HaphazardFinesse

joined 1 year ago
MODERATOR OF
[–] [email protected] 2 points 11 months ago

Nothing is explained

It makes a lot more sense if you have the context from the Soulsborne games. The series started much simpler, with (mostly) linear progression, fewer weapons/abilities, and shorter "quests." Part of the appeal of those games was the mystery, and the community that grew around solving the unexplained quests/mechanics/lore. The games were shorter, and the maps smaller, so it was easier to explore on your own.

Then with Elden Ring, it just exploded with content, built around the same game play mechanics. For veteran Soulsborne players, it plays like the next title in the series. The only really novel mechanics are the open world and spirit ashes. The downside is (at least for me), the world is so large that it's a chore to explore everything. I finished my first play through and lost the will to start a +1 game. In contrast to Dark Souls 3, where I completed at least 6 play throughs.

But if you don't have that context...yeah i'd imagine Elden Ring is overwhelming in its complexity and scale. Trying to figure out Soulsborne mechanics and navigate this giant world with little direction sounds daunting. Pitting you against the grafted scion to die immediately, and right after putting the tree sentinel in your way, was a confusing way to start the game, even for me.

[–] [email protected] 1 points 11 months ago

It's honestly infuriating to realize half of the people running the country rely on the moral principles of ancient religious texts, translated multiple times, to make policy decisions, while also taking every opportunity to bash the scientific process. Not sure which ones are more frightening, the ones who actually believe what they're say, or those who don't.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 11 months ago

Fun probably-already-known fact: NASA accidentally destroyed a $200 million Mars orbiter from of a missed imperial->metric conversion, because NASA does generally work in metric, and some Lockheed-Martin software provided numbers in imperial (while claiming to be metric)

[–] [email protected] 2 points 11 months ago

I'm a tinkerer as well, but I'm at a point in my life where I need to prioritize my tinkering haha. Like buying stir-fry takeout (Windows/MacOS), cooking it by buying a pre-packaged bag (packaged mainstream Linux distro), or starting from scratch, experimenting with literally everything from chopping technique to cooking temp for each ingredient, until you realize you're missing an ingredient you need, then you have to go back to the store (Arch lol).

[–] [email protected] 3 points 11 months ago

Late to the party, but Mass Effect, Dead Space, and the Arkham trilogy are all extremely solid choices haha.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 11 months ago

lmfao "Astro-Slide"...they knew what they were doing

[–] [email protected] 1 points 1 year ago

I do something similar (though less secure) for general purpose passwords; I have a couple of common “base” passwords that are decently secure that I commit to memory. Then for each website/service, I pick a pattern based on the name/url (maybe something like the first two and last three characters of the url), and append them to one of my “base” passwords, so each site gets a unique password, but I only have to remember a couple of them + the pattern

[–] [email protected] 2 points 1 year ago (3 children)

Is there a distro you recommend? I’ve toyed around with Tails, but the lack of persistence and forcing all traffic through Tor instead of a VPN (I guess the whole point of Tails) is too inconvenient for daily use.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 year ago (1 children)

TIL that Unicode includes hieroglyphs lol

[–] [email protected] 1 points 1 year ago

Yes, the joint needs to rotate on x, y, and z to about 10 degrees

[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 year ago

I fucking love how nerdy this place is

[–] [email protected] 1 points 1 year ago (2 children)

Sure it's possible, in fact I'm running several PTFE tubes through the center of the joints (for the drive cables and control cables) that effectively function like that. My biggest concern with this whole thing is how much it's going to bounce around while I'm walking. I feel like a "bendy straw" will be too susceptible to shear/compression forces to give the rigidity I'm looking for.

 

I'm making mechatronic Dr Octopus arms (they're gonna be pretty sweet), and I'm in the process of prototyping the segments. They'll be roughly 2.5 cm in height, with a 2.5 cm gap from segment to segment, and they need to be attached securely, with smooth rotation on xyz to ≈ 10°. Planning on housing the servos in the base, and running cables down the arms to actuate them. Roughly 24 segments total, with separate control cables for the first 12 and second 12 (so the first half can bend in one direction, and the second half another), along with a drive cable down the center so it can rotate on the z axis. This also means I'll need some empty space running down the center of the segments to run the drive cable and the control cables for the second half, so they don't impede/aren't impacted by the bending of the first half.

