Space Invaders and the world of 1’s and 0’s

After leaving South Africa in the late 70's I worked in London for one of the "big 8" accounting firms, now called the "big 4".  I remember a multi-day training event where in the evenings we drank a lot of beer, socialized and I discovered the addictive Space Invaders arcade video game which was housed in a large console.  As the commander of the only remaining space ship I had to dodge from side to side to evade incoming missiles and simultaneously destroy the horde of menacing invaders Read more [...]

am I a Maker?

There is a Maker movement afoot and a few weeks ago I visited my first Maker Faire, which was in Atlanta.  A few weeks prior I signed up for a MOOC (online course) on 3D printing and I was deciding which 3D printer I should buy - the large one in the photo above costs around $30k, I was thinking of $300.  Makers enjoy tinkering and making things most often using new technologies.  I think this is different from DIY where the focus is on repairing or installing things, which would usually be done Read more [...]

TV via antenna

6 years ago I wanted to receive TV via antenna.  We have DSL and I can access Netflix and YouTube etc. but not local stations.  I positioned the antenna facing south (Atlanta's direction) about 20 feet off the ground and connected a cable from the antenna to the cable attached to the previous owner's dish receiver, and in the winter received a few stations.  Since I have digital TV and the signal is digital I do not require a converter box.  In the summer reception fell off because the trees Read more [...]

a gratifying electronic repair

You may well ask - " I thought this site was about organic growing and permaculture, why so much electronics?"  I want some control over my life and surroundings.  Perhaps I could work and pay others to maintain the yard; repair my house, car and everything else that fails; administer to my health; and grow my food.  But, I like self reliance and making effective inputs to what goes on around me provides satisfaction.  Which brings me to the treadmill which failed. My usual caveat - working Read more [...]

my Irrigation Adviser

Recent bad weather discouraged outdoor activity.  So I used my time indoors to tackle a BJC.3 (Beauty and Joy of Computing - Berkeley, CA) project.  We were recently instructed on web scraping which means using Snap! (a block programming language derived from Scratch) to go to the internet and scrape selected data from websites. From Spring to Fall a daily decision is whether to water my crops and, if so, how much.  To make this analysis I need to know current soil moisture, expected precipitation Read more [...]

leaf bag experiment and a cable sizing conundrum

My leaf bag collecting operations produce confusion for some neighbors and emulation with others.  A close neighbor, whose current preoccupation is the recent resignation of Mark Richt, the UGA football coach, was unclear whether I was collecting the leaf bags in order to keep the paper bags or for the leaves, and if the latter, why?  On a more pleasing but also disconcerting note some, or at least one  neighbor, has also begun removing leaf bags from the curbside - new competition for next year?.  Read more [...]

update on growing, blueberries, leaf bag collection, shoe repair & ups

Today is Nov 20 and, after lots of rain earlier in the week the past few days have been in the 60's and 70's and no freezing temps yet.  So my fall greens (collard, kale, turnip greens and radishes) have been doing really well with minimal pest evidence. Each year I get a little better.  I pull the weeds early and cover the growing areas with growth.  Garlic is different since it does not provide shading leaves and does poorly with weeds so I weed carefully before planting garlic and then Read more [...]

long hibernation ending

My last post was November 25.  As we moved into winter my growing activities were largely shelved. In November/December I cleared and weeded some beds and planted out, closely spaced, several 100 garlic cloves.  They are all descended from 3 varieties of garlic I purchased from California 4 years ago.  After harvesting last year I strung them together and hung them from joists in the carport.  Fewer rotted compared with previous years where I had stored them in laundry bags hung in the basement.  Read more [...]

remote surveillance – DIY is hugely frustrating

I had a break in and theft a couple years ago and so installed a home security system with a very powerful siren, camera system and dawn to dusk lights.  Being a DIYer I installed them myself.  The programming of the Ademco Vista 20p was challenging.  They work fine but I did not have remote access, which means if the alarm was triggered when I was away, then I depended on my neighbors to call me.  Which they did when the alarm went off last week for the first time in 2 years.  It was a false Read more [...]

bluetooth & my basic truck

I have a base model Toyota Tacoma 2005 pickup (base means manual shift, windup windows and small but efficient engine) which came with a simple radio and CD player.  The challenge for me has always been playing podcasts (especially during the NPR fundraising season - 4 weeks a year).  I have downloaded my podcasts via my computer to MP3 players and then connected them to a  speaker which I have jammed between my shoulder and ear as I drove along.  Pretty basic, distracting and difficult to adjust Read more [...]