Aaaand, we’re back!

Posted by on August 15th,2011

As those who follow our twitter feed are already aware, we had a planned outage recently that took quite a bit longer to complete than hoped.

The short version, for those interested:

  • Our hosting facility needed a power upgrade to meet updated building codes
  • When the power came back online, we discovered that a PMU on our rack was marginal, preventing hosts from coming back online
  • Once this was fixed, there were some networking issues (firewalls and routers not keeping pre-power-down state)
  • And our NAS volume had bad RAM that kept the main server’s filesystem from mounting

Our host was very professional and worked hard to restore service lost as a result of these unfortunate events, and is working with us on compensation for the downtime.

My apologies for the extended outage; watch here and the Engine Room for updates in the near future that should limit the impact of future outages.

A new book, “A Strange Engine of War: The “Winan” Steam Gun & Maryland in the Civil War” is due to be released by historian John Lamb, through the Chesapeake Book Company.

Lamb, inthe book, states: ““Charles Dickinson, who was apparently a dancing instructor and gymnasium operator, went into partnership with Joslin and another investor.  They built several versions of the device, and then sought a patent, but had a falling out when the patent came out in Joslin’s name only. “   Dickinson would go on to patent his own device, which would be steam driven,  and after exhibiting the hand powered gun in the Midwest, he had a working prototype built in Boston, then took it to Baltimore, no doubt hoping to find buyers or investors, Lamb says.  “In the great tradition of American snake oil and patent demonstrations, Dickinson invited Baltimore’s city council to a demonstration of the gun outside his home in February, 1861.”

More at Strange Engines

Steampunk Pirate Ship

Posted by on June 29th,2011

Andy Tibbetts of Portland, Oregon in the US is building a Steampunk pirate ship:

The C.S. Tere is a 100% custom-built steam punk pirate ship. She has a hand built steel frame encased in wood, driven by a 10 foot diameter hub-less front wheel and two steel wheels in the rear. The ship will be powered by a 3 cylinder engine which drives hydraulic pumps.  Steering is rear wheel and occurs from the captains’ deck.

To this end, a Kickstarter project has been, well, kicked off. Check out the video:

[Tip of the tri-corner to BoingBoing]

A while back, during a sherry infused evening, I was happily sorting through my collection of railroad photos, interspersed with browsing through “Victory” from the Dr. Grorborts collection from Weta.. I was struck by a what i thought was an interest8ing revelation.. or was it the sherry? In any case.. I give you my ramblings on the styles of the classic Weta rayguns, and ask the question.. “Was Dr. Grorbort a railfan?”

Rayguns and Railroads – an essay on style.

Server move scheduled

Posted by on June 15th,2011

On Friday 24 June, 2011, we will be moving servers to a much nicer neighborhood.

There will be down-time associated with this move, starting sometime after 12:30 GMT; the Blog will be in read-only mode, and the forum will be in maintenance mode. My plan is to complete the move in less than 24 hours, but it’s possible we won’t be back online entirely until the following Monday.

After the move is complete, visiting URLs will redirect to URLs for up to two weeks, after which both will work the same way. You should continue to use when entering URLs. This is needed because of how the Internet’s address-book scheme (DNS) works, and it’s the only reliable way to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

During the move, status updates will be posted to

Upcoming Server Migration

Posted by on May 27th,2011

Ladies and gentlemen… we’ve outgrown our server once again.  But thanks to many generous souls, we have the funds to make a move.

This move will result in some — though hopefully minimal — interruption in service, and I encourage those interested in progress to follow @brasstech on Twitter for more detailed updates.

Over the US Memorial Day weekend, our new co-located server will be mounted in it’s home, and your humble admin will begin preparing that server to accept the Brass Goggles blog and forum.  This new server is many times more powerful than our current “Virtual Private Server” machine: it is real, industrial-strength hardware. This upgrade will help with blog and forum performance, and pave the way for new features and capabilities.

Due to a very nice donation of time and equipment by one of our community who wishes to remain anonymous, the hardware only cost us $1100 US; however, our monthly cost is going up to $50/month; while this is cheap, all things considered, it’s more important than ever to support Brass Goggles financially if you’re able. Currently, we have funds to make the move and cover the next 3 months of operation. As always, I prefer to keep Brass Goggles an ad-free environment, and your donations make this possible.

Warren O’Neill sent along a link to his new website: Steampunk News

Its an index of content posted on most of the main Steampunk sites , which links back to the original article. The website is bascially a web-ized version of his Iphone app, My Steampunk News , which is now available on the Apple Store, it’s named “Steampunk News”, – screenshots here:

Well worth checking out if you have an i-device.

Weta Contest Winners!

Posted by on May 16th,2011

Thanks to all who entered. The winners were selected by using to generate two numbers. Email entries were numbered in the order they were received:

Our winners are:

Patrick Freeman wins the Saboteur 66 and Glen Oddy wins a copy of Victory. Your emails have been passed along to Weta, who will be contacting you.. Congrats, and thanks for entering.

Weta Contest now closed for entry

Posted by on May 15th,2011

Winners to be announced shortly. Good luck to all who entered.

Weta Contest now Closed!

Posted by on May 14th,2011

Winners to be announced shortly, Good luck to all!