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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Posted 2012.07.12 10.10 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So twelve or fourteen hours into playing with my custom circuit board for the ISEB-6 Mark II, and I’ve been compiling a list of the things I did well, the things I did poorly, and the things that were just plain dumb.

The Good:

  • It ‘works’, more or less. That is, the uC functions, I can upload programs to it, and it accepts and runs them.
  • The screen works. This is more than just a hardware thing, as I had tweaked the library to use hardware SPI rather than software SPI, to get about a 50% bump in speed, and this was the first test of that library mod that wasn’t on a breadboard.
  • The buttons and indicator LEDs work.
  • The LiPo charging circuitry works.

So all in all, there’s some legitimate successes there. On the other hand, there’s some oopses too. Somewhere between submitting the board for fabrication, and actually receiving the boards back, I started to realize my mistakes. Having the board and testing it, confirms some suspicions and adds new problems to the list.

Starting Over from Scratch

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This Week is off to a Bad Start…

Posted 2011.09.19 12.23 in Pointless Blather

It’s like the set-up for a joke, really.

First, despite the antibiotics and anti-inflamatories, my leg seems to be getting worse, not better.

Then at work, I notice I seem to have a fever.

So I call my doctor and she’s like, yeah, actually you should go to the hospital. Now.

So I go home first, and while I’m there I check the mail.

And the first letter I open starts with “Dear Prospective Juror…”

Now I’m off to the hospital, to see what else the day has in store for me!

Suicidal Ideation

Posted 2010.10.09 10.17 in Life On Drugs

I don’t know if it’d be a good name for a band or not. Probably too close to Suicidal Tendancies, which is already the name of a band.

Having inadvertantly gone off my meds for 3 or 4 days, I’m suddenly finding myself very familiar with the term “Suicidal Ideation“.

Stupid drugs and their stupid side affects. You get side affects when you take ’em, and then you get side affects (withdrawl affects?) when you don’t take ’em.

Either way it’s sucky.

A Tale of Two Snail Species

Posted 2009.12.30 10.44 in Aquaria

I don’t really like using labels like ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but they have the advantage of being short, concise, and not-too-inaccurate. Good Snails are the ones that a) you pay money for, b) you give names to, c) you care for, and/or d) that you’ve intentionally raised from babies.

Bad Snails are the pests that sneak in on plants and things, that reproduce like rabbits on fertility drugs, eat all the food, clog up the filter, and generally have all the appeal of fleas on a dog. These are the ones that you spot one or two, then the following week there are four dozen, then the following week there are eleventy million.

They actually pick on the Good Snails, clinging to them like the aforementioned fleas, picking at any faults or flaws in their shells, laying their eggs on them, and driving the Good Snails, and myself, quite mad with frustration.

In the past 6 months, I’ve encountered several species of pest snail. There are the Physidae, commonly known as bladder snails, tadpole snails, or occasionally pond snails. These ones are sort of foot-ball shaped and have sinestral (left-handed) shells, with no operculum (no shell door). The Physidae breed quite quickly, but have thin shells that are easily squished or cracked, and many fish will eat them.

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Mad Hair Day

Posted 2009.12.01 9.40 in Pointless Blather

Other people have bad hair days. I do too, frequently. Sometimes though, it’s worse than that. Some days, my hair is just completely mad.

I mean insane – when it’s really troubled, my hair will shout obscenities at strangers. It mumbles to itself on busy street corners.

Some people stare, others just furtively glance then look away, not wanting to participate in the unruly embarassment. Parents whisper to their children, “Look away. It’s unwell. Don’t stare.”

I attribute all this to a handful of separate issues – each one, on its own, wouldn’t be too bad. But together, they are greater than the sum of their parts, and my hair really has the deck stacked against it.

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Good, Bad, or Fugly?

Posted 2009.11.01 9.29 in Hobbies, Photography

Have you heard about this Lomography stuff? It’s sort of a ‘movement’ thingy. They use these Lomo LC-A cameras, or Holgas, or Dianas… the point is using a cheap / crummy / mediocre camera, expired film, ‘shooting from the hip’, cross-processing with the wrong chemistry, whatever – so the end result is sort of the opposite of carefully composed properly exposed photography.

Perhaps its a little like throwing cans of paint at a canvas, and calling it fine art?

It also reminds me a bit of the Dada movement from about a hundred years ago, sort of an anti-art movement, where the Dadaists were rebelling a bit about what the modern world was calling art, and they went in some wierd directions to sort of call attention to the pretentious silliness of it all. (Yeah, I actually learned stuff in the Art History classes in highschool.)

Anyhow, so the thing with Lomography is that ‘bad’ is ‘good’, or something along those lines. That you find the beauty in the results you get, and you don’t know what you get till you get the film back. They do caution that you can’t expect every shot to be a masterpiece, you might only get one good shot out of a whole roll…(**)

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Posted 2009.10.03 15.58 in Pointless Blather

Ever gone picking rasberries or strawberries, and as you’re filling your pail you find a rotten one? What do you do? Odds are, you don’t get angry at the berry. You just toss it aside and pick the next berry. Ever opened a carton of milk to discover it had gone sour? If it was brand-new, you might get cross with the grocer, might even take it back for a refund. Or maybe you just pour it out. You probably don’t get mad at the milk itself, though. In any event, you get another carton of milk. Or have you opened a bottle of wine, only to discover it was corked? Again,  you typically wouldn’t get angry at the wine. You might be disappointed, or upset at the loss if it was a particularily special or expensive bottle. But it could have been corked at the winery, at the shop, or while it was in your cellar. No way to know, really. So you just pour it out, and get another one.

The berry, the milk, the wine, they’ve all gone bad. They aren’t to blame, it’s just the luck of the draw. Things happened to them, or their environment, and the outcome was that they went bad.

What about people? Bad people?

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