Monday, February 17, 2014

Engineer's Week 2014

From Wikipedia:

Engineer:   A professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.[1][2] The word engineer is derived from the Latin roots ingeniare ("to contrive, devise") and ingenium("cleverness").[3][4]

This week is Engineer's Week. When I was going to college, engineer's week was during St. Patrick's day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers. There's also a little proof that he was an Engineer.

St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland
Snakes are related to worms
Engineers use worm gears
Therefore: St. Patrick was an Engineer.

I decided I wanted to be an Engineer when I was quite young. My dad was in construction and like most fathers wanted his kids to do better than him. He tried to teach his eldest to visualize a 3D representation of the corner of the room. My brother just couldn't get it, but I got it and so an engineer I was destined to be.

The next fortuitous event for me was during my first year in college. I decided to apply for an ROTC scholarship (that will be the subject of another blog). I applied for a civil engineering scholarship, but the faculty approached me about getting a "hip pocket" scholarship in electrical engineering. Basically, I got the money to pay for college without having to compete with other students. I didn't mind, I would tear apart my electronic toys to see how they worked, so I was much more "wired" to be an electrical engineer any way.

I am very proud to be an Engineer and wouldn't trade it for any other occupation, so Happy Engineer's Week to all my engineer friends.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I know I'm not alone in this, heck my entire graduating class from High School, was probably born the same year I was. But this is my blog so they can crow on their own.

Being 50 this year won't be as bad as I thought. I share this distinction with several worthwhile and fantastic things.  I watched the Grammy salute to the Beatles last night.  They are by far my favorite band and arrived in this country the year I was born. I have all their albums, mostly in digital form. I once even wrote a love letter to my now wife using the lyrics from a Beatles' song.

My all time favorite car is the mustang. It was the first car I ever owned. Unfortunately it had issues and my brother made my mom "give" it away. My car was primer grey and I love it more than life. I got another in 1979, and it lasted until the heater core went out and cost more than the car to replace. I got another in 1995 on my way home from England, it was the second favorite car I owned. Next year I'll get a 2015, which is the official 50 year car, but the Mustang actually made its first appearance in late 64.

Finally the very first desktop personal computer, Programma 101 was debuted at the 1964 World's Fair.  NASA purchased many of these computers to do calculations for the 69 Moon landings.
So you see, all my favorite things, from cars to music to computers and space had their beginning the year I was born. Makes me down right proud to be 50!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Superbowl; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I will admit, I watch the Superbowl, for a couple of reasons; 1) Everyone else does, and 2) Commercials.  I believe this Superbowl however was mediocre at best and I think a lot of America believes so too.

So let's do a Good, Bad, Ugly for this Superbowl.

The Good: Not much! Obviously the Seahawks won a very impressive victory. Their defense was unstoppable. There were a couple of good commercials. I especially liked the Radio Shack 80's commercial. Always heartwarming are the Budwiser commercials that feature Clydesdales and puppies. The Tebow T-Mobile contract commercials were just smart.

The Bad: Can you say the Broncos? Not sure what happened to the team that beat my KC Chiefs twice in three weeks, but they couldn't get started at all. I'm sure it didn't help that their first snap ended in a safety. The party I attended was full of folks who said, up until 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter, that Denver was a slow starting team.... I was not impressed with the vast majority of the other commercials. Surprised they spent the money they did for that drivel.

The Ugly: Did you hear me say the Broncos? Nuff Said.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Business of Life

Watching Downton Abbey the other day, Mr. Carson made a statement that struck me deeply; "The business of life is the acquisition of memories."

As folks have often said, when the end comes, it won't matter what you've made, or the achievements you've accomplished, but the memories you have shared.

So the quote flashed like a light bulb. Now to figure out how to change my life to work at its proper business.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Technology is Cool

I admit I love technology. I have an iPhone, iPad, iPod. We have four computers for three people, blu ray, programmable thermostats, you name it.

According to iTunes I have hundreds of apps for my iStuff. But there are only a few I can't live without.

1. Evernote:

The tag line for Evernote is:

Remember Everything

It is a great app as a container for all your information. It's available for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac. All share the information so you're never without your "knowledge".

I primarily use notability to take notes on pdf files. I can print powerpoint slide shows at work to pdf and take notes on the pdf. The thing I like about Notability is I can write on my iPad and the notes show up.

Need I say more.
4. Gas Cubby: As the name implies, you track mileage and gas usage. It supports multiple vehicles and you can also log service to your vehicle.

5. Time Master: It's a time tracking app that allows you to track the time you spend on tasks. I use it to track my time at work.

There you have it, the apps I can't live without. I have others, but these would drive me insane should they disappear.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Superpowers HO!

Watching all the new programs on TV, i.e. Avengers, Big Bang, etc. I've developed a list of superpowers I'd like.

1. Eidetic memory :

Eidetic memory (/aɪˈdɛtɪk/), commonly referred to as photographic memory or total recall, is an inconclusively disputed ability to recall images, sounds or objects in memory with great precision, and is not acquired through mnemonics.

2. Access to a "Jarvis" program i.e., from Iron Man

I know its not really a superpower, but it would be cool to have access.

3. A computer chip installed in my brain, ala Intelligence.

The stuff he can do with the chip is truly awesome.

4. The ordinary stuff like invisibility, healing powers, telekinesis, super strength, etc.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Social Media and Football

They say football is a game of inches.

What I find difficult to believe is that a referee 30 yards away from a 6'-0", 250lb player who is "hiding" the football to keep from getting stripped, can accurately spot the ball so that the difference is inches.

They also take great ceremony to conduct the check.

The measurement is useless. They should just give the first down if the team comes close.

Speaking of useless, I have lots of pages I "liked" in facebook that request that I additionally "like" various posts and causes. So I pound the like button as if my life depended on it. But I was thinking the other day, why? Most are political sites that really can not influence members of Congress or the President. If they could, the budget crisis wouldn't have been one and debt limits increases would not be needed.

Social media is supposed to allow the "little" person to have a greater say in the issues of the day, but they don't.

I'll keep pounding the like button.....