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User Journal

Journal Journal: Dam! Slashdot Journal Code Sucks 1

Why the hell do I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of my journal page to find a button to post new content? But guess what? I have to do it fast, because the oh so helpful AJAX auto loads the next page of entries if I scroll down, so that means I have to scroll down and quick click the post button or else I have to keep scrolling down. WTF were they thinking?

Have they never seen any other social media site? That sort of basic functionality needs to be front and center at the top so you can... you know.... use the site.


Journal Journal: Dang I feel old in /. terms 10

I've returned to occasional /. use due to no longer working from home, and dang my user ID is low compared to a lot of the account comments I'm seeing. Did /. experience a mass exit recently and are only newbies and fresh troll accounts posting?


Journal Journal: Diffusion Cloud Chamber Observations with Video 3

Ever build an apparatus to study subatomic particles out of stuff sitting around your house? Well my friend did and this video is the result of our replication (sort of) of the Wilson Cloud Chamber. We used the updated diffusion cloud chamber design from Andy Folannd with a bit of info from

The apparatus is a bit finicky and prone to getting too cold, but it worked. We observed several dozen alpha particles zipping through the room interacting with the alcohol vapor. Unfortunately, no muon decays or scattering was observed. It would be interesting to try this again with a different chamber shape / height, a different temperature differential (measuring it next time), and possibly with a magnet to observe the magnetic field affects of the paths on the charged particles.

Observation notes: It greatly aided the observation to have the live video feed piped via s-video to nearby TV, so more than one person could observe the interactions. Only close proximity ~12" makes in person observation possible due to breath condensation and freezing on the cold chamber wall.

We are looking for other experiments that can be performed at home with out significant investments / highly specialized materials that exhibit the ordinarily invisible elements of our universe that also show well on video (or can be made to so so with appropriate pre-planning). Any suggestions?

Notes on the video: shot with GL2 on Matthews tripod at F1.8, 1/60th, WB to sunlight (led light source ~5400K), 0dB gain (except opening scene which had some gain) and MF locked. No specialized color / exposure profile used, no post WB. Opening text plain with background fractal keyframed movement. "Highlight" effect applied to duplicate additive track placed above source with exclusion mask applied to select sections of the video. Video trimmed to exclude empty segments. Cinescore Soundtrack. Rendered as 3Mbps Peak VBR single pass WMV.
Linux Business

Journal Journal: Crash Course in Linux & OSS for a Win32 QA guy 5

I need to help someone get a crash course in QA work on an OSS stack, as opposed to their previous few years of QA work on a Win32 stack. We will be installing Ubuntu tomorrow for a quick and easy workstation. Then we need to find or write a series of tasks to learn the skills to help said person get a crash course in working in / with the LAMP OSS environment.

Again, not a SW dev, or admin, just a QA guy, so tasks, reference material, etc need not be super low level. I have the perl trifecta (learning Perl, Perl Cookbook, and Reg Ex with Perl), but everything else I have relating to Linux is +5yrs old.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Long time no see: (I know). Test DB app questions 2

I'm trying to figure out how to keep working at my current contracting company beyond my contract end date (next Wed). One thing I know they are working on is a test config DB; a system to store all the possible test configurations and the status of those tests. Unfortunately for them (and me) they are an all MS all the time shop. But I wonder if I could make some substantial progress towards a system (agile method with some real quick cycles) and peak their interest.
The system would need to be able to create new records for "revision B" of PCB board, revision X of the chip on the board, revision Y of the firmware for the chip, revision A of expansion board type Blah, firmware rev G for expansion board Blah, PDF quick start doc for entire kit Goop, etc.
The system would need to then be able to say "has this been tested before?" by looking at a "tests" section which would have some list of valid test IDs to run against a specific combination of components. The test lead would like to look at a page and see "board F + FW v0.1 + chip B + exp board J + exp board FW v0.0.2" has been tested on the following....... and then see a list / chart of tests performed, and tests not performed.
Has anyone heard of any such software? I've found TestLink via Freshmeat, TestTracking on SourceForge, TestCaseWeb (SourceForge, but hasn't been touched in 3 years), and VarTrack again on SourceForge wihthe last modificatio nat the Epoch (system time fail?). I'm not sure these are specific enough. But that doesn't mean they could not be modified to do so.
I would appreciate pointers on any commercial packages, but only so I could compare them. My goal is to find an existing project I can learn and be the admin for, or get a project to use as a good jump start for my own internally developed one.
  (cross posted to my multiply account. use the user name and multiply.... if you need more clues.... I cannot help you.)


