Saturday, February 27, 2010


Growing like weeds.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Out for a ride

We've had a nice stroke of weather, and on a whim, I joined the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club group ride on Saturday. I got to see some of the area south-west of Philomath I hadn't traveled before. The route was about 35 miles total, about at the limit of my endurance level, and included a stop at a wonderful little eatery called "Gathering Together Farm" just south of Philomath where the servers knew everyone's name and how they liked their coffee.

I'm going to have to be able to make it to the top of Mary's Peak and back if I want to complete the Tour de Blast with Neil in June, so I've got my work cut out for me. It was nice to get some sunny non-commuter miles in and make some new acquaintances while I was at it.

The image, which shows how far things have come since my early geocaching days, show my GPS track imported into Google Earth. Pretty crazy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dr. Rampton's report on Haiti

Dr. Rampton spent more than a week in Haiti providing medical help following the earthquake. He gave a slide presentation about his observations that was quite heart wrenching.
The majority of the injuries were broken limbs from falling concrete of which most of the buildings were constructed of. He said they estimated 200,000 deaths and 200,000 amputations. The only sterile items they had were gloves. One wound he treated was exceptionally clean. When querying the mother of the child, he found that she had burned eggs black and applied them to the wounds. The sulfur prevented infection.

There was one girl he helped treat who had been horribly burned climbing under an automobile to avoid falling concrete. He helped get her and her mother evacuated to Miami for treatment. She was sharing a room with another girl who had been orphaned. They had cards for both of them to be signed to give them encouragement.

Dr. Rampton mentioned a number of charities he had personally worked with for those wishing to donate. The only one I remember off hand was Helping Hands for Haiti.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Microcontroller Fireflies

After all the effort to get up to meet the DorkbotPDX crowd, I figured I should do something (non-train related) with the Dorkboards we came home with.

There are six LEDs attached to the pulse-width modulation capable pins. They fade in and out at random times and rates, and will continue flashing for ten minutes after the lights go out.

I got the idea from an Instructable where they put them in a jar and used a much smaller chip like I used in Project Buggy. The Arduino makes it much easier to build and program a project like this.
We'll see how long the 3xAAA's last without any low-power CPU sleep tricks.

BATTERY UPDATE: With the CPU running full time, it should last 12 days, but if put it into sleep mode and only check the light level every 4 second, it will last a year! Hurray for standby!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tour of OSU Power Plant

OSU is bulding a 5.5 megawatt gas turbine power plant on campus. Dad arranged a tour for the cub scouts.In addition to providing power and heat to the University, they can sell excess power to the city.
The turbine is not on line yet, but can be powered from natural gas or diesel.