Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Well, I have been working on my lab desk/work bench, so here is an update.

This coffee table was my first attempt at serious carpentry. I used a lot of my dad's equipment, and I worked on it over a longer period of time than the lab desk/work bench I am working on now.

Coffee Table picture #1

Coffee table picture #2

With the coffee table, I used biscuits and made the top out of 1 x4. Since that was a lot of work and I noticed that Home Depot had 24 x 48 x 1 and 24 x 72 x 1 on sale, I figured that I would save myself some trouble this time. The coffee table was made out of Poplar, but I choose Pine for the lab desk/work bench becuase it was cheaper and was available in the sizes above. I don't know if that is going to come back and bite me because Pine is a pretty soft wood. I am using some 2 x 1 to stabilize the table. I placed them all the way around the table as well as one in the middle. I don't know how much stability this will add, but I think it will help it to look a little better.
Here is the Dewalt Biscuit cutter that I "lifted" from my dad when we went home for Thanksgiving, haha. (I used this one and a smaller biscuit cutter for the coffee table.)
This is the 4 foot piece. I did not have any clamps at the time so I just put the 6 foot piece on top and a lot of heavy stuff. I was not very happy with the results since there were a lot of gaps between boards, and it just did not look at good as I thought it would. So when I did the 6 foot piece, I bought some clamps. I guess the wood quailty is not very good or maybe I should have sanded the wood down. At any rate, the results were marginally better with the 6 foot piece than with the 4 foot piece.
The plan is to make an "L" shaped desk. Orginally, I was going to have it be a symmetrical "L", but I don't have room for that in our office/lab room. So I am going to have to lay it out so that the desk will be 8x4 on the outside and 6x2 on the inside. Hopefully, that will work out.

I am going to set up an Instructable. I am hoping that I can get some good ideas for constructing the legs and also for attaching the two desk/bench sides together without a leg in the middle of the "L".

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Here is a quick update:
We decided to take a "Family" Photo on Sunday so here are two of the takes.Asa Kisses

The Family Picture

Have Fun.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's up ppl?

I have no idea how many people even read my blog, but I will still forge on.

Not that much has happened over the last two months. I had knee surgery in October so I am still limping around a little. My main concern is that I am healthy by June for Amazing Race. Noelle and I are going to apply to be on the show. We will see what happens, but you never know...Someone has to be on the show.

The remodeling of the house has stepped up a notch. Noelle has almost finished the Living and Dining rooms, and I bought a bunch of wood to build my desk, so that is encouraging. I will post the process of building the desk, along with pictures. Maybe I can get on the Make blog, which would be cool.

One cool thing is that Instructables implemented a version of my Maker's Forge idea. You can have your project listed as a collaberation so other people can join. The only issue I have is that it seems you have to have a good portion of the project started, and there is no way of advertising roles that are needed. However, it is a great step in the direction that I envisioned.

If I can get the desk done by Christmas, I am hoping to set up a little electronics work bench. I am hoping to get a Fluke DMM for Christmas and maybe a soldering iron and an Arduino.

The ultimate goal would be to create a little garden with some sensors in it. Temperature, mositure, then a watering device. It would be awesome to create some sort of robot that could pick the fruit, i.e. strawberries. The biggest problem that I have with robotics is that good GPS is very expensive, i.e. +- 2-3 inches. I think if there was a cheaper solution, then this would revolutionize the medium size robotics industry -- lawnmowers, street cleaners, even something like a strawberry picker in a large field.

P.S. -- Noelle did all my spelling and grammar checking, so hopefully this reads alot better than some of my other posts.

Take em' to the bridge

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Well, it has been a heck of a month. Noelle went to HH(Hilton Head) for a staff retreat so I got the house to myself for the weekend of the 8th. Guess what happens when she leaves me alone? I go out and tear my ACL playing football, nice. So I was a total bum and did not get anything done on our house, and I spent the rest of the weekend laying on the couch playing WoW. Now I have to prepare for the surgery on the 18th of October so that is going to be fun. The Doc said 2-weeks on crutches and 4 weeks til biking and 4 months till running and ~12 months until contact sports.

