With any luck, this one will work fine even through teferi is having so much trouble. That should be hilarious.
With any luck, this one will work fine even through teferi is having so much trouble. That should be hilarious.
Although the rest of the dream was pretty lame, at least it had James Earl Jones in a Devo flowerpot hat. Except instead of red the hat was more of a charcoal gray. (You know, for formal occasions.)
So, on the outside walls of the cubes at work we have these little whiteboards for letting people know that we're on vacation or whatever. Most of the time they go unused, so some people have gone to putting inspirational quotes on theirs.
So I decided to put "It's an empty journey to triumph if you don't plant the seeds of catastrophe along the way." That didn't go over too well. I ended up switching to "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten." That one's still up there.
Gary, I read the lock hacking bit, and I was surprised at how simple the method was. It's so obvious once you know it, I'm a bit mad at myself that I never realized this years ago. Converting an m^n problem to an m*n problem simplifies things wonderfully.
Of course, once you come to the hack, the next question is how to prevent that exploit. The main way I can think of is to find a way to tie the pins together so that they will only open when all of the pins are set for master or all set for the lock-specific key. This solution would probably lower the number of possible keys, as well as making the locks more specialized. (One advantage of the susceptable master keys systems is that they can be made from regular single-key systems).
Of course, I'm having trouble finding key blanks which match my dorm keys online, and I don't want to walk into a hardware store comparing random key blanks with a key stamped:
U of M
So, Rilo Kiley was on Austin City Limits last night (which isn't helping Crackmonkey 's perception of them as a country band), so I recorded it with the intent to make oggs. After fumbling around with getting the inputs working on my computer (Audigy input volume can apparently only be controlled by an alsa mixer, not an OSS mixer using the ALSA compatability mode) and when I finally got it working everything was all staticy, due to a combination of my cheap cables and the fact that my audio card is inside my computer, which is all sorts of electricly noisy. Then I realized I can just plug my iriver into my TV, so that's what I'm doing. Beaujolais!
So, I've noticed that the turn signals around here code for pretty much no information. I haven't yet seen someone turn on their hazards to show that they're turning, but I haven't seen much of people turning on their hazards period, so it may just be a matter of time.
So am I the only one worried that with the DRM crappo they're putting in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray someone could make a disk that turns my expensive player into a boat anchor by declaring there are no approved disc manufacturers?
So, thanks to the pongmechanik thing, I came across http://fpga4fun.com, which seems like a good idea. I'm not really impressed with the content of the website itself, but they do have some interesting stuff.
I'd like to get some FPGA stuff to play with, it's definately more convenient than buying a brazillion discrete logic chips, even if the end result won't look quite as cool. Of course, although I'd be able to look down upon the poor PIC-using masses if I had several FPGA projects, FPGAs are still rather pricey for hobbyist usage. And much more importantly, all of the software for programming (or more specifically, the place & route) is proprietary, and although there are some free crippled versions out there, they're all for Windows (I don't yet know how well they'd work with WINE). Now, I do know enough about FPGAs to know why a manufacturer wouldn't want to release the information required to do place and route, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for SOFTWARE of all things.
At around noon on Friday I got in my car and pulled on to I-35W heading north, stopping only to patronize the rest stops, eat, gas up, and buy a new button-down shirt. I made it to my friend's place in Duluth by around 4 and hung out with him until he had to go to work. Just before 8 when I was about to head out to the airport to pick up CrackMonkey and Zen I got a text message saying that they were going to be delayed for a while, so I had a bit to eat before heading down to the airport. By the time I got there I found out that the delay was going to be over two hours. So I entertained myself the best I could, found on old envelope and wrote "Monkey Bros." on it in as big of letters as would fit and made contact with Inkblot. The plane finally arrived and by the time all the baggage was acquired Wisconsin Point, the location of the pre-wedding bonfire, was closed, so we had a drink at the Buena Vista's lounge and went our separate ways. After that my friend got off work and we had a few beers at the Old Chicago, where he works.
Then, before you knew it, it was Saturday. On account of the late night I skipped breakfast with Inkblot and TBM and slept in a bit later. Then I got showered, dressed and went out to the wedding. I was a little confused because Enger Park was a bit further out than I expected, but other than that the ride was rather uneventful, and I snagged a great parking spot by simply making it up. After tying my necktie with a cheet-sheet I made the day before, I caught up with Inkblot and TBM, and we fiddled around in the shade a bit before heading up to the tower where we got programs and chairs in the sun. The clearing at Enger Tower has a wonderful view overlooking the bay and is the perfect spot for a wedding, except the slanting of the terrain makes it hard to see over the person in front of you. After the ceremony we went in the tower which was rather cool both temperature-wise and view-wise. Then it was back in to the nicely shaded park for hors d'oeuvers and signing the guestbook while the happy couple and the wedding party posed for pictures. After the pictures the couple rang the peace bell, which signaled peace and lunch.
