Tuesday, 17th May 2005

No blog!

Disaster. I had not time at all to spare at work. My store was Audited. Lots of fun that was. Ran around the store all day with the auditor. Fun.

Monday, 16th May 2005

Work. By my self. Bugger...

I've been regularly reading the main stories on New Scientist lately, particularly the space related ones.

There is some REALLY cool stuff that ESA and NASA are planning. According to NS, THE DECISION TO JUNK HUBBLE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED!!!! This is awesome, how could you waste a cool piece of gear like that! They have postponed two other major missions to rescue and upgrade the Hubble instead. They have postponed:

Space Interferometry Mission: - Now called "SIM PlanetQuest"
A search for extra solar planets that was scheduled for 2011. Looks like ESA is going to win that one as they are planning a similar mission about that time.

Space Interferometry Mission

Terrestrial Planet Finder:
"The Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories will study all aspects of planets outside our solar system: from their formation and development in disks of dust and gas around newly forming stars to the presence and features of those planets orbiting the nearest stars; from the numbers at various sizes and places to their suitability as an abode for life." This mission was going to start in 2014.

Formation-flying infrared interferometer

Mars Science Laboratory:
This looks like another cool one. It's another rover. I reckon, if there was Martians, they would be pissed at the amount of "low tech" junk that we are leaving on the surface of their planet! It was planned to launch in December 2009, arriving at Mars in October 2010.

Mars Science Laboratory

It seems that Mike Griffin is a smart man: "Reducing budgets across all programmes or eliminating funding in the middle of existing projects is not an effective way to save money. I would look to delaying programmes that have not yet started." About time they started thinking logically

They are also retiring their three main shuttles. This means they will be looking at alternatives in July this year. There are 28 planned shuttle flights this year. 18 of those are going to be used to carry parts to the international space station.

Back to MARSIS:
The first 20m antenna has successfully been deployed. It was tricky though. On the 7th May, they discovered that one of the segments of the 13 wasn’t unfolded and locked into a straight position. They rotated the orbiter exposing the boom to the sun for about 5 minutes where it warmed, they then rolled it back into the darkness and it unfolded all the way. They believe that the fibreglass lost it’s elasticity after being exposed to the cold of space for 2 years in a folded position. They have decided to postpone the deployment of the second boom a few weeks while they analyse the results of the first unfolding. They may also need to expose this boom to the sun in the hope it will reduce kinking, doing this would risk a “whiplash” effect caused by the boom unfolding with too much force.

Sunday, 15th May 2005

Ah! More Sleep - Pancakes!

Over the day I watched 7 episodes of Stargate Atlantis. It's quite good. I was of the opinion that it would be a "rehash", just more of the same stuff. I was wrong! It's got new concepts, new "badies" and a new cast. "Thoroughly addicted" would be my state of interest in this how =) I can't wait to watch more!

Saturday, 14th May 2005

A day of cleaning and tidying... Yay. Then! Probably a DVD or Sleep. Depends on how high the CBF factor is.

Sleep! Sleep is good.
Bit of surfing and a bit of research on AT power supplies. That way I will be able to re-wire it for my macro lamp project.

In other news:
World's largest cocaine haul. 16T of cocaine! Man they were going to have a big party - or not... Found on a river bank. I bet those para-militists are pretty pissed it's gone now. $460M US! Almost HALF A BILLION!

Friday, 13th May 2005

Friday the 13th. My day.
Not much to speak of. The train was on time. Nothing interesting to report =)

This morning on the train I started reading "Applied Mechanics", an old 1979 engineering book. I want to learn some more about mechanics, well learning it properly again.

1:00 PM:
Made the default title for new articles "Day, xth month year" instead of null... l33t... Next week I will have it blogging automatically for me!

Thursday, 12th May 2005

I hate the train.
Get to the station. Miss the early train. The next train, my "late train" is cancelled. The train after that is packed to the point where I couldn’t even board it. The train after that I got on. Stood for 1h 25m. Caught the connecting train ended up 35 minutes late to work. Just lucky I have contingencies in place for WHEN this happens. Yes WHEN. Because with ShittyRail (CityRail) you know its GOING TO HAPPEN. Bastards.

