Thursday, December 27, 2012

GoPro Hero 3 Black

Well this was an awesome Christmas... Eve went all out for me this year and got me a GoPro Hero 3 camera. If you don't know what that is... really? Are you serious? Then you need to go to and check it out. This thing is freaking AWESOME!

Not only did she get the camera... but also some premium accessories too... the battery backpack (and extra housing backs) allows me to take extended videos... even underwater. The LCD backpack let's me use it like a conventional camera with an instant view of what I captured... also with an underwater housing. This camera is so advanced that it has WiFi... this means that it has a remote control... I can put it outside of the car and control it from inside. If that wasn't kool enough... I can even control it with my Sprint HTC phone... including a video preview mode so I can see what the camera sees. How awesome is that?

This thing is TINY too...
2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Take a look as compared to my other cameras...
Canon A590IS   -   GoPro Hero 3   -   Canon SX130
I have no excuses now... I need to make some killer videos! And as fate would have it... I may get my chance very soon. I have to do some mountain survey work... no roads... we have to go up by helecopter. So stay tuned folks... it could get interesting quick!

I'll do an update when the video is up... I can hardly wait. And yes folks... if we get a day above 70F (21C) then I'm going to the river to try this out under my favorite waterfalls! (I would have gone Christmas day... but I was in Houston with my family.)

There are a couple more items I want to get... the GoPole 24" so I can shoot from a distance... and a web-helmet mount because Mitch Bergsma highly recommends it and shows what it can be used for in his YouTube channel. (He has some great GoPro tips if you are interested.)

That's all for now!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Astrology Convention 2012 - New Orleans

It has been a crazy time of the year between the end of April and mid-June. Work has been extremely busy lately, we have a major client with a very high workload. Right in the middle of this I had planned to take a vacation of sorts. Eve does artwork that is astrology based, and this year there was a very large convention in New Orleans which occurs only every 3 to 4 years. The potential to make money was very large.

I say potential because we made a rather large investment in equipment, new laptop, travel expenses, art supplies, booking the convention center, etc. (Even the $3 tip every time you wanted the car... several times a day got old quick.)

We left Texas with high hopes of making a substantial profit... but so far... not so much.  The Chinese were very interested in her stuff and talked about reselling her work in China... if so, that could be just what we needed... so we wait.

New Orleans Trip

But hey... it's New Orleans... I used to live there... and Eve had never been there... so I just had to show her the sights and sounds of the city from Bourbon Street to the Audubon Zoo. Her daughter Jenny came down to visit so we all went out in the evenings and had a great time. Rather than tell you about it... let me share a video!

This video was co-produced by Eve, she picked out the music and took many of the pictures used in the ending. (Watch the whole thing... I think you will like it!)

 My Daughter and Grandkids

I got to visit my daughter Rebecca, her husband Jody, and my three grand-kids... with another on the way. I made a short video... but I was mostly playing catch and chasing the boys around... so i didn't take a lot of video... just a peek at the new house. (They were moving so Grandpaw Jerry helped with the washer and dryer... and chasing kids.)

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eve's Been Busy

Eve has been very busy lately in her garden and around the house. She has been planting and landscaping  more than I have ever seen her or anyone I've known. She added a new workshop so that she could work on her sandblasting and her hypertufa. If you haven't heard of hypertufa, it is a mixture of Portland cement, pearlite, and peat moss. This makes something as hard as cement with only 1/3 the weight which is great for making things like this flowerpot.

She is really wanting to sell her new creations in the local craft fairs.  I'll put more of the craft stuff up later as she gets it ready... right now we are gearing up for a huge astrology convention in New Orleans so the other crafts have to wait. But let me show you around the house and garden a little bit.

Click the image above to see a HUGE version of it... over 3 MEG supersize.

This is the way the front of the house looks now. It was just dry dirt with a few sprigs of grass here and there only a few months ago. Eve doesn't like grass and doesn't like to mow... so she has vowed to transform the whole front lawn into a wonderland. And I believe that she has really accomplished it nicely. The biggest change has to be the back yard however.

It started off with just a few trees and a simple path to the garage. Over the last month or so she has totally transformed it. If your computer supports the Apple Quicktime plugin, you can take a complete 360 degree tour of what it looked like when her daughter Natilie was down last month here: CLICK ME

I just finished another complete 360 degree tour in even higher resolution so you can zoom in and really take a look around, here is the link for that page: CLICK ME

Here you can see Eve tending to her vines which should start to flower nicely in a couple of months. She has the garden planted so that there are flowers all year long. I do not recall a single day when there was not at least one plant blooming. She puts several hours per day into the care of the garden, and I really appreciate it and all the work she does.

The whole yard is a real wonderland... now we just have to see how it all handles the Texas heat and the drought. So far this year has been much better than last year... but things can change quickly here in Texas so we will watch and wait.

Thanks for joining us, I hope you will visit again on the next update too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentines Day 2012

Usually most of us guys scramble to get our ladies something at the last minute. It isn't something we mean to do... it just happens. This year I did something a bit differently.

