I couldn't stay away from blogging so I have moved my blog to my personal site so I can talk about anything i want without feeling any pressure. You can find it here: http://brightpanda.com/
Yesterday I posted about almost burning my house down because of a li-po battery and my ignorance. In the post I captured the emotion I felt at the time by using the words OH FUCK. The thought of a fire in my family's home with my daughter and my immediate family brought nightmares to mind. So I posted about it and how to avoid such situations. But I got this response:"Does this really belong on the main weblogs.asp.net page? Please use some discretion, especially if you choose to put profanity into your post."
To this I have no retort.The first thing that came to mind was "wow, what a pussy
..". I've been posting here since 2003 when this blog was given to me and before it was part of the asp.net website. I would love to focus on .Net in all of my posts but do you really need to read another post about web 2.0 and AJAX? Do you really need another "Top 10 Best Programming Practices" by Joe Nobody? Do we really need to go over the stuff that is written in plain english in the .Net documentation just one more time?
This response also begs the question - Do I need to edit my own thoughts because someone may get offended?
So on the train this morning I got to thinking.. (Dangerous I know, but I can't help it.).. I realized how much of this is bullshit. I'm one of a million blogs spouting off into the void about myself and all of this material is bound to be sent to the bit bucket and never read again. At first I was going to setup a blog at my own website but I have decided that I refuse to be part of this circle-jerk any longer. The greatest in computing don't sit on the top of the mountain and preach about how to program, they DO. They take action. Donald Knuth doesn't even use email! One of the greatest minds in computing and somehow he manages to not even use email, let alone have a blog or podcast. Linus Torvald, a man that changes the world of computing more each day doesn't even have a website! If they can do without well I think I can too.
Now I will crawl back into the low place that I came from, to hang out with foul mouthed geniuses, the scourge of internet society, and the wreckers of all that is good. Have a good one.
PS. Don't take this as "I'm going home and I'm taking my ball with me!", instead take this as "I need to be more focused in what I do".
Over my X-mas break I attempted to put together a remote control plane
(1.5 MB image) I intend on using as my first UAV. My first order of business was to get my electronics hooked up correctly and working on the bench and then proceed to the assemble the fuselageand mount it. This is how the "incident" began.
I was working with a friend and we hooked an 10A electronic speed controller (ESC) to the battery, then to the reciever. The engine channel would not respond so I hooked up a servo to another channel and it worked. I repeated with 3 other channels hooking servos to them and they responded. But the engine would not turn. Then I gave it full power and I see smoke. I kill the power. The smoke is coming from the ESC heat shrink wrap and also from the connection to the battery. I stop everything and while trying to get the battery unplugged I notice the wires are hot as shit! It's melting the wires! I still have it connected to the ESC and receiver and I'm trying to get it unhooked as fast as possible knowing the warnings about this type of battery. The battery starts to balloon immediately and I think OH FUCK it's going to explode. Images of the house burning down are very real now. So my friend gets it disconnected with a little pain (hot melting wires remember) then drops it to the floor and moves quickly. I toss a hard hat on it to try and contain whatever might happen. After about 5 minutes of waiting we decide to delicately remove it outside where it can cause the least amount of damage.
The next day I took this picture
and did some research. I found a few videos online showing exploding li-po batteries. I find that I was not nearly as careful enough. Take a look at this forum post
to show the needed safety precautions when deailing with this type of battery. From now on I will treat it like nitro and keep an eye out for safety concerns.
Upon my research I realized that a few things may have happened to cause this:
- Discharge rate was too high - ESC might have been on the fritz. I doubt this.
- Voltage dropped below 3.0 volts per cell and made the battery unstable.
- I dropped the pack that day and did not inspect it. A dropped li-po pack can become unstable by shorting out internally.
So what I plan to do is start fresh with a new brushless engine (The one I'm using was an old can motor brushed 370 from another kit), a new brushless speed controller with programmable low voltage setting, and a nice battery with built in over-discharge detectionand temp guage. I will charge them outside and leave them in a "bunker" made out of a flower pot and lid.
Many people sware against li-pos because of the fire hazard. Many swear by them and claim they are safe with the right precautions. I say this - anytime you store energy you have a potential hazard. Treat them with respect and you will be ok. Treat them with a lack of respect and you may end up homeless.
My friend Jesse
pointed out that the US National Instititute of Standards and Technology
has a great dictionary of algorithms and data structures
. Some of these I have never even heard of. I am pretty amazed at the sheer size of this dictionary. For instance I've heard of Soundex
, but I've never heard of a Jaro-Winkler
. I'll put this nice addition in my toolbox. It may come in useful.
Everyday I take the commuter train
into work. I've been doing this since October to get to my job in downtown Washington DC. The commute is 1.5 hours each way. After doing a bit of math I realized that next year at this same rate I will spend 32.5 days on the train! Over a month!
That's a lot of time spent doing nothing. So I read. But you can only read so much so I bought a new IPod video
and have been watching Battlestar Galatica
, ripped movies
, etc. This thing has really been a "sanity saver". It makes the time go by nicely, even when squished in a seat by two large ladies that could've played as starting linemen for the '84 Redskins.
