Friday, March 28, 2008

My car is 6 figures

28 March 2008 marks a very important day. Two things have happened today. First, my brother has reached the monumental age of 30 and he is still a menace to society. Yes ladies, he is single and available.

Second, my car reached it's 100,000 mile mark. Yes folks, 6 figures refers to its mileage and its current value in pennies, not it's value in dollars. My car has never needed any major repairs, just regular oil changes and maintenance.

Here are pictures of the momentous occasion (Sorry, the car not the birthday. I sadly won't be able to head to Oregon for my brother's birthday).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

There is still no cure for the common birthday

Approaching my birthday this year was interesting. I didn't look forward to it; I didn't dread it. There wasn't anything that I really wanted either.

I received some nice shirts, a tie, and Mario Galaxy for the Wii (I am actually really excited about playing that). Nothing major. But, as I said, I didn't have a list of items I really wanted.

I started thinking about my indifference to my birthday this year and came to the conclusion that it is probably because I am generally content and happy. I don't have any great needs, I am in good health, and I don't have much stress in my life. What more do I need.

So all in all, this has been a good birthday and the day isn't even half over.

If anyone needs gift ideas even though I don't have any major needs or wants, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if a nice competition rifle in .338 lapua showed up on my doorstep. Something like ...

It can be found here.

For those that may accuse me of plagiarizing, the title for this post is actually a quote.

There is still no cure for the common birthday.
~ John Glenn

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This ain't Dodge City. And you ain't Bill Hickok.

I recently sent my Kimber 84M Montana rifle in for warranty repair. It had seemed to be kicking a little hard, accuracy wasn't where I expected it to be, and a small hairline crack had appeared in the stock in the bolt handle recess. It was within the manufacturers warranty, and the shop I purchased the rifle from has a lifetime warranty. I brought it back to Impact Guns and they took care of shipping the gun off to Kimber. Two weeks later Kimber sent back my newly re-stocked rifle. It was like shooting a completely different gun. I am guessing the original stock had problems from the very first. After sighting in the rifle again, here are the results.

Three shots in a quarter sized grouping. I'm sure there are plenty of better shots out there, but I am very happy with the results.

It's a cold cold world

On the 22-23 of February, Ian and I went on a winter camp with his scout group. We built a snow cave for shelter.

Sorry, no welcome mat, we forgot to bring one. There really isn't room for company anyhow.

It's cozy inside, but that worked well for staying warm.

My roommate has heard the call for breakfast.

There was around 6 feet of snow, and we arrived to the area in a whiteout. We were well prepared for the conditions though and had a great time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blowing stuff up

I recently had the opportunity to go on a weekend excursion with a group of National Guards... A demolitions group.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I would let pictures do most of the talking with a little commentary from me.

First we unpacked everything. The materials included shock tube, detonation cord, cratering charges, detonators, initiators, and C4. There were no shaped charges but I will get to that later.

We set up an assembly line to prepare blocks of C4 to tie in to the main line of detonation cord for each firing. This involved tying special knots in the detonation cord, cutting the C4, inserting the detonation cord and taping up the cut C4.

Here are the boxes of prepared C4 charges from our little assembly line.

What happens when you set off 15 blocks of C4 explosive in an old broken microwave brought along for the ride? We aren't quite sure... the only piece remaining afterwards was a length of mylar that I think came from the microwaves power supply.

Here is my friend Kirk. Someone he knows works for the National Guard and made this opportunity available to us. Kirk has just finished tying two blocks of C4 strapped to a 40lb cratering charge into the main line of detonation cord for this firing.

We all had to wear kevlar helmets and flak vests. Here I am in my sexy getup (the kind of sexy only my wife can appreciate).

Here is the cloud from our detonation of five 40 lb. cratering charges and a large quantity of C4 that was getting old and needed to be disposed. I wished I could have taken some video, but a Major and a Colonel showed up for the detonations and insisted that we take shelter in the bunker. Otherwise, I think the team leader would have allowed everyone to watch from the top of the bunker 300 yards away from the range.

And finally, the hole left by the detonation. It would have been bigger, but we had to dig the holes in the clay soil where we placed the cratering charges. This meant the charges were near the surface where they couldn't work to their full potential. Normally shaped charges would be used to create 6-8 ft deep post holes in the dirt. The charges would then be placed in the bottom of these holes where they could work most efficiently.

It was several hours of hard work, but well worth it when the initiator was pulled.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Functionally deficient

I have recently returned to looking at and learning functional programming languages. Right now I am looking most closely at Haskell and Objective CAML (ocaml for short). There are many others out there ( Eiffel, Erlang, Lisp/Scheme, etc. ) but those are the two I am concentrating on now.

Haskell is interesting because it is purely functional and adheres very closely to mathematical principles (Lambda Calculus, category theory, type theory, etc).

On the other hand Ocaml is a more commonly used nearly-functional language that is known for its performance.

You may be thinking, "My programming language 'X' has functions, what is this 'Functional Programming' thing?" Chances are, your language 'X' falls into the category of imperative/procedural languages.

To help explain the difference and get you started off, here are some great resources to whet your appetite:
In particular, Functional Programming For The Rest Of Us is a great starter article I recommend for people who are new to functional programming.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thieving $#@!

Over the past 2 weeks I have had change stolen off my desk several times. The first time I thought that I had forgotten about using it or giving it to somebody. But then it happened again... and again. Either I am going senile, or someone is taking my property for a walk.

I can be tolerant of a lot of things, but I have problems with not being able to trust cubicle neighbours.

So, it is time to figure out who is pilfering my spare change. My desktop machine is a nice little linux desktop. So after a little searching I came up with a nice little solution that will utilize a 6-7 year old webcam I have laying around. It's a nice little package, called motion, that detects motion based on video changes using a standard web camera and then records it to images and video files.

Who knows, maybe I don't want to know who is stealing from me. On the other hand, I really don't appreciate working with/around someone who has so little respect for others.

Motion was very simple to set up. I came across another package, called ZoneMinder, that seems geared towards full CCTV setups that I am going to research but motion was simple to set up and does exactly what I need for this particular problem.