Archive for June, 2010

Paca suit

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Here’s LRN1 in his new suit, for which he paid $6.  That’s right, six bucks.  And it was worth every cent, I can assure you.  I’m not sure the pants exactly match the jacket, though.  Maybe he was just trying on the jacket part in this photo.  Part of my famous Guatemala series.

Welcome to Morrowlife post number 900!  That’s a lot of posts.  A lot.  I must be one of the most prolific bloggers in the neighborhood.  If only I had something to say.

But there won’t be much to say tonight.  Home Evening is over, it’s late, and I need to get to bed.

My plans for scout camp this week are in a bit of disarray.  Things keep coming up at work.  For one thing, lots of other people are gone this week and I don’t know whether I have anybody I can ask to take care of things in my absence.  For another, we have a bit of work to accomplish that I really ought to be seeing to personally.  I at least need to be up at camp on Wednesday evening, so I’ll be gone that day.  Except that an important meeting I’m supposed to attend has been called early in the afternoon.  I’ll have to try to weasel out of it somehow.

I was asked to be the lead program manager for one of the church’s iPhone applications today.  I accepted the job.  There’s no pay, of course – this is strictly volunteer.  The first release of the app is supposed to be at the end of this month, so there’s a lot of work to do between now and then.  We’re hoping to have a kickoff meeting with the other volunteers sometime tomorrow.  I need to get access to the codebase and get going.  I’m really excited about it!  It’s an application I would use anyway, and now I definitely will.  In fact, I’ll have a pre-release version on my phone within a couple of days, I’m pretty sure.  I hope this will be the first of many opportunities to volunteer with the church software developers.

Let’s see, what else is going on?  Oh, I had a very nice Father’s Day.  My family showered me with gifts – got a new pencil tip for my soldering iron, which I wanted very badly.  Also got a cool Energizer headlight to use for soldering, this eliminating the need to hold my flashlight in my mouth.  Much better solution, and I look totally cool with the big, bright light on my forehead.  Also received a really cool new three-hold punch, which was also badly wanted.  LRN5 baked me a couple of pies, both of which were delicious.  And LRN5 and LRN12 were here yesterday.  So it was a great day.

And there’s no more time.  I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: condiment crime spree!

See you tomorrow.

SD Logger

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Here’s my protoboard for the SD Logger project.  What a thing of beauty.  And far be it from me to point out any of its obvious defects.  Just bask in the glory.  I wrote a little post about it at the Gardenville website this evening.  Check it out!  Tell a friend!  Buy all our playsets and toys!  I really need to put some Blatant Commerce on that site, don’t I?  Part of my famous Machinery series.

No post yesterday.  As predicted, I had a church meeting that required me to go directly from work and return home just in time to eat a bit of dinner and go to bed.  So, no post.  I have no idea how my Loyal Readers survived.

Busy weekend planned.  I have to prepare a talk on Saturday morning, attend a youth dance on Saturday evening, and have my adoring family gather around me and heap praises – and gifts – upon me all day Sunday.  Gonna be stressful.

Plus, I hope to find some time to get some more soldering done on the Arduino SD Logger.  I really want to get that done so I can clean up and update its software, write a bit about it and publish it on the Gardenville website, and start working on the accelerometer navigator.

Still have to decide whether to design a board and have a couple built.  I really want to do it, so I guess I might just as well.  Probably should have skipped the breadboard step and gone right for the custom boards.  If I had it to do over, that’s what I’d do.  Mainly because I had no idea how hard it would be to build that stupid breadboard.  It’s too late now, though – the Arduino and SD card reader are both soldered to the thing and way too hard to get back off.  So I’ll make the best of it and finish it.

And the most important question of all – what color should I choose for my company’s boards?  I’m thinking of yellow or orange – they’re kind of gardenish colors, don’t you think?  Other suggestions?  I need a corporate identity, and I might as well get started right.

I also need to practice my C++ and get ready to start learning Qt, as discussed earlier.  Also need to finish the Mitt Romney book.  Only a few pages to go, and I’m still enjoying it.  Recommended conservative thinker reading.

I decided to register with the church’s community software development project.  They’ve had an invitation out for quite some time and I’ve been wanting to do it.  It only took a couple of minutes yesterday, and I’ve already received a couple of specific invitations to do things.  I offered my services to help manage a new project they’re just getting started on.  Sent them a bit of a resume this afternoon and we’ll see whether they’re interested in what help I have to offer.

I attended an interesting discussion group this afternoon on my company’s advanced engineering think-tank-type work.  They’re working on some very interesting long-term research.  That’s the kind of work I would absolutely love to be involved in.  Sometimes I wish I had stayed in school and gotten a PhD and spent my career teaching and doing research.  I don’t know if I would have really enjoyed that, but it seems attractive.  I kind of doubt that’s a feasible thing at this point, but I’ve been puzzling over how I could do some part-time research projects – maybe get onto the cutting edge of software thought in some area.  My friend Grant is self-employed and does that kind of stuff.  I think the biggest problem with trying to start my own software R&D company is that I can’t think of a business model for it.  That’s the kind of stuff that’s done by grant-supported institutions like universities and well-established labs, neither of which am I.  I also have gotten used to making a bunch of money.  Must think harder.  Can it be done part-time?  Would some additional formal education be a good way to start?  Do I have time for that?  Am I interested enough in it to make the sacrifices necessary?  Can I skip that and just start reading some of the journals and doing a bit of work on my own?  Why am I asking you?

