04 Sep 2011 @ 6:01 PM 

Well folks, it’s been a while since I last updated this site, but after a long hiatus, here I am, still alive, slightly worse for wear, old enough to know better, yet still young enough not to care…

Now that I have your undivided attention, let me tell you about my most recent project which I refer to as ‘the most complicated and useless project I have ever finished’ (not a direct quote).  Those of you who actually know me in person might ask yourselves if the final result of this project is actually more pointless than my Homer Simpson Chia Pet video.  When people ask me dumb questions like that, I realize that when I have too much time on my hands, people tell me that I should get a hobby, and then when I get a hobby, people start telling me I have too much time on my hands.  It’s just a classic example of ‘Haters gonna hate on my arduino powered useless machine’.  I’m sure that it’s a common problem and that I’m not the only person it happens to.

So this is my Useless machine video.  It really is quite the piece of equipment.  A marvel of manufacturing ability that can be obtained without power tools, within the confines of my small bedroom.  The project took me about 70 hours in total over the course of 4 weeks.  Much of that time was spent sawing, sanding, gluing and nailing, but much of it was also spend soldering, tinkering, and programming the instructions for the Arduino Microprocessor which functions as the brain for the entire contraption.  And when I say microprocesser, I mean that this little device is actually an intelligent robot which is capable of learning about it’s environment with the intention of performing a specific task.

I enjoyed working with the Arduino and figuring out the ins and outs of the various sensors.  It’s quite interesting.  In the very near future, I am sure that I will purchase another Arduino board.  I am not entirely positive what my next project will be but I do have a few ideas that I am considering.

Much thanks to the people at http://saskview.com/ for sharing my video on their site.  I’m getting an average of 60 views per day on this video, and quite a few of them are coming from you guys, so much thanks for that.

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 07 Mar 2010 @ 8:37 PM 

Public Function Weekend(byref intNumberOfDaysOff) as Object

--for count = 0 to intNumberOfDaysOff
------DoSomething()
----if count < intNumberOfDaysOff then
------WScript.Sleep(Int((43200000 – 14400000) * rnd + 14400000)
----else
----WScript.Sleep(Int((32400000 – 25200000) * rnd + 25200000)
----end if
----next

----Weekend = “Go back to Work”
End Function

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Posted By: admin
Last Edit: 07 Mar 2010 @ 08:48 PM

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 29 Sep 2009 @ 2:05 PM 

I looked at my Homer Simpson Chia Pet Time Lapse tonight and noticed that was ‘allegedly’* the 999th viewer.

A few months back I got a Homer Simpson Chia Pet.  Having prior Chia Pet experience on my resume, I already knew that they leak like a siv and i figured painting it would keep the water in.  I picked out a nice enamel paint, which was Homer Simpson yellow.  The water leaked through the terracotta pot and separated the paint from the pot, which formed as bubbles in the paint.  A few modifications later and I got the pot to hold water without leaking at all, and the paint didn’t bubble anymore.  Having gone this far, I wanted to make the Chia Pet completely self sustaining.  I didn’t want to be watering it at all, I just wanted it to grow.

I figured if I was going to go so far as to get a fish tank pump involved, I needed something more than the satisfaction of watching it grow once.  Thats where the photographs come in.  I started looking in to time lapse photography a little bit, and I found a few solutions, but nothing that would record for anything more than a few hours at a time.  This thing is gonna take 6 weeks to grow.  Resetting the camera every three hours doesn’t sound appealing when I already have a fish tank pump keeping Homers head full of water 24 hours a day.

More on that later.  Don’t let the suspense keep you awake at night.

* I say allegedly because I’m not entirely sure how that number gets updated, but it doesn’t seem to happen in real time.  Maybe it does it every few hours or something.
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 13 Sep 2009 @ 11:35 AM 

I had to bring this photo to you.  This is a rubber ducky of epic proportions.  I saw photos of this giant duck from a few different angles so if it *is* a photoshop job, it’s the most elaborate photochop job ever.

An epically large rubber duck

Seeing this giant rubber ducky balloon, I quickly followed the logical train of thought and started thinking how great it would be if the ducky were actually sea worthy.  It looks like this particular duck is a giant balloon similar to what you see in the Macy’s day parade.  Big balloon doesn’t work for me.  I’m looking for a 250 foot duck made with rubber 3 feet thick.  The giant rubber ducky will have just enough weight in the bottom that the ducky will ‘weeble in the ocean but it wont fall down’.

