Saturday, February 05, 2011

Headin' South Again

A LITTLE Business and A SUPER Bowl...

I've burned the midnight oil this evening cleaning up a bunch of paper work and other details in the process of getting ready to be out of town for part or possibly most of the next couple of weeks on business.

In anticipation of a Monday morning plant visit in Hotlanta we're heading back south this afternoon to visit some of Pat's family again in the "metro area" and watch Pittsburgh beat Green Bay  in the Super Bowl Sunday night.

You'll be able to identify me because I'll most likely be the only one in the room without Steelers' garb on--everyone else being from the suburban Pittsburgh area.

I have a hard time getting excited about pro sports of any kind these days having spent zillions of dollars and hours watching the old Atlanta Flames Hockey Team and the Atlanta Hawks and Braves and Falcons only to experience heartbreak as the teams snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

There is the single World Series victory the Braves eked out in the mid 1990's but other than that I'm just sayin...

Cheering for Georgia Tech sports and enduring the drama of 17-21 year old kids spasmodically under-achieving most seasons is all my heart can bear these days, but I'll humor Pat and her family and act excited because Pittsburgh is in all of their blood.

With my history maybe I should cheer for Green Bay just to not jinx the Steelers.

So any way, once again I'm on the road and although I've got the wireless Internet working well at our host's home I don't promise any critical insights delivered courtesy of this blog over the next three or four days.

Feel free to peruse the Internet and entertain yourselves in my absence.

Regards Y'all...

Friday, February 04, 2011

One More Down

Hopefully Hundreds More To Go...

I'm pleased to report that after a great deal of stress and strain and huffing and puffing, I finally managed to toss another Custom PLC/Operator Interface panel out the door this afternoon.  My sales rep Harry hauled it off my bench and walked right out the door with it about an hour ago on his way to show it off to everyone.

I've been working on the concept for the past 9 months and it finally started taking physical shape in December and the software was once again a bitch to design and implement because this prototype is a Demo model intended to carry around on sales calls to show potential customers.

I'm still not the best or fastest programmer in the world, but I can build a nice looking panel and wire it up nice and neet and I look forward to getting some more work later this month after I get back from Atlanta and Havre de Gras, Maryland in the next few weeks.

I think I'll take the rest of the week off and go have dinner and drinks at Lakeshore Tavern overlooking the Mighty Tennessee River.  Meet us there about 5 PM for happy hour if you're in the area...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Still Busy

Who's Idea Was All Of This Stuff Any Way?

The phone call I've been waiting for since the first of the year came yesterday about noon.

I have to have my butt and my computer and my PLC programming skills in Atlanta next Monday morning to finally set up their Bottle monitoring panel I built last fall.

With any luck I'll go straight from Atlanta to the Baltimore suburbs (weather permitting) later next week doing the same thing on the sister panel to Atlanta.

Then if everything works out they want TEN more duplicates of the same thing delivered over the next few months.

My belly button is puckering and un-puckering thinking about the prospect of selling an order that size.

In other news, I tossed up the framing lumber to support the back dividing wall down in the basement running between my shop and Pat's Office...thereby creating a BRAND NEW and improved separate room at the bottom of the stairs separated from the other half of the basement.

It's been previously used as my "shipping and receiving" area, and while it will somewhat still maintain that function  on a part time basis, it will at the same time be converted into an area I'm calling "The Wee Pup Pub".

Maybe on second thought "The Turbo Pup Pub" because of its size--roughly 12 feet by 12 feet square.

Still, there's already a surplus section of angled bar/cabinetry which we got from our neighbor's kitchen renovation and there's room for a regulation dart board and with a little imagination and patience and slow work the space could be a very nice little "hole in the wall" to hang out in in our basement part time while the snow falls outside or the humidity keeps us inside in the summer.

In the past nearly four years we've managed to add almost 500 square feet of finished space to the home by improving the unfinished areas in the basement.  The shop really isn't really considered "living space" but it is heated and cooled and most men owning more than a hammer and a couple of screwdrivers would rather live down there than up in the Living Room I think.

I spend at least 30 hours a week in the space and find it to be quite comfortable with TV and internet service and all of my tools laying around within about 12 feet of my mind when I want to drill a hole or cut something into pieces.

Meanwhile, I have to get mentally prepared to go into two giant plastic bottle production plants next week and come out victorious so I know that you will excuse me if posting is light for a while.