Lunch had all the standard wedding reception speeches, clinking of glasses, and fish baseball caps. At the table there were PAP+ALH mix CDs for the guests, which are rather heavy on the love songs. Lunch was served buffett style and was quite delicious. Then the cake was announced and a line quickly formed. Due to a few seconds of hesitation on my part, I became separated from Inkblot and TBM, and I later realized that the cake line was also secretly a reception line as the bride and groom thanked everyone in the line for coming before letting them at the cake. After we had some cake we examined the peace bell and went off. Apparently there was some confusion on whether I had left Duluth on Saturday or not, so to clear that up, I didn't. I ended up down at Canal Park on Minnesota Point where I got a hot dog and a root beer float and watched the boats come and go under the lift bridge. Eventually I went back to my friend's place and got off work and we hung out a bit, and then after a pause for sleep we did the same into the afternoon on Sunday before I left. On the road back to Minneapolis I was joined by everybody who had gone to their lake cabin for the weekend and took advantage of the 70 MPH speed limit to travel at 85.
So, part of my dream last night involved these aliens who reproduced by making this special material and cutting hexagons from it, and these hexagons would become new individuals. After being cut free the individuals would be subjected to a screening process which judged them on their geometry and the purity of the material they were cut from. Individuals who fail this test generally suffer mental problems, although outside observers are unsure if it's because of their substandard shape and/or makup or if it's because of the trauma of being declared substandard.
So, in a fit of something or another I picked up this:
I'm not exactly sure why. It's a Rail Power Products shell/chassis, so I'll still have to pick up trucks, a motor, and stuff to connect the two. And various details and superdetails. But the theory is that by the time I finish detailing it (ha ha rims) I will have found some sort of supplementary income, i.e. a job.
So, approximately one hundred and fifty years ago some trains took a few people from the city of Chicago to Rock Island where everybody boarded a bunch of steamboats which paddled their way up to St. Paul (or Pig's Eye, I forget when that changed). Apparently when they made it to their destination they were greeted by no one, since there was some confusion about their arrival time.
So, for lack of anything better to do a bunch of people decided they'd recreate the trip to a degree. Rather than serially do a train ride and a boat ride, it was decided to do them in parallel from the Quad Cities (which includes Rock Island and 4 other cities) to St. Paul, with the train making it all the way to Minneapolis. To round out the whole experience the Taste of Minnesota was moved to Harriet Island Park (which hasn't been an island for around 50 years) so that there would be even more things going on. The Taste of Minnesota is itself a carnival of markups, starting with the ticket system of purchasing. Much like tokens at an arcade the tokens are the only accepted form of payment at the fair, save for the booths where you can exchange five dollars American for 8 tickets. At these booths it is made quite clear that for each set of 8 tickets sold $1 is put towards the running of the festival, giving each ticket a supposed value of fifty cents. Since the tickets are used in place of normal currency, however, the prices do not really reflect what you would normally pay, even with your normal fair booth markups. A can of soda was selling for 5 tickets, which is a significant markup over the four to six bits one would normally pay for the same product. And if you were silly enough to crave alcohol you would have to first convert one dollar American into a wrist strap which proved your ability to legally imbibe alcohol.
And all of that is neglecting the surprising effort it took to actually locate any reasonable amount of food vendors.
Now, having provided a little background into the events, I should recount how my weekend's activities intersected with them. On Saturday the third of June the flotilla of the Grand Excursion was scheduled to appear at around two-thirty to two-forty-five. Having been informed of this, my brother and I boarded a bus to downtown St. Paul. Due to some confusion about the location of the end of the line we had to add a few blocks to the walking leg of our trip, but it was not terribly inconvenient. After crossing the river to Harriet Island and the aforementioned troubles in acquiring food we wandered downstream closer to the main welcome of the Grand Flotilla. We settled on a location near the downstream leg of world-record-sized balloon arch, which rid itself of several balloons in the time we were there.
Prior to the arrival of the Flotilla the St. Paul Yacht Club paraded their vessels in front of the have-nots and were nearly sucessful in keeping a constant speed and inter-boat distance throughout their procession. After the various boats in various states of (dis-)repair had proceeded by the way was cleared for the arrival of the actual flotilla. The flotilla consisted of steam and faux-steam boats in a three to seven ratio. Most of the faux-steam boats had vestigial paddlewheels which turned pointlessly in the water as the boats propelled themselves by hidden screws, although one boat was unfortunate enough to ride high on the water without its pointless wheel touching the water. Two of the faux-steam boats were completely without paddle, one even completely without propulsion, having to be pushed by a small tug. The actual steamboats were, in contrast, rather impressive. Two of the vessels were so tall that they required collapsable smokestacks to make it under Lafayette bridge (which actually carries Interstate 94). All of the steam boats favored the waiting crowds with a short song on their calliope. Particularly impressive was when the Delta Queen rotated itself one hundred-eighty degrees before docking on the northern shore of the river (more metal pilings than shore, actually). As the boats were arriving rain also begain to arrive, at first rather lightly, but by the arrival of the final boat the precipitation was rather intense. The final boat in question was the Mississippi Queen, which had trailed far behind the rest of the flotilla form most of the journey to wait for the river waters to recede far enough to make it under some of the bridges along the route. Since we lacked foul-weather gear we decided to call it a day and not wait for the possible arrival of the Milwaukee 261-led Grand Excursion train, the schedule of which we were unsure of anyway.
On the ride back we boarded the same bus line which had brought us to downtown, but this busdriver was unsure of the day's detour around the sports festival at Como Park and we therefor waited about fifteen minutes for the busdriver to call back to dispach and figure his route. After that the driver attempted (and failed) to perform a U-turn and eventually we made it back to our respective residences.
On Sunday, the fourth of July I was awoken by a telephone call from my brother informing me that excursion train was stationed approximately half a doxen blocks north of his residence. Previously I had known only that the train in question would be somewhere near Harriet Island from around noon to four in the afternoon, and that the day's trip would return to its origin of the day. With this knowledge I decided it would be best to wait until the train could be expected to return, replacing my original plan of yet another bus ride to downtown St. Paul. This way I would not need to rush myself to view the train before it went out for the day and when I did go out the sun would be lower in the sky.
Unfortunately for me, I had presumed that the train would take a scenic rather than direct route to and from Harriet Island, so I miscalculated when to arrive at the junction where the trains had loaded in the morning. Arriving around five-thirty I found that the passengers had already disembarked and Milwaukee 261 had moved inside a locomotive shed where it was apparently being tended to. I took some pictures of the train it its slightly broken-up state, and the crew of the amtrak diesels with the train were busy re-arranging some of the cars.
After this I went to my brother's and found that he had gone to see the train in the morning and took several pictures. At this point I found out that the picture I had hoped to take of the Milwaukee Road 261 with the Canadian Pacific 2816 ahead of it and two AMD-103s shortly behind, would have been impossible to take anyway, since the Canadian Pacific locomotive was not with the train at this point, and the Amtrak diesels had been moved behind the Skytop lounge to provide a push-pull configuration. I feel a bit sorry for the unfortunate individuals in the skytop lounge who paid extra for the priviledge only to have their view blocked by the cab of a diesel locomotive.
Shortly before dusk, my brother and I went down to St. Anthony Main to find a good spot to watch the fireworks display. At St. Anthony Main we found two of my brother's ex-roommates and with their group we all went as close to the Central Avenue bridge as the police would allow and watched the fireworks. It turned out to be a rather good location as the fireworks were launched from just slightly downstream of the bridge. After a shooting some pictures of the fireworks my camera's battery gave out, having not given notice before I went out earlier.
So, my major model railroading project lately has been to electrificate an Athearn rotary snowplow (Made all the more fun by the fact that of the 4 prototype plows for the model, none were ever modernized). So, I got myself an undecorated F7B to act as the power unit, put a winterization hatch and some grab-irons on, did some close-coupling mumbo-jumbo, and removed the dynamic brake fan once I figured out which fan that actually was (not shown). Of course, I'm a little unsure about the winterization hatch, since the prototypes all either have no hatch or have the BN Insane-O-Hatch.
The work on the actual plow consisted of adding the funnel wings on the front, replacing all the molded on grab-irons with hand-made metal ones (just because), applying a random diesel horn, removing the smokestack and the boiler, shortening the coupler pocket (possibly too much), and replacing the silly rubber-band blade-spinner with a motor to be controlled by DCC. It also turns out I misplaced one of my dummy couplers. Oh well.
