Oh, that’s right, I have a website here.

January 8th, 2013

It’s been almost 4 years since I last posted here.  This installation of Wordpress is positively antique.

I’ve pretty much moved all my status update blogging to Facebook, so this site is pretty much dead in the water, for the time being.

The state of the net in 2009

June 8th, 2009

Such progress.

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Rest In Peace

February 11th, 2009

Kind of a late post here. 

A few days before Christmas, our cat Slope passed on.

At 18, he’d lived a full life.  As a survivor of cancer, a multiple-story fall that shattered a leg, and numerous fights and squabbles with the other neighborhood felines, he clung to life with a tenacity and scrappiness that might have intimidated your average battle-hardened marine.  Active until the end, he even kept the back yard chickens intimidated and in line during his last summer while Dot, our younger, supposedly more agile kitten would run in terror at the mere approach of their avian counterparts.

Good bye, friend.  Rest in peace.

Yes, we did!

November 5th, 2008

What a long 8 years it’s been.

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Seattle has erupted into a big spontaneous party celebrating the impending end of the long, slow national catastrophe that we’ve very unfondly referred to as the Bush presidency.  We were dancing and laughing and cheering and drinking and whooping and hollering in the streets.  In between the revelry I snapped some shakey shots with my sidekick:

Kay getting her Fuck Yeah on

Kay getting her Fuck Yeah on

Me and a bottle of Trappest Ale

Me and a trusty bottle of Trappist Ale

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Thousands of relieved Seattilites.  8 More Years!

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Here’s hoping we can pull our shit together in time.  We’ve had 8 years of driving this country in entirely the wrong direction.  It’ll take a lot more than a rockstar personality and a friendly congress to get our house in order.  But this is a welcome, and long overdue first step.

 

Thing-A-Week, #18: Power To The Poultry!

October 5th, 2008

With winter approaching, the chickens are going to be a lot less active.  Apparently this will also impact their egg production.  And we can’t have that!

 Technology to the rescue!

We’ve read that keeping a light on in the chicken coop will boost their egg laying.  Unfortunately, we have no electrical power in the back yard anywhere near the chicken coop.  But the roof of the coop gets plenty of sunlight during the day, even during the dank, winter months that we Seattlites endure.

So today I mounted 3 15 watt solar panels atop the coop, and wired up a lamp to a timer.  The panels trickle-charge a motorcycle battery, which powers an inverter, which has a plug-in timer that keeps a 40 watt light on for 6 hours every night.

The scary thing is that I had almost all the parts lying around the shop.

Mounting the panels was pretty straightforwards.  The roof of the coop is made up of that wavy, corrugated roofing panels, one of which is opaque to allow natural light in.  I got 12 feet of the mounting brackets for these panels, called “eaves filler“, two 6 foot cedar 1×2’s, and some strips of aluminum flashing.  I screwed these together to fashion a pair of six foot long mounts that with a slot to hold in the solar panels.

<insert picture of the panels on the roof here, yo>

These were mounted to the roof, and the solar panels were slid in.

Next came the electrical hookups.  I designated a chunk of wall space near the door to be the “equipment panel”.  Here I mounted a terminal block to concentrate the wires from the panels.  From there, I joined these wires to a solar charger which was in turn connected to a small deep-cycle 12 volt battery.  Also connected to a battery is a 100 watt inverter, which provides 110volt AC power.  This drives a standard mechanical timer, which controls the lamp.

<insert picture of the equipment panel here>

So farl it looks to be working fairly well.  We’ll see over the coming days and weeks if there’s enough power collected in the battery during the day to keep the lamp on through the night.  There’s a reasonable likelihood that I’ll switch to an all-DC setup; the switch to AC is a huge waste of scarce power.  A car headlight is already designed to run on this voltage, so that will probably be the method of choice.

Thing-A-Week, #17: Built an Arduino board

October 4th, 2008

Damn, I need to get more on the stick about posting.  But we’re in the shipping crunch at work and I’ve been crazy-busy there.  That’s my excuse. 

Last weekend I dropped in at SaturdayHouse with the intent to do some robotics coding.  I completely forgot that it was the first of three workshops on working with Arduino hardware.  Cool!  All plans went out the window.

