th, 2006, 08:50 am
ernunnos: Rescuing a pair of boots.

Found a pair of old Dr. Marten's boots in the back of my closet. Dirty, laces torn, scuffed to hell from riding motorcycle. But the soles—marked "MADE IN ENGLAND", to give you an idea of the age of the boots—still had some wear, so I figured "What the hell." Went to DM USA ordered up some new laces and a jug of their "Wonder Balsam". Scrubbed 'em up, rubbed the lotion on its skin, and put the new laces in.

Before & AfterCollapse )

An extra pair of wearable boots. And now I've got the goop to keep my other Docs from ever getting that bad.

Sat, Dec. 2nd, 2006, 09:22 pm
ernunnos: Now that's investment dressing.

According to a recent article on the little black dress, Audrey Hepburn's dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's is expected to sell for £70,000. And still looks great.

"Do spend as much as you can on the perfect dress - you will still be wearing it years from now."

Nice to see principles of durable living promoted in the press.

Sun, Nov. 5th, 2006, 03:56 pm
a_motley_fool: Kitchen Knives

I have some really nice kitchen knives but I have no idea how to sharpen them (I have an electric knife sharpener but it works by actually removing some of the blade). I think a good kitchen knife should be a durable good so someone give me a tip on how to sharpen these things.

Mon, Mar. 6th, 2006, 07:20 pm
ernunnos: Celebrity endorsement.

The L.A. Daily News on George Clooney:

He's well-dressed: First of all he looks mighty fine in a tux. Even if it's the same one from Armani that he's admitted to wearing for the last 10 years. He said he thought about going out Sunday to get a new tux "or I could play basketball with my friends" ... so he wore the same tux.

Hmm. Buy durable, buy timeless, and you can stop worrying and devote your Sundays to hanging out with your friends. And still get props for your taste. The essence of durable living.

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