10:00 AM:
More stock take prep, oh what fun. I am gripped by the excitement of recording catalogue numbers! But it gets better! The catalogue numbers must be entered into the computer! Whoa! Crazy, massive unforgettable fun... yer...

12:00 AM:
Goldy sent me a link to another web comic called CTRL+ALT+DEL - Tragically 1337. It's really good. I read the archives from Jan 01 05 to now. I will be making a button when I get some spare time. You will probably see it in the bottom left corner with the other buttons.

The particular comic he sent me was this one titled "The almighty twenty". This refers to rolling a critical hit with what’s called a "natural 20" on a 20 sided dice. Natural 20 means without any modifiers like +1 weapons or spells or whatever. A critical hit means that whatever you hit is probably dead. In some rules you roll again to calculate where the critical hit is located, in a "simple rules" game you just lay the smack down on it and it's dead.

It has been wholly too long since I have got out the AD&D dice (D20, D12, D10s, D8, D6s and D4s) and played a game.

1:00 PM:
It's Lunch Time!
New Scientist: It seems that there is going to be a massive nuclear reactor built in either France or Japan. When I say massive I mean 5 to 10billion US massive. It's going to be used to research the use of nuclear fusion in clean energy production. The project is called ITER - International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. This can only end in tears…

1:09 PM:
Mr Brenny arrives. Now we eat. Then I will rant after he informed me of the reason the trains were late/fubar today.

It seems that our CrappyTrail staff are on drugs. They must be, else they wouldn’t be striking over a random drug test?!?! This shits me to tears. Officials turn up at the Flemington, Mortdale and Hornsby maintenance workshops. The workers then refuse to submit to drug tests, drop their tools and leave. Why not just take the test, be cleared and keep working? If you haven’t taken anything, what do you have to hide?

So. I have to be late for work because some fucker doesn't want his boss to know he or she is on drugs. As if the whole "train to work" thing isn’t enough of an ordeal. For fucks sake, these are the people we trust our lives to daily. They fix things like brakes and door mechanisms - from fucking bogies to roof, they maintain and repair it. I ride four trains a day. Damn my life expectancy must be dropping exponentially per trip.

In the press release to the Herald Sun, the Cityrail representative comes up with a pearler: "We have got some cancellations to services across the network…" and "But they're kept to a minimum". I don’t know how many trains they run each morning but 17 cancelled trains is not near "minimum". I also don’t think all the morning south coast trains running four car sets instead of eight car sets minimal either. A whole sector of the network (the south line) running at 50% capacity, yeah minimal.

When they build these timetables it doesn’t take rocket science to cut down the ticket purchase times vs destination statistics and come up with a timetable to match them. Fucking hell, don’t they know what a database is? If they do, well, they have no excuses; they’re just shit in general as I first thought…

While we are on the 4 car bit, why the fuck do they find it necessary to run 6 car trains in peak? Perhaps they are rolling dice to determine how many cars to have on the train. Yeah they roll 1D10 - 2.

   A quiet office in Cityrail headquarters :
 The silence is broken by the clacking of dice on table.
 An executive has rolled 8 on his D10.
   "Ooh an 8!"
The executive enthusiastically announced.
   "Don’t forget the minus two sir…"
The secretary tactfully advised.
Puzzled, the executive began the tedious calculation of eight minus two.
   "Oh yeah… …That makes it a… erm…"
   "Six Sir…"
The secretary jumped in.
   "Six!, yeah, you’re right."
The executive, like his trains, came in late.
The secretary recorded the figure and looked up.
   "OK, so that’s a six car train for the 7:35."
Happy with the progress, the secretary ushered on the next timetable entry and prompted.
   "Excellent; let’s move on, the 7:51. Roll please sir."

I just wish they would admit how fucking pathetic they actually are. Face it; you bastards are doing a REALLY BAD JOB! Why do I pay $33 dollars a week to travel from the west to north Sydney? Why do I have to pay so much for shit service that is almost never on time? Why, when it is on time, is it barely consistent with the timetable?

I can see it now:

A Cityrail Maintenance depot tomorrow :
"Dude; those brakes will be fine man, just clip them in, don’t worry about the retention pin man, I wan't to keep it as a keyring. It’ll hold. It’s all good man, Just pass me that joint dude! Puff, Puff, Give man, don’t break the rules!".

Fucking assholes!

SMH News the day after:
"60 killed and 124 injured in a run-away train incident."

Maintenance guys investigate the wreckage after they truck it to the depot because the bastard is so mangled :

Excited by his discovery the Cityrail engineer exclaims :
"Dude! I found my bong! I thought that's where I left it!"
The engineer carefully retrieves bong from inside the EEBS mechanism cradling it with both hands.
Startled, he jumps as the violent hiss of compressed air bursts out. The emergency brake cylinders are charged and their pistons violently rammed down their length. The brake pad comes to rest on the wheel with a solid "Clunk".
In dramatic realisation the engineer thinks he solved it!
"Ah so that's why the EEBS didn't kick in..."

When questioned, the Cityrail representative said "It seems there was a Failure of the main brake system along with an additional failure of the Electronic Emergency Brake System or "EEBS". The investigating engineer reported there was an ‘object’ lodged in it."
The representative refused to comment as to the nature of the ‘object’.
(press room upraw)

Wednesday, 11 May 2005


Ran into Dave on the train, caught up a little bit. It seems he's scored some sweet 19" monitors and a sweet glass "Graphic Designer's" desk. Sounds really cool.

8:57 AM:
Mmmm blueberry muffin today. Yumyumyum.

2:25 PM:
Terribly interesting day. Fixed Gary's Home PC after some amateur dude looked at it who was "good with computers" tried to. Friends don't give the name "Guru" lightly. This is the name I have, because, when I fix stuff and it stays fixed, unless people mess with it. Then that "warranty" doesn't apply. If you don't try to mess with it, it will STAY FIXED!

There is also the compulsory installation of both Firefox and Thunderbird. This almost guarantees that their PC won't be filled with spy ware crap after a day of use. "This browser is really quick, I haven't had any spy ware or rubbish install it's self for months now" - yes, that’s why I installed it and told you NOT to use Internet Explorer. Except for windows updates… Meh, enough showing off…

7:32 PM:
Yum, Fish for dinner. Beautiful crumbed Dory with Golden brown potatoe wedge goodness! Mmmmmmm. Don't forget the chicken salt on the wedges! Oh, and the vegies with cheese sauce mmmmmmmmmmm.

It seems as though I am talking about food too much these days. I like food. I like eating food. I like to cook it too - when Kel trusts me enough to let loose in the kitchen sometimes...

Remember the comment earlier about staying fixed? Yeah, it's true. I have had Mum's PC for 4 days now. I reinstalled everything and reseated all the components. It has been folding for FOUR DAYS at FULL LOAD! It has completed 4 WUs!.

Folding is a great idea. Folding refers to the folding and un-folding of proteins. We are talking about Folding@Home or FAH. The reason for this research is when a protein unfolds incorrectly it can cause diseases or defects in the body. It would consume massive ammounts of CPU and RAM resources on a supercomputer and years to simulate the folding and un-folding of proteins under different conditions. They use dontated "CPU Time" from millions of people around the world that want to help to run their simulations for them. So, what happens is the person wishing to donate some CPU time downloads a client. These guys then pass out WUs or "Work Units", this is data for the client to crunch. Once the client has finished with the WU the results are passed back to the FAH guys and their server passes the client another WU. This type of system is called "Distributed Computing". There are also other projects like SETI@Home that works a similar way. SETI is a project that is looking for extra-terrestrial signals using a big radio teliscope. SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They do a similar thing but pass out blocks of signal for the people to analyse and send back.

Tuesday, 10th May 2005

Actually got a seat today. Only noticed it 10 minutes into the train trip. Bastards sitting on the inside of the aisle. I had to squeeze past 2 people across to the window seat. I hate that!

Yummy Yummy Pinapple Doughnut...

My thirteenth blog! It's Friday 13th in a few days. But thats MY day, I am immune =) Being borne on the 13th and all... =P

10:51 AM:
That damn MOD song "Countdown Theme" is STILL STUCK IN MY HEAD!

More Foamy The Squirrel. In fact 74 episodes! I wish I had the bandwidth to support the site by hosting some episodes.

Monday, 9th May 2005

Not much interesting happening today. I spent the morning doing a LOT of paperwork that I had neglected, probably one and a half phone-books or ~75mm in thickness.

Train was cancelled. Next train was packed. Are we seeing a pattern with the public train system yet? Been busy setting up for stock take today. Haven’t done much in the way of blogging. Hence, one large update for the whole day. Its almost 5 PM now. In my lunch I was fitted a suit for my wedding, my friend Gary runs the store. He chose a great looking one for me. The rest of my break I spent downloading MORE foamy flash movies; some of the earlier ones that weren’t on the illwillpress site. Classic stuff. I want a “Squirrelly Wrath” Foamy coffee mug or a Pilz-E "Extra Medication for All!" mug. Just can’t get enough of these flash cartoons! They’re great!

On Sunday I came across this MOD, I can’t get the damn thing out of my head! I don’t know why. It’s called “Countdown Theme”, sorry, no credits. I have no idea where it came from. I probably have 1500-2000 MODs and S3Ms etc. Anyway I converted it to a WAV then to an MP3 and dumped it on my iPod.

7:00 PM:
Barbecue time! Nice big steak.

Sunday, 8th May 2005

Up early as usual... Damn brain thinking. Its 8:40PM now, thought I'd better complete a blog for today. No point in ruining it now.

Didn't do much this morning. It's mother's day. Went to Mum and Dad's with Kel and had a barbecue. The other thing I did while over there was sort some of the crap that I have at their house. I have heaps. Computer and Electronics parts mainly. Anyway, I brought home some PC power supplies and other bits.

One of the power supplies I will be using in a project of mine that is in the works. A set of 2 maybe 3 halogen lights on "Helping Hand" arms. These will be mounted on a bracket then mounted on the bottom of my camera. Running from the bracket will be cables. At the end of the cables will be a box. This box will contain one, maybe two SLA batteries for portable use. The AT power supply will also be in this box. It will have two purposes. One. Charge the SLAs. Two. Run the lights from AC power. A PC power supply is perfect for halogens. It has a 12V rail that can run into 10s of Amps. Perfect.

This light or lights will be used for macro photography. It’s difficult to get the depth of field that you want in low-light in macro photography because the f/ stop is so low (bigger hole). If the f/stop is higher (smaller hole) the depth of field is increased. To use a higher f/stop there needs to be more light.

So, if the subject is better lit I can a) possibly hand-hold shots with a shallow depth of field because the shutter speed required will be faster. Or b) get a better depth of field by using a higher f/stop on a tripod! I hope that all makes sense. It’s bed time!

Saterday, 7th May 2005


Ah! Saterday at last!
8:40 AM:
Yes, that's right. Eight forty! My silly body, being the way it is doesn't sleep when it's supposed to! Doesn't really matter, I had lots of stuff to do today. HAD! No internet today, Tel$tra seem to be having boggles all about new south wales with their DSLAMs. Connection logins timing out. Bastards, I hope they fix it.

I'm updating this via LAN on the box next to the box that serves www.zagadka.org! Well, maybe not that exciting. Maybe not worthy of the exclamation mark I gave it. Meh.

Well without internet it seems that I will be cleaning and tweaking the server as well as a backup. Backups are good. Backups save tears... Oh yeah, theres the other fun "real world" stuff that I have to do today. Real cleaning and Vacuuming. Joy.

Without internet I can't watch more of the Foamy The Squirrel movies that I discovered yesterday. Bugger. That little critter has a mouth from the gutter and an attitude to match! The one that I watched was called "Foamy's Rant II". It was basically his rant about those fat people sueing McDonalds because they were fat, rather than just not eating there... Also about Mobiles in cinemas/restaurants. Hilarious!

Back the the computer. The 'ol download folder needs a thorough cleaning and cataloguing. So many little movie clips, flash animations, apache/webserver related crap, Geeklog bits and pieces, miscellaneous game demos all sorts of crap. Anyway, it needs a clean!

10:32 AM:
Still no internet. I have decided to start some more drawing. A UB2 zippy box. The larger one that I drew before was a UB1. Only taken me 20-30 minutes. I have completed the body of the box and the lid. I need to detail the inside of the box with the rails to slide boards between.

11:00 AM:
Finished off the Zippy box.

3:00 PM:
I decided to watch Constantine. Disc didn"™t want to read in the DVD player. Tried the PS2. Reads in the PS2 but skips. Damn. Ended up digging out a DVDROM and installing it in the computer. Finally! What an awesome movie! After some vacuuming and tidying I made some beef noodles, but added some garlic. Watched the first 40 minutes of MallRats, another favourite movie then Bub got home.

Friday, 6th May 2005


One week of blog. I am glad I stuck to doing this. An outlet for me is a plus! Keeping a diary is a good idea. This is the first one I have managed to keep for a week!

Any positive feelings were quickly dashed this morning by the procurement of certain information, i.e. the offering of a job that I wanted to another in the company. Offering an Assistant manager a Store Manager role when A Store Manager (me) has already specifically asked for that position. What a bunch of fucking crap.

9:40 AM:
I have tried to stem the amount of swearing used in my blog, succeeding to do so thus far. I believe that is the first one. Yay. Another celebration" I apologise to anyone offended; the amount of frustration right now, when stacked, is higher than me.
Therefore some "venting" is necessary

I'm going to go watch some: Strongbad Emails to cheer me up a little.

Thursday, 5th May 2005


Work. Yay.
Morning trip was bullshit. Train was delayed first by 6 minutes, then by 8 then by 12. It arrived after 15 and was full any way. Next one was in 5 minutes. Lo and Behold! What do I see sitting at Redfern's Everleigh Workshops sitting in a siding? Not one, not two but three brand new shiny Millenium trains. What a fucking waste.
On and off all day I have been trying to add image tags to make a pretty table and description to my posts. It works.

Wednesday, 4th May 2005.

Work == teh suck.

11:00 AM:
ESA's Mars Express orbiter has started it's 10 day RADAR antenna deployment. The antenna is used to send radar waves to the surface (and below). This will tell us wether there are reservoirs or water below the surface as well as mapping the composition of the surface and up to 5km below. This particular piece of equipment has been called "MARSIS" or Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding.

Fibreglass antenna folded up.

Underground Reservoir.

The antenna has enough stored elastic energy to un-fold it's self once released. The antenna pictured is 20m long when deployed. There are two long (20m) antennas and one 7m antenna. Images are from ESA.

3:00 PM:
Long resounding meeeeeeeh. Headache, indigestion (yummy lasagne, prolly ate too much) and tiredness makes me something, something...

5:00 PM:
Still headacheage. Boredom > Me. Fixed some theme problems with this site. Some double borders that were tables accidently nested inside eachother and also added a sub-title bar to the articles. The site looks a little more "clean cut" now.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2005



9:30 AM:
Caught up on my four favourite web comics Flintlocke, UserFriendly, PVP and Penny Arcade. Always good for a laugh. Redbull + Coffee in 2h, Awake at last... Sad really.

11:00 AM:
It's that time again, that"™s right! Stock take! Yaaaaaaaaaay!!!! ...not. Updated my store map just then. Ran around the store with my hi-lighter and checked all the sections that need re-labelling. Fun. Only about 30 ranges need labels. Glad I didn't remove the ranges from the last stock take!

2:30 PM:
I really haven"™t achieved that much today. Finding it difficult to get motivated, knowing there"™s over 3000 lines of stock that need counting in 20 days. I added some favourite links to the left hand side of the site as you may have noticed. Took me 30 mins to gather/make the damn 88x31 buttons. I gave up with Strongbad, ended up just putting a miniature image of him there, I reckon it looks good!

3:00 PM:

<p>// | Library Includes: You shouldn't have to touch anything below here | // +---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Dangerous times! Modifying the great "all-powerful" lib-common.php; The holder of many functions; the core of GeekLog! I feel elite now. My little modification was to include an extra parameter in the function "COM_optionList()". This function is a very elegant solution to creating a drop down menu from data contained in a database, just pass it your table, field names and it dumps the whole table in there and creates a drop down menu for you.

My little addition just allowed me to pass the SQL ordering suffix for the "ORDER BY" syntax, so now I can pass it "ASC" (there"™s no real point in this as its the default) or "DESC" for descending order.

Next I modified the "story.php" the part that controls the editing of stories on my website. I added the extra parameter where story.php draws the drop down menu that says wether or not to display the story on the front page. I change this almost every time while creating blog entries, hence the modification. More streamlining == teh win!

Following the successful modification of the drop down menu I set about making the size of the editing text boxes larger. They were only 50x15 characters! Way too small! Now they are a comfortable 80x25.

Monday, 2nd May 2005.


11:00 AM:

Dump iParts on web server quick! A not-so-busy morning at work. Boooooring. I did draw a slide switch and the cut-out of the zippy box in some spare time. Also, I dumped an image of the square push button for your viewing pleasure.

2:00 PM:

Finished the cut-out of the lid ready to start assembling!

3:00 PM:

Another update. We have a win. I have almost finished my 3D model.

I think based on this, I may be able to put the project in the next size down Zippy Box. Then it will be a bit smaller, then again, it's: a) a prototype and b) not supposed to be hand-held. There will be a remote release attached to this as well for manual shooting. The remote-remote will be smaller and "hand-held" with two buttons. One button will control AF/AE (Auto Focus/Auto Exposure) depending on the mode of the camera and the remote release, the other will control the shutter.

So that's done, now what. Next I have to draw the connector I will be using. It is an 8 pin mic plug. Very heavy duty and solid. 8 pins for redundancy, only three will be used to start with. Depends if I add pretty LEDs and crap to the remote...

The layout. Yes, it's not even. That will come later.


5 x P7552 - Square push buttons.

These will be used for navigation through the menu system. They will be up, down, left, right and in the center; set.

3 x P7610 DPDT Slide Switches.

The first will be used to switch between "set" mode and "run" mode. The second will be used to set "Manual" or "Controller" shooting. The third will control the backligths and LEDs, incase they interfere with a low-light shot.

The menus are designed. I just need to code the damn thing now. But first, the prototype!

Sunday, 1st May 2005.


I can't believe it's May already! Made some pancakes for breaky, I got a good recipe off a forum that I frequent called Overclockers Australia (requires registration). There is a section of the forum called "Geek Food" that the forum members post queries and ideas about different foods.

Finishing off the drawing of the square push-button. Its turned out OK. I detailed the internals, they will be left out to save resources when I make my 3D prototype.

5 PM:

Decided to start the Zippy. The main body and the lid of it is done, just detailing the board holding slots on each side. Taking about 50-60 seconds per line because of a repeating pattern, slows things down quite a bit!

As you can see in this image, theres a big long repeating pattern. Takes ages to re-draw.

Well it's sucking down 50% of my CPU time. Thats a P4 2.4 with 1Gb of RAM. I don't even want to imagine how long a re-draw would take on my poor old Laptop... (A P3 550.). It seems theres a *magical* tick box that stops the square patterns taking a week to calculate and re-draw. It's the "Associative" tick box. This means it just makes an array copy of the selection and it doesn't update them when the original changes... yay.

Finally we have zippy boxage.

Lots of waiting and two crashes, here it is!

Saterday, 30th April 2005.

HRSC High Resolution Stereo Colour Imager

Morning Update... Yeah. Going to have to try to keep this updated! Surely there's something interesting to add...

Ah Ha! Heres something!