Now building a giant rubber ducky, capable of floating across the Atlantic would be awesome but it would be completely useless if we didn’t go all the way by dragging it out to the middle of the ocean and letting the giant duck float it’s way around the world.

If we’re going through all the trouble to make one of these giant rubber duckies, we might as well make a dozen of them.  We will tow a dozen giant rubber duckies out to the middle of the ocean and let them float away.  Meteorologists can place wagers on where the ducks wash up on shore and how long it it will take.  I’m sure the scientific value is huge and compared to the price of some new piece of technology it’s fairly inexpensive plus, the ducky data will be true to life accurate.

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 10 Sep 2009 @ 7:32 PM 

To me, there may not be anything more American than an outright vulgar display of power.  In this video clip obtained through foxnews.com, NASA does a test firing of the Ares booster rocket that will be used to send astronauts into space, and eventually back to the moon.

NASA is developing new booster rockets, and new space capsules that are planned to replace the current space shuttle design that we have all seen for many years now.  I don’t know what the new capsule will look like, or whether it will be reminiscent of the airplane style shuttle with the big red hydrogen tank and two booster rockets.

In the video below, NASA does a test firing in Promontory, Utah.  The booster spits massive amounts of raw thrust for roughly 2 minutes.  You can see dirt and dust being picked up from the thrust, even a few hundred feet in front of the rocket.  I can’t even imagine how they mounted this rocket to the earth so it wouldn’t move.  They must have a reinforced concrete slab that goes a mile down.

I hope they didn’t effect the rotation of the earth with this thing.  I really don’t want to have to adjust daylight savings time again.  Or then, maybe twice a year we should fire 20 of these bad boys all at once, adjusting the rotation of the earth by exactly one hour at 2:00am.  It does make sense.  There are about 750 billion clocks that need to be adjusted, but only 1 earth to readjust.  I’ll let NASA do the math.

Click the icon Full screen Video Button Icon to see full screen video without leaving my blog.

When you see this video, you might ask yourself,  “How much did this outright vulgar display of power cost?” and you would be asking a good question.  Good questions deserve answers.  Some answers are probably classified.  Either way, I don’t have that number for you.  If you really care, go ahead and look it up and let me know, but I bet it’s a large number.  Another good question is “Who paid for it?”.  That one probably isn’t ‘top secret’ but I don’t have an answer for that either.  Looking at my federal budget article I don’t see anything about 3.6 million foot pounds of thrust.

Some people are definitely asking the question lately, “With our current economy, should we really be spending money on this?”.  The answer is yes.  yes were should.  As for space exploration, Rick Moranis put it best in the 1987 movie SpaceBalls when he said “We can’t stop.  We’ve got to slow down first”.  And he is right.  We cant stop, but slowing down might not be a bad idea.  Maybe they even have slowed down.  Thats one of the things about “Top Secret”.  It’s classified.

Do not attempt to adjust your monitor. The video is actually posted in fast forward. I appreciated it that way because I already know the movie.  I’ve probably seen it a gazillion times. Watching the whole scene in just over a minute works for me.  I know whats going to happen already and I still want to watch it again.  It saves me time.  Technology has actually increased the value of that particular movie.

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 10 Sep 2009 @ 11:03 AM 

Me, I like charts and graphs. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of any systems I don’t like where numbers are presented to me as graphics, making them easier to read quickly. Even when the numbers being presented are really bad, I still appreciate the chart it’s self. Don’t hate the chart, hate the numbers, and if the person responsible for the bad numbers brought you the chart, then you can hate that person too.

I looked at Google’s Federal Unemployment Utility today, I didn’t spend any time comparing the different states, or dwelling over the past 2 years.  This time I actually unfocused my eyes a little and looked at the whole chart.  I looked at it and said to myself, “Self, the last time unemployment was close to where it is now was 18 years ago back in 1992.  Then I said to myself, “Self, wasn’t George Bush Sr the president in 1992?”.  Sure enough.  Bushonomics I do believe.

Not to intentionally bring up the concept of socialism or any flavors of communism but when I saw this chart, my immediate title for the article was “History repeats itself”.  The full quote from Karl Marx was “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”.  I think most people can grasp the concept that if the September 11th disaster on Bush’s watch was a tragedy, then clearly the re-election of Bush through questionable circumstances in 2004 is the farce.  Not to mention that he was originally elected in 2000 though questionable circumstances in the first place.  Neither of those events have much to do with what happened in the early 90′s though aside from DNA.

