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Oct. 21st, 2014

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URGENT: Foster needed ASAP for about 2-3 weeks for Kobe, Lee Whittaker's cat

ETA: Kobe now has a foster. Thanks all!

Hi Folks,


I’m desperately asking for help here on behalf of Rev. Lee Whittaker and particularly on behalf of his kitty, Kobe.


This orange guy in the picture is Kobe, Lee Whittaker’s cat. The less-orange guy is Lee. :-) Gina and I have been looking after Kobe for a couple of years now, but we can’t continue to do so after our house move (that’s coming up this weekend — eek!). The new place allows two cats, not three, so we have to prioritize our two (Pi and Bitta). Lee is currently in student accommodation at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley that does not allow cats — he’s working on moving to a different hall that will let him take Kobe back, but it is not going to be possible to make that happen by this weekend.


Kobe with Lee WhittakerLee has arranged a longer term foster for Kobe starting 2 or 3 weeks from now that will last until he is able to move rooms at PSR, but we desperately need someone to look after Kobe until that happens. We need someone to help by looking after Kobe for 2 to 3 weeks to bridge the gap.


Kobe is affectionate with humans, but ideally needs to be an only cat. He has some special needs — he needs a grain-free diet, and he is epileptic.


Please help if you possibly can — we are moving on Sunday, and really need to move Kobe by Saturday 25th October at the absolute latest. If you can’t help directly, reposting this to your kitty-loving network would be next best thing and very gratefully appreciated. We can supply enough of his grain free kibble to last for a good while.


Thank you in advance,


Sarah (on behalf of the fuzzy orange guy and his cat-daddy)




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/20/urgent-foster-needed-asap-for-about-2-3-weeks-for-kobe-lee-whittakers-cat/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Kitties

Oct. 13th, 2014

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Area person mugged by passing Honda parts department

Yaargh. Just sayin’.


Strippers & Dikes! I replaced the primary oxygen sensor on Gina’s Honda about a month ago with a cheapo third-party replacement. It was iffy to start with, throwing an OBD II code or two occasionally, then turned up its toes entirely after about 3 or 4 weeks use.


After being mugged by a passing Honda parts department to the tune of two freaking hundred and freaking seventy dollars, labor being of course free because I fitted it myself in all of about 5 minutes, said car is now running as smooth as a baby’s bum. Also it is (relatively speaking) good news that the cracks I saw in the exhaust manifold don’t look any worse than they did last time I had it to bits, so they are probably old, possibly manufacturing defects, and may not actually be going to cause a problem in the time scale that we’re likely to keep that car (months not years).


In other news, wow am I exhausted (no pun intended). This month is totally nuts. All my buses arrived at the bus stop all at once this month, I think. And half of them broke down and demanded that I fixed them, without a manual or any tools. And it’s not even half way through the month. Still to happen is a field trip to the Mojave, packing and moving house, all while I have zero vacation or sick time.


Like I said, Yaargh.


PS: For the curious, the fieldwork is at Zzyzx in the Mojave desert, on the edge of a salt flat, about half way between the middle of nowhere and the edge of nowhere. I’ll be supporting instrument testing on an experimental rover. Gina is going too — it’ll be about the only chance we’ll get to actually get away together anywhere for some time. The crazy is scheduled to continue and/or get worse, so…




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/13/166/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#MoMBlog, #Musings

Oct. 9th, 2014

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New Patheos column: True Names, True Identities

Hi folks,


After skipping a column due to Life Happening, I have a new column up on Patheos. This time I’m talking about True Names. Neoplatonism for the internet age. All your data are belong to Facebook and the NSA. That kind of thing. Have at!


We are Cat!Queer of Swords: True Name, True Identities


True Names have power. This is an idea that has been debated by philosophers for millennia, but what does this mean for the Internet age? What are the deeper consequences of the Facebook real names fight?


[ Read more on Patheos ]




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/09/new-patheos-column-true-names-true-identities/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#QueerofSwords

Oct. 8th, 2014

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First Light!

Sorry to be a little cryptic, but anyone who knows what I mean by this will know why I’m intending celebrating ASAP!


 




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/08/first-light/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#MoMBlog, #Musings
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1am sleep-addled logic analyzer cognitive dissonance

Tektronix TLA 624 running a virus scan Tektronix TLA 624 running a virus scan


I mean… seriously?


While I was waiting for a compile to happen, I looked over at the logic analyzer and saw it…


… running a freaking virus scan.