Journal Journal: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Sneak Peak

I ditched out of work on Wednesday around 11am so I could drive 1/2hr out to Middleton Id for the final "Reveal" of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It was roughly 102-105 outside, with no wind, shade, or clouds. Nearly Perfect filming conditions (except for the temperature) and nearly fatal conditions for the elderly, infants, and anyone who didn't drink plenty of water (which was available). I personally drank all 2 bottles I brought (about 1.5 liter total) and then 3x1 pint bottles they provided.

I'll provide many many pictures, & video (as soon as I find a good motion tracking software so I can smooth out the jitter in some of my footage).
Until I get my stuff up, you can watch KVTB's great coverage (IE required - at least it doesn't work with my FF) and read about it as well.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Heights Of Idaho 2

I have published my photo album from this weekend's climb up Mount McCaleb, Idaho. Lots of photos, and several extremely large stitched panoramas (complete with trial software text printed in the middle of each picture). I might end up buying that software because it sure is slick. I had to manually stitch most of them together and the results are still pretty impressive.
If you notice the captions changing it is because I am in the middle of adding them right now. I might finish some time tonight. Enjoy some of the Heights Of Idaho.


Journal Journal: (Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 4 & 5 - More Gear, More $ 2

My de-wimp-ifying is progressing slowly but surely. I biked in to work two days in a row! A first for me. Also impressive is that I got in to work before 10am both times which means I biked some time around 9am and it was in the 50s. Not exactly biking weather either with morning temperatures in the mid 50s with mild winds.

I have determined that I need actual riding clothing because my running outfit is just not meant for cold weather and wind. That outfit just feels like cheese cloth when faced with blustery weather and temperatures in the mid 50s (even in the sun). I smell some clothing upgrades in the future.

Speaking of clothing upgrades, I returned the helmet and the ill-fitting biking shorts for $69, but then purchased a wind proof jacket for $25 (chah-ching), summer riding shirt for $35 (chah-ching-ing), and padded bike shorts for $40 (chah-ching-ching-ing). Net expenditure of $31 which equals my planned accessory purchase for 2007-Q1. Next on the list is an odometer / calculator which could run around $30 with tax. That item is on sale through the web site so I'll probably buy it today (chah-ching-ka-ching-a-ling-a-ring-ding) Assuming I limit myself to one $30 purchase each quarter, I will break even in the Third Quarter of 2008 which is only 1.5 years from now.

Eventually I'll have all the gizmos and doo-dads possible so after 3 years of buying a new toy / item each quarter I'll assume that droops to $10 or so and replacement costs will increase from $30 / year to $60 / year.

I will be saving anywhere from $115 to $170 each quarter or $38 to $56 each month. That is as much as having the home phone line (on the low end) or a cell phone plan (on the high end). And now that I look at the numbers it does make me want to cancel the home phone which costs $35 / month and reduce my cell plan.

So what are you spending money on that could be eliminated?

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 3

So I skipped a day..... meh. I didn't get enough sleep and it was cold in the morning. No way am I riding when it is that cold. See Day 2 for details of road, weather, etc etc.

Eventually it would be nice to be a bit more consistent with this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Bicycle Commuting: Day 2 (from 4/3/2007)

Yes the second day of bicycle commuting did not immediately follow the first. What can I say..... it is 40 degrees in the morning and I need warmer biking clothing (I only have running clothing and that stuff just wasn't made for wind). We had a meeting with our investment banker downtown so I didn't get to the house until 10:30am and didn't leave for work till 11am. Still took about 40 minutes to ride, shower up, change into work clothes, and get to my desk.

60s and sunny. Ahhhhhh Not much wind (~10mph)

Road Conditions:
Construction. Yay. That road gets narrow and it freaks me out when a big truck goes past me with only a foot or two to spare.