Well My Guild in WoW is great, Darkside of Death.
On the weekend that I hurt my knee I was able to run some of the raid instances with the Guild and that was pretty cool.

This Section is to the Members of DoD.
Noldor's Thoughts/Improvements (Please take everything I say with a grain of Salt)

A. It would be cool to have a forum site so that we could post topics to discuss, kind of like some of the things that will follow.

B. I think the Moonkin Looting System is pretty good.
Here are some tweaks:
Some people have mentioned the idea on Choosing how much CP they want to roll
i.e. Dazzed has 60 but he does not want to risk all of it.
The solution that I would suggest is that members can choose how much they want to roll but it has to be at least 50% of their accrued CP.
Hunter example:

Ellwinn has 120 CP, but only 100CP to roll see above.
Noldor has 70Cp
Caevyan has 37CP

Ell has to roll at least 50, Nol 35 and Caev 18(round up)

No matter what Ell has an advantage because he has done more raids or won less items.
Then the Blastershot Launcher drops, Holllly Craaaap.

I messed around this a couple Ideas but the best thing I think would be the character to whisper the Raid Leader there Bids, then the Raid leader would Roll for them based on the Bid.
This keeps people from bidding just over the previous person that rolls, but I don't know if that is exactly wrong but blind bidding would keep everyone honest.

If there is a single Class toon in a raid and an item drops that is a CP roll they can either take an automatic 50% CP cost or they can roll from their total CP both have the same outcome math wise.
(if Ell is the only Hunter, then he can choose to lose 50 or roll out of 100)

C. Multiple Drops for one toon/class in the raid.
Thoughts to think about: if Instance CP are separated then drop rules should be separated by instance. ie a CP roll for each instance or have global CP. It seems a bit inconsistent but just a though.

I had the wonderful joy and heartache of being the only hunter in a Raid that dropped 4 Hunter eligible items. one was for a couple of Classes the other three were for just hunters.
I rolled on the first item and won it. Then some gloves dropped and I won that by default because I was the only hunter. Then this dropped. According to the rules, since I have won a CP and Default I could not get the bow, so the bow was rolled on by the rogues. Later some boots drop, I guess I got them out of pity because I was not able to get the bow. All in all, I came out of the Raid very well equipped and fairly happy but not overjoyed.

Since that Raid, multiple items have dropped for one class and either no one needs it but one person or there is only one of that class in the raid.
I don't know if these situation are just random instances or will keep happening, but the solution I would suggest would be to hold all rolls until the end of the Raid. I would have happily not rolled on the Drape if I would have a chance at the bow. I have no immediate use for the Drape because of my CC rep standings, but I could put the bow to great use, thus benefiting the Guild and that Raid.

Exception: Toon X has to leave and they want to roll on something. Everyone eligible for that item rolls and Toon X is not allowed back in the raid even if they come back online later, whether they win or not.

D. MC Raiders, hahaha
I think we have a great group of people that have a bunch of interests, and we are not forced into any one event. I enjoy doing the 20-man raid, probably more if we could shorten them a bit, and I am looking forward to the 25-man raids. I think this falls in line with where our guild is at character wise. I have heard many horror stories about MC from my wife, Caevyan and other guildies. I haven't done MC myself so I will make that judgment this coming weekend when we do our first run.

Couple of issues:
With the Xpac coming, why not continue to do well in ZG and improve in ZQ20?
Depending on how many people get the Xpac in our Guild, many people will be exploring the new 5-man instances and trying to level to 70. As long as it takes to get organized before a ZG boss, I have heard it is a lot worse in MC. I have no desire to sit around for 10minutes or longer before attacking the boss.
I guess my main issue is actively recruiting to increase our guild size when it is not going to be needed in the future and we really don't know the quality of the persons entering. Guildies inviting friends or other toons that they have an active relationship with seems to be the way to go, as opposed to posting a job application.

