iSomethingby Jim

27 Jan 2010
10:01 am

We’re just minutes away from Apple unveiling a new product.  The rumors are that it will be a tablet — kind of like a really big iPhone.  I have to admit, I’m excited about a new product like this.  I’ve loved my iPod touch and think something with the same interface (only bigger) will likely be a great product.  But please, Apple, don’t name it something with an ‘i’ in the front like iTablet or iSlate.  How long ago was that cool?  Let’s see… the iMac came out in the 90s.  What does the ‘i’ stand for anyways?  I think the name ‘iPod’ was catchy, and I understand the importance of branding, but I think it is time to move on.   The release of the MacBook was very welcome news to me.  (Very classy name, in my opinion.)  Please don’t spoil a new product with a name from the wrong decade.

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Isn’t Technology Cool?by Jim

15 Nov 2009
8:11 pm

So here I am at 30,000 feet writing a blog post. I’m currently on a flight back to California after a short stay in Utah. Angie’s grandmother passed away a week ago and we came out for the funeral. It was good to see everyone, even though the circumstances were somber. Grandma’s husband passed away about thirteen years ago, so I’m sure she is much happier now.

While I was waiting to board the plane a girl was handing out little promo cards for free wifi on the flight. I graciously accepted one and now I am tapping away on my iPod in-flight. Very cool. They should have done this years ago.

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My Camera is Backby Jim

24 Sep 2009
7:09 pm

Canon Rebel XSBack in August, my camera started acting a little funny.  I’ve got a Canon Rebel XS that I got for Christmas last year.  I have already taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures, and have enjoyed nearly every minute.  Unfortunately, at a recent shoot on the Oakland Temple grounds, my camera started acting really funny.  After taking a shot, it would give me a message that sounded something like this: “Err 99: Shooting not possible.”  And then the camera wouldn’t let me do anything until I turned it off and back on.  Anyway, I shipped it away to Canon and today when I got home, it was waiting for me in a brown box.  Yeah!

Here is an example of what I mean by “acting really funny”:  This is a normal shot.


Here is what it would occasionally do instead of giving me an Err. 99 (but then, it would give me the error in the very next shot).IMG_3355

See what I mean?  Funky.  I’m just glad it works now.

Hydrogen on Wheelsby Jim

28 May 2009
5:05 pm

Today I got to drive a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car. Justin and I went to downtown Livermore to the event and got to test-drive a hydrogen Nissan. We only got to drive it half-way around the block, but it was still really cool. All of the hydrogen cars are actually hybrids; they are part fuel-cell, part electric. When the engine needs a little more oomph, there is a lithium ion battery that kicks in. Also, you get regenerative braking that charges the battery. Very cool.

For the geeks out there, it was a PEM hydrogen fuel cell. (That’s Proton Exchange Membrane, just in case you didn’t know that.) Check out the Wikipedia article for more cool stuff.

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May the 4th Be With Youby Jim

4 May 2009
2:05 pm

I’d like to take this moment to reflect upon the wise words of a small green puppet:

Do or do not: there is no try.


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The Circuit is Solderedby Jim

13 Apr 2009
2:04 pm

Well, today I finished soldering the circuit board for Jon’s next sculpture.  Take a look:


Some parts were harder to do than others.  The hardest component to solder to the board had to be the schmitt trigger.  It was a little small for a hand-solder job.

schmidtt trigger

If you look on the board, it is next to the lone resistor near the top.  I think next time, I’ll buy bigger parts.  The problem is that it is really hard to judge size by the picture on the website.

The Circuit Boards are Inby Jim

17 Mar 2009
8:03 am

So Jon and I are working on a new sculpture project and this time we’re doing things a little differently. I decided to use an online milling house to create the boards rather than using prototype board. This means lots more work planning and preparing, but a much more compact (and hopefully better) design. Here are some pictures of the boards I had milled for Elrae:


And here is the board for the power plug:

Elrae Power Plug

As you can see from the pictures, some of those traces are tiny.  I’ll be soldering all of this by hand, so wish me luck.  I’ve never printed my own circuit board, so this was a very fun project and I’m really excited to see how it turns out.