Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DC on the Move

I'm trying out Vimeo to keep it separate from my train stuff on YouTube (I'm up to 28 subscribers).

DC on the Move from Ken Olsen on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

1200 YouTube views in 24 hours

It amazes me how many people have watched the videos I've put up on YouTube about my various projects. Just yesterday Sparkfun, an electronics supplier I frequent, published a blog post featuring a video I did showing how I did the electronics on the model railroad layout. Twenty-four hours later more than 1200 people have check the video out. It is not quite millions like Merton the Chat Roulette piano player, but still amazing! Here are my top videos with their "views" and how long the've been up:

7,700 - Buggy, a Crafty LED Project (1 year ago).
4,400 - Dawson Station (5 months ago).
4,100 - Arduino Rocks (2 years ago, only 11 seconds long).
3,100 - Game of Life - 10 Boards (1 year ago).
2,900 - Wii Nunchuk Controlled Model Train (2 months ago).
2,500 - Dawson Station Update (2 months ago).
1,500 - Arduino Control of a Model Train (2 weeks ago).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kenernet Film Festival

Every time I see a video I think my kids should see, I add it too a list. Here are some recent entries. I've embedded a short one to whet your appetite.

Amazing Animals:
2nd Largest Aquarium Screen Saver in the the World

Amazing animals:

Praying Mantis Vs. Humming Bird

Story of bottled Water:

How I fell in Love with a Fish

Saving the world with gaming

Weird Al Documentary

Rube Goldberg music video from OK Go

Music from Electronics

Space / Technology:
Robot needs a little human help

Girl Power: Ada Lovelace

Powers of Ten

Networking in Space

Solar Eclipse

TED top 10

Odds & Ends:
Attack of the Giant Stuffed Bears

Commuter Dreams: (Portland Tour de France)

Srikumar Rao on Happiness (video is in English).

Streets don't have names. Trivia about perspective

Terminus - Stalked by your imagination

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Lady Ada was a mathematician and contemporary of Charles Babbage. She is generally recognized as writing the first algorithm for Babbage's theoretical mechanical computer called the Analytical Engine.

I knew little of this except that my favorite NY microelectronics engineer, Limor Fried, goes by the moniker "Lady Ada" and runs the successful Adafruit Industries which deals in open source kits, primarily of her design. I used a number of pieces of her handy work in the electronic controls of Dawson Station. Now I know the source of her nickname!

One of Limor's more interesting early projects was a cigarette-pack sized cell phone jammer called a "Wave Bubble".

Babbage's Analytical Engine was never built due primarily to lack of funding. Portions of it have been built and tested, and it appears it could have been finished using the technology of the time. Ironically, Limor has stated she prefers hardware design instead of software, so perhaps this Lady Ada would have helped Babbage get his computer built first before writing any software for it!

You can learn more about Ada Lovelace Day at

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Emily at the Oregon Preview

Here is a video of Emily's 3000 meter race at Historic Hayward Field.

It was an exciting place to watch a race! Emily is a great role model.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring

I've ridden 317 miles and lost 10 pounds since January. I don't know if I'll be ready for the Tour de Blast in June, but I'm enjoying the journey.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Successful Model Conference Showing!

A full day in Elsie, Oregon, at the sixth Annual Pacific Model Logger's Conference. It is a comfort hanging out with people similarly afflicted with near obsessive interest in scale modeling railroad / lumber themes.A late night of firmware upgrades the night before paid off. The layout performed (surprisingly) perfectly. Pressing the button started the mill sounds and had the train slowly move back and forth on the center spur for about two minutes. Lights, action, and sound must have made for a winning combination because it got first place in the diorama division.

This was a bit amazing because the returning champion, whose model graces this years plaque, brought another amazing entry. He must have been a bit shocked when they announce him for second place. He did win best in show, which I think he deserved. I did get one other surprise, the first ever Memorial Award for modeling spirit. The presenter mentioned that I've taken the layout to various events and have my daughters help me.

A special thanks to my wing man who helped me get setup and provided lunch.