18 Large Eggs

Profile of a shopping cartThursday was pretty cool. Really cool actually. I was really comfortable with myself and