Seriously.


Two things I never really thought I’d be saying in one sentence.


(It’s a really good logic analyzer, but the Windows thing freaks me out a little!)




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/08/1am-sleep-addled-logic-analyzer-cognitive-dissonance/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Electronics, #MoMBlog, #Musings, #TestGear

Oct. 4th, 2014

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We have a house!

We just put down a rental deposit on a house in south San Jose, CA, and will be moving in on October 25th. This is a huge relief.


Strippers & Dikes! The new place is quite a bit smaller than our existing place, but probably costs about the same per square foot per year. This will save us quite a bit compared with our existing place. It’s very close to VTA Light Rail and 85, so I have both car and non-car commute options for work. People coming to visit will be able to get Caltrain to Mountain View then VTA Light Rail to very close to the house. We’ll also be walking distance to quite a few shops and restaurants, so it should be pretty convenient. The move date is also pretty much ideal, in that it will give us a 1 week crossover with the end of the month on our old place.


We will have to get rid of quite a bit of furniture, and possibly acquire a few things that will fit in the new space. The lower rent will be much more sustainable, however, so that’s handy. I also bought a nearly new fridge and AC unit from the outgoing tenant’s garage sale. We’ll need to pick up a washer and a dryer, but that’s it for major appliances.


The landlord seems to be the hands-off type, which is fine with me. I’d rather have to fix the occasional thing myself than have a helicopter landlord freak out about the weird science going on in the garage. ;-)




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/04/we-have-a-house/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#DomesticBliss

Oct. 3rd, 2014

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High-res photos of the HP and LeCroy 3D-printed knobs

I was asked elsewhere for high res photos of the knobs in situ for comparison with the originals.


Yep, not much comparison, but that wasn’t ever the point! I could probably have faked lookalikes, but this would have been a CNC machining job and a LOT of work. I could have done it using the 4th axis on the Sieg milling machine, but it would probably have taken me a couple of days at least. Sure, I could have made quite a few knobs once the CNC program was written, but for a one off, and particularly when I don’t really care much what the knobs look like, they just have to work, this was enough for me. :-)


High res closeup of replacement HP knob High res closeup of replacement HP knob


High res photo of replacement LeCroy knobs High res photo of replacement LeCroy knobs




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/03/142/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#3Dprinting, #Electronics, #MakerCulture, #TestGear, #Uncategorized
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Gina's latest podcast with Tanesh Watson Nutall is a *MUST HEAR*

I’m proud of my wife’s work, but I can say with absolute honesty that this episode blew me away. Tanesh is the TransSaints Chaplain and transgender minister at City of Refuge UCC in Oakland, CA.


Tanesh has survived more than most of us can possibly imagine, yet she has an intense love of life and drive to help others that is truly humbling.


If you are a podcast listener, grab this one right away. If you don’t normally listen to podcasts, listen to this one anyway. You can do so right from the web page without needing to install anything.


Rev. Gina Pond Rev. Gina Pond (photo: Chuck Fry)


TWIH Ep 16: The Power of Prayer: A Life Testimony with Tanesh Watson Nutall




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/03/ginas-latest-podcast-with-tanesh-watson-nutall-is-a-must-hear/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Gina
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Woohoo! The Keithley 171 was found by UPS and delivered!

Yaay! The missing Keithley 171 showed up this morning. Thanks are due to our regular UPS driver who has spent the last few days undoing the mess caused by a temp driver who covered for him recently while he was out having a pacemaker fitted.


Yes, this is a lot more life detail than would normally be expected from a UPS guy, but under the circumstances I am very grateful to him for his help in tracking this down.


Keithley 171 Multimeter with Nixie Tube display Keithley 171 Multimeter with Nixie Tube display


I gave it a quick power up out of curiosity. It needs a little work — the power switch is broken (you can see that in the photo actually, so it wasn’t a surprise), and the case is kind-of sticky, probably old residue from labels. It looks like there is some label residue on the display filter too. None of this is very hard to deal with. I think I probably have a suitable replacement power switch in with some of the parts I amassed for my super sekrit upcoming steampunk project, so my next video blog will probably be a teardown, repair and calibration of this little beauty.


Did I mention that though it seems to just be 4.5 digit, it seems to have 100 picoamp resolution, and certainly measures down to microvolts. This is no slouch of a meter despite its age.


Oh, and that display is mesmerizing. Photos don’t do justice to the 3D-ness of Nixie tubes.




