17 Apr

Operation Washboard – Phase 1

My driveway is gravel and just short of 400 feet long.  It’s also just a few inches above grade and on a slope that water moves across every year. 


The clay soil keeps that water high and the snow melt this year took almost a foot of gravel with it when it left.  

This year I am putting in culverts and some geotextile to keep the gravel where I need it.  

$140 worth of 8″x20′ culvert: 

Followed up by 10 tons of gravel at a reasonable $230 delivered: 

Of course the tractor is configured to snowplow  – off comes the three point hitch:  

And on goes the bucket:  

Now we dig the trench:  

Then stop to stare at the Red fox that is supervising:  

Finally it’s back to work laying the fabric and covering it with gravel:   


Pictures of the finish (part 1) are coming soon!

Part 2 is cutting the grade for the entrance and exits of the culvert. 

I’m sore and sunburned.  

5 Feb

Watched Office Space this weekend (again)

It amazes me just how relevant it still is today.

Ignore the humor – pretend it’s a documentary for a few minutes and watch it paying attention to the people, how they act and the issues they face in the movie.

I have eight bosses today – every minor misunderstanding is amplified by eight.

I have peers whose entire toolbox of skills consist of asking other people to do work for them – rather than doing any of this work themselves. Elevating the process of asking for help on the surface while really just outsourcing to a high art.

My managers are great and my co-workers are pleasant people, but the parallels between movie and real life are still uncanny.

4 Feb

January was an incredibly useful failure

So my plan for January was to put my Raspberry Pi into daily use as a web enabled garage door opener and automated access log.

The following goals were defined:

  • Done in January.
  • Hand crafted electronics to safely join Pi and Garage door opener.
  • Secure door status available across the internet and my local lan.
  • Secure door control available across the internet and my local lan.
  • One page write up of the project posted online.

Only the electronics are done at this point!

My local lan Wi-Fi is struggling due to the size of my home.  I have a repeater upstairs and it’s causing more issues than it solves approximately half of the time.  The other half of the time it works fine.  I’ve got a plan to fix it, but until that plan is in place my Pi is safely screwed to a garage rafter and off the network after about sixteen hours.

I’m not done – but I’m not moving forward again yet.

29 Jan

Just Under the Wire

So the Pi-Garage system is minutes away from being done.
(I just might hit my target for January – shocking)

The WebUI works but needs some re-factoring for family use.  All the lights light and the buttons work, but unless I want to explain that ‘black status’ is closed and ‘blue status’ is open I had better put in some time to make it user friendly.

Notices are where the hour really has to be spent.  I learned just enough Python to be dangerous and now I need to learn how to create a simple latching algorithm to prevent six hundred notices from being sent to my mobile when the door goes up.


  • Re-factor Web GUI.
  • Latching notice (only on state change) algorithm.
  • Add second sensor for side door.
  • Stretch – add sensor for kitchen door.
  • Super stretch – add logging to web page.
  • One page write up for reference.

All of this has to happen before Monday – that’s when I switch gears and write my first computer game!


28 Jan

Stay the course – Grind

What’s the best way to get to Carnegie Hall?


This joke lies to us with a smile every time.  I could practice every day, all day on my guitar and I would never get to Carnegie Hall unless it was to accept an award for the most time spent in practice.

Perfect practice makes perfect – bad practice simply reinforces bad habits.

So please – whatever you want to be – work on it every day.

But be certain that you are working on the RIGHT things when you do this, check your course and patterns.

It’s the only way to Carnegie Hall.

20 Jan

Birthday Log – 2015

6:20AM – Normal start of the day until my wonderful Wife announces she will put the boys on the bus. Followed by breakfast and coffee delivered to the bedroom!
8:00AM – New TOP GEAR on the DVR with a full pot of coffee followed by indoor drone flight time.

10:25 – Coffee Reload and finger rest – BF4 style!
12:00 – Gaming break for shower and lunch.
12:30 – Birthday lunch is Karen’s meatloaf from Moms recipe sandwich (cold with mayo and onions) – AWESOME!
1:30 – 12 Monkeys (movie) and a catnap on the couch with a real cat! – RELOAD
3:00 Boys are home and Jurassic Park is on Apole TV
5:00 Karen brought home Guida and ice cream cake AND cheesecake!
7:00 New fountain, new shoes and an Android Tab!