So I built one of these.  And downloaded a program to flicker some LEDs.  Lots of fun.  Today is part two, where we learn how to program them in C and assembly.

I’d post more and maybe a picture or two, but I went out last night and helped do a show with HazardFactory down in Olympia.  Then we did something of a pub crawl.  I got home at around 4am, and now my head feels like someone’s trying to bust out of there with a sledgehammer.  Uggh.  Must.  Drink.  Water.  Must.  Lay.  Down.

We’ll see how much arduino programming sinks in.

A Burning Man 2008 recap

September 20th, 2008

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OK, so Burning Man was pretty much an incredible time, again.  I got to catch up with some great peeps I only see now once a year.  The art was goo, but nothing really stand out this year.  I think the economy had its impact on the burn this year.   Probably the most impressive was a tumble of giant-sized tetris pieces, one of which was also a projection screen for a 4-story-tall game of tetris.  Lots of fun to crawl around, climb atop that.

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Personal highlights:

  1. Playing jenga made out of 2×4 in the middle of a dust storm.
  2. Stealing Borrowing a staff golf cart we found with the keys in it, and driving it all around the playa.  The we noted that it wasn’t a staff cart, but a Bureau of Land Management cart.  Whoops.  Heh.  I don’t think they would have had nearly the sense of humor about us taking liberties with their cart…  We found a BRC Rangers station to drop it off at, and then we disappeared into the crowd.
  3. Getting hit on by some narc trying to sell us drugs.  Tons of fun.  He claimed he needed money to get the clutch on his car fixed, and had “stuff” we might be interested in.  Yeah.  I finally barked at him “Dude…what the fuck do you want?  Do you need money?  If you need money to fix your car, we can make that happen.  You don’t need to sell us your shit.”  He backed off and left, and we all laughed.  I wonder if he even noticed the gallon pail filled with spent nitrous cartridges in the center of our circle.  Hilarious.
  4. Running around in the middle of the Friday (or was it Saturday?) dust storm.  That was way too much fun…

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A couple of stress points:

  1. Having an insanely fierce storm rip through the place all day on Monday, when I didn’t have any shelter built and I was cruising on 35 hours of no sleep.  I finally caught an hour of sleep on a couch I found, which unfrayed a few of my ends.
  2. The roads and playa conditions kinda sucked.  Biking was pretty much out of the question for much of the week, particularly after I got a flat tire.  Oh well.  My feet were throughly destroyed.

Ahh well.  As usual I came home with my head brimming with Things To Do.

Thing-A-Week, #16: Rebuilt the home server farm

September 20th, 2008

Things are snappier in hell now.  The virtual server machine that housed a collection of virtual servers that managed the home network and external servers was always pretty slow.  It was a 2ghz single-core P4 with 2 gigs of memory and about 300 gigs spread across three spindles.  It’s no slouch of a machine, but running inside it were five virtual machines; a few unix boxen serving up a variety of services like an MP3 server, a web server, a BBS, a bunch of mail lists and a firewall, plus a windows 2003 machine acting as a domain controller, exchange 2003 server and sharepoint services host.  It was pretty overloaded and doing anything on the machines was always painful.

So I brought up a new machine.  This is a 3 ghz quad core-2 machine with 4 gigs of memory and a terabyte SATA drive.

And it’s fast as hell.  This makes me happy.

Nice thing is that the migration was entirely painless.  I brought up the new machine, installed windows 2003 & virtual server, copied over the virtual servers & networks, and *done*.  Things should always be that painless.

The improved speed also allowed me to get bunch of work done on a new website, but I’m not quite ready to announce more details on that, quite yet.

Thing-A-Week #13, 14, 15 postponed due to Burning Man

September 20th, 2008

OK, so it’s time to get my ass back in gear.

Here’s the reality:

  • Thing-A-Week #13: Finished packing for Burning Man
  • Thing-A-Week #14: Went to Burning Man
  • Thing-A-Week #15: Recovered from Burning Man

Yes, I know, lame.  And I haven’t even posted any pictures or a recap from the event yet.  Perhaps I should do that this evening…

Anyway, I will post fill-in projects for those weeks, at some point Real Soon Now.

Back in the real world…

September 6th, 2008

Well.

That was a whole lot of fun.

My feet are throughly trashed.