The View PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Sunday, 01 June 2008 10:38

We're here in SC relaxing for a week and this is what we can see out our window.


 This should be a relaxing week... we'll be bored.

A New Hobby? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Thursday, 22 May 2008 17:59

I've been researching a new electronic gadget for the last few days that seems to have a lot of potential. It is called an Arduino. This is an open source microcontroller platform that can be easily programs through USB and then used to read input and write to outputs. There seem to be a lot of add-ons for the board as well that expand the capabilities even more. I decided to buy one, they only sell for $35 assembled, but the plans are open so if I had wanted I could have built my own circuit board and soldered all of the components on myself. Since it would probably not be a good use of my time at work to use the company resources to do such a thing, I decided to just buy one. I'm not really sure what I'll do with it. The possibilities are pretty wide open. I've though about doing some home automation projects to see if I can improve on my current X10 based system which is less than ideal. I've seen some references to photography hacks with this things such as controlling a flash unit so that it flashes when it senses a loud noise like a balloon popping. It makes for an interesting picture. I've even seen a kit that lets you build your own mp3 player. While all these things are cool, the biggest reason to play around with this is to boost my geek street cred. I wouldn't want those Honda engineers to think that I'm not fully geeked out. :-)

 There is even a new version of the Arduino that is coming out in June that is much smaller than the model I'm buying. Here are some pictures:

 Arduino DiecimilaArduino Nano


If you want more, just google Arduino. 

Spring Cleaning PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Saturday, 26 April 2008 09:48

With Spring upon us, I find in myself a controllable urge to clean up the clutter that has accumulated in the lesser traveled regions of my house. (Yes, I mean controllable, I find television quite effective at dousing the urge.) The vast wasteland that is my basement has been the primary target. Over the fall and winter I tackled a few projects that made the more traveled regions of my house much nicer, but banished lots of older furniture and other items to the basement. These refugees have been collecting dust (literally) in the basement for a while now: faded specters of their previous shining glory. A corner computer desk, once a sensible purchase with the ingenious geometry to tame the monstrosity of a 19" CRT monitor, now abandoned, replaced by a new counter top more than capable of supporting the sporty new LCD monitors. Two desk chairs, good for sitting on, not much else, replaced by two new chairs, better for sitting on, but still not real multi-taskers. Remnants of drywall and plywood litter the landscape. The left-overs from projects that could find no place for these scraps. All of these have made their way to the cold, dimly lit basement. Waiting there for the warmness of spring and the gentle caress of the garbage man.

Lest you think I am not green. (In fact I'm much more of a peachy color.) I am not tossing these things out to become utterly worthless to anyone but rats and mold. No, I've kept them, hoping all along that I can find a good home for these once useful items. Despite what you may think, there is hope. Just this week I duped a coworker into taking gave the desk away. He seemed quite happy to have it for his soon to be finished basement. Now I need to find a good home for a couple of desk chairs. These chairs were actually adopted by me several years ago. One was rescued from certain disposal when a friend from college decided she no longer wanted the chair. Being cheap charitable and kind hearted by nature, I offered to give the chair a home. The second chair is a similar story, but came from my in-laws. Recently we purchased two new matching (and very comfortable) desk chairs to sit at the new computer command center. Considering that there are only two butts that live in our house, our chair to butt ratio is quite high, so we are also looking to rid ourselves of these older chairs. They are still living in our basement, but are up for adoption. Any takers? (btw, these chairs are pictured in command center link.) 

 In addition to ridding my basement of the furniture refugees, I am also attempting to organize my tools. Thus begins the peg-board saga. I am only in the preliminary stages of organization, but I have high hopes for an empire of peg-board. But that's a blog for another day. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 April 2008 10:39
Mowing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Tuesday, 15 April 2008 20:53
And just like that, it is mowing season again. This evening was the first mow of the season. It was actually almost enjoyable, but I doubt that the pleasure will last. It is always nice to cut the lawn and marvel at how much better it looks to be cut evenly. This morning we had frost on the yard and this evening it looked full and lush like a summer yard. I suppose that it is the time of the year where I need to force my interest in one of my psuedo-hobbies: gardening. It's not that I really enjoy it. Waiting on grass to grow is a bit slow paced for me. I have found that by elevated yard work from chore to hobby causes me to enjoy it for a little while and to put a little more pride in the task. (I suppose the egotistical narcissist in me also relishes the thought of having the best yard on the street.) Now I just need to get excited about edging, weed control and mulch and I'll have a well landscaped yard. Okay, I guess I don't really have much more to say about yard-work as a hobby, but that's probably a good thing. Seriously, think about it. I'm blogging about mowing grass and you are reading it! Which one of us is worse? Tongue out
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2008 20:39
The problem of blogging. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Thursday, 10 April 2008 19:47

Here I go again with what could be considered my third attempt at blogging. In all likelihood I'll eventually grow bored with it again. Considering that lots of other people do blog continuously quite successfully, it seems that the problem must lie with me. Am I not "blogger material?" Do I lack a certain innate ability to spill my heart and soul to the total strangers that live on the internet? (And yes, I do mean strangers. Have you been to youtube? People think that I want to watch them lip-sync Weird Al songs!) Maybe I just have nothing of great interest to say... Personally, I don't think that is the case. I know lots of cool stuff and I get to work with really neat things at my job! (Editor's note: Eric's definition of cool may not align with the definition shared by the general public.)(Disclaimer: Eric is the editor.)


Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2008 10:33
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