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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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OMG! Free Kittens!

Posted 2010.10.16 13.28 in Cats, Pointless Blather

I was driving to the grocery store and I passed a house.

And the house had a sign.

And the sign said FREE KITTENS!

And I’m all like OMG! Kitties!  I love kitties! I should stop!

No I shouldn’t!  I got kitties at home. I don’t need more kitties.

But kitties!

My kitties would hate me with the passion of a thousand white hot fiery nuns!

But kitties!

Free kitties!

OMG!

I should stop and find out what kind they are.

No! If I see them I won’t be able to resist them!

But kitties! They need a home!

Free!

Fortunately by the time I’d got through all that in my head, I was at the grocery store.

But still!

FREE KITTENS!

OMG!

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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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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Domain Name Shenanigans

Posted 2009.05.12 15.20 in Computers/Internet/Technology

For a number of years, I’ve been using the same company for all my domain-name registration and nameserver needs. They aren’t the cheapest guys on the planet, and more than once I’ve been asked why I use a company that is ‘so expensive!’

We’ve all seen the ads after all, for places that offer domain names for $10, or $5, or $2.99 or whatever. 

My response of course is, you get what you pay for – and if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. The guys I use (continue to use, and recommend) are local, they have a bricks-and-mortar address, and have top-notch service. The very few times I’ve needed to call their support, it has been easy to get a real live person on the phone, and things are resolved quickly and professionally.

For that kind of service, I’m happy to pay a fair rate. 

I just read this interesting advisory, which is a pretty good and succinct explanation of some of the pitfalls and hazards of domain registration, and why the ‘cheapest’ is not necessarily the ‘best’.

10 things you MUST know before you register a domain name with anyone.

Ultimate Showdown

Posted 2009.03.20 18.07 in Music/Movies/TV

Great song, great video, great fun.

1135942367_ultimateshowdown

Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny