Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Blog Posts

Perbacco

There is nothing quite as satisfying as a delicious meal after a long drive. When you start your vacation with hand held nodules of culinary blasphemy known as McGriddles, your next dining experience can only go one way, up. While driving up the beautiful and inspiring Pacific Coast Highway I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I spent a good amount of time surfing the web looking for a good place to eat upon our arrival in San Francisco.

Read the rest after the jump.

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Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Blog Posts

Hotel Majestic

We just checked in to the newly remodeled Hotel Majestic. The first room we checked in to, one of the standard rooms, was a bit smaller than we remembered and had a flickering light, so we called down to front desk and the gracious and pleasant Nisi upgraded us to a junior suite. The suite is lovely, and although neither it nor the hotel smell like old books any more, and we are quite pleased with it. It has a very nice fireplace, which Francisco the bell hop / valet driver fired up for us, as well as a lovely 4 post bed. It also reminds us a bit of home as our windows are facing the street.

We have a reservation for 2 at Perbacco and boy are we hungry!

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Friday, January 12th, 2007

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Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Blog Posts

Macbook Pro

My work bought me a Macbook Pro yesterday. Actually they cut a check to Apple, Inc. and I brought it to the Brea Mall Apple Store. This is the fastest personal computer I have ever owned, and it totally rocks. It is amazing how much faster this laptop is than my Dual G5 desktop. I have also started using some new software, specifically iTerm and Newfire, before I was using Terminal and NetNewsWire. I really dig the interface on both iTerm and Newsfire. My only complaint about iTerm is that the bottom of the display butts up against the last line of text, I know this is very minor, but Terminal had a tiny bit of breathing room there.

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Photos

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Blog Posts

Bell Comunications Around The Globe, by Anthony Heinsbergen

[52781 Sculpture](http://www.flickr.com/photos/eecue/352237799/ "Photo Sharing")

Phone Parts

Untitled, or Bell Comunications Around The Globe is one of my favorite sculptures in Downtown Los Angeles. Created in 1961 by Anthony Heinsbergen and located at 420 S. Grand on what is now the AT&T building, the mural / mosiac is made of thousands of old telephone switching parts. There is nothing like junk to make a geek like me happy. You can read more about it here. [Full gallery here.]

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Monday, January 1st, 2007

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Blog Posts

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Blog Posts

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Blog Posts

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L Service Journey Part Two

Ginseng

For the second time in as many months I have sent off my favorite lens (which is possibly going to lose that distinction thanks to my 24-70 f/2.8 L that I just picked up) to the Canon Factory Service Center. My first experience with Canon Factory Service was actually a really good one, as they hastily repaired my shutter mechanism and had the camera back to me within a few weeks.

A few months later I decided to send them my Speedlite 580EX which had a faulty motor in the zoom mechanism which allows the flash to automatically change the size of the flash that is thrown to suit your current lens, zoom level and sensor size. At the same time I sent them my 85 1.2, which was, and still is, having problems focusing.

When I focus on an object that is 10 feet away, I get the focus confirmation light, but then the resulting image is focused a few feet past where it should have been. With nearly any other lens, this would not be a problem at all, but thanks to the razor think depth of field at f/1.2, this problem makes my lens nearly useless at the aperture that it is designed for.

After holding my lens for nearly 2 months, Canon Factor Service returned it to me, with no changes whatsoever, saying that it was restored to factory quality. I am hoping for Canon that the problem was with their tech, and that factory quality does not mean that the focus is off by nearly 20%. I am eagerly awaiting the functional return of one of my favorite lenses.

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Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Blog Posts

Triforium Control Center

Eric Richardson and I have been trying for over a year to get in to the Triforium Control Center in the Los Angeles Underground Mall. Today Eric got us a tour thanks to help from Councilmember Jan Perry and Greg Fischer, who were both instrumental in the re-lighting of the divisive public work of art originally lit 1975.

Even now the Triforium has been drawing praise and scorn, most recently from the City Attorney's office which has been claiming that the music is disturbing them and has requested it only play from 11am to 1pm, which completely defeats the purpose of having the lights on, as you can hardly see them during the day. Although many art critics despise the sculpture I find it strangely charming and the primitive computer control system intrigues me.

