Sunday, January 31, 2010


Ms. Rivet and and I ventured up to Portland this weekend to hang out with some geeks. We attended a workshop entitled "Arduino Cult Induction".
It was led by Don Davis, the designer of the clever ultra-compact Arduino microcontroller clone called the Dorkboard (there is a Portland club called DorkbotPDX).

We each got to build and tested one to take home. The basic program just blinks the light on and off. From there, who knows where.
Given the compact size, it could go about anywhere! Here it is with the pins labeled.
Here is the image file I made if you want to make your own label.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dawson Station, yet again in Small-Layouts Scrapbook

This time as a viewer's top-10 choice of 2009 at Carl Ardent's Small Layout Scrapbook!
Luckily, I had a decent new picture ready for him to use (not the one on the right). He called mine out as one of his personal favorites of the year as well. Wow!

The clear favorite, and mine as well, was the Brooklyn 3AM layout. I'm still trying to find a video that shows it's awsomeness.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More than just a game.

June send me this. Based on a real game played at Western Oregon College.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kaffine: Know thine Kenemy

  • Originally discovered in 1819 by a German scientist who coined the term kaffeine.
  • A natural pesticide that paralyzes and kill certain insects feeding on leaves of plants containing it.
  • 90% of adults in North America consume it daily.
  • Global consumption: 120K tonnes/year.
  • Used by humans since the Stone Age (documented as far back as 3000 BC).
  • Median lethal dose (kills half) is roughly 80 - 100 cups of coffee in short order.
  • One of the 10 drugs most commonly given in neonatal intensive care (to treat apnoea).
One of my kids asked grandma the other day if it was alright to drink caffeinated sodas. Without any hesitation she asked, "are they addictive?"
"Yes," was the reply.
"There you go," was all grandma said. End of discussion.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dawson Station Updates

After retrieving the layout from the hobby store window, Robin help me redo the video. I am getting better at lighting and holding the camera steady. She is getting better at driving the train. The scenery, people, and vehicles have also vastly improved:

Just for giggles, a screen shot of the video editing process:
I had a tough time of saying "good enough". I'm always catching "one more thing" that needs tweaking. It takes 15 minutes to render the video, and more than an hour to upload it! Unless you see a glaring spelling mistake, I don't want to know about it.

With a 10 minute length limit on Youtube, I also had to leave out some of the historical tidbits I had in the earlier version. Oh well. Youtube is also getting more possessive about music, so I left it out this time, hoping instead that the UMG clowns don't own the copywright to Stan Kistler's 1959 "Whistles in the Woods".

I also updated the photo tour on the blog with some decent pictures, and added a page for the vehicles. Next up: an article for submission to Model Railroading and some photo entries for the 2011 Walther's Catalog!