Today Was a Good Day for Surgery

I have this beautiful great sounding Kurzweil K2600X. Loaded with all the extra ROMs available; Orchestral, Contemporary, Triple strike piano, Vintage keyboards. Its a great instrument and its been part of our family for a long time now. Here's Filip at the time not quite 4 yet, composing on the imposing machine . Well a couple of months ago I spotted on eBay a SCSI memory card interface which fits the Kurzweil. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and decided that today was a good day to perform the surgery. Out with the 1.44 Mb floppy and in with the CF reader and an 8 Gb CF card. The card is partitoned into 4 x 2 Gb partitions. Two of them are loaded with samples, programs and setups. Expanding even more the machine's already impressive sound producing capabilities. A photo album illustrates part of the process . Dr. Kurzweil recently joined Google, where he is working on transforming search . His latest book How to Create a Mind is a very insightful work. I rec

Kids and Science - Yesterday and Today

Ok, so everyone talks about how more kids need to take more science and engineering disciplines. Indeed I agree. It must have been the shift from science and engineering to into legal careers that somehow caused the following shift. Above is one example from the 50's, an atomic energy lab! Below, a chemistry set from the 40's. Times have changed, today's sets are an OLPC laptop and Python, a bunch of 74xx logic and 555 timers, or perhaps a LEGO robotics set. But still, for a future scientist trying some hands on chemistry and nuclear science on their own is not a such a bad idea. However, with all the litigation out there, this it came to the chemistry set below. Perhaps its time to add liability waivers to some of the toys - or better call them science education tools. I'll prop Martin's site here, he's a former colleague and principal toy master at sci toys .

‎3000 lumens, that's a lot of photons

Waiting for darkness to set to test the new torch. It draws 2.8 amps from the Lithium batteries. Perfect for night navigation in tight quarters . "The LEDs are being driven direct drive, from 14.4v, using four 18650 batteries. The brightness is fairly constant until the batteries are fully discharged. This flashlight does get very warm, but not so hot you cannot hold it. The head is massive, and the body is also massive, being 1/4" thick (.75 ID, 1.25" OD). Both the head and body are integral part of the heat sinking, and also your hand (if ungloved)." "On max power, it is almost too bright to be usable!" I have it on max power, the only way to use it at home is to bounce it off the ceiling at which point it lights the whole room in very bright light (mine is 20 ft., regular ones could work but don't look at the ceiling). Its real use is for the outside, I did tests last night after warning neighbors that its not an alien landing. Its perfect for the o

National Engineers Week

Here's a piece for the week from some of my colleagues... My favorite thing about being an engineer is... always thinking about how to make things better improving people's lives beautifully coded useful applications The ability to build things that affect the lives of millions being able to problem-solve all day long creating useful things the pay Building things and the joy of seeing them work. The 'aha!' moments of understanding when I discover how an elaborate software architecture works, its parts and their interactions. The opportunity to unbreak things, repurpose, tweak and construct new ones; especially when they are useful to *other* people too, and they make a difference in their lives. Creating things but also breaking things in spectacular ways. taking apart things, understanding how things work, fixing things, building machines that help people Solving problems to make the world a better place making things out of thought-stuff the feeling when stuff actual

CA DMV Driver Licenses

So I checked today with the DMV Press office on the driver license production delays . If you have a paper license, and are still waiting on the the plastic card. The safe thing to do is to go to the DMV and get a new paper document. Obviously this has the potential to create more problems at the DMV as people out of the queue reenter it. The DMV press contact did add one more thing. Police departments are telling their officers to be elastic on the paper documents for another month. You should check with the Police in your area wether they are doing so. === And I just called my local police department. And the officer there checked the database. The DMV actually did update the records, and their systems show the new expiration date. The officer said, to keep the expired paper extension nevertheless but as far as they are concerned - they have good data.

Eleven Days Cruising the US Southwest

So here we are back home after 11 days on the road . When I say on the road I mean 5546.4 kilometers or 3 446.4 miles of road. This travel started with an early abort. Last year we went to Kauai, and this I have reserved a flight to Cancun, Mexico. Then the TSA started with more through pat down and scanner schemes. In protest to the potential harassment I called off the reservations and we agreed to take the travel car out for a spin of the southwest and divert the airfare ransom into gas on our own and the nicest hotels we could find. Our daughter wanted to play in snow anyway. We've been to New Mexico before but missed many spots in a different kind of tour. It was time to give New Mexico the time it deserves. Myself, I wanted to see a couple of 'rocket science' things there, including the notorious place called Roswell :) I am happy to report all objectives of this mission were accomplished, including finding the alien - to Filip's horror. The pictures linked above

Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash

So after reading Cryptonomicon and Anathem I finally found the time to read Snow Crash. Out of order, but hey, better than never. Neal's writing is rich, full of surprises. The prism he uses to look at the world is intricate and well polished, playing with humor and always cutting through our times. Here's a taste of it. "Since then, he's been putting a lot more emphasis on his auxiliary emergency backup job: freelance stringer for the CIC, the Central Intelligence Corporation of Langley, Virginia. The business is a simple one. Hiro gets information. It may be gossip, videotape, audiotape, a fragment of a computer disk, a xerox of a document. It can even be a joke based on the latest highly publicized disaster. He uploads it to the CIC database -- the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word "congress" means. And even the word "library" is getting hazy. It used t