We will see how MC goes this weekend, but I think we should concentrate on ZG and AQ20. I think MC is a really good option once we get some toons in the upper 60s then we can do it in smaller numbers. This all depends on the new loot that is dropped from the new 5-mans because it might not matter.

E. I would think that people might get slightly upset at me because of this request but it is just a suggestion and I am just trying to improve guild dialogue.

I think that some of the chat and messaging is a bit over the top. i.e. the sexually explicit stuff. When Father says his ass hurts because of the chair that is all it means, I have no problem with making fun of him in jest (saying he has a big ass). But the way the conversation went was not in the best interest of the guild. Sometimes we can have the coolest conversation talking about Pop culture and personal interests, but I would just like to ask that the sexually explicit talk be curtailed a little. This is not a shot at anyone, any age, any gender, but just a request.

So I have said my piece so I will keep my peace.
I really enjoy being in this guild that was one awesome fight taking down Hakkar, I hope we can do it again soon.

please give me your thoughts


Thursday, August 10, 2006

It has been almost three months

Over the last month Noelle and I have moved into an apartment/condo. All the apartments are old army barracks from the 40s that have been changed into condos in the last 30 years. The current landlord has not done anything to it, and most of the condo has not been updated in 20 years. It was my decision to move to this condo, so I have to lay in the bed that I have made. We have finished priming the kitchen after spending 3 weeks sanding down everything in sight. With all the work that we have done on it, it makes me want to buy the place so we could flip the house. But all the wiring needs to be redone, which would be nasty. Almost all of the outlets in the house don't have a ground, just two terminals. There was a little bubble in the ceiling in the kitchen so I started picking at it. I picked a two foot hole in the ceiling. This house is so old it does not have dry wall just the chicken wire with plaster over it. Man that stuff is dangerous. My parents came up to help us move, so my dad helped us by patching up the hole. Right now the current crisis is that it seems the tub is leaking right above that point. I think it is because the seal around the drain got damaged this weekend while I was snaking the tub pipes. I hope that is not going to be a big deal to fix -- just some caulking. It is amazing how much information is online about your house. I looked and found how much our condo is worth and how much our landlord paid for it. Even how much all the houses around us have been selling for. I would really contemplate buying the house because it would be cool, but tiring and costly to flip it! Besides, Noelle is against it since we would be living in the house at the same time.

Well, I have been teaching myself Java and MySQL. I have been messing around with the GWT
Combined with CSS(which I did not know anything about). You can make some seriously cool sites. I am working on my Maker's Forge ------> Sourceforge meets Make magazine . I think I mentioned that idea in the previous post. I have a layout,user signup, and MySQL database with a password and login stored in it. I now have it set up so that you get an email with your password if you forget it. I don't know how I am going to do some of the other stuff, but I am glad that I am making progress. I have been slacking off the last couple of weeks and need to get back on it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Well, I would like to correct something. I missed quoted where the article on distributed computing came from in my last blog. The article is on the popsci website on Make. But I probably spend more time looking at the Make blog, they have links to all these cool projects that people are working on across the world. That theme is what I had in mind with the project Tomato but that kind of bombed on me and I did not update the last stage before my plants got eaten.

Well E3 was a couple a weeks ago, I guess I would be described as a Sony person but not to the point of the Fanboy. I was looking forward to the release of the PS3 information and demos. I am not anti Xbox (both) but I just never had the desire to play them at all. I am horrible at FPS even since I played Golden Eye in college. I enjoy EA games, RPGs and strategies. At my bachelor party(Dec 2002) we only had a Xbox along with madden. Usually I am pretty good(above average) but I just could not get use to the controller and I guess that has turn me off since.

