Zen and the Art of Fountain Pen Maintenance - "Some fountain pen owners are fastidious about cleaning their fountain pens. They keep an ongoing record of which pens are inked, the date of inking, the color, when the pen needs to be cleaned, and the date the pen moved out of rotation. They typically have only a small number of pens inked at any given time. Then, each week or so, on an appointed day, they clean out their inked pens, dry them carefully, and choose a new set of pens to ink and use. I am not one of those people."
"The most unappreciated and undervalued forms of technological labour are also the most ordinary: those who repair and maintain technologies that already exist, that were ‘innovated’ long ago....We can think of labour that goes into maintenance and repair as the work of the maintainers, those individuals whose work keeps ordinary existence going rather than introducing novel things." Innovation is overrated: "Hail the Maintainers," an essay by Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell.
With the finals of the National Spelling Bee about to begin (on ESPN, streaming may not be available to you), "Vocativ and Google Trends were eager to demonstrate just how accomplished these youngsters are", so they compiled a list of the most spellchecked words in each of the 50 United States and D.C. (NOT in map format)
Railroad track today is laid by such monsters as the Plasser & Theurer SVM1000 Infranord, and specialized work trains renew old track (out with the old, in with the new in one pass) [more inside]
After a hiatus, the smart, sweet, sharp, and often surprising webseries High Maintenance returned in past months with three new episodes. [more inside]
"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
Corporate PR and an obvious parallel? Yesterday, Space Mountain at Disneyland unexpectedly closed for a two year rehab. This was planned for September but a severe maintenance issue seems to have forced their hand. This is a huge things in certain circles, and this guy sees a parallel in the official version of events.
A classic economist would tell you MetaFilter ain’t worth the server it’s hosted on. He’d say it has negative worth, since maintenance probably costs more than the gains. In classic economic terms, then, MetaFilter is not worth having around and might as well be shut down. Readers might object to that — the benefits they recieve are both intangible (information) and immeasurable (community). “The information era, with its economy of multiplication, will have more experience with and give more attention to positive sum games — if you gain, I'll gain too through feedback loops.” Time to update the Dismal Science.
Metafilter is going down at 12 noon, PST (about 3 hours from now), and should be back up around 8pm. I just signed up this machine at TZO.com, so this site should be reachable at http://metafilter.tzo.com/ once I get it back up. TZO is actually a cool service, I've been running it for almost a year on my home cable modem, which changes IP addresses once a month or so (but thanks to TZO, I can always find it).