A blog of interesting technical advances.

January 30, 2010


Today has been an interesting experiment in setbacks and how to handle them. Let me give you a brief run down of my day so far. I was supposed to travel to Dallas today and hang out with Holley.
  1. 12:00pm: Wake up late and hustle to get out the door.
  2. 12:05pm: Realize that my car is pulling to the right really heavily and pull over at Quiznos.
  3. 12:06pm: My front tire is completely deflated, I get out the spare and start putting it on.
  4. 12:15pm: After finding a way to jack up my car, I realize I don't have the right wrench to get the lug nuts off and need to walk home to get the right wrench from the tool chest.
  5. 12:30pm: Back at home, grab the right wrench and start walking back.
  6. 12:45pm: I get all the lug nuts off, push the spare tire into its place, and tighten it down.
  7. 12:50pm: Drive home sad, beaten, and discouraged.
  8. 12:55pm: Grab a beer.
A new tire will run me about $200 dollars and I have not a single clue how I will be able to get through the year with this kind of debt.

Anyways, talk to you later interwebs.


January 29, 2010

Organizing Me

I'm trying to develop a plan that pushes me to be more aggressive in attaining my goals. And in order to do this I need to develop some habits that push myself and some way of measuring my success. So this week I have been hashing out some, daily, weekly and monthly goals that I should always accomplish. These goals are not easy, and are not something that I even think I will be able to accomplish everyday/week/month/etc but they are something to strive for and represent a goal that will produce a better version of myself. Specifically, what I lack is discipline and these tasks and goals will help me better develop the mental and physical discipline I need in order to complete my larger goals.

I'm also trying to learn from my previous mistakes. In all previous attempts, I usually did not hold myself accountable and did not remind myself of them often enough. I'm hoping to change this by having email reminders everyday of the goals and tasks I need to accomplish. I'm trying to build in safeguards that remind me of what to do. Kind of like having a virtual boss. The goal for this is to find a way to better manage myself and develop a better model of how I work.

Here's a list of my weekly, monthly and daily goals.

  • Talk to Holley for at least 30 min.
  • Draw one graphic per day for documentation
  • Write a blog post
  • Write 50 lines of source code or draw one page of schematics
  • Write one page of research oriented documentation
  • Drink at least one beer
  • Create a new test for on of my projects
  • Get others to do something for me
  • Only be absent from class one time
  • Talk to at least one technology company
  • Do something fun... and blog about it.
  • Keep finances up to date.
  • Learn a new library or computer language.
It's a very strange set of goals. I wish I could tie them together into some hierarchical strategy but I cant. They are not uniform in importance, or commonality. Instead they represent things I think I need to do in order to be successful. Anyways that's all for today, I'll see you tomorrow Internet.

January 28, 2010

Network Redesign

I think its about time I got rid of the oldest but also most important server in my network, gin.
Gin has been good to me for a couple years now, running my website, providing me with a printer/scanner server, acting as a router, and even hosting my revision control, but there wont be room when I move. While gin has been good for quite a while (first computer I ever built) its only an AMD 1.1 GHz with 512MB of Ram and 40GB of disk space. I will be moving off of gin in the next few weeks and onto jager.

I use quite a few network service this point and even host my own website from home. However, I wasn't that smart when I designed my current network setup and would like to rearrange the network in order to give me some additional flexibility. I came up with the drawing to the right in order to explain exactly what I intend to do. Let me start off by giving a brief description of each node.
  • Brandy - Slicehost server
  • Gin - OpenWRT based router (takes over my old servers name)
  • Whisky - Desktop
  • Jager - Server
  • Beer - HTPC
  • Wine - Holley's laptop
  • Vodka - My laptop
By setting up the network in this fashion, I believe I will be able to get more bandwidth from my servers at home and abroad. No longer when I am transferring large files on the local network will my internet speeds decrease for jager or whisky. This also allows me to have out of band communication with whisky and jager, therefore in the extremely off chance that I get a DDOS aimed at me; I'll be able to attempt to fight it off. I'm attempting to get my hands wet with puppet in order to set this all up, and allow me to be more agile in the future. No more configuring by hand and forgetting what I did. Anyways see ya tommorow blogosphere and I hope someone reads this and gives me some suggestions.


January 26, 2010

Senior Design

For senior design my group and I will be creating a solar efficiency monitoring station. While we are still in the planing stages of this design, I have some ideas floating around my head. The basic elements of the system are a measurement system, a logging system, and a reporting system. As most of the group already has experience with the Arduino, we think this is the best platform for doing our measurements. The Arduino is really inexpensive and has all the ADC we would need for connecting up to the sensors that we are looking to buy. The language is a very simple C++ based language complete with a serial communication library. The serial communication library is great because this makes it very easy to communicate with a standard PC or plug computer. We will probably go the plug computer route as it is alot cheaper($99 vs $150 Atom minitx). The specific plug computer we are looking at is called the Sheeva Plug. It has an ethernet and usb connection, plus it has a 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB of ram. This should be plenty for running the logging daemon and uploading the data to an SQL server somewhere, or even running the SQL server and web server locally if the sys admin at the school would allow it. It will be an interesting few weeks and we will see just how far we can get on this project.

January 1, 2010


Thanks for visiting my blog. Here you can find some information on my various projects. I enjoy Linux, FPGA, and general computing geekery. Let me know what you would like me to write about. I'll publish an about me in the next few weeks so that you can better understand my interests and hobbies.


Waco, Texas, United States

Electrical and Computer with an interest in FPGAs, Linux, and Embedded Systems. Enjoys playing with servers and experimenting with virtualization.