What's new? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Saturday, 18 June 2011 15:07

Well, I haven't updated this site in 8 months. So here's a brief update: Megan is now 8 months old!

In other less obvious news, I have a new job, a new car and a few new projects and hobbies.

First, the job. Back in March I left Battelle, where I had worked for over 8 years to start a new job at a company named Lake Shore Cryotronics. To answer the most common questions: No, we don't have Ted Williams' or anyone else's frozen heads in the back. Even though we are in Westerville, I'm pretty sure the Lake that we are on the Shore of is Lake Erie. The founder is from near there. Yes, I still work in a clean room. No, you still wouldn't understand it. Yes, I'm much happier.

The new car: This is directly related to the new job. My old commute was 25 minutes. My new one is 45 minutes. Gas is expensive. They won't let me have it for free. I needed a car that used less. We bought a 2011 Chevy Cruze. It is actually a sharp little car with some nice features. We traded in both the Toyota Corolla that had 250,000 miles and the Jeep that had 180,000 miles. So I guess we were due. Oh, and I probably didn't mention it earlier, but we bought a mini-van before Megan was born. (I know, a mini-van, the one vehicle that I said I would never own. For that reason I like to think of it as am FUV, Family Utility Vehicle.)

New projects and Hobbies: I've been doing more electronics stuff. I'm currently working on building a remote PTO shut-off for Alan to go along with his new feeding equipment. I'd tell you to go to his blog to read all about it, but he doesn't have one, so you'll have to depend on me to tell you. And I'm not going to.Another project that I did recently was to modify a Crock Pot to accept computer control so that I can use it as a Sous Vide cooker. (I know what you're thinking, "There's something wrong with that boy! He's talking about a computer controlled Crock Pot! I suppose next he's going to say he can start his new car with his Walkman!" Actually, it's called an iPod, and yes, there is an App for that.) Now I can control the temperature of food that I am cooking to within 1 degree. It's has a lot of potential.

Well, that's probably all I care to tell you for now. I'll try to work on updating the pictures soon, like within the next year or so.

I'm still here PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Friday, 06 August 2010 19:35

At this point, it has been nearly a year since I last submitted an article. I considered using the excuse that nothing has happened in the last year, so that's why I haven't written, but we all know that's a lie. The truth is lots has happened, and actually that is why I haven't written. The twins are getting bigger, and oh yeah, we have another one on the way. Just one this time. She's a girl. I'm not going to fill you in on all that I've done right now, it would take too long, but I will tell you that I did recently build a larger persistence of vision setup, and there might be a laser in my future.

How's that for a teaser?

Now to wait for comments... I'm guessing my readership has dropped significantly in the last year. :-)

Last Updated on Friday, 06 August 2010 19:35
Vacation! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Saturday, 15 August 2009 15:02

Not that anyone cares, but this past week I was on vacation. I didn't go anywhere, but that was the point. I stayed home and did stuff around the house to combat the forces of entropy. The first task was to fix the leaky bath tub drain that was creating a water spot in the ceiling of our garage. Saturday morning I cut into the ceiling to see what I could see. I saw a leak. Then I looked over and saw a bigger leak. The bigger leak was a cause for concern in that it was from a supply line and was a corroded copper pipe. It looked like this:

 This is not good.


Note the abundance of greenish stuff. That would be a copper compound that forms from the reaction of copper pipes with other chemicals. Now normally I don't have too much against chemistry, especially reactions that occur on their own without the need for excessive nudging by scientists like me, but when the reaction means that copper which should be directing water to my shower is fooling around with oxygen and neglecting its duties, I feel that I need to interfere. So I interfered with extreme prejudice. I cut out all of the copper joints and replaced them with shiney new copper. Soldering copper pipe was a new experience for me, usually I'm soldering copper traces on circuit boards, but hey, I get to use a torch, so what could go wrong? 

