So much busy…

Things have been very hectic lately.

The baby is gestating along nicely. We had our anatomy scan last week, and it is confirmed to be a girl.

We have a boat load of house work we’ve been (slowly) doing – drywalling, new appliances, etc. Have a lot to get done before September.

At work we are doing a major upgrade of our learning management system (Moodle). We have been preparing for over a year at this point. We take the system down for the upgrade this Friday night.

I also have been working on my Photo-A-Day. See the link below to see them all.
Project 365 – 2012, a set on Flickr.

Tinkering with RFID

So I’ve had this house project I’ve been supposed to do for a while now. Install a dog door.

Now this may seem like a simple feat, but there is a hitch. We have a dog and a cat (indoor), so I need the door to let the dog in and out, but not the cat. Now the dog was chipped by the breeder we bought him from, so that seemed simple enough to read.

I read around a bit, and it seems it is more complicated than that. It turns out there is a bit of animosity between the various dog chip producers which has resulting in lawsuits and the such. Now a days this means that there are a number of proprietary chips out there (and a few companies make ISO standard chips), and those chips can only be read by the readers made by that company. So I decided to ‘roll the dice’ and get a 125kHz reader, which is pretty standard. SparkFun sells the ID-12 for around $30, so I gave it a go.

Today I finally got around to soldering the ID-12 to the carrier board, and hooking it to a Basic Stamp 2 I have laying around.

What you see there is the stamp, the ID-12 (it’s the War of the Worlds looking thing), and a RFID badge I bought so I could verify functionality of the system.

I threw together a little program for the Stamp (which actually took longer then the soldering and assembling the circuit) and it all works great.

Unfortunately the it doesn’t read the dogs chip. I have since found out that his chip is an AVID chip, which are 125kHz, but are encrypted. I would have hopped that I would have at least been identify that a chip was there with the circuit, but alas, no dice.

So now I have to decide how else to identify the dog. I could build my own RF circuit, which would just identify that a 125kHz chip is present, or I could so something like a scale to weigh him. Hmmm.

But at least now I have a nice, working, RFID reader setup that I can do something with.

The Crack, Sara, Oakland, and my office

So a multi-update for all one or two of you.


So my windshield got hit by a stone on the way home from work the other day. I looked around and didn’t see the divot, but the next day on my way to work, I saw a ~6in crack running from the passenger edge of the window towards the center. By the time I left work, it had spread to about 16in long, but had turned downwards toward the bottom of the glass, and was only a few inches from the edge, so I thought it would stay all over on the passenger side, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Unfortunately the next day it made almost a perfect 90 degree turn and ran another 2 feet or so over the the bottom part of the drivers side. Now it’s stopped about in the center of the drivers side, but low on the windshield. I’ll have to wait and see where it goes next, but the glare off of it is irritating.

$300 to replace :(


Sara is out of town Monday-Wednesday for some field work in Grand Rapids, so I have today and tomorrow off, so I can chill, and get some work around the house done.


So it turns out I would have had today off anyways… There is a security scare on campus, so it is shutdown all of today, and is supposed to reopen tomorrow. Yay, day off w/o having to use any time.

My Office

Im finally working on cleaning out my office. I want to get more serious with photography as a buisness, which means setting up my office to actually be useful to work in. I also ordered a tablet which will hopefully get here tomorrow.

The laptop finally died

So Sara has had this Toshiba laptop that her parents gave her for 4 years. The entire time we have had it, it has had a hardware fault that causes it to randomly freeze up, but it would never to it consistently enough for it to be reproducible for Toshiba. Some time ago (probably a year), the clutches in the hinges broke, so you had to balance the laptop screen to keep it up. Every now and then the screen would fall backwards and either be caught or hit the stops.

Well, last night it finally happened. It tipped back, and snap, both hinges broke, so the screen is now only held on by the power and data wires…

Sara had to do some work cloths shopping at JCPenneys at the mall. After that we walked down to the Apple Store and I was finally able to browbeat talk her into getting a new laptop, something I’ve been trying to get her to do for a year or three now… So we walked out of the mall with a new black MacBook. I’ve had it here at work, getting everything installed and setup for her.

Diet and Other Updates

So even though I said I wouldn’t post a weight trend for March, I changed my mind :)

Weight trend for March 2008

I started the period (March 13th) with a weight of 231, and finished with a trend weight of 226, which comes to just shy of 2lbs per week.

In mostly unrelated news, Sara and I had a coupon and dividend to REI, so we decided to buy a hitch bike rack so we can much more easily transport our bikes around. Currently we either have to take the wheels off and shove them in my trunk, or put them in the bed of Sara’s truck, which doesn’t work as well as you would think… I ordered a hitch for my vehicle, which should get here tomorrow. We had talked about getting one for my vehicle, since Sara’s truck lease is up soon, and it will be useful when renting equipment from Home Depot and what not. When it gets here I need to jack up my car and install it (it should bolt right in place).

I also updated WordPress to 2.5 which makes inserting images into posts much much easier, which of course is good.