I hope everyone had a good Easter, or at least a nice weekend.
It’s been an eventful month so far, and I’ve got good news and bad news. First the bad news:
Over the weekend, the power went out and broke a 4 day print that was 11 hours away from being done. Epic fail. I use a Prusa which has some built in power loss protection, but only when printing from the SD card. We’re printing like a fancy lad through OctoPi/OctoPrint, and there’s no coming back from that. It’s a $15 chunk of beige plastic which I can use it as a doorstop now. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.
Not only that, but as our print nozzle was well over 1000 hours in, it was time to change it out so we didn’t booger up the next long print. You see that? Proactive behavior to mitigate future problems. Cosmo 2.0. But as could be expected in this timeline, I found our replacement nozzle was incorrect, and then found another problem further up the assembly that will require dismantling the hotend and tightening things back up. Very sad. After crying on the shower floor for most of the afternoon, I dutifully ordered another Prusa i3Mk3S+, which should be here in about a month.
When that arrives, I will livestream its assembly. I built the other 3D printer years ago and it was amazing fun, so I will schedule that out and try to get it live when people are around to do see. If you’re interested in watching that and hanging out while it happens, let me know
In the meantime, our project feed is being visited by the Time Tortoise. She’s here to guide us, and will remain until I get bored and find something else, or the Prusa arrives. Whichever comes first. You can find our project channel here:
The menu and basic structure of the site has changed a bit. I’m embracing some wider subjects, and I think time travel is a good pivot point for some of these things – UFOlogy in particular. I’ve been thinking of ways to experience or simulate the purported experiences of others, and that’s led me down the virtual reality path.
VR – TTI and virtual reality
I think it’d be amazing to simulate an experience with something like The Phoenix Lights, or the Betty and Barney Hill abduction. Sometimes just getting a visual approximation (beyond those you find in shows like Unsolved Mysteries) can reveal something about the encounter or nature of the thing being encountered. It’s not very scientific, but sometimes neither is science.
Before we realized we had to budget for a 3D printer, we had purchased an Occulus Quest 2 (though I guess now they want to call it a Meta Quest 2) to start pursuing this. It’s a handy little brick you strap to your face and goggle at the pixels and shapes floating around you. There is a 3D graphics engine called Unreal, which just released a new version called Unreal 5. This is being used as realtime backdrops for shows like The Mandelorean, and it’s ridiculously accessible to most anyone familiar with tools like Photoshop.
What I want to experiment with is creating worlds we can experience that approximate an event or point in time that would be interesting to explore. We’ll start small with some projects that already exist, but in time, the full backstory of the Time Travel Institute will be revealed. We need new stories and ideas to help us explore these things, so that’s what we’ll try to do. Most other fringe and paranormal sites have become clinical or dogmatic. It’s why I stopped going to them. I think many people have forgotten how to wonder about and have fun with an idea; to suspend a little disbelief dive into something to see what it’s about even if you don’t believe it. If you’re reading this post, you’re probably not one of those people… But you can probably think of a few examples.
Also, with some of the downtime while we wait for the printer to arrive, I’m pressing forward on something called THE CHRONOVISOR.
This is an idea I’ve had for a very, very long time and approached it many, many ways, none of which have scratched the itch I have for internet archeology. I’ve always been frustrated looking through old copies of Time Travel Institute or other now defunct sites I used to love, like Time Travel Portal or Anomalies or the old Art Bell Post to Post forums. Yes, you can visit the Wayback machine and flail around with clicking links and dates, but early forum software was terrible. If you’ve ever tried to browse a forum on the Wayback machine, you know you’re lucky if you can find a “page 2” of anything (unless that’s the ONLY thing you can find).
Most of this is caused by the forum software at the time doing silly things like generating a “session ID” at the end of every URL for visitors so it could keep track of what threads you’d looked at and gray those out. This was terrible for archiving though, because now most every page has an unpredictable number jammed into the URL.
That’s where Chronovisors come in. I’ve scraped the Wayback Machine’s API for a few sites that I have an interest in browsing through again, and am going to map them out, category by category. We are effectively building virtual forums that are windows into the past – The golden age of the internet. Each Chronovisor entry (a Chronon) will have a comments section so the thread can be continued, but won’t encroach on our own forums. They’ll work like the comments in this section.
Multi-page threads will have multi-page Chronons. I haven’t added a page 2 to anything yet, but you’ll see a nicely organized table of contents in the sidebar wherever there are multiple pages for that thread. I will put up the databases I’m using to work through these so that others can contribute, but that’ll require a little more thought on my end first.
Here’s the sites I’ve got an interest in so far which you’ll see cropping up in the future:
- artbell.com (many audio files and text files, Post to Post forums)
- coasttocoastam.com through 2003 (same as above)
- anomalies.net (Legendary haunt of longtime members like @Einstein and @Darby)
- hdrkid.com (forums)
- totse.com (If you know you know)
- A few early projects from Cosmo’s formative years
If there are any other now defunct sites you’d like to be able to properly browse, let me know and I will create an index for it that you can help with when I get that far. We’re also helping Paranormalis find their missing threads, stolen years ago by nefarious characters and I’ll update this post when that’s further underway!
As always, more to come! Thanks for hanging out with us.