I know, you're expecting some humorous story about how everything went wrong and it took me all week to fix one little plumbing leak. Sorry, nothing went wrong. I soldered it all up and it didn't leak when I turned the water back on. Even though I got it right the first time, I was glad to have my father-in-law looking over my shoulder and answering questions when I had them. He seemed impressed, and maybe even a little disappointed that nothing leaked. Still, it was good to have someone who has done a lot of plumbing in the past on hand should something have gone wrong. Oh yeah, and I fixed the bath tub leak too. It just required some plumber's putty. Good stuff, that putty.

So the plumbing was all finished by Monday evening. What did I do the rest of the week you ask? Well, I fixed the shutters on the front of the house. I painted all of the trim on the front of the house. I dri-locked all of the concrete block around the house. I got my driveway sealed.  I fixed my brother's computer. I went to the zoo. I removed old outdoor Christmas light clips from the house. I painted the mailbox. I fixed a leaky toilet. I mowed the grass. I played with babies. I ate Greek food. I spent a few days at the farm. I helped pick up bales of straw ( I drove the tractor.) I burned stuff.  And I read a book. 

All in all it was a good week off. I could really use another like it so that I could get more stuff done. Maybe even get some more baby pictures posted, after all, there are some new teeth to show off! 

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 August 2009 06:45
Nothing to report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 10:01

I've got nothing to report. Nothing unusual or even terribly exciting has been happening. My days start out at 6:15 when my bed side lamp turns on. (Yes, it does it on it's own. Why are you so surprised? This is the year 2009! We should all have lamps that turn on by themselves by now.) Fifteen  minutes later my alarm timidly goes off for a few seconds before it is subjected to some harsh treatment. I must commend it on its perseverance considering that it still goes off most mornings even though it is fully aware of the bludgeoning that awaits it. Once I finally get up I start my "get ready for work" routine. I brush my teeth, shave* and shower. (*Shaving is optional.) Then I try to pick out some clothes that will match the type of work I'll be doing for that day. I'm usually wrong and end up doing manual labor and am soaked in sweat while wearing my good clothes and dress shoes. Anyway, I go to work and work. Once that's done I come home and try to relieve Shannah from baby duty for a little bit. Then the next thing I know it is bed time and I get to do it all over again. So there you have it, nothing to report and you now know more details about my life than you  should.

 But since you read this far I'll reward you with some new pictures of the babies (who have started smiling!) 

 New Baby Pictures

Groundhog Day 2009


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2009 10:18
Latest Project PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Sunday, 26 October 2008 14:02

So here I am just weeks away from the arrival of twins with a weekend free from plans. I have no commitments. I can do what I want. So what did I do? I built a miniature clean room, of course!

 For those of you who don't know what a clean room is, a clean room is a space that has a constant flow of air from a HEPA (High Efficiency Pleated Air) filter that in turn displaces all of the dirty air that was in that space. This space is now effectively dust-free. There are different levels of clean, but I suspect that my area will be capable of better than Class 100,000 when all is said and done. (This may even be a conservative estimate.) I got my HEPA filter from a Class 100 clean room that was replacing their filters, but even though it is used, it should still provide me with some good clean air. 

 What's that? You say you don't really understand a lot of that last paragraph? I started throwing around technical jargon? Okay, let me guess. That whole Class 100,000 thing was the problem wasn't it? A clean room is rated by the number of 0.5 micron particles in a cubic foot of air. (A micron is approximately one one-hundredth of the width of a human hair. I'm not sure what it is in cow hairs. Sorry, Alan.) For reference, I believe that normal outside air is rated at around Class 5,000,000. So if I can get to class 100,000 or even Class 10,000  then I will have a much cleaner space.

Clean is good, right? Of course it is! But why do I need a space that clean? It's all for my camera! Digital SLR cameras have removable lenses that can allow dust to sneak in and settle on the sensor. When this happens I end up with little spots on my pictures. I don't like these spots, so occasionally I need to clean my sensor. The problem is that if I clean the sensor someplace that is not clean, then I can end up with a dirtier sensor than I started with. 

Okay, if you have read to this point then you obviously have a high tolerance for boredom, which I respect, or you are creepily interested in the mundane details of my life, which scares me. Either way, I'm going to reward you with a picture of my new clean room. Enjoy!

My single HEPA filter clean bench.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 October 2008 14:09

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