I'm completely sold on the format, I have never watched this much TV in a long long time. I like the whole TV-to-go plans hollywierd is coming up with. Keep it coming.
So in my study of using Euler Angles to represent rotations in euclidean space I came across the following quote that you can find all over the place:"To add to the confusion, flight and aerospace engineers, when using yaw, pitch, roll (also called heading, attitude, bank) to refer to rotations about the x, y, z axes, respectively, often call these the Euler angles. These x-''y''-''z'' angles are properly known as the Tait-Bryan angles,.."
Wikipedia on Euler angles
: "Euler angles are the classical way of representing rotations in 3-dimensional Euclidean space, named after Leonhard Euler."
Wikipedia on Tait-Bryan angles
: "In geometry, Tait-Bryan angles are three angles used to describe a general rotation in three-dimensional Euclidean space by three successive rotations, once about the x-axis, once about the y-axis, and once about the z-axis."
So can someone knowlegable in the subject please explain the difference to me? Is it the abstraction? Is this a case of semantics or am I just a large ape that needs to stick to beating a stick?
Ok, so my understanding is that the difference is this - after each rotation using Tait-Bryan the axis will be redefined, the coordinate system relying on the object itself. Whereas when applying Euler angles the axis will not move. In other words the object defines the coordinate system.
MIT has created an interesting project called OpenMind
. The goal is to teach a computer things that we apes take for granted. For instance if I was to say "Colby wanted to be a fireman when he grew up" you would have to know what a fireman was, what colby was, and what growing up is. Everything you know is dependent on something else. Every word in the dictionary is defined by another word. This type of relationship creation is the backbone of human understanding.
So go sign up and teach the computer something, even if it seems basic to you. Maybe one day when these computers come of age and the machines put you in a cage they'll return the favor by giving you a stick to beat things with.
For some odd reason when drudge posted this article
on spy drones that will be used by civilian law enforcement it caused a huge stir among people. But I don't see the big deal. People tend to have this aversion to UAVs in general equating the technology with danger. I see this a lot inside the hobbiest UAV culture where some remote-contol hobbiest call them dangerous (apparently more dangerous than an ape with a remote control.. but I digress). But allow me to focus on the article from drudge and peer inside this "flying eye in the sky!" boogeyman a bit.
1. Law enforcement already has the abilty to linger in airspace above any city. This is called a helicopter. Many police departments in the US began to use helicopters for law enforcement after returning Korean War soldiers saw their usefulness in transporting wounded troops from the battlefield. This role was expanded to include enforcement, specifically the ability to track suspected criminals.
2. News helicopters. We have more than our share of news aircraft floating above us. How many times have to see aerial video on the TV? This is not new, in fact use of cameras in aircraft is very old.
3. Other aircraft - look up. Chances are good if you live in a urban area that you'll see an aircraft. Are they spying on you? Maybe. But most likely no, you are not that important.
4. Satellites - nuff said
5. Cameras are everywhere. You can't walk down the street in most metro areas without being on a camera. Simple matter of modern life. But that's a whole other topic thats been beaten to death already/
So what is new with this? Why the aversion to a technology that could be used to help society? The cost of a small UAV is pocket change compared to say a multi-million dollar aircraft
that has must be flown by a trained crew and is relatively more expensive to maintain. Why not free these existing aircraft up for transporting accident victims, while leaving the survelliance to an inexpensive UAV?
But in the end I think we're going to see a lot more of these kind of issues regarding the use of autonomous vehicles and robots in general. People are scared of them for reasons older than written history. The unknown scares people. We need to educate people and let them know that people are still in control. Just because a robot appears to think for itself that simply isn't true. Every action is determined by the software/hardware that powers it. There will be mistakes of course. But that's because clothed apes create them, not because of some inherent Evil Inside(tm). Combine that with a distrust of authority prevelant in today's society, the arming of simple robots for warfare, sophisticated survelliance equipment, and television and you get fear. This fear could be useful, if used to promote wisdom in our choices of robotics. But it could also be damaging if innovation is shunned for the reason of fear alone.
Want to mess with a coworker? Come to work early and replace his usual keyboard with this
. You might be doing a bit too much gaming when you need a "spellbook" key on your keyboard..
I have put slashdot on a LIFE BAN for various reasons, mainly to keep my sanity. This is my replacement: http://www.digg.com/
All the stories geeks love, minus bullshit.
I got kind of tired of slashdot not for the stories but a few reasons:
- Lack of profressionalism - duplicate stories everyday, same format since 1997, lack of caring by the staff, etc.
- I always knew the comments were, to quote Linus, a "geek circle jerk" but it seems to be a bit too many college greenhorns and not enough pros. I don't care what johnny college thinks. He's still in "bootcamp", so why would we care what he thinks we should do to win the war? :P
- A bit too much MS bashing. I loathe lack of quality as much as the next guy. But "MS == evil" and "Google == greatness" is simply naive. This is coming from a guy that runs linux as his main desktop.
So if I can get the same stories hours earlier then why keep soliciting them and lining their pockets? I don't know, maybe I expect too much from slashdot. But who cares, I found a replacement.
More Posts Next page »