Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eeah! Man talk! (Besides the diet part :-)

Office Stress

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Robotic Remains and May Day Hints

This robot was cool... Notice the "was."

Having 26" bike wheels, it could cruise at an easy 13.9mph -- people can run about 10mph. So, for May Day, this would have been a great robot, but for one problem; without a ton of software, it was nearly impossible to control at high speeds. Any slight turn at speeds over 5mph would send the robot whirling -- it would either flip over a few times along the axis of the wheel axles or would end up on its side.

I decided to try out full speed. I took off up the hill in front of our house and it far out-distanced Peter in a matter of seconds. When I came back down the hill, I lost control as the robot headed straight for us. I yelled "JUMP" just in time for the robot to cream the mailbox. SNAP! That cool 1/2" aluminum rod is now in pieces. It was pretty awesome.

Notice the snapped wheel axle and bent spoke:

The 1/2" thick board didn't like the impact:

All this is to say, no robot will be visiting your house this year. I could put my old robot back together but what's the point of delivering cookies with a robot only to have it escorted back to the car by everyone in the neighborhood? :-)

Now for a hint about our house: I'm only telling you this because we caught everyone last year -- I think someone came while we were gone, but I thought Dad caught them.)

The Oggs tried to disable the motion detectors last year, but the motion detectors are "tamper proof" meaning that any tampering sets them off. Yes, this includes cutting wires. (I'd appreciate it if you didn't destroy my stuff, BTW :-)

We won't try to catch you until you ring the doorbell or attempt cheat.

Several people have tried parking in front of our front door to make the running distance as short as possible, but I believe we've caught every single person who's tried that. Go the longer routes -- the way our house is setup, it's much more difficult for us to catch you that way. (And, yes, I'm serious .)

I can guarantee you we won't be soaking anyone, so there's really no danger in being caught. We do plan to have more props in the yard this year since the robot busted, so take some time to look around. (It's a lot of stuff to set up, so hopefully SOMEONE sees it all :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Durango Done

Here's what the hotel looked like: (View from my hotel room porch)

See? It was pretty much right next to the train:
It was a very pleasant trip -- it's fun being able to walk to dinner, walk to Cold Stone Creamery, and walk to a movie -- I saw that new Alice in Wonderland movie... Still not sure what to think of it. :-)

If all my trips were like this, I'd love to travel!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Durango Bird

We drove up the road to go check out the lake the pumping plant here in Durango is creating... Well, swimming around were jet-black ducks, all sleek and shiny. Above their eyes a brilliant stripe of white seared their black bodies as light rays piercing the atmosphere in a summer sunset. Upon our arrival, these curious creatures suddenly dove. Since when to ducks dive? Since when do they completely disappear beneath the surface? Since when do they hold their breath for countless minutes? I recoiled in horror. Could these peculiar pests be plotting underwater to attack, kill, and eat humans? Could this be the beginnings of an Alfred Hitchcock movie?

(Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what these birds are?)

Monday, April 19, 2010


(with the "o" this time :-)

Here's where I'm working this week:
(Those are pumps. 2 are about 1MW, 2 are 2MW, and 4 are 5MW units. A home uses an average of 1KW. The large pumps use 5,000KW.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


For the first time (probably) this year, I'm on a field trip... to Durango. The hotel is definitely one of the more interesting places I've stayed. (Sorry about the horrid picture, Q :-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thing 2

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

May Day Robot Might be Coming

New axles, fresh off the lathe:

(If you're not impressed, this started as an aluminum rod. Notice the different diameters of the finished product? Also, notice the two different sizes of holes drilled in one end, and particularly, the square hole.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

May Day is Coming!

Need I say more?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Japanese Innovation

The Panoramic Picture:

Care in sickness:

The Japanese Egg:


Thanks for the picture, Nathan!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This is the kind of stuff we do in my cool class:

void VGA_text(int x, int y, char * text_ptr)
int offset;
volatile char * character_buffer = (char *) 0x09000000;

/* assume that the text string fits on one line */
offset = (y << 7) + x;
while ( *(text_ptr) )
*(character_buffer + offset) = *(text_ptr);

(We're making a hardware-implemented version of "Paint" using an FPGA. (I.E. "code" that could turn your wireless router into a dedicated piece of hardware that acts like paint.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tired of Stupid Questions?

Do people come to you to ask questions Google can answer much faster? Let this help you out!


Q: "What was the link to Roozer's World again?"

Q: "How many grams are in 13 pounds?"

Q: "How many calories are in a can of Pepsi?"

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Some of us are going skiing tomorrow. Like many skiers, I fell in love with shaped skis. Unfortunately, I only own straight 190s, so April kindly picked some up for me from the rental shop... PURPLE?!? Too bad they don't let you choose. :-) I got 'em adjusted and am ready to hit the ice! (I hope there's no ice and I hope I don't hit it :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Abitail's playing Hayden with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra this Friday at the KPOF hall at 7:30pm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Does this explain anything?

Big Bird

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Matilda Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death

MATILDA told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away!

It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Rebecca Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child…

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
— As often they had done before.

Thanks, Hilaire Belloc -- Poetry worth reading.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bitterness only hurts you, nobody else.

Check it in, check it out
Let me begin
Cut that old box
To me that's a sin.

If only I had a CNC milling machine at work. Dad does, I don't. Then again, I have a PCB machine. Still, I want both.

Funny how "equipment for the group" becomes known as "Ben's toys."

Do you know how many times people get shown around work and I hear, "Check this out! bla, bla, bla. OOOooh! Awwww! That's so totally awesome. Yeah, Ben gets all the cool toys."

Then again, we have the Benz -- three of us who sit in Ben Row.

Man, I've been busy recently. I still want to work retail. HUNGRY! MUST FEED!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

See that? I machined that!

Ok, ok, so it's really simple, but, hey... I learned how to turn something down on a lathe. Oh, that and cut.
(And, yes, they're robot parts.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Robot Parts

I'm rather pleased with the front panel Front Panel Express made for me:
Newest May Day robot is on the way!

Friday, January 1, 2010