There also some (largely uninstalled) bits of styrene that will be painted black and placed around the windows and such to prevent people from seeing through the model.
All that's really left is painting, lighting, DCC installation, and installing the diaphragm on the plow (I want to do that after painting, because it's a working diaphragm). I'm still unsure if I'm going to install working diaphragms on the power unit.
So, after purchasing a regear kit, realizing that I can open up the gearbox after all, shaving off the fill ports on the inside of the gearbox (bad design), and remembering where I put that bottle of gear oil, my Shay finally runs. I put it on the club's layout and it only stalled occasionally. I think the PWM inherent in runing an analog loco on a DCC track actually helped the running.
I also took a few pictures of it pulling a bi-level enclosed autorack, you know, just 'cause. Of course, I took them on film, so it'll be another three years before I finish up this roll, and then several weeks before I actually bring it to a developer, and then who knows when I'll get it to a scanner.
So, I always feel like saying "So, here's the plan:" and then going on to outlining some complex plan. The problem is that I can never think of a plan to outline. Not even a pointless nonsensical one.
So, in the 10 years or so since I've been in model railroading, two major changes occurred. First off, DCC is all over the place now, which I think is really great. The other major change is that the Kadee magne-matic coupler patents expired. So now everybody has their own magnetic couplers. And some of them really suck, and some of them don't, but they're nearly all plastic. Which is good, because some model makers like to have a solid metal bit going from coupler pocket to coupler pocket (and to a rail, if it's a loco).
So, for those of you who haven't been paying attention lately, I've been slowly getting back into model railroading. I've been trying to go to the university's railroad club and seeing if I can help them out. They're doing kind of a modern/whatever-gets-donated era layout.
As far as my modeling, I can't really decide what I should go for. One option is a 1920s/30s era mountain line, as an excuse to use Shays and Heislers, limit the length of the rolling stock, and model crazy terrain. Or a modern electrified freight line, with overhead electrical power and no good prototypes. I've half-decided to go with the modern electric in HO and if I ever get enough time and garden to do the mountain line in G scale. Of course, I've already got some rolling stock for each choice and neither choice in HO, and an HO Shay, so I'm not really all sure.
The thing I don't get is how someone can go around with the name OrkutGuy and complain about people not using their real names.
Also, I didn't realize that studlycaps were automagically wikified here.
So, in the IEEE room at the U of MN, which is one of the main hangouts for EEs at the U, they've got a collection of debris from former senior design projects. They clean up a bit more than I like, but wone thing I think they'll keep until someone uses them are the 5 8x16 LED boards that are wired up in a neat little grid. There was some talk of using them to create an animated sign, but few people associated with that project understood electrical scanning, so nothing much came out of it.
I have decided that I'm going to build a programmable sign using that and 74LSXX series logic. There will have to be some CMOS for the USB programming interface, and probably a 555 or 3, but mostly TTL, and probably a diode-grid rom for storing a default display when it's powered on.
It will be wire-wrapped, it will be insane, and that's the point.
Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in that scene in Being John Blog where John Blog goes through the portal into his own head and he ends up in some place where everybody has the same face as him. It's creepy.
Today at the Hamfest I finally picked up a handheld transceiver a year after taking the test. It's a Yaesu VX-2R. I haven't done much transmitting with it, but I've been playing with the wideband receive. It's convenient that they have presets for weather radio, marine radio, and shortwave, but that just makes me wish they had made presets for TV audio.
So, I've been seeing some guys wearing slightly off-kilter trucker hats around the campus lately. Whenever I see them, I can't help but imagine my foot impacting their face. Which is odd because I can't kick that high without doing a Meia Lua, at which point I'd be looking at his head upside down.
Today in my DSP class, we learned how to demodulate AM by violating the sampling theorem. Is this the way all those software-defined radio things work, or is are they less sneaky?
Well, I've decided to try my hand at getting lnx-bbc working on New World mackertosh again. So, I did a cvs co of head and ran make garchive. That was yesterday. A lot of the packages don't want to download from their websites, for one reason or another. Oh well, it'll download eventually (probably when school starts up again and I can't focus on lnx-bbc).
Since I am far too lazy to get a summer job near the University, and by extension a summer apartment, I'm back at home with my parents.