Everyone seems to be busting on the Price of the PS3, but I think it will still sellout. I think ~6 million unit from Nov06- March07. There has to be 6 million people in the world that will buy one no matter the price, especially in Japan where the Xbox has never done well. I have never bought a system right away since the Sega Genesis. So I probably will not buy any system for awhile especially since Noelle(wife) and I are addicted to WoW and I need to upgrade my PC. I am running and Athlon XP2200, 1GB ram and 6600GT. WoW does well but I having so issue with it crashing or freezing the whole system, could be Windows. I am looking at dual cores I will probably go with a AMD, I am trying to decide whether to get an Opteron or an Athlon. Newegg is awesome. I go look at the site just to salivate at all the stuff I could build.

Noelle and I put are two month notice in to the Apartment Office. We are trying to find something close to DC so we don't have to have long metro rides. I average about 45 minutes and Noelle about a little more than an hour, one way. I would like to have a room of some sort ideally a garage in the end to do some experiments and work on all the projects that I have in my head.

My main project that I keep thinking about over and over is the gas cannon. I have come up with some more ideas. I don't know if any of these ideas make mathematical sense because I have not calculated them out, there may not be any validity to any of them. The old Gas Cannon idea just used on L shaped structure. I came up with the idea why not make it an X and the base and have the launch tube come out the cross section of the X. This way the O2 and H2 can be separated and compressed and we don't have to worry about the gas combining before it get ignited. The key is getting a good seal against the rocket so that he gas can be initial compressed. Just thinking about this right now make the Mind/Brain want to explode with enthusiasm about the potential of the cannon. I dream of going to space or revoluationizing the space industry, I guess I have been reading to many Space Operas. I just finished Alastair Reynolds 4 book series and I was pretty good. I read them on the Metro going to work and back home.

Living in the DC area has two effects on you, I want to be in politics because I think I can make a difference in all the stupidity around and second you get feed up with all the BS that happens here and what you hear about on the News.

If I were to run for office I would think that I would want to do something at the state level. It seems that a Governor could see their results and would not have to deal with the politics of the whole nation. I am sure that a Governor runs into all the same things as say the President but it is on a much smaller scope, at least for smaller states ie SC.

Being an Engineer, I would like to apply my hands-on knowledge as well as general knowledge to the office with a younger view. It absolutely befudles me that there are senators and reps that have been in office longer than I have been alive(I will be 27 on the 30th). I would call my platform the Conservative Technologist. Well I started this 12 hours ago and I am finishing it now while I am in the Q for WoW.

Seeya The Dude

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the Illimitable Superior Spirit who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
Albert Einstein

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ok people I have not updated my blog in about a month and half. I have just documented the transplanting of the tomatoes into 5 gallon buckets. But over the weekend, before I was able to post the update, some birds ate the tomato plants. I did not expect this at all. I have three small strawberry plants that are still living but I don't know what is going to happen to them.

On to some other subjects, I read an issue of Make magazine this weekend, they had an article about a guy that has combined AI and Genetic programming. Supposedly the cluster of 1000 computers breeds and weeds out ideas until it gets a solution or improvement to the problem. This idea was very fascinating to me, what ideas can this computer cluster come up with. The creator said that we wanted hard problems that he could give to the cluster to solve, he is currently working on an alternative to the Electoral College. I mean goodness gracious, find some thing more important to put your time to especially since this computer has such promise.

My suggestion: South Carolina Schools

Monday, February 27, 2006

Project Tomato

Well the tomato project is going pretty good. The tomatoes had been doing really well in their biodome – the lid. The pictures on the biodome website are very misleading or I did not do it correctly. On Friday, the tomatoes kind of started to fall over so I knew it was time to transplant them. I had been collecting 2-liter and 3-liter bottles: two 3-liter and two 2-liters. It will be interesting to see how the sets of bottles affect progress and quality of plants. My original plan was to glue the tops back on but leave a small hole for watering. However, the plants are bigger than I assumed and the top will probably hinder growth. I have thought about using them later as a kind of support but the plants will probably be needing another transplant to an even larger container by then.

Altered Bottles and Garden soil- fairly cheap at Wal-Mart. (oh no, I went to Wal-Mart.)