Right after Christmas I picked up some chocolate and put it in my closet, a week later I picked up a teddy bear. Every week i got some little thing and added it to my secret stash for Valentine's Day. The Monday before I had it planned... I usually go downtown for one of my clubs, so i would stop and get the balloons... then on the way back I would get the roses from our local store that is open until 1:00 am.

I got in just around midnight, and Eve was winding down for the evening. I decided not to wait until daylight but to surprise her right after Midnight... which was technically Valentine's Day.

I tied balloons to the stairway, set out all the goodies, and got everything ready. Then I called upstairs and said, "Honey can you come down here and help me with something?"

She was like... "Waaat... it's midnight!" I said, "Just for a minute!" She started out the bedroom and actually made it about half way down the stairs before she realized what I did. I managed to surprise her... something not too easy to do.

I took these pictures in the morning...

Now Mother's Day is on the horizon... guess it's time to start over again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25th, 2012 - Working on my Office

Today is a bit slow so I am working on my office. I got tired of tripping over boxes, not finding anything, and not getting anything finished. After thinking about it for awhile I decided to go to IKEA and spend some money I didn't have. I didn't go too crazy... but I got a new wall organizer, new shelving, and while I was at it, a new chair since I do spend about 10 hours a day there. (I mostly work from home now.)

I'm still going through the 40 year collection of electronics "stuff" and will be bringing much of it to the robotics or hackerspace meetings to give away.

Meanwhile... down in Eve's office the cats have found their new favorite place to be for the winter... in front of Eve's space heater. They lay there almost all day long now. Tough life huh?

Not much else to report just yet... should have more interesting stuff very soon as I work some more on the PUMA robot arm and attempt to make it capable of running G-Code... the stuff automated machines use to cut metal and mill 3D shapes. If that works well... things will get very exciting. And from the initial testing... it's looking quite good.

See you all again very soon... one more note...

Remember the plumber incident? Well... I went outside and noticed water running down the outside wall... it was still leaking a tiny bit. Had to call them back, open up the wall a bit more, and do another repair. At least it was under warranty.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January - Plumbers

What's the difference between a bank-robber and a plumber?

I don't know either.

So Eve was telling me that the hose was dripping... fine, I fixed it. She said the faucet on the side of the house was dripping. Okay, no big deal... unscrew it and install a new one $4.95 and ten minutes.

So I get the water shutoff key, turn off the water, and put a pipe wrench on the pipe, I put an adjustable wrench on the faucet and start to turn it... about 1/8 turn and I hear SNAP. Damn it.

They used CPVC in the exterior wall.

Sure enough... turn on the water and it's a fountain out of the wall. Well damn. (Luckily most of the water went outside.) Okay... I'm thinking, cut a hole in the inside wall about 6x6 inches, cut the pipe, do it right, then cover it with an access panel. But decided to call a plumber for an estimate. He was going to be awhile... so I leave Eve at the house and go to Subway with my friend Wolf... figured when I get back the plumber should be there and we will see if he knows another way around it. If so, I'll have him do it...otherwise my friend Wolf and I would just do it.

I get back, he has ALREADY STARTED WORKING because Eve told him to "go ahead" and get started. So I get back and he hands me a clipboard... $375 for this, $120 for that, $50 for this... $500.00 to replace 4 INCHES of pipe in the wall.

Not only that... but he cuts a 16x6 hole in the wall... which really gets me upset, because I had measured EXACTLY where the faucet wa,s and put a thumbtack in the wall to mark it. I was going to cut a 2x2 inch exploratory hole... then check the situation. So yeah... the cover plates at Lowes are 6x9 or 14x14... and now I can't use either. So I have to fabricate something or patch the wall which never looks right. :-(

The pipe fitting was designed to screw to a 2x4 running horizontally in the wall... it provides all the support for the faucet. No... the folks who installed it put the 2x4 toward the outside of the house, drilled a hole through it, and stuck the pipe in from behind. So the two dinky screws are biting into 1/8 inch of wood... no support at all. (And the reason for the failure.)

I step in and attempt to suggest a new mounting method to make sure that it doesn't happen again... but Eve says I should let the guy "do it right". I tell him that I have a complete wood shop... that if he needs a bracket cut just give me the measurement and I'll do it. So he tells me a measurement and I make the cut. I ask him if he wants some screws to secure it, and if he wants me to pre-drill the holes so the piece doesn't split.

No... he has it under control... Eve tells me to go do my workout and that I shouldn't stress over it. Yeah... I'm paying $500 for $20 worth of parts for a $5 faucet replacement. So much for getting the new shelves for my office... or the new CNC equipment I was going to build... put them off until summer now I guess. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

So you can see the job he did... $500. Nice huh? Thankfully Eve got tired of watching him split the lumber with the deck screws he was using and handed him a drill and told him to drill pilot holes or it would be even worse than it is.

Bank Robbers / Plumbers... same damned thing.