I intentionally didn’t include Barack Obama in this little chart because those of you who follow my blog have been informed that the 2009 financial disaster was already planned before Obama even won the election.  We wont know what Obamonomics means for at least a year but I am glad that I told you 2009 isn’t his fault.  The value of the US dollar and the federal unemployment rate are measurements of two different systems, but there is a relationship between them, especially in early 2009.  Inverse is the only word to describe it.

I didn’t put this article together to draw up hatred towards the Bush’s.  At this point it would only be counter productive.  There isn’t a lot more damage those two can do anymore, though it *might* be a good idea if the family stops reproducing just in case.  I was more interested in just sharing what I happened to come across tonight, and what better a place to do it than a blog.

Unemployment Rate by president

Click on the image to see a larger view

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 04 Sep 2009 @ 1:14 AM 

I found a really neat website that takes you through the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.  It is put together in flash, and it’s pretty impressive.  You can go through the various phases of the mission as the module drifts closer to the moons orbit.  As you move between stages, they have some really neat 3D modeled animations of the rocket taking off, and separating in orbit.  Sorry Linux users.  The background audio appears to be the transmissions from mission control.  I listened to stage 2 and 3 for a while, and it didn’t seem to me that the audio was looping or repeating.  It’s a pretty good site.  Not all that useful or functional though.

You can hear mission control saying coll stuff like:

“We are through the region of maximum dynamic pressure now.”

or

“The booster has been configured for orbital *unintelligible mumble*”

and of course the classic

“Stand by for mode 1 Charlie”

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 02 Sep 2009 @ 10:52 AM 

The NCSC (National Cyber Security Center), a division of the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) announced recently that they will be building a wiki to facilitate collaboration between federal agents working on cyber security.

It looks like the wiki will be used by several federal agencies aside from the NCSC, and it will be used to develop and share documented procedures and standards for federal networks and data systems.  This is a big step forward.  More to come I’m sure.

Original article here from InformationWeek

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 27 Aug 2009 @ 1:03 PM 

The Govinator is doing some end of summer cleaning on California’s proverbial closets and garages.  Items will be placed on EBAY over the next few days.  To boost sales, good old Arnold is autographing many of  the auctioned goods.

To me, Arnold’s signature on the visor of a 2002 Ford Focus isn’t all that tempting of an offer.  Granted it *is* a piece if history, but not the most exciting artifact I can think of.  The car has a suggested retail value of $4,885, if it’s in “excellent” condition.  That particular vehicle sold for $3,550.01.  It’s combined gas mileage is estimated at 28 mpg, and Arnold’s signature may have actually lowered the sale price by about $65, which coincidentally is the c0st of replacing the visors.

Now Arnold, are you really trying to tell me that there aren’t any of those huge SUV truck things laying around from last year when you could afford them?  You must have a few 2008 Ford Apocalypse’s laying around with DVD players and Navigation Systems built in.  You know the one’s I’m talking about.  The one’s that came with that 14 mpg option from the factory.  I know your Caliafornia and all, but seriously, selling just one of those behemoths would have the same impact as selling 10 of these jokes your putting on Ebay, and from what I can see, it looks like there are only 6 cars on the auction block.

Original article here.

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 25 Aug 2009 @ 4:37 PM 

You have to love the midwest.

In Chesterfield, Missouri, the countries ‘largest’ HUMMER dealer has started selling firearms in the same showroom where they sell the 6,000 pound SUVs.

At first thought it seemed like an ill conceived plan to me, but then as I looked into it I began to realize that guns and trucks make perfect sense together, depending on the population density. I wouldn’t recommend setting up this shop in Brooklyn or Queens, but a suburb of Saint Louis might be OK.  Judging from the info that I looked up about Chesterfeild, MO, it might be ok.  I didn’t look into it’s greater area at all for demographics and stuff, but I do know that St. Louis is in the midwest.

A friend of mine once told me that when it’s Thursday in New York City, it’s 1987 in Missouri.  This seems like a very progressive step for 1987.  I’m still not sure if I like it or not though.

View Articles Here and Here.

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Posted By: admin
Last Edit: 25 Aug 2009 @ 05:00 PM

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