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2009/09/28 Back At Work
π 2009-09-28 01:01 in Public
I finally got back to work, although I was still in the middle of working on home improvements and wish I had another week or two :)

My coworkers found a way to tell me that they missed me somehow :)

2009/09/21 A few days in Portland
π 2009-09-21 01:01 in Trips
Since the new Linuxcon was in Portland, I got a few days (and a day after the conference) to visit Portland. All in all, it's actually a nice city. A few pictures below:

a nice lifting bridge with counter balancing weights
a nice lifting bridge with counter balancing weights

nice weather
nice weather

gondola going up
gondola going up

one of the few trams
one of the few trams

wells fargo had a 'history history exhibit'
wells fargo had a 'history history exhibit'

it was a nice little history museum
it was a nice little history museum


the guided sub visit from the Omsi science museum was well worth it
the guided sub visit from the Omsi science museum was well worth it



it was a nice diesel electric sub
it was a nice diesel electric sub

nice torpedoes
nice torpedoes

The OMSI science museum was pretty good, even if portions of it were closed too due to low attendance (just like the St Louis one for that matter), but at least their planetarium was open, and I saw a couple of nice presentations on stars.
One exhibit I specifically liked, but that most people probably miss the significance of, is the one below that cleverly uses gravity to show gravity as ripples in space-time that try to trap passing objects, or accelerate them and slingshot them by as they get near. One of the balls goes through quite a long trajectory without any additional "trust" like a satellite would as it goes through our solar system on its way to Jupiter or even pluto:

click for video
click for video

Unfortunately, after going to the museum, I tried to skateboard to a bridge that was supposed to take me to the gondola I had seen on the other side, but the bridge was cars only and some moron put some thick black rubber tubes on a bike path to count bikes and speed, but those were way too big and stopped my skateboard dead in its tracks, throwing me forward (with the lighting and the exact same color between the tubes and the path, I did not see them). This cost me a nice hole in my right knee and elbow along with other pavement rash, making it a lot less fun and more painful to skateboard for the rest of the day.
After that, the tram I wanted to take broke down and I never really made it to their Japanese garden, so I just skateboarded around the city a bit, went to chinatown and a chinese garden (which were both slightly underwhelming), and called it a day.





See more images for A few days in Portland
2009/09/21 Linuxcon 2009
π 2009-09-21 01:01 in Linux
So, after about 10 years, there was finally a new worthwhile linux conference in the US (linuxworld after 2000 does not count), and I almost missed it because I wasn't even aware it was going on (bad me). While it was in nearby Portland, because I only found out 4 days before the conference started, I had to pay $420 for the airfare (ouch!), but otherwise managed to get everything else for free thanks to friends who hooked me up (thanks again guys) since this trip was definitely on my dime as it's hard to claim for a business trip while being on leave still :)

For a first year, the conference was actually very well run and I'm excited that we finally have a yearly US linux conference again, even if it means that some speakers won't be able to come because they boycott the US or can't get through immigration. Also, now that OLS is pretty much dying out, Linuxcon will make for a fine replacement.

It was great to see some of my conf buddies again, including Mark Bolzern, whom I hadn't seen in 15 years, and some of the talks were pretty interesting too. I'm definitely happy I got not to miss this, just a few days before I was scheduled to go back to work.


Mark at the linux Pavillion in 1996
Mark at the linux Pavillion in 1996

Mark and I 13 years later
Mark and I 13 years later

Monday night, we had a bowling outing
Monday night, we had a bowling outing

I even got a whole 78 :)
I even got a whole 78 :)

The highlight was definitely the Penguin Bowl run by my friend Jeremy. He definitely outdid himself again, being Steve Balmer this time, starting with the "developers" hysteria walk, and the sweat stained shirt. Absolutely classic!

Jeremy was outdid himself
Jeremy was outdid himself

(click for vid) unfortunately I missed the beginning of the developers hysteria dance
(click for vid) unfortunately I missed the beginning of the developers hysteria dance


I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am :)
I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am :)


(click for vid) the last question was to fly a very crappy RC helicopter to a landing pad
(click for vid) the last question was to fly a very crappy RC helicopter to a landing pad

I actually tried flying the heli after the game was over since I'm reasonably familiar with flying RC, but it was an unflyable cheap ass 2 axis (power and some kind of yaw control), so the contestants just threw those things uncontrollably into the room. It's actually a good thing no one got hurt by an uncontrolled RC heli :)

Anyway, the conf was a success, kudos to the organizers and 'till next year.

See more images for Linuxcon 2009
2009/09/18 Hooked on Driving Ferrari Day at TH
π 2009-09-18 01:01 in Cars
Unfortunately, I missed the similar day in June as my car's transmission grew some problem the day before the event so it was nice to finally be able to do good on that track day.
A big thanks again to Nkg for getting my car there again while I flew.





A few F430 scuderias were there
A few F430 scuderias were there

As well as all other kinds
As well as all other kinds

and other kinds of cars :)
and other kinds of cars :)

The HOD folks were a bit nervous with my driving: many folks in the group weren't used to driving their cars fast, or had no interest in doing so, which is fine, but that made me look aggressive compared to them, although I was not specifically. The other half was that I wasn't working my way back up gradually enough and was just driving about as fast I felt could. This was kind of the point for me, but at the same time sometimes I overshot the braking zones just a tad, which made the orgnaizers rather nervous, even if I always kept it in check and on the tarmac.
Anyway, I just dailed it down a bit, which made them happier and gave me a chance to work on my line, and that never hurts. In the end, I only got my times down to about 2:10, which I guess isn't too bad, but slower than what I've been able to do before. I suppose I was a bit off that day, which may be linked to the fact that I was half sick the day prior.

this was a slow session, but I got to pass a few cars there, which is good for video (click for vid)
this was a slow session, but I got to pass a few cars there, which is good for video (click for vid)

However, I was also able to use lunchtime to fly my RC plane around the track and take a bunch of mid res pictures (see other post)

2009/09/18 Minimag RC overfly / Digital Hero wide pictures of Thunderhill
π 2009-09-18 01:01 in Cars, Rc
After getting a digital hero wide, and coming up with the idea that I should overfly the tracks I go to to take shots, I brought my minimag to thunderhill and took a bunch of pictures over lunch.