Well, I filled all three bottles with some soil. I had clipped off the baby leaves a couple of days prior, and I planted the tomatoes deep so that the stems will grow roots and support the tomatoes better. I think that I could have planted them a bit deeper, but I wanted room for the roots to grow.

Close up of the tomato plants

The final setup: We have a bathroom upstairs in the loft that we don’t use very much so I switched out the lights with garden bulbs. I used a probe thermometer back when I used a heating pad to assist the germination stage, and I used it just to check the temp. But I don’t know how I would use temp. information now. The blue green powder is some fertilizer that came with the biodome, but I can't tell if it does any good. The problem that I have had in the past was the amount of water and the frequency of watering. This first time, I watered with a ½ cup of lukewarm water and a 3-liter bottle cap of the fertilizer water. I have recorded the date and the amount, but I have to figure out when to water them again. Not that many people read this blog, if any, but if you have any gardening experience and run across this, please give me your thoughts/advice. This watering was done on Saturday, and on Sunday you could see the plants perk up a little bit and straighten out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It has been a while

Well it has been awhile since I posted, so let see what is going on.  In the sports world, BCS bowls happened, the SuperBowl happens this weekend and the Olympics starts in a couple weeks.  We hit a slow part of the sports calendar so I am not very opinionated about the sports right now.  I think signing day is today in College football, it would be nice if USC (South Carolina) could get some good recruits.  

Well on the WoW front, my wife and I both started PvP this past weekend.  I had been trying to get into the battlegrounds but my character was in the 30s(there are 60 levels in WoW).  I hit 40 on Sunday and I played Warsong Gulch like 6 times, 3 wins, 3 loses.  I was skeptical about how much fun it would be but once you get playing it starts to be addictive.  My wife is a good 10 levels above me but she played at 49.  She has had problems getting in since she hit 50.  I really want to get to 60 but I just don’t seem to play enough to get there faster.  We have owned the game since August and we took a month off when we moved so we have been playing about 5 months but I guess since we are sharing an account that is not bad.

I have been working on a couple of other ideas.  I have all these harebrained schemes but I seem to never follow thought with them or start them and don’t finish them.  I got three projects going right now.  The first is my Sports league wiki site.  When I moved here (to Virginia), I really wanted to get involved in the community especially in flag football and soccer indoor or outdoor.  I had a really hard time finding organization online with clear information about the leagues in this area.  The goal of this website is to facilitate communication between player and clubs of all kinds hopefully expanding to any state and city that anybody wants to post. I got the Media wiki software up and running on the site and that was not as hard as I thought but I am having a hard time inputting data and making the site look the way I want it to.  The hardest part is just working on it period after work my wife and I have diner and either watch TV together or one of us plays WoW, but the social tendencies of two jerds (see definition below) is another issue.

The second project is pretty crazy.  After seeing a PBS or discovery channel story about using a gas cannon to put objects into low orbit, I got the idea that I should build one myself, a small one.  I have started a project using Basecamp, which is a pretty cool site.  I have put some basic goals and tasks up there but I don’t know how far it is going to go.  My wife and I live in a small apartment so there is no room for tinkering with 4 feet of steel pipe. Maybe I can find a workshop or someplace to mess around with this Idea.  

The final and most realistic of the projects:  I purchased Bio Dome from Parkseed.  I have started some strawberries and tomato plants.  Both are doing fairly well, the tomato plants are getting bigger and starting to lean/fall over so I don’t know what to do about this but hopefully I will have better results than last year.  Once the tomato plants get bigger I am think of putting them in 3 litter bottles or gallon jugs so that it will not make a mess in the apartment.  Being farther north and our apartment is not in the best sun position I don’t know how much sun light we are going to get on our porch.  I am hoping as we get closer to spring and summer solace that the angle will improve.  Last year all the seed that I planted died and I order some strawberries plants which did pretty well but only a couple of strawberry were produced, I may have water them too much.

Well as I have taken up over a page in Word I guess that I have been very long winded so I bid everyone one Adieu.