Physical Conditioning:
Sucking. Sucking it long. Sucking it hard. (bonus points if you catch the reference). Why is it that physical activity

Bike Mechanics:
Shifters are in desperate need of adjustment. Harder than hell to get tires pumped up to 120SPI.... I settle for 60. I might need to move up to the bigger pump which should be easier to use. Might run that shopping trip Saturday in addition to returning the helmet & non fitting shorts (and / or pump). Need to swipe parts from my old bike at the folk's house. Probably also going to need to get a basin & can(s) of oil to clean my chain.

Over All Impression:
Still a wimp but realizing that if I do this more, I'm going to have some killer thighs.

Now if only I could get PAID to do this or get paid while doing this..... (more on this later)

1) Buy Bike
2) Sell Car
3) ???

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Why this scientist believes in God

Check out this article from a tip here. The article is about Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, the director of the Human Genome Project. In the article, Collins discusses how he came to believe in a God while an atheist med student. The article is short but interesting and if you have the 10 minutes for the article and video then check them out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (Multiply Mirror) Journaling On The Road

My last post (a picture post on Multiply only) was from some available WiFi at the Red Lion in Bellevue WA as part of a quick business / personal trip to Seattle for a friends wedding, and to deliver my latest Photo Memory Movie which was displayed before the ceremony.

The drive was nice, especially because I slept the entire way, having stayed up till 4am working on some special features for the DVD (additional angle & audio tracks). We took off at 6:20am and my brother and his wife did the driving while me and the Mrs. were in the back.

Thoughts on the destination..... Seattle is a lovely city, and it could be better if there were only a few million less people. Ok I should correct myself there, I like the climate and the terrain but I could live with out the traffic and crush of people on every piece of ground for miles in any direction.

Friday my brother and I spent 3 hours trying on mountaineering shoes at the flagship REI. We unfortunately didn't have any time to look at anything else in the entire store. Bummer! My first time there and I only visited about 1/10 of the store. I didn't even get a chance to look at the climbing wall. My brother's wife got him a book written by members of this club while we were at the REI store. Very interesting book and it should hold lots of information for us as we get get more into climbing higher and higher.

We then drove to the International District for dinner with Demigeekessand Dave. medicgeek and waussie were both busy so I didn't get a chance to see them. Then we drove back up town to Queen Anne to hit up a great little Irish pup with the Bride & Groom for a while. Then we headed back to Bellevue for the evening.

Day two was the wedding. We drove up to Green Lake for the service which was 10 minutes at most. An additional 13 minutes at the start was my production. The movie went over very well and all involved parties loved it. Go Me. After the wedding we drove back down to downtown Seattle at the Mountaineer's Club (woo!) for the reception. Space Needle visible down hte street from balcony.

After the reception we headed down to Pike's Place Market too take in the sights. We didn't have any specific need to buy things, and for me, most things there were not "Jason Safe (TM)" so I didn't feel too badly tempted. The place I felt the most tempted was this Russian bakery. Man did some of their creations look and smell amazing. There was a small cheese making facility right on the row of shops so my brother got to explain the whole process to us. He is a manager at a massive cheese facility and he helped build and design the new Southwest Cheese plant This is one of the few plants in the industrialized world that is built from the ground up and not from an existing plant.

Then we met up with Demigeekess"> again for dinner and a stroll around that area. See my photo gallery for pictures from the market. I didn't take too many because I was trying not to hit people with my laptop & camera bags because I wasn't about to leave my laptop in the vehicle unattended.

After a lovely dinner we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the trip out. I popped up the lappy and check for an open WiFi and posted the photos and hit the sack.

Sunday was pretty much the drive back. As far as allergies are concerned, I flared up considerably as a result of eating out all the time. Restaurants never know exactly what is in their foods or at least the waiters don't know and they couldn't eliminate all flour, eggs, and milk if they tried. Even rice noodles at the Chinese place probably had eggs, which are my most reactive substance.

Fun trip. Lots of people.... too many people for my taste. Great weather (cloudy and occasionally rainy) and great temperatures (50s) and if it weren't for the number of people and the cost of living there, I would love it. Oh and the politics.....crazy. Just ask Pudge.

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