Here are a few pictures:

turns 10, 11, 12-13
turns 10, 11, 12-13

another vantage point
another vantage point

both straights
both straights

5, 6, 7
5, 6, 7

better view of 14-15
better view of 14-15

5 looks kind of flat from the sky :)
5 looks kind of flat from the sky :)

closeup on 14
closeup on 14

another vantage point of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15
another vantage point of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

Shot of one of the instructors who went out for fun during lunch
Shot of one of the instructors who went out for fun during lunch

And a low resolution video (that was before HD or 4K Gopros):

short video with takeoff from turn 11
short video with takeoff from turn 11

2009/09/09 Trying my new Minimag with Digital Hero GoPro Wide at Rancho San Antonio
π 2009-09-09 01:01 in Rc
After losing my previous minimag and its GoPro camera, I builts a new minimag entirely from spare parts from my 3 previous kits for the plane, and new electronics (which was the expensive part unfortunately).

I did a test run of the new camera pointing forward, forward+down, and backward

a forward facing 180 degree view without seeing the prop or the wheels is hard
a forward facing 180 degree view without seeing the prop or the wheels is hard

obviously the prop doesn't look good when spinning
obviously the prop doesn't look good when spinning

I pointed the camera down some more, it helped a bit
I pointed the camera down some more, it helped a bit

you definitely get a bigger field of view, but it's distorded
you definitely get a bigger field of view, but it's distorded

but the big field of view is nice
but the big field of view is nice

and the curvature on the horizon simulates being at 100,000ft like a U2 :)
and the curvature on the horizon simulates being at 100,000ft like a U2 :)

pointing back looks nice but it's near impossible not to get the tail in the shot
pointing back looks nice but it's near impossible not to get the tail in the shot

2009/09/05 Wings History Aircraft Museum
π 2009-09-05 01:01 in Flying
While driving back from Hollister, I notice a 'aircraft museum' sign on 101 close to where south county airport is, and I had a bit of spare time on my hands, so I figure "what the hell?".
I went to check it out, and it was indeed a nice little local museum with a few interesting pieces that aren't that easy to see elsewhere, if at all, and I specifically liked the local maps of airports here 50-60 years ago, before they got wiped by "progress" (well, not that I liked the fact that they are gone, but knowing how things were during simpler times, not so long ago).

Here are a few picts, along with my recommendation to go check it out if you're driving by. It's not pretentious or huge, but it's worth the time.

the bay area used to have lots of airports. Too bad almost all of them are gone
the bay area used to have lots of airports. Too bad almost all of them are gone

the former santa clara airport
the former santa clara airport


I'd totally want to fly in that.... Not! :)
I'd totally want to fly in that.... Not! :)

See more images for Wings History Aircraft Museum
2009/09/05 My first glider flight
π 2009-09-05 01:01 in Flying
My coworker Wolf nicely agreed to give me a "sled ride" in one of the gliders he flies out of Hollister. Unfortunately, we didn't get any lift at all, so it was only a half hour-ish flight, but still it was nice to see how gliders work and get a feel for one.
It was also a bit eery to fly pretty close to mountain tops without any power, in a position that would have been dire in a powered plane without engine power.


the tailwheel dolly is actually removed before flight
the tailwheel dolly is actually removed before flight

golf car tow to the runway
golf car tow to the runway

our tow plane, an old cropduster with a nice biker dude pilot :)
our tow plane, an old cropduster with a nice biker dude pilot :)

cabin room is limited :)
cabin room is limited :)


Hollister runways
Hollister runways

tow plane unhooked and flying away
tow plane unhooked and flying away

much closer to the rocks as I would have gone in a no engine aircraft :)
much closer to the rocks as I would have gone in a no engine aircraft :)

wolf was in the back, taking care of the important flying
wolf was in the back, taking care of the important flying

nice garden maze by the runway
nice garden maze by the runway

Even though we didn't get any lift whatsoever, it was quite an interesting experience. Thanks Wolf for taking me along.

See more images for My first glider flight
2009/09/02 Trike Flight with Birds of Paradise in Kauai
π 2009-09-02 01:01 in Flying
These pictures are taken off my blog entry on our Hawaii trip for the flying blog. There is a bit of duplication here, sorry:


When we were in Kauai, I signed us up for a flight in 2 trikes, each of us flying one with a CFI.

This was our first time in a trike
This was our first time in a trike




Flying the trike was interesting, but from the back seat it was very tiring to extend your arms so far forward to control it. The other bummer was that for safety reasons, they did not allow us to take a camera due to the risk of it flying off into the prop in the back, which would be a problem if it were to happen.

Unfortunately, the flight was underwhelming because of high winds and too many clouds to see the ground (you can see on the map above that despite 1H of flight, we didn't get far). We had groundspeeds of barely 25kts (i.e. slower than our driving on the road there) and didn't get very good views outside of a few places, due to the cloud cover.

This could have been quite nice, but it turned out to be fairly disappointing unfortunately, especially when we were charged full price for their pictures and we only got a few good ones, the others were pointless or bad due to a fogged in lens :-


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