Anyway.  Sounds like a lot of fun to me.  In the meantime, I’ll stick with my Arduino project and try to get it working, self-publish the results, and see if I can get anybody interested in it.  Navigating via a single accelerometer with a very low powered computer isn’t exactly cutting-edge stuff, but it’s interesting and challenging, and that’s a step in the right direction.

Got this month’s issue of Imprimis, the interesting and free monthly newsletter from Hillsdale College in Michigan, today.  They’re a very conservative and constitutionalist institution, and their newsletters generally consist of a reprint of a recent speech given either on their campus or at their think tank in Washington.  Highly recommended reading for conservative thinkers.  Interested Loyal Readers can sign up here.  Fair warning – each issue contains a pitch for money.  They’re not obnoxious, though.  Not nearly as obnoxious as the ones I get from Texas A&M every year, or that LRN4 gets from BYU.

My liberal thinker Loyal Readers are welcome to give their reading suggestions in the comments.  Let’s be fair about this, after all.

And that’s about it for tonight.  More information on my software think tank to come.

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food news: funeral food fraud.

See you on Monday.


Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Here’s LRN1 trying out his new mission transportation.  Or not.  I suspect they’ll be sticking with the bus for the time being.  Even though one of their two mission vehicles was stolen recently.  I believe I heard tell it was full of missionaries’ luggage at the time, so a few people had a bit of shopping to do afterwards as well.  I imagine the church will eventually replace the missing vehicle.  Part of my famous Guatemala series.

More Great Art should be on the way soon.  We’re going camping to a new place during the Fourth of July week.  Well, we actually did camp there a couple of years ago, just not in that particular campground.  We’ll be in a commercial campground right across the street from the entrance to Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  We camped in the state park once; it was beautiful.  But there are no hookups there, alas.  There are pretty much no hookups in any of the California state parks.  Double alas.  We’re hoping this campground is reasonably pretty and nice, and there are several nice places nearby for day visits.  So I hope to get some Great Art there, and then there’s the family reunion at the Grand Canyon at the end of July.  That ought to be good for at least a few weeks’ worth.

No post yesterday.  Thanks to Anon for noticing.

I’ve got to do something about the comments section.  On the old blog, I had them on the main page, directly below each post.  On the new blog, you have to click to see them.  Not very social.  I’ll find a way to fix it.  Lots of work to do still.

Got up, commuted, ate, worked, ate, worked, commuted, ate, and blogged.  Nothing exciting.

I will note, though, that I’ve finally started making progress on the Mitt Romney book, No Apology.  I’ve stuck it in my briefcase and am spending about an hour a day on it now.  I’ll finish it within a couple of days, I expect.  I’m quite enjoying it and agree with the principles he outlines.  I don’t know if he’ll ever get a chance to act on them, but maybe just getting them out there will influence some people.

The problem with my train commute right now is that I have way more media to consume than I will ever get to.  Don’t quite know what to do about it.  I’ve been jettisoning podcasts I don’t really like, but there’s still just way too much of it.  Even listening to it at a rate of three to four hours a day.

And then there are all the podcasts I subscribed to when we first got rid of cable.  Many of them are really cool, but I’m not watching them at all.  I probably have 1500 individual video podcast episodes on disk, all of which I really want to watch.  Plus there are all the Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, F Troop, IT Crowd, and Big Bang Theory episodes I have saved up.  Not to mention ten seasons of Top Gear.  And there’s more coming all the time.  I love having all the selection, but I don’t know how I’ll ever watch it all.  Don’t have to, I suppose.

Also bought a new book yesterday – a programming one.  It’s a tutorial-type book on Qt, the GUI tool described in a recent post.  I have high hopes.  I spent the money my in-laws sent me for my birthday, plus a bit more.  Books have gotten outrageously expensive these days, especially technical ones.

I need to start getting serious about this coming Sunday’s sacrament meeting talk.  The topic is something about families, which leaves open quite a lot of territory.  I’ll try to print some source material on Friday evening or Saturday morning and spend some time Saturday afternoon preparing.  Don’t want to leave it to Sunday, just in case the family decides to gather ’round and celebrate Father’s Day in some tremendous way.  I can always hope.

Have a church meeting tomorrow night, which could go quite late, so there may be no post.  On the other hand, I may not be needed at all and will be able to leave after about 15 minutes.  So we’ll see.  Don’t get your hopes of a morrowlife-free Thursday up too high.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting employment opportunity: TV-watching monkey.  In this difficult economy, the morrowlife employment agency is looking out for you.

See you tomorrow.