When we looked through the control center today we found an old Teletype machine that was used to read and write punch tape which held the program the Triforium's computer used to synchronize with music. Our goal is to take those tapes, capture them and use them as a basis for the new computer control, which will most likely be a BASIC stamp or a PIC microcontroller. Once that works the next step, would ideally be to have some type of web interface to the system.

I brought my portable studio lighting setup along for the tour and took some photos, of which here is a sampling:

Triforium Control Circuitry and Punch Tapes

Teletype and Punch Tapes

You can flip through the whole Triforium Control Center gallery here.

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Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Blog Posts

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Well, I've been too busy to blog recently due to several large projects that I'm working on concurrently, but I figured I would respond to this 5 things meme, as Siel of Green LA Girl tagged me.

  1. I lived in South Africa for a year when I was 6 years old.
  2. I only drink coffee on ice (and some times it's not even fair trade!)
  3. I make my cats dance, but I think they like it.
  4. My first job out of High School was designing rave flyers.
  5. I want to retire in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I am tagging: Peneloper, Eric, Celia, Jim and Ed.

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Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

Photos

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Blog Posts

NetIQ Sold My Email Address To Spammers

The unique throwaway email address that I used only for NetIQ was eventually sold to a spam list. Shame on you NetIQ, I don't think you've adhered to your own privacy policy.

... we want you to know that NetIQ is not in the business of selling or renting individuals' personal data to other companies for marketing purposes.

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Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Photos

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Blog Posts

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Blog Posts

APEX Electronics : Dorkbot Socal

After growing up in the Bay Area, I attended High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One day my father, who worked as a programmer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, brought me to, and later got me a job at, a nerd's paradise called The Black Hole. I ended up working there for 3 summers and I think it was probably my favorite job ever, although it only paid $5 an hour. Many of the hours I worked were directly exchanged for random bits of junk, much of which I still have, to my wife's elation, stored away in boxes in our storage closet.

When I saw heathervescent's post about the upcoming Dorkbot Socal trip to APEX Electronics, I knew I had to go. The night before the trip I shot an email out to an especially geeky list that I run and CHS responded that he wanted to come along. We arrived a bit late at Machine Project, and Tom Jennings was mostly finished talking about what to expect. I mentioned my previous employment at The Black Hole and he told me that he make a road trip there every year, saying that it was one of his favorite places in the world.

After a short drive to the highly industrial Sun Valley, we made our way in to the wonderfully techno-detritus rich warehouse known as APEX Electronics. I immediately pulled out my camera, set up my tripod and began photographing the narrow aisles packed high with everything from oscilloscopes to capacitors to vacuum tubes.

Shoe Tester

Colorful Wire

Safety First

Hoses and Valves

APEX reminded me of a 1/10th scale model of The Black Hole, with less nuclear research equipment and more audio recording, broadcast and aviation gear. The organization of APEX is at least an order of magnitude better than The Black Hole, but I guess that having one tenth the amount of junk makes that possible. I should be careful about calling the contents of APEX or TBS junk, as they say, "one man's trash...", and also the collectors of said equipment seem to develop an emotional attachment to their toys.

Most of the aisles held boxes full of components, with a single version taped to the front of the box. Some of the more valuable gear like the microwave wave guides, windows and transmitters were locked up behind glass, which the owner, Don, was nice enough to open for me so I could take a photo. Tom mentioned that one aisle had collapsed in an earthquake almost 2 decades ago, and had yet to be cleaned up.

Outside there were towering piles of scrap aluminum, kegs, airplane wings, cable, and junk. I especially enjoyed the pile of "Safety First" signs that were haphazardly piled together along with what appeared to be a bomb, but was probably an airplane fuel tank.

It is a good thing that I am short on physical space in my loft, otherwise I surely would have purchased more than the $1 clamp that I picked up. If you are building a robot or some other fun project, this would be a great place to pick up those hard to find parts you need. If you are a junk collector, but you don't want to blow all your hard earned money in one place, you should avoid this place at all costs.

Full gallery here.

Update Heathervescent's flickr photo set can be found here, Zoetica's can be found here (Thanks thedaniel).

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Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

Blog Posts

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Blog Posts

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006