Irreconcilable Differences

We returned Raymond and Robbie, the recent feline additions to the household, to whence they came this afternoon. It turned out that Robbie and Edwin had irreconcilable differences, the nature of which will never be completely understood by the humans that know them. It became painfully clear that Robbie just wasn’t going to be happy here, and the happiness of the cat(s) is what counts in the end.

So, sadly, Raymond and Robbie are back with Sue and George. I’m sure that they’ll be happy in another house; they’re both great cats and we’ll miss ’em. read more

Some Videos on SMT Soldering

I’ve run across a few videos demonstrating SMT soldering techniques. An online electronics shop called Curious Inventor has a nice collection of videos here which will show you how to solder SMD devices with relatively inexpensive tools. Their most recent video here shows how to drag-solder the pins of a 0.5mm pitch SOIC.

If you want to see how the pros do it, there’s a video here done by a certified instructor of soldering. It’s more of an advertisement than a tutorial, but if you watch closely you can pick up some pointers. read more

Raymond and Robbie Update

The new cats in residence started exploring the house yesterday. I posted a dozen photos of them on my Flickr site here.


They’ve also met all of the other cats. Reactions have been fairly predictable. Tracie is currently trying to break the ice by showing them that they have common interests such as plastic things dangled on the end of a string. Raymond wants to play with everyone but the other guys aren’t quite ready for that and feel that some strutting and hissing must be done first. Edwin in particular is putting on the macho-kitty show; this is exactly what he did when Alfred arrived so we’re not at all surprised. It probably doesn’t help any that Tracie and I have a hard time not laughing at his posturing since he’s usually such an easy-going cat. read more

The Sound of Software Not Working

The other day I said something to Chris about the software I was currently working on being “obstreperous” without entirely remembering what that word actually means. As he observed, it’s actually a rather apt term for DSP code in development. From Webster’s:

Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin obstreperus, from obstrepere to clamor against, from ob- against + strepere to make a noise
Date: circa 1600

1 : marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness : clamorous <obstreperous merriment>
2 : stubbornly resistant to control :unruly

The word came to mind again when some new code I was working on was both marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness and stubbornly resistant to control. Here’s what it sounded like–be warned that it’s kind of loud in places: read more

ZOMG!!! Moar Kittehs?!?!?

Yes, it’s true: as of yesterday afternoon we have two new feline additions to the household. They’re brothers, about 15 months old, and their names are Robbie and Raymond. Here’s Raymond:

IMG 7761

Raymond is smaller and younger than Robbie, although I imagine that the difference in their ages is measured in minutes since they’re from the same litter. Raymond is also much more rambunctious; he and Edwin will be a good match. Robbie is more reserved:

IMG 7777

They’re currently secluded in the spare bedroom so that they can adjust gradually to us and the house before meeting the rest of the herd. I’ll post more photos and updates soon. read more


If you happened to visit this site between around 5:00PM MST July 14 and 10:05AM today, you probably encountered an unhelpful “Internal Server Error” message. Sorry for any inconvenience or puzzlement. I was reconfiguring something on the server and inadvertently broke something essential. Naturally this happened shortly before some friends arrived for dinner, so I wasn’t able to address the problem until this morning. I’m still not exactly sure what I did wrong but I was able to restore the entire domain from an automatic backup. (Yes, there’s a little lesson there.) read more

An Open Letter to Online Merchants

Dear People Who Sell Me Stuff:

It’s okay for you to send me email about new products, sales, promotions, etc., particularly if I asked to be on your mailing list. However, once you send me one announcement of a sale or discount, it’s not okay to send me three to five more messages referencing the first announcement with Subject: lines like “In case you missed this!” I read it the first time, I promise. If I didn’t want to read your email I’d take myself off your list. I don’t need to be told again and again about the same thing, and I don’t need to be “reminded” about the impending cessation of the sale, discount, whatever. It’s annoying and, frankly, somewhat insulting. read more

Weekend in Wyoming

We just returned from a long weekend in Wyoming. Tracie’s parents live in Ranchester, which is just slightly north of the middle of nowhere and about a six- or seven-hour drive from Boulder, depending on how much you press your luck while pressing the accelerator. We buzzed up and spent a leisurely few days taking in some of the local scenery and eating slightly too much. I put up a set of photos on my flickr site here.


Yes, we saw a moose. He was grazing not far from the road, up on one of the mountain passes near town. We also saw a number of deer, a few antelope (while en route), a beautiful sunset, and one owl. read more

Everybody Needs a 303

Fatboy Slim may have overstated the situation. For instance, it’s hard to imagine either of my parents having much use for a TB-303 despite their above-average interest in music. I’m not even sure that I need one, having never used the real thing. However, shortly after finding out that a couple of new sources for x0xb0x kits I happened to listen to a few 303-heavy tracks by The Crystal Method and decided that I might as well grab a kit while they’re available. I mean, eventually the world is going to run out of those discontinued transistors, right? It seemed like a reasonable rationalization anyway. read more

Nifty LAN Speed Test Utility

Scenario: I have a local network which is part wired and part wireless. Depending on what’s going on, connected to this network are as many as eight desktop computers (six PCs, two Macs), four laptop computers (three PCs, one Mac), one iPad, one PDA, and/or two NAS devices. Usually it works. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out whether the wireless router is somewhat dodgy (because the laptops occasionally lose their connection and the iPad doesn’t make a connection about half the times I turn it on) and/or whether the new NAS is a POS, in short. Answering these questions partly involves figuring out how fast data is moving from one place to another. read more