This morning I checked out the ESA site after hearing about Mars Express on TV last night. There was a documentary on the ABC about the various mars missions. Very cool, anyway, I found the Mars Express page at ESA. There are some incredible surface pictures coming from the orbiter, it has a HRSC mounted on it. That's "High Resolution Stereo Camera". A very cool piece of kit.

The HRSC uses a special set of 9 CCDs consisting of a single line of 5184pixels each. For imaging there are three channels red, green, blue, near infra-red. Next there are two "photometry" channels, they are used for sensing brightness to determine the composition of the surface these are angled just under 18 degrees either side of the perpendicular. Heres the tricky part, the other 3 CCDs. To create 3D data based on imaging using a method called "photogrammetry" you need a front-looking, back-looking and down-looking image. Positioned perpendicular to the surface is one CCD called the "Nadir" channel or downward looking channel, either side of the nadir at +/-18.9° are two more channels for the forward-looking and backward looking images.

That's a HUGE image, they must decrease the amount of data they have to send, as bandwidth and time are limited. They do this by using a 2x2 pixel summary. This means they average out the values of each 2x2 block of pixels reducing the data size 4 fold.

There are some really stunning images coming off that orbiter. Check them out in the Mars Express Gallery

I like learning stuff. Just wish I could keep it in my head! I hope they find water on mars ... that's the mission of Mars express, well one of the objectives. It is equipped with RADAR that can scan up to 5km below the surface! Water on mars. Damn that would heat things up. It would very quickly start a new "Space Race" I think. Race to mars. Hrm... Mars "look" like a hot planet; all orangy and desert looking. The fact is its incredibly cold, -113°C to 0°C yay! I'm thinking shorts.

Did some shopping around today. We bought "Monopoly". Finding things to do together is a big plus. Kel (my Fiance) and I have lots in common but not any hobbies in common, difficult to explain. Meh, I won't try... Movies, Monopoly and Barbecue tonight!

Time to sharpen my knife and try out my new chopping board. A very nice Wiltshire board I figured if we are going to buy good knives, then I need to replace my crappy, split, warped board...

Well the er... chopping board works, as far as chopping boards work. My "cutting experience" wasn't what I could call "enhanced" by any means... Meh. It seems I will be having an Audience for my barcueing. The flat across the way have like 20 people over on their patio.

Friday, 29th April 2005.


I haven't really been doing all that much. Mainly working and drawing switches and stuff in Inventor. I am creating each component for use in my prototype Remote Release for my DSLR. It's going to be programmable so you can do long exposures, multiple timed shots etc.Once I have completed models of each component I will be able to create a prototype in Inventor to see how everything will fit. It's a hell of a lot easier than drawing it on paper or actually building it to see if it will all fit and look ok.

At the moment I am going to start drawing a square push button that I bought from Dick Smith. I also have to draw the Zippy box I am going to use. The other thing I have to investigate is taking apart some Neon lit rocker switches and replacing the Neon with an LED so it can be lit when used with low voltages.

I have already drawn a different push button; I think it will be too high off the panel though, so that's why I bought the smaller square ones to try. The only advantage of the taller ones is they use an 11mm round hole, that's a lot easier than the square buttons where you must drill a 9mm hole and file or nibble it into a square hole.

The LCD for the project is already modelled. It's an Ampire brand 16x2 with Backlight. I am still thinking about how that's going to be mounted. I am trying to decide what lid to use on the Zippy box. I could use just the plastic lid, just the thin Aluminium lid or both. If I use just the plastic the LCD will be in-set 2mm, it will look pretty deep. On the other hand I could use just the Aluminium lid. That I think would be pretty flimsy on its own, but would look nicer. If I used both then I would cut a bigger hole in the plastic so the LCD could fit but the top of the LCD would sit flush with the bottom of the Aluminium panel; giving me the best of both worlds.

The other thing I want to investigate is creating/sourcing a 2 stage button for manual shooting. I was thinking of using a pair of micro switches at different heights. That would probably be difficult to set up and achieve consistant switching from. It might need a de-bounce circuit as its going to be used on a diital input.

Start A Blog.

I have decided to start a blog. Very sheepish, but why not! At least then I might actually get some CONTENT for the site!