As far as I can figure, spherical bearings are my only real option here. As a test, I bought 4 steel spherical bearings from Amazon to connect the segments. And man, I love these things. I'd never handled them before, and they are smooth as butter. Unfortunately, they were like $7/per, and I need around 100 of them. So, slightly more than I'm hoping to spend haha. Aliexpress has them for ≈ $1.50/per, but the shipping is obscenely expensive, and would take like 2 months.

So I'm trying to figure out another option. I'm a member of a local maker's space, so I have access to a bunch of tools (metal shop with lathe, CNC, FDM 3D printers), but still don't think I have a great solution.

The tools for making these the right way are obscenely expensive. I'm thinking I could machine the race in two halves and weld/clamp them around the ball, which would be a ton of work, and wouldn't be as smooth, but would probably be sufficient.

I could 3D print them, but I can't figure out a process that would be as smooth as I want. They'd need to be filled/sanded, probably coated with a dry lubricant. But the filling/sanding process would introduce tolerance issues, and I can't afford to have slop with how the cables will work.

Anyone have any insights here to help me out? Thanks!

 
 

Don't mind me, just trying to populate this community lol.

A commonly asked question from newbies is "how do I get internet in a van?" The good news is, there are a lot of options these days, some better than others. They're constantly changing, and info from two years ago is now likely inaccurate. The bad news is, no single option will always give you good coverage.

Cell phone tethering

By far the easiest option, most smartphones these days allow you to provide internet access to another device through WiFi or USB. There are a lot of variables based on your carrier, like signal coverage, 5G availability, and data caps/throttling.

There used to be actually "unlimited" plans from the big providers, but those seem to be gone now; Even on the plans advertised as "unlimited," the fine print specifies that data is throttled after a certain amount. Which is usually a much lower amount through tethering than phone data.

For example, My AT&T plan is "unlimited," but throttles phone data at 100GB/month, and throttles tethered data at 30GB/month. I do get surprisingly fast speeds and low latency (generally between 10-40Mbps at 20-60ms, depending on signal strength)

Mobile hot-spot

Basically the same as above, except using a dedicated device that generally has a long battery life, marginally more powerful antenna, and can provide for more devices. You can often tack these on to an existing phone plan. Some vandwellers will get by with using one carrier for their cell phone, another carrier for their hot-spot, and using whichever has better signal for a given location.

IMO, these don't give much of an advantage over phone tethering. If you install an external antenna, you can get better performance. But if you're the type to go through that much trouble for internet access, you'll probably be hitting the data cap pretty quickly.

Starlink

The new kid on the block! Providing (theoretically) blazing fast speed with low latency in the exact middle of nowhere. It's still relatively new tech, and seemingly has some kinks to work out still. When it works, it works great. But some users are having issues with reliability. Especially if you don't have a wide-open view of the sky (hope you don't like forests).

That and it's expensive: Currently $600 in hardware and $150/month for the basic plan. And would require you to either set/strike the dish every time you move, or get the much more expensive flat-mount dish and permanently mount it somewhere.

Traditional satellite

More of a proven tech, but has its own downsides. It's even more expensive than Starlink (especially if you're a full-timer without a residential plan), with more expensive hardware, and also requires an unobstructed view, and can be impacted by weather. Still a plausible option for full-time boondockers with jobs, but seems to be falling out of favor in the community.

Public WiFi

It's getting more and more common these days; Every 4th business seems to have their own WiFi. Though obviously, it requires you to be in or near the business, and the speed can vary greatly, and it's, you know, public, so it's a bit more dangerous. I'd suggest getting a VPN if you plan on doing anything substantial through this route.

Before I upgraded my own system, I had mapped out businesses that I could get a decent connection to from inside my van in the parking lot. Turns out McDonald's is generally a pretty good choice; I found one where I was getting 100Mbps+ at 20ms from the parking lot.

It's easy to overstay your welcome doing this as well. I mean, if you're just parked in the lot for free internet, you're not really welcome to begin with. In two years I've gotten precisely two knocks, one was from a McDonald's manager asking why I'd been parked in his lot for 4 hours haha.

Verizon 5G home internet

Your reward for making it to the end of this post, my current main option and favorite of everything I've listed. Basically the same concept as mobile hot-spots, except it's not meant to be mobile. Actually unlimited data on the Verizon 5G network for $50/month. And if you have a good connection, blazing fast. Easily 100Mbps+.

It is, however, made for home internet, and even states in the TOS that it's not for mobile use. So whether this is a reliable option for the future is a bit dicey. Verizon does keep a connection log with which towers you're connecting to. I had to call customer service because my hardware was crapping out, and he started reviewing the connection logs while I was innocently whistling to myself. It would not be hard for them to deduce I'm using this thing on the road.

And while it is marginally more powerful than a cell phone, it's still reliant on cell service. I've spent far too much time hunting for boondocking spots with decent 5G signal for my internet-addicted ass.

But overall, it's been pretty great. I'm a heavy user (online gaming, video streaming, torrents) and I've yet to have any issues while I have service.

My recommendation

If you're just starting out, you can probably get by just fine between cell tethering and public WiFi. I did for 6 months until I got tired of parking at McDonald's.

Next step up would be Verizon 5G. Pretty cheap and great service for 90% of the populated country. Not a great option for boondockers.

Finally, Starlink for boondockers. It's expensive, but likely to be a better option than traditional satellite.

Other articles

What do you all think? Any other recommendations?

 

People often ask me, which is worse while full-timing in the van, summer or winter? Easy answer; I have a gas heater.

 
 

Thought I'd share what my build process looked like! This was over the course of about 1.5 years, mostly on weekends while working during the week. Finished it up about a year ago, still haven't taken any pics of the final product. Perhaps I'll make another post!

Imgur album

While I'm very happy with the outcome, I would NOT recommend doing what I did: Working in Home Depot parking lots with battery-operated tools, while using the vehicle as your primary. Only way I'd consider doing another build is if I had access to a garage with enough room to both fit the van and simultaneously construct cabinets and the like, while having another vehicle to drive and make Home Depot runs.

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Welcome! (sh.itjust.works)
 

Excited for a new place to share this lifestyle! I've been full-timing in my self-built "Van Milder" (pictured above) for 1.5 years, principally located in the Northeast US. I'm currently a software dev, with experience in mechanical, electrical, and audio engineering.

I loved helping people out with technical questions at r/Vandwellers, so trying to keep that spark alive. Although I'll miss my sometimes contentious relationship with u/lennyflank, as I doubt he's going to be much excited about the Fediverse.

Let's get this party rolling!

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Recommended Apps (sh.itjust.works)
submitted 1 year ago* (last edited 1 year ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 
  • iOverlander
  • Harvest Hosts
  • Vanly
  • RV Parky
  • Trucker Path
  • Avenza Maps
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Valuable Web Resources (sh.itjust.works)
submitted 1 year ago* (last edited 1 year ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 

Forums

  • CheapRVLiving.com
  • VanDwellers.org
  • CamperVanLife.com

Instructional sites/blogs

  • FarOutRide.com (great break downs of technical information needed to DIY build, including insulation, anchoring, electric, and more)
  • ParkedInParadise.com
  • LennyFlank.Wordpress.com

Location Finders

Calculators

Specific Resources

 
  • VanDweller - as used in this sub, refers to someone whom is living in their vehicle as their form of residence be it permanent, temporary, by choice, or by circumstances. While we do refer to vans in general, VanDwelling is sort of a catch all for most sorts of vehicle dwelling, be it van, car, pickup, school bus, step van, etc. Since there are several RV-related subs on Reddit, we do not necessarily include (or exclude) RVs.

  • Part-time VanDwellers – living on the road for weekends & holidays, while also keeping their current place of residence.

  • Full-time VanDwellers – permanently living life on the road, and not returning home.

  • Nomad – describes a person moving from place to place frequently, often for work. Travel photographer, traveling nurse, some computer/network positions, programmers, and writers/authors are often nomadic. Their employment is conducive to frequent relocation.

  • Stealth Camping - is typically when you stay in your vehicle in an suburban or urban environment or some other place that is not an approved campground or where you try not to be noticed. Example of common places are neighborhood streets where street parking is acceptable or perhaps a random parking lot.

  • Boondocking - also known as “dispersed camping”, is typically when you camp off grid in a location which is not a campground, but it’s not an unusual or unlawful place to camp. Camping on BLM, state or national forest are often considered boondocking. These locations do not have any amenities, no water or bathrooms supplied.

  • BLM - is the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Work Camper or Workamper - is a person who works in exchange for their parking place at a park or place of business. Workamping has become very popular in recent years, and now is a very competitive job market. Some locations will give you a parking place, some will subsidize your parking place, some will give you a parking place AND pay you a small wage. Its a good idea to keep in mind the usual hourly wage for the position vs. parking rental price charged to the public to verify you are not being “underpaid”.

  • Black Water - is sewage, toilet contents. This bio-hazard needs to be disposed of in a safe manner at a dedicated sewage receptacle. Sanitary Dump Stations are available for public use at many parks, RV settlements, campgrounds, etc.

  • Gray Water - used water that was not toilet related. Dishwater, bathwater, etc. is Gray Water. It is not necessarily a “bio-hazard” but because of the soap, food debris, etc. contained in it – it cannot be simply dumped on the ground. This can be disposed of in a regular toilet in small quantities, or dumped in larger quantities at Sanitary Dump Stations.

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submitted 1 year ago* (last edited 1 year ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 

Q: What's the best van to use?

A: This is a much-debated question, because there is no perfect van for everyone. Some people like cargo vans with no windows for better security, while some like window vans for ease of driving and to view scenery or conversion vans which blend in well in neighborhoods. Some people find box vans to be beneficial for space while others consider the Sprinter vans to be the Holy Grail and still others choose smaller vans for the better fuel economy. It all comes down to how you intend to use your van and your budget, as to what will fit your needs the best.

Q: How do I keep clean/bathe while living in a van?

A: Many VanDwellers choose to join local or national franchise gym (24hr Fitness or Planet Fitness, for example), in order to use the showers. There are of course other options like truck stops or state parks and sometimes larger cities have public showers but usually a gym membership is the best way to go if you want to shower often. There are also other ways to stay clean such as using a water bottle and wash cloth or baby wipes and the quick dip in a local lake or stream. It really depends on what you have available in your location, but just because you live in a van, doesn't mean you can't stay clean.

Q: How and where do you poop?

A: In the woods, use a cathole. If in doubt, carry it out.

In town, visit Sonic, the library, the gas station, the grocery store.

There's the good 'ole "pee bottle."

There are actually commercially available devices, called the “SheWee " and "Go Girl ", that are available for females to allow them to urinate while standing up.

Or buy/make an Emergency potty for yourself. Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet,or Cleanwaste Wag Bags Toilet Kit Pack of 6, or Medical Steel Folding Bedside Commode lined with a plastic trash bag and some cat litter, pine shavings, or peat moss. The poop gets tied up tightly inside the trash bag and then gets disposed of in a garbage can or dumpster in the morning, just like a used baby diaper or doggy doo bag. Or there is the original Chamber pot with lid.

The standard "cassette" toilets of Thetford and Camco are quite popular. These can be emptied into any flushing commode for easy disposal, or can be poured into blackwater dump sites.

Q: What do you do for work or money?

A: VanDwelling appeals to a broad group of people, meaning income sources vary widely. Likely the best option is some sort of self-based income source you can generate on the road assuming you want to travel most of the time. Some ideas along this route could be internet related like selling things online (think eBay or Etsy) to being a freelance programmers or perhaps a web developer. Check out FlexJobs or WeWorkRemotely.

You can also choose travel friendly ideas like seasonal jobs at resorts, work camping at state/national/regional parks (check their website), KOA camps, Workamper, WWOOFing or just making money as a street busker. Other options could be working temporary jobs like Amazon's camperforce or another option might be going to temporary agencies and taking random job assignments.

Many people don't work, some people choose this lifestyle because they are retired or on social security and this allows them a way to live within their means. Then there are people who have no solid income source and get by what ever the day brings from panhandling or busking.

Q: How do you keep your pet warm/cool in the van?

A: Keeping the van cool in summer is THE single most difficult thing in all of VanDwelling -- and it's required if you will be bringing a pet. The ONLY way to reliably cool the interior of a van below ambient temp is an air conditioner, and they use a lot of power. That means you'll need either shore power, or a generator, or a VERY large solar panel system.

Also, people know that leaving a pet in a car is dangerous, so most states allow (Good Samaritan Law) people to break the window to "rescue" the pet -- and the law relieves them of liability for damages. So you may very well come back to your van to find your window broken out, your dog gone, and a notice from the police that they've impounded your pet and are taking it to the SPCA. You can also face large fines for "animal cruelty".

Q: I will insulate my van! That will keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. What's the best way to do that?

Insulating your van is a very personal choice based on your location and what you're wanting to accomplish with your climate control measures. In the end, the interior temp will always equalize with the exterior temp. Insulation delays that for a while, but it does not stop it, and insulation is much more effective at keeping heat in than it is at keeping heat out. The only way to actually lower the temp inside the van is with an climate control (A/C).

Q: Where can I dump my toilet contents?

A: Please dump any black water or gray water in appropriate Sanitary Dump Stations. RV Dump Sites and Campendium have comprehensive lists.

Q: How much battery do I need?

A: Calculating your battery needs is a very personal calculation. Some of us have no extra battery setup and only use the vehicle's starter battery and the dash cigar plug or USB ports, some of us have just a few things that we charge (fan, phone, and light) run from a small household or leisure battery, some of us have built-in walls of lights and fans, some have refrigerators, some have electric induction cook stoves, and a few even run air conditioners... each of these scenarios takes increasingly larger battery banks. There is no One Magic Answer.

Q: How can I charge those batteries?

A: This can be done with solar, alternator charging, shore power, or a generator. The amount of electricity you use and the availability of charging methods will determine which suits your plan the best.

  • You can use your vehicle alternator: If you drive more than, say, 50 miles per day, then your alternator isn't doing much work most of that time. You can put it to use to recharge your house battery. It's a simple circuit to install, and will also supplement other methods through what is often regular course for vehicles - driving.

  • A generator is handy for power-hungry use cases where the noise and fumes won't be a burden. Multiply the nominal output rating by how long you plan to run it.

  • If you're able to plug in, then using a battery charger or AC charge controller can top off your batteries as needed.

  • Or you can use solar panels...

Q: Which solar panels do I need?

A: You need to calculate how much solar panel capacity (in watts) you will need to keep your battery bank charged. Take the total capacity in amp-hours you decided on for your battery bank, and double it. That is the minimum size solar panel array, in watts, that you will need to reliably charge your battery bank.

Your location will impact your solar power size, to keep your batteries filled. To get a general supply figure, divide your solar size (output) in half if you'll stay in middle latitudes, quarter it for latitudes where the sun will hit the panels at an angle, or to account for winter-time drop in sun exposure.

Q: How do I know which wires to use in my van's electrical system?

A: Safe electrical wiring is very strictly dictated by the Current (in Amps) that will be pulled down the wire, and Length (in Feet) that the power will be traveling on its ROUND TRIP to and from its connection.

Refer to the Blue Sea wire gauge chart to select the correct gauge wire.

Q: Where can I park in suburban or urban areas?

A: Nobody is going to allow you to move in, set up camp, and never leave, in their business parking lot or on their private property. You will need a series of locations to rotate through so you're never in one spot for very long, long enough to be noticed.

Check the area for "No Overnight Parking" or "No Trespassing" signage. There is a difference between No Camping and No Overnight Parking.

The key is to never be "noticed." (A "Stealth Vehicle" is only a small aspect of avoiding harassment, as law enforcement and security officers already know what people living in their vehicle looks like.) Your goal is to be un-remarkable so as to not draw the attention of the Regular People.

You will pull in quietly/discreetly, slip into the back to sleep, slip back into the driver's seat, and take off - without ever stepping out of your vehicle in your Sleeping area. (Securing some of your window coverings before you pull up to your sleeping spot might be beneficial, if you can see to drive safely with them in place.)

You don't park in the same area for consecutive nights/days. You don't utilize the same spot repeatedly. You rotate through a series of locations, so you don't frequent the same area with any regularity. You do not draw attention to your vehicle (lights, noises, cooking sounds/smells, etc.) so you appear to simply be a parked vehicle. Arrive after dark and leave before daylight, if your schedule permits these hours. (Day sleepers seem to not be noticed as much as night sleepers.)

Many VanDwellers have reported success with the following locations: industrial streets, light commercial areas, dead end streets, near apartment complexes, hotel parking garages (success varies), bar parking lots, bowling alleys, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel, Lowe's, movie theatres, church parking lots, 24-hour businesses (such as gyms, grocery stores, WalMart, hotels/motels), Park & Ride commuter lots, public rest areas, etc.

Municipal parks seem to be a hit/miss situation. Make sure you know when the parks close. Talk to the maintenance workers. They’ll tell you if you’re welcome to stay quietly overnight.

The most important aspect of suburban or urban street dwelling is to not make a mess or cause any theatrics. The areas that are banning overnight parking always cite the same reasons - inappropriate waste dumping (trash and poop!), drug use, drama, panhandling, etc.

 

Any chance this will be open-source? Probably not...but for the record, I'd love to contribute! Not a ton of experience with mobile development, but I've got plenty of "screw Reddit" energy to fuel me lol.

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