A few nights ago, there was a power outage which managed to fry our old cable router (Anybody here in the market for a 1-port router?) as well as my dad's network card. While we were at the local Best Buy, we noticed that the low-end Linksys cable router was only $20 less than the low-end Linksys cable router with 802.11b support. So, after a little bit of pushing I managed to get my dad to dole out the extra cash and now I've got wireless here.
Last night I dreamt that I went to a lecture and they had a pop midterm. Thanks to the nature of dreaming, whenever I tried to answer a question I'd get the answer started and then I'd re-read the question and it'd be different. Eventually I was down to a minute left with nothing approaching an answer to any of the questions, so I just wrote "emad" for all of my answers. I woke up before I could find out how I did.
So, for some reason I've been looking at some of the data modes that they have for amateur radio. It turns out that all of the interesting modes they have for data are on HF which my license doesn't cover. Of course, to upgrade my license, I have to learn Morse code, which is about the only HF mode I have no interest in. They might as well just get rid of the code requirements, since they now have modes which are more noise resistant and lower bandwidth than Morse code. About the only arena where code is still king is equipment simplicity.
What ever happened to XML? I remember when everyone said that XML would cause all the children of the world to join hands and sing in unison all with smiling faces. But here it is several years later and it's not even a standard format for word processing. Or meta-format, or meta-meta-format or whatever.
So, for a while I've been meaning to make myself a passport for Fort Emad (Actually, I really wanted to make a passport for my role as former Overlord of Minnesota, Protector of the Dakotas, and Subjugator of Wisconsin, but I couldn't think of enough symbols). So anyway, I've been thinking of doing this for a while now, and just today I got a little inspiration from http://passports.slawek.com/ Of course, I still have to figure out where to get the supplies (and perhaps access to a quality color copier).
So, as part of the Capoeira club, I got a CD of songs. The only problem being that the CD-R I received is the worst quality CD ever, I can't even get it to play real time. So, I figured this was a job for CD Paranoia. I started late last night, and it's still on the first skippy track.
The other day, I went down to eat my lunch in the dining hall, and one of the patrons had a guitar and was playing an acoustic rendition of the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I tried to sit far away, because I had no idea what he'd do next, but it turned out it was his last song.
Hey neale, take two, they're cheap!
I'm trying to teach myself Lojban, but I keep pronouncing it Lodjban or Locban. Curse you, voiced consonants!
This promises to be the second most expensive semester ever, bookwise. I had been getting it easy the last few semesters, because my circuits courses all used the same two books, which spread out the cost. No such luck this semester and all of my classes have books which cost a bit over $100 new, yeesh. Maybe I'll be able to sell off my overly expensive biology texts, aka the most worthless purchase ever, to make up some of the cost. That and those other books I had meant to sell off last semester.
Now where's my T'Khasi Orion? It was supposed to arrive a year ago!
So right now I'm at my Uncle's house, which, unlike my grandparents' place, has DSL. Unfortunately, my computer that I keep all of mail (and more imporantly, procmail settings) on is at my parents house, which is connected via cable modem, but unfortunately behind a linksys NAT. Bah.
Sometimes it seems like my biggest contribution to humanity is that I know how to connect a Model 100 to a serial port.
So, I've finally got around to trying something I had thought about for a long time: making a lnx-bbc for powerpc, or at least newworld powermacs. At first glance, it may seem like an easy job, but is complicated by several factors:
So, either something will come of this, or I'll get frustrated and move on.
(footnote: It is my understanding that many macs can boot off of USB, this fact may or may not provide interesting.)
So, I took advantage of the extended weekend to replace the old 6GB travelstar in my powerbook with a brand new 40GB 5400 rpm drive. Planning ahead, I had already purchased a firewire laptop drive enclosure, negating the need to backup data. Thinking it would be the cat's pajamas, I endeavoured to make a debian CD with jigdo. This was a pointless act, as although it results in an up-to-date CD, it is not bootable on PowerPC (And maybe not on x86, either). But, in the meantime I found http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/debian-cd which offeres a wide variety of bootable, business-card size debian install CDs. Using this and a debian mirror or two, sucessfully installed, save for its use of KDE as the default desktop.
Incidentally, installing linux on powerpc (at least NewWorld macs) has greatly improved since I first got this thing.
Hey, whatever happened to the whole making crooked corporate officals pay thing? Did we ever do that? It's a bit fuzzy in my mind.
Also, what ever happened with all those people in Florida who couldn't vote because they were incorrectly listed as ex-felons? Did we ever clean that up?