Upon the recommendation of several authors we have already featured, I got in touch with Osvaldo Schiavoni, aka rimar2000
, in Argentina to ask him a few questions. As Osvaldo does for all of his projects and comments, we used online translation software to communicate. Many of his projects are presented in both English and Spanish. An impressive command over language, which makes sense for a man who created the first online Castilian rhyming dictionary. I got to ask him questions about that dictionary, his time as the terror of his neighborhood, and his thoughts about Instructables. Read on to learn more about this fascinating fellow author.
What first brought you to Instructables?
I do not really remember, I guess it may have been through some other technological developments or "do it yourself” page. It was in June 2006, and from the first moment I was fascinated with the quality of some projects, and mainly with the technical management of the page. I have my own page, in a state of "abandon ware", and I know what it takes to make things work. But you all do it like a charm.
At one point in a comment thread on your CO2 Cartridge File Instructable, you mention that you have had some near misses with projects gone awry. Can you tell us what happened?
Actually, I smile to remember the mothers of my classmates. One of them forbade her son to join me because I was "a danger".
I never had leadership qualities, but I was the undisputed technology leader of my group, perhaps due to my slightly obsessive character, which allowed me to spend all weekend in the workshop of my father trying to run a invention. When someone needed to fix or do something not too complicated, that's where I was.
At one point I got inspired by a film of The Three Musketeers, and began to manufacture rapiers of oval steel wire with broomstick handles, and handguards from coffee can lids, which excited many of my friends, and we formed something like a fencing team. Obviously we had no idea of the topic, we just copied -badly- what we saw in the movies. As we did not have masks to protect our faces, we put a cork on the tip of the wire, which at first cross flew into the air and left the steel tip dangerously bare. Fortunately, the enthusiasm was short lived.
Another time I was taken with pyrotechnics. I made several dozen Roman candles, but never had the patience to wait for the night to try, and threw them that day. As potassium nitrate was not of good quality, I had to use potassium chlorate, which is much more explosive, and must be carefully dosed for propellant. Therefore, some of my rockets remained in the bottle, others exploded before takeoff. 20% rose with great speed, but being day time, I could never see how high they had flown. One of them caught fire when I was filling it with gunpowder, and fortunately the only thing that happened to me were some slightly scorched knuckles. Because of things like that I tend to think that guardian angels do exist. One afternoon I made a cable-operated petard, and when it exploded was such a din that a neighbor came out to the terrace thinking that something bad had happened to me.
Another dangerous hobby was boomerangs: of thick galvanized sheet metal! When they crashed on a tree, each left a trail of leaves and twigs. I hate to think what would have happened if one had hit someone.
Another time I made a crossbow with a rod of chinaberry and a makeshift old wooden handle. I did a single arrow, with a harpoon-style tip, of thick iron sheet! At the backyard of my home was an old solid wood door, I used it as a target. The arrow nailed it so hard that to remove it I had to balance several times on each side. I think if it hit a person, it would have killed him.
Another time I did a little "catkiller" pistol (I love cats, would never do harm to one) for target shooting, because my father would not let me play with his .22 rifle. The pistol functioned more or less, but because the cannon was made of bronze and after several shots became enlarged, it lost what little accuracy it possessed at first. My only achievement was to hit a glass bottle about five meters away. Learned from failures, they say; I should be wise!
But this mania for getting into trouble is not unique to my early years: already married, I began to make hot air balloons, and nearly made a fire in the neighborhood. These seemingly innocent devices are very dangerous.
Another time I made some "Trimerangs", three-bladed boomerangs, and very nearly took out my little daughter’s eye, who let go of my hand and ran out to grab it.
My neighbors now know that any time they hear a loud noise it was due to my activities.
You retired last year. What kind of work did you do, and how did it inform your projects on Instructables?
I am a poor student, like many creative people. So for me it is often easier and nicer to reinvent the wheel rather than to apply myself to studying its technology. I started my college career in astronomy, but after three years of struggling with second-degree differential equations, I decided that was too much for me and I said to my father –who was paying for my studies–, I did not think I’d continue. The poor old man nearly had a fit, because he had placed too many expectations on me. To not disappoint entirely, I decided to pursue a tertiary career, Bachelor of Cooperatives, a title that no longer exists. This time I managed to graduate because it was a major a lot more to my intellectual grasp. Knowledge of mathematics I got in my early studies, together with the accounting knowledge from my newly chosen field –I hate accounting with all my heart- helped me to start working as a cost analyst, and then move on to serve as a COBOL programmer at the dawn of business computing, back in 1972. I ended my career as a Systems Analyst December 30, 2009.
Actually I use for my projects far more that I learned from my father, helping him at the forge and holding a piece while he worked, than what I learned in school or in college. I've only used trigonometry in my different designs of solar cookers, which are temporarily suspended.
Many of your projects are modifications of existing power tools or DIY tools of your own creation. What tool is most indispensable to you and why?
I thought much about that, and although power tools are an invaluable help, I am convinced that there is no tool more indispensable than a vise grip. It is used for almost every task: it is not useful having a beautiful hand grinder if you can not properly secure the workpiece. A bench or wall grinder is also necessary, not only to neaten what you just welded or cut, but also to sharpen bits, cutting tools, punches, etc. Obviously if someone has to buy their first tools, I would suggest starting with a hammer, pliers and a screwdriver. And remember that fasteners such as screws, nails, washers, and tape are just as important as tools.
What about Instructables makes it a good place for you to share your creations?
As mentioned at the beginning, Instructables is admirably well thought out and well managed. I imagine the staff, with Eric at the helm, must have spent several sleepless nights fighting the clock to get it working again after something had been derailed. You have good methods of motivation, which is the main strength of the site. Members work with enthusiasm, knowing that many will see what one did, and eventually someone will employ the idea. Moreover, the fact that a featured instructable is worth a temporary membership is really cool. I have amassed a good amount of Pro membership time for free.
Tell us a little bit more about your username. What is rimar2000?
is the name of my Dictionary of Rhymes in Castilian (Spanish). It was the first on the web in August 2000. My purpose was to name my page rimar.com.ar, but it turned out that domain already exists because a company dedicated to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is called exactly Rimar. So after some thought I decided to name my site rimar2000.com.ar. The latest version of the program is called RIMAR quasar.
Not to brag, but my Spanish rhyming dictionary not only was the first on the web, but it is still the most complete today.
It gives 5616097 or so words, with a database of only 1.52 Mb! I was amazed myself how I could do it.
It gives conjugated verbs, regular or not (I had to do the conjugator myself!)
The conjugation includes "voseo", with regional variants;
It add enclitic pronouns;
It Generate on the fly plurals, augmentative and diminutive;
It counts syllables, taking hiatuses and sinalefa;
It evaluates the metrics of a verse, a poem or a book of poems.
It takes into account regional phonetics. This means that this can be configured to suit the user's region.
It allows to enrich and select the dictionary to use as the base.
It contains neither cholesterol nor uric acid, nor sugar, nor gluten.
At therapeutic doses there have been no reported deaths. Very few, actually.