Tag: projects

  1. Rapid prototyping a violin.

    30 August 2009

    Rapid prototyping and fabrication are one of those technologies that you don’t appreciate (or even know are in use) until you walk into someplace like the Boston Fab Lab at MIT and run into them face-first. Things we buy in the store just sort of pop into being without the consumer knowing anything about how they were made, be it by injecting liquid plastic into a mold or using a robot to mill a block of metal into an intricate shape. Anyway, a student named Mark used a ShopBot CNC machine (the best way to describe one is a …

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  2. Affordable personal satellites now available, launch included.

    03 August 2009

    It is a long standing tradition among the amateur radio community to construct whatever you need to get the job done if you can’t acquire it somehow. In fact, the basic training you need to get a ham license includes some electrical engineering and electronics theory, assuming that you don’t already possess this knowledge. Some hams have even gone so far as to design and construct satellites to facilitate shortwave communication around the planet, helpfully launched by space agencies where they serve as ballast for other orbital insertions. It would seem that negotiating for help from NASA is …

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  3. You're probably wondering where I've been lately.

    26 June 2009

    By and large, work has been, well, work.  Lots of hours at the office, lots of hours stuck in traffic sweating like Kevin Mitnick during a traffic stop.  When I haven't been logging time behind a console, I've either been trying to get my head back into Python coding (try as I might, I just don't understand GUI programming in general or PyGTK in particular), reading data sheets, reading up on the Arduino microcontroller, or pulling a Tesla while pondering the best way to build my latest obsession, a laser synthtar.

    You see, it all started at HacDC a couple …

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  4. The nice thing about metrics is that there are so many to choose from.

    01 June 2009

    One of the many buzzwords that you hear in the discipline of software engineering is metrics. They're supposed to be a measure of how effectively your coders are functioning based upon how many lines of code they write a day, how many bugs they make (for some value of 'bug'), how reusable their code is, how much money per line of code your project is burning through, or some other arcane measurement. The numbers are generated through techniques that appear to have more in common with gematria than with engineering and make managers salivate with glee (or rabies). The theory …

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  5. Lost weeks.

    30 March 2009

    I haven't been posting lately due to the fact Real Life (tm) has been keeping me away from the Net and generally too busy to write about what's been going on. Two weekends ago Lyssa and I spent the weekend with Solo of the Lost Boys and Shimizu, the latter of whom was in town for a couple of weeks. No one's seen any of the Lost Boys for a few months, so we jumped at the chance to hang out and talk shop for a couple of days. We spent much of that weekend running around northern Virginia, discussing …

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  6. Birthday weekend in review.

    15 February 2009

    Lyssa and I started off our Valentine's Day by getting up far earlier than should be allowed by law on a Saturday morning to go to our local H&R Block office to finish getting our taxes done. That morning marked our second trip to get our finances straightened out in Uncle Sam's eyes. I'm sorry to say that our combined medical expenses for FY 2008 weren't enough to earn a deduction, though the repeated trips to the thrift store to get rid of stuff appear to have come in handy. There is a question these days over how many …

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  7. Work progresses on the sonic screwdriver.

    27 August 2008

    One of the main reasons that I've been hanging out at HacDC lately is the fact that they've got a pretty well stocked electronics lab in the loft. There are shelves on the walls holding parts for sale and parts that have been salvaged from discarded equipment, boxes and boxes of spare everything you can imagine, and a couple of racks of power tools and other sundry equipment... in short, all stuff I don't have at my apartment.

    More the point, the HacDC loft is a place where I can safely work on projects and not mess up the environment …

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  8. Catching up before I go.

    14 July 2008

    Work's had me running around a bit more than usual lately, which has put a serious crimp in my time to write, let alone keep up with current events. I don't know how much time I'll have this week because I have wedding-type running around to take care of, on top of getting ready to travel to the city that never sleeps - good old New York City to attend what could be the last HOPE conference organized and thrown by 2600 Magazine. As one might expect, available time allocated to sleeping, resting up, or getting other stuff done has been …

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  9. Happy (belated) Fourth of July, everyone.

    07 July 2008

    Contrary to most years, my Fourth of July weekend was far lower in impact and more relaxing this time around than it usually is. I've been running short on sleep for a while now and made up for all of that by sleeping as long as I possibly could, over thirty hours in total spread over three days (plus a two hour power doze (like a power nap, only I never actually fell asleep but instead elfnapped, the way I do when I'm on the road) on Saturday afternoon). I actually feel refreshed and clear-headed for the first time in …

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  10. Last weekend, by this weekend.

    03 July 2008

    Late on Friday afternoon, Lyssa and I hurriedly packed our bags, jumped into the TARDIS, and set course northward once again for southwestern Pennsylvania and the general direction of home. As I've alluded to a few times, we're getting married in October and thus there are many plans to make, things to get, and arrangements to hammer out. In the early twenty-first century we can do many of these things over the net or on the telephone, but sometimes matters require the up close and personal touch. Things like tasting samples of wedding cake and taking recon photographs of the …

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