Birthday cake

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Here are LRN1, three other missionaries, and his landlady celebrating my birthday. How thoughtful of them.  That’s LRN1 over there in the background on the right.  I have no idea why those people over there on the left are hiding their faces.  Maybe my birthday is illegal in Guatemala and they want to avoid prosecution.  Can’t be because they’re ashamed to be a part of it.  And don’t even get me started on that guy flashing the gang sign there in the middle.  And what’s that electronic thing with the antenna over there on the right?  A CB radio?  A primitive Wifi router?  The mind boggles.  Part of my famous Guatemala series.

Okay, it wasn’t really for my birthday, but I can dream, can’t I?

Monotonous day today.  I worked on next year’s funding proposal.  Again.  And I’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow.  Again.  I’m not getting anything else done.  I do want to have funding next year, though, and I seem to be getting most of what I ask for.  So far.

LRN2 got his wisdom teeth removed today.  He’s doing remarkably well, but he is finding it difficult to eat much and he’s pretty sleepy.  He’s upstairs sleeping right now.  I hear tell he was quite happy and talkative when coming out of the sedation.  Which is better than angry and sullen, I suppose.  Like when I broke my leg as a teenager and made my dad hold my wallet so the doctor – a renowned bone specialist, respected church leader, and family friend – wouldn’t try to grab it.  Sorry about that, doc.  It was the morphine talking.

Anyway, I have high hopes that LRN2 will recover very quickly and be back to normal in just a few days.  We’ll see how that goes.

LRN3 is still trying to find out what’s up with his health, which has gotten pretty bad.  They’re making all kinds of dire diagnoses, but they keep changing them every week or two, so I guess he can just pick a dread disease and stick with that one.  We’re praying for you, LRN3!  Get it figured out!

No post on Friday.  It was my off day and seemed like the weekend.  No Loyal Readers appear to have been injured by my absence, though, so it’s all working out.

The weekend was fine.  I worked on next year’s proposal for a couple of hours on Friday, but at least I was at home.  Spent some more time on the Arduino project on Saturday, along with much of the morning outside working on the pool, yard, sprinklers, and pond.  LRN4 trimmed a bunch of plants back, which made a big difference.  I spent a lot of time sweeping the bit and pieces of the trimmings out of the pool.  Strangely, I enjoyed it.  Fixed a couple of broken sprinklers, including one that bit the dust while LRN2 was mowing.  That will happen from time to time.  The yard’s looking pretty good.  Needs some fertilizer and 24-D still.

Didn’t swim.  It was really hot, but it was also really windy and nobody ever felt like it.  Except me, but it wasn’t very comfortable, so I refrained.

The Arduino project is coming along.  I started building a prototype board for my SD card data logger.  It’s going very slowly – it’s hard to get the solder bridges built where I want them between pads and not where I don’t want them.  So I’m going slowly and making progress.  It’ll probably be at least another week before the board is done.  After which, I have some software changes planned to make it a truly generic data logger for any project.  I’ll produce an interface definition document and publish that, the source code, and a schematic on my Gardenville website and see if I can figure out how to get people interested in it.  I’m thinking of producing some custom boards and seeing if there’s any demand.

In other hobby-related news, I’m also working on refreshing my knowledge of C++ so I can do a bit of experimentation with a GUI framework called Qt (pronounced “cute” – how cute).  A couple of my subordinates at work want to start using it for some of our work and I decided it might be helpful if I learned a bit about it.  It’s supposed to allow you to write programs that will compile equally well on Linux, Windows, OS X, and a bunch of cellphone platforms.  We’ll see how that goes – there’s going to be a very steep learning curve, but I really want to have a programming project or two to work on.  There’s the Arduino project, but I want more, More, MORE!

Anyway.  It’s late and I want to get to bed early for once, so I’ll end with this shocking food violence news: botched food order fight!

See you tomorrow.

Luau couple

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Here are LRN4 and me at the luau last Saturday.  That’s LRN4 over there on the left.  Check out those Leis.  Great Art courtesy of my friend Brian Maxwell, a counselor in our stake presidency.

No post yesterday. No excuse, either. It got a bit late before I got around to it and I decided not to get around to it.

But it was a pretty good day anyway.

So was today. But busy. Oh, my goodness. I’m working on next year’s financial proposal for the department. It’s surprisingly hard to get all the T’s dotted and I’s crossed, let me tell you.

Which may explain why I’m having such a hard time of it.

Anyway. I have a few hours’ worth of work to do tomorrow to get it done, which I regret, but it won’t be the end of the world. I’ll try to get it done early.

And the long weekend is here! Besides the work, I’m planning to celebrate my birthday on Friday, wash the (bug-speckled) Honda, probably clean some filters, hopefully swim in the pool, and even more hopefully work on the Arduino project. Also need to start thinking about this month’s sacrament meeting talk and do a little bit of thinking about my calling. Also get some rest and relaxation.

Otherwise, I have nothing to do.

And that’s about it for today. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food (threatened) violence news: eat your vegetables!

See you tomorrow.