Showing its age

The Camry is starting to show its age with parts giving out from old age and wear and tear. Had a big chunk of the driver's side door handle break off when I went to open it a couple weeks ago. Earlier this week it started to develop a bit of a rough idle so we took it in to the shop to have it looked at. After a big tune up and a new fuel filter, it's running a lot smoother now. While it was being checked out they also found a coolant leak in the radiator and possibly the thermostat. That's something else that will have to be fixed before I road trip to Charlotte for Southeast Linuxfest next weekend.

If you're looking for a place to take your car, the people at the Firestone on Savannah Highway in West Ashley, next to East Bay Deli, are phenomenal. Great customer service there.

Southeast Linuxfest 2014 soon!

Just a little over a week to go before the 6th annual Southeast Linuxfest kicks off. The final schedule is now out and I'm looking forward to catching a few of them as I roam around being the photographer.

New this year is the Craft Beer Bottle Share (not an official part of SELF though). Bring a bunch of your favourite craft beers along, share them with other craft beer afficionados, and try the brews other people bring.

Still time to register, and as usual SELF is free to attend.

Out with the old wifi

Had to replace the wifi router (a D-Link DIR-655). It had been crashing intermittently for a while now. All of a sudden, the wifi would just disappear and the router was inaccessible even from the wired connection. Power cycling would bring it back to life though. Last night after the router dropped out several times in a 10 minute span, I decided it was time to replace it.

Fortunately we still had Connie's wifi router on hand (a D-Link DIR-615). A slight downgrade from the DIR-655, but it works and I didn't have to go out and buy a new one. The only significant things lost are the gigabit wired ports that the desktop is connected to, but that's not a huge deal. I can live without those for a while.

I noticed that when I was taking the old wifi router off the pegboard that it was feeling pretty warm, so I suspect that the crashing was due to overheating.

Now I have a wifi router to play with on the workbench... :)

The dedication ceremony for Theresa's hops tower happened this afternoon. I made sure to get there early before there were too many people around and got some more pictures. The hops vines grew even more over the weekend. Before the weekend (on June 4) some of the vines had reached the top.

IMG_20140604_080231.jpgToday, it looked like this

IMG_20140609_141657.jpgThe dedication ceremony was a very nice event with some words and memories shared by Theresa's family and some of the people she worked with and for. There was a pretty good crowd in attendance, a testament to the number of people Theresa touched and the people she inspired.

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The plaque at the base of the tower is fabulous.

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A very nice reception followed after the dedication ceremony and after that a nice gathering of family and friends at Tommy Condon's where I got to meet some more of Theresa's friends and shared some stories.

Everybody seemed to agree that this was a very fitting way to remember Theresa, and I'd have to agree.

Memorial Hops Tower

It's been a little over a year since my friend Theresa died.

A few months ago, one of the people she worked for at MUSC arranged to have a hops tower put up in the MUSC Porcher Medicinal Garden (if you're on campus, you'll find it located between the library, the Basic Science Building and the Drug Discovery Building).

The tower was installed in April, the hops planted and over the past few weeks they've been growing pretty quickly.

I took this one on April 21, shortly after the hops tower and hops were planted. The little bit of green vine-y type stuff directly below are the hops plants.

HopsTower01This was a couple weeks later, on May 5.

IMG_20140505_113843.jpgHere it is yesterday, May 26. The vines are climbing up pretty quickly to the top and every time I walk past it, they seem to have gone a little higher.

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There's even a little Carolina Anole that likes to hang out on the tower.

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On June 9 at 3PM, there will be a dedication ceremony for the tower with a reception afterwards. From Theresa's dad,

The Medical University of South Carolina will be dedicating the Hops Tower in the Medicinal garden on the campus of MUSC in memory of Theresa Peters on Mon 6/9 at 3:00PM. There will be a reception immediately following in Colcock Hall.
Thank you Bart Yancey, Marcia Higaki, Dr. Lanier and all at MUSC.

After much anticipation, registration for Southeast Linuxfest 2014 is now open!

As usual, SELF is free to attend (registration recommended). There's also the supporting attendee package for $65 which gets you lunch, a shirt, drink tickets for the parties and the undying gratitude of the organizers.

There will also be ARRL VEs administering the amateur radio license tests (I'll be one of them) so if you've been thinking about getting or upgrading your license, now's your chance. You still have a month to study!

This year's schedule includes Puppet training, an information security track put on by BSides Charlotte, BSDA and LPI certification exams in addition to the regular SELF tracks.

Book your hotel soon, because the $99/night SELF rate expires May 29.

Moar copper clad

An order of 20lb of copper clad PCB arrived, getting me closer to my goal of having the workshop stocked well enough so that I can build and experiment without triggering that "can't use it because I'm running low" instinct.

CuPCB.jpg(Banana for scale)

This is my second order from Copper Clad Laminates on ebay, and so far I've been pretty pleased with the product. This was one of his bulk items containing boards that maybe aren't the right size, have some light scratches or other imperfections that wouldn't qualify them for a regular batch, but are more than suitable for my purposes. It's all double sided and there's a nice variety of sizes too. At $1.05/lb, it's a pretty good deal.

IC Inventory

After using up some spare time over the period of a few weeks, I finally finished going through the parts bin of ICs and inventoried them. Right now it's a big long list in a Google Drive spreadsheet.

I don't know what most of them do, have no idea if any of them are still functional and probably won't ever use any of them, but I did have fun going through them, digging up datasheets for them and reading the descriptions for each of the chips. Datasheets for most of them were pretty easy to find, while a few others I had to dig a bit. There were a handful that I wasn't able to find anything on.

About a half dozen of the bins had EEPROMs in them, which I ignored for the most part. One bin had a stash of 555 timer chips that could find some use in a project if they work. There are CPUs, digital logic gates, op amps, buffers, registers, counters, even some RAM chips. If I had the know-how, I've probably got just about everything I need to assemble a simple computer based on the Z80 CPUs I found in the bins.

One interesting find in one of the bins was this Defender ROM.

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Absolutely no idea if it's any good, but it would be neat to plug into a Defender console and see if it does work.