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/03/woohoo-the-keithley-171-was-found-by-ups-and-delivered/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Uncategorized

Oct. 2nd, 2014

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m0mV#001: 3D printing a new knob for an HP 3457A multimeter with a Solidoodle 2


So here it is! The first ep is up, in all its glory, warts and all.


In this ep, I make and install a new binding post knob for my HP 3457A multimeter. The new knob is made from ABS plastic on a Solidoodle 2, a cheap 3D printer that rose to fame in a Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago. I think I bought mine just after the Kickstarter campaign finished, so I was probably one of their earliest commercial customers. The Solidoodle 2 isn’t horrible — it’s a bit basic, but it gets the job done. I’d like something a little more rigid with a bigger build platform, but I’ve already had a lot of use out of mine for everything from replacement knobs (as shown, and also for one of my oscilloscopes) to connector backshells and prototype housings for spacecraft electronics. It can’t replace my milling machine, but it does do surprisingly well for a lot of smallish objects with complex shapes that would be irritating to mill due to the difficulty of doing the CAM and all the setups and tool changes that ‘real’ machining would require. I also show Geomagic Design in use live for the 3D design for the part. I wanted to show a true end-to-end process, starting from concept all the way through to a finished object, showing all the steps without eliding anything. When I was mulling over the idea of buying a 3D printer, I really wanted something like this because all I could find were brief timelapses showing the printer making things, with pretty much nothing existing that went beyond this.


I’ve been mulling over the idea of starting a video blog for some time. Though I might occasionally wish to post a rant or several (gosh, who knew?), I’m actually rather more inspired by some of the excellent YouTubers out there who put out excellent content that always keeps me watching. On the electronics side, I’m particularly inspired by Dave Jones (eevblog), but it may have been watching mjlorton that actually kicked me into doing something. I also devour anything posted by mikeselectricstuff and TheSignalPathBlog — so very tasty! On the mechanical engineering side, mrpete222, Keith Fenner, oxtoolco, abom79 and doubleboost have all kept me hugely entertained. On the slightly more commercial side, I should also shout out to The Ben Heck Show and Tested, who demonstrate how this can be done on with slightly greater than zero budget and a fair bit of professionalism!


My thoughts behind doing this are partly because I like making things and I love teaching, so a video blog of this kind is particularly inviting to me. I have all kinds of wild plans, some of which may not see the light of day, but the Vague Plan is to have the following kinds of content on the channel:



  1. Long form video blog episodes like the one above. This format is closest to the form that I tend to really like to watch. These episodes will be unscripted and have whatever format works for the purpose.

  2. Very short episodes in a series entitled 100 Seconds of Awesome. These will be higher production value, short attention span videos aimed at showing very short, very to the point material that each aim to teach exactly one thing very precisely and with no added anything.

  3. Long form episodes in a series called $100 of Awesome. This will also be higher production value, but with longer episodes. The premise is that I will pick up the coolest thing I can find on eBay (most likely something like a piece of test equipment or some such), tear it down, repair it and hot rod it, then put it on eBay for auction starting at $1 with the proceeds going to charity. Kind of like Pimp my Ride meets eevblog. Some builds may be multi-episode.

  4. Longer form builds as individual miniseries. In this case, I’ll start a project from scratch and show the whole thing through to completion. These eps may actually go out as part of the main m0mV blog or may be separate, I don’t know yet.


My interests are maybe a bit wider than most of the video bloggers who inspired me to do this, so the content will probably range from hardcore electronics to machine shop videos, ham radio and even also some music-related stuff — I have not forgotten that Mage of Machines started out as essentially a stage name for my musical endeavours.


I’m well aware that this first ep is a bit rough around the edges. I’m on a learning curve. I know how to futz over video and audio for many hours to make it perfect, but that won’t fly on this because it will simply take too long. I have to be able to make a video in an evening, including shooting and editing, or they just won’t get made. It will take me a while to shake the bugs out and to get used to not saying ‘so’ so damned much. I’ll get there. In the mean time, perfection is the enemy of done, so here it is.


Anyway, I hope you like this one. If you like it, subscribe, give me a thumbs up, leave a comment, whatever. All of that helps my ranking on YouTube, and will be greatly appreciated. :-)




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/02/m0mv001-3d-printing-a-new-knob-for-an-hp-3457a-multimeter-with-a-solidoodle-2/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#3Dprinting, #Electronics, #MoMVlog, #TestGear

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