Tuesday, June 24, 2008

USB Missile Launcher

I found a reference design on-line for a USB Missile Launcher. Unfortunately it only seems to have the user interface portion. Oh well.

Looks like the FTDI Vinculum chip will be in my future, and soon on my resume.

Update there really is a USB Missile Launcher.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Could almost forget it's a metropolis

There's a regional park, about 15 minutes drive from home. It's actually right alongside the freeway, but that's quite easy to forget. The park features a swimming lagoon and a fishing lake. The lakeshore, beyond the picnic benches, is deserted. There are some narrow overgrown trails, and it's quite easy to think yourself into the depths of the woods.
Around the lake there are a mix of eucalyptus, bull-rushes, oaks and pines. Add to that shallow waters with young fish clearly visible, dragonflies and various other bugs. Quite a peaceful place to be. When it's all over, it's a few minutes to a good ice cream or great greasy spoon burger joint.
Just like being in this park, a slight change in camera angle changes your perspective significantly. Removing the buoy makes nature more evident, loosing the reeds defies proximity.
There is a row of houses in this vista, a reminder of how close to it all we were, but the dangling branch can cut them out for the photo.

The translucence of leaves always pulls my camera to my eye. If I took the effort to crop these pictures, there may be one worthy of enlargement. But still there is something refreshing about greenery. Remember in Solaris how Snow suggested Kelvin put paper in front of the ventilators, to sound like leaves.

New Camera!

I couldn't resist. I needed a new blog and mail avatar. What else could I do, but opt for a Lego Camera. So I made one. Actually, I made two, but this was the "big" one.

Of course, once I had a new Lego camera, I decided I wanted a camera shop. So I hopped onto LDD and designed one...

I hope the contrast on your monitor shows the texture on the bellows camera, I bet you didn't know Lego made bellows.

The cameras in the display case kinda follow my photographic history, with a little 110 instamatic in the middle, and the SLR on the left. The one the right may be either a compact 35mm or a 126 Instamatic.

I'll post the LDD files on the Lego site later, but for now you can see my other Lego creations here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Welcome to Summer

So tomorrow is the 20th, and to celebrate we are having a spare the air day. Spare the air days are when the air quality will get pretty bad. We have a high pressure system, and the air temperature is in the upper 90's. Not a good recipe.

This is the 5th spare the air day, there is funding for free mass transit for the first four. We are also only in mid June, we have through till October of hot weather.

Of course we can keep nice and cool by walking along the waterfront, not on the beach though. Our local beach has been closed most of the last two weeks. Firstly there were "tar balls", which I guess is some oily globby polution. While they were fixing that there was a sewage leak, so the haz-mat teams were out for that.

It's been a hot dry few months, and we are into water rationing. Nothing serious yet, they are looking for a voluntary 19% reduction in usage. We used to double rinse our laundry, the deteregents used to leave a strong smell, but these new "free" ones are working pretty good.

Along with hot and dry comes fire season. To the south we have had some significant fires. Today there was one on my commute, CalFire were out in force for a 5 acre blaze caused by a car knocking down a utility pole.

So while watching some TV I saw a public service announcement reminding us that on hot day we may be subject to a power Flex Alert, meaning local brown outs. I guess from here on in we should run the washing machine late evening and load the drier on our way to bed. Still, we elelcted for a Bay Side community, so we don't often need AC ourselves, and don't have any installed. That's our contribution to reducing power consumption.

I just found out today that the plans were to spray half the state with pesticide. Town, cities and fields alike. Seems they have found an alternate. All this talk of poor air quality, and they want to spray?

If my online amigo Pascal reads this, he'll laugh at how easy I have it compared with Lebanon. It is pretty easy here, but it still is messed up.