Browse Month: January 2017

Now that’s warm

Today I rounded up a bunch of friends and we had a great game of lunchtime ultimate. When I was back in my car, I took a picture of my temperature sensor.

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Yeah, 61 degrees in January. It was definitely a day to be outside.

Dazed and confused

During some server work today, I noticed this in the kernel log:

[14857.359477] NMI: PCI system error (SERR) for reason a1 on CPU 0.
[14857.359477] Dazed and confused, but trying to continue

Hah, “dazed and confused”. Some programmer in the depths of time had some fun writing an error message.

That’s precise

When I go to the National Weather Service site to get the forecast for Longmont, the URL looks like this:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=40.167207146000464&lon=-105.10192993699968

Notice the latitude and longitude: it’s specified fifteen decimal places deep! Doing the math, that means NOAA is providing forecasts for a spot on the earth that’s accurate to about 10 picometers. That’s roughly the width of about ten atoms.

I know computers and weather prediction techniques have come a long way, but it’s amazing that we can narrow down a forecast to a few atoms!

My office is… haunted?

Every Saturday, two teenage girls clean my office and leave it all nice for my team on Monday morning. This morning I came into work and found a cheery little note from one of them.

office-cleaning-note

Maybe this will teach them not to take burritos from our break room freezer?

Be sure

The Predictor pregnancy test has a tagline “When you want to be sure”.

be-sure

Do you think this couple is unsure about her pregnancy? They certainly seem surprised by the test results. (“Oh, thank goodness… I thought this was just a weird fat phase I’ve been going through after eating all of those quesadillas!”)

5 pounds

Last night Zaque was contemplating some teenage zits and said, “Man, if I could squeeze all the pus out of my body, I’d lose five pounds.”

Pop

You wouldn’t think we could have another real estate bubble. But I just saw a graph showing the median home price in Longmont over the last decade. Hmm. That looks bubbley to me.

home-prices

This is from Zillow, which of course means you have to take it with a grain of salt. Or maybe a whole shaker of salt. Still, it’s pretty clear home prices have been climbing at a rate that’s not sustainable…

Tinkering

Zaque has an old wooden desk in the back corner of his room, where he’s set up a sort of “workbench” (as he calls it). He enjoys tinkering with electronics and motors and wires and whatnot. Mostly it involves disassembling things and poking around at the guts, then considering how to combine them with other parts. For example, his current project is installing a small motor inside a flashlight casing. Why, you ask? No one knows.

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It’s fun to watch him, and to have him show me his latest “invention”. It reminds me of… well, me.

Intelligent man

For Christmas, Kathy gave me a couple of old books. They’re part of a series by Isaac Asimov entitled A New Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science, and I have Volume I (physical sciences) and Volume II (biological sciences). (Zaque asked if there’s a series for dumb men…)

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Asimov is one of the most prolific authors in history, mostly writing science fiction, but he has the rare distinction of having at least one book in every category of the Dewey Decimal System.

What’s cool about these particular books is they were written almost sixty years ago. Science has changed a bit since then!

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It’s fun to read some of the content and reflect on our progress during the last half-century. We’ve come a long way since Asimov’s day.

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I’m progressing through the book from Thom and I’ve been experimenting with exposure and stops. Now that I understand the exposure meter better, I feel like I can start to “dial in” my photos for the effect I want. I’ve been having some fun with depth of field as well.

It’s cold and grey and dreary outside, so I’ve been moving around the house finding interesting test subjects: low lighting, shadows, macro, that sort of thing.

Here’s our family room clock:

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I focused on the “3” with a shallow depth of field, so the left side of the clock is out of focus.

And here’s a toy dragon in Zaque’s room:

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For this one, I did some post-processing to bump up the contrast and heighten the color a bit, making the dragon look a little more harsh (fierce?).

Camera and Craft

Thom gave me Camera and Craft, a book on digital photography, for Christmas. I’ve been reading it on and off for the past few weeks, devouring the information and recommendations. Although I’m still a long way from having the artistic eye that he does, I’ve learned a lot about how the different elements of shooting combine to make a better photo.

Here are a few recent practice shots:

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Right now I’m working on the technical stuff; over time I’ll work on the art.

Worthwhile

Teaching early-morning seminary has been an amazing journey over the past year and a half. It’s incredibly difficult, but also incredibly rewarding. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve had to do hard things, but I’ve been blessed for my sacrifice. And every now and then, I have an opportunity to see the effect I have on seventeen high-school kids who come to my class before the sun rises.

One of my students wrote a note for me over the Christmas break. Part of it reads:

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I need to remember this sort of thing on those days when I feel like I’m not making a difference, when most of the class is barely hanging onto consciousness, and when I feel like my lesson is a disaster. In the end, it’s all worthwhile.

Christmas lights

It’s about time to take down the Christmas lights, although it’s been a wee bit chilly lately (below zero tonight) so they’re still hanging.

I thought I’d take an artistic fuzzy shot of them…

fuzzy-lights

Post-its

Last month I decided to brighten people’s days by leaving anonymous Post-its in various places. It was fun to leave little notes that said things like “You are awesome”.

Since Laralee is extra cool, I thought I’d leave some for her as well. They weren’t very anonymous, but each day I added one more to my collection. Eventually they formed sort of a heart shape, because hey, I’m a romantic sometimes.

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Dice

Zaque really concentrates when he rolls dice during games.

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Thanks, Kyra

I clothe her, I feed her, I provide shelter and love and respect for her. For almost nineteen years, I’ve treated Kyra like my own daughter.

And this is what she gives me for Christmas.

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Ideas

True, so true…

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