(I reserve the right to explode at any given moment over any given subject I come across in the mean time, but still...)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I'm A Technological Curmudgeon?

Where Are My 45 RPM Records?

Gosh darn it Ladies and Gentlemen, but this morning finds me once again beside myself...ready to pull the remaining hair out of my ever greying, ever balding head. might ask?

Because I'm faced with "upgrading" our home cable system.

Why, you might ask?

Because I don't own a single freaking DIGITAL TELEVISION because I own four perfectly good analogue TV's and an Analog TV card installed in my server Computer.

Sometime in the past ten years I've slipped off of the planet of ultimate consumerism and these days I generally wait until something breaks and I can't fix it with duct or electrical tape before I replace it.

Computers being an exception in upgrading every three to five years, the rest of my lifes' accessories including things like Cars and Trucks and even UNDERWEAR are only replaced when they fail me and/or leave me stranded on the side of the road or otherwise embarrassed in the emergency room as they cut the clothes off of my body.

So any way, after helping my mother negotiate the transition from the conversion of broadcast TV signals parallel to her Direct TV Satellite service a couple of years ago, I forgot that Comcast and the other cable TV companies were also moving toward converting their Cable TV services to Digital only...

...and that deadline is in the Month of February 2011 here in Knoxtown.

Last month I sent away for their "Self Installation" package for four TVs...forgetting about the under the counter unit we have in the kitchen.

Then I've fooled around ignoring the package and just opened it tonight and my head nearly exploded when I realized what I was going to have to do to use the contents.


Of course the blue tooth DVD player and VCR in the Living room will continue to have their own separate remote controls and the non-surround sound system will have it's own remote,and now the TV in the Master bedroom will require two remotes to operate and likewise the TV in my basement Shop.

And my server PC?

I don't know if it will work at all but instead of changing channels with the keyboard or the mouse now I have to have a remote control for that system.

I've completely rewired the cable system in this house in the past nearly four years and now I have to crawl around in the floor and poke my head under and inside of the cabinets holding TV's to get this crap to work and I'm tired of fooling with unwanted technology upgrades.

We don't do "On Demand Video"

We don't have the "Ultimate Sports" packages.

For that matter I don't have Satellite Radio and I don't have an I-Phone or I-Box or I-Pad  or I-Cat or I-Dog or I or Eye ANYTHING.

I haven't been to a Movie in a theater since 2002 and I haven't bought a CD since about then, and the only DVD's I've bought were gifts for relatives.

I just don't care about advancing much further technically anymore.

This coming from a guy that read BYTE Magazine and PC World from cover to cover every month in 1984...

But still...

I've gotten along for most of a half century without all of this current crap.  I absolutely hate my Cell phone, love my GPS, enjoy a good laptop computer, but other than that I just want a TV signal with about a half dozen channels on it.

FOX News...

The Weather Channel...

The Discover Channel...

Food Network...

The Military Channel...

And Comedy Central when Southpark is on...

Other than that?

You can have the balance because it's all just distracting noise to me.

...taking a big breath here boss...

So now it's time to get my wire cutters and electrical tape out and see if I can make the crap in all of these boxes work and get my TV service back to where it was yesterday morning.

Someone send up a flare if you don't hear from me in a couple of days.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Warm Weather's Going To Kill Me

Carefull What You Wish For...

It was over 60 degrees here at the TurboPup Compound on the Banks of the Mighty Tennessee River this weekend.

Closer to 70 degrees in my back yard this afternoon I think. know me... in a spastic fit of home improvement and landscaping efforts employing pent up energy from enduring a couple of months of snow and ice and just generally crappy weather, I wandered out into my yard with my chain saw and wheel barrow and some other tools and a bunch of good intentions.

I was determined to clear the small overhanging trees and other crap off of my back property line which was shading a good portion of my garden plot last summer.  I also have a gigantic Crepe Myrtle tree on the Southwest corner of the property which was shading another portion of the garden from the sun in the late afternoon which in my mind had to go.

Three hours on Saturday, and another three hours today, and now I have a pile of logs and limbs the size of a small school bus laying there annoying me.  It's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow and turn cold again this week so processing the pile further and getting a burn permit and disposing of the mess is out of the question for a while.

You know what?

GOOD THING, because I'm such a middle aged wimp that I've seen all I need to see of the Chain Saw and other yard tools for about a month.

So it's back onto the Patent Engineering work and more PLC programming this week sitting like a little nerd in my shop in the basement.

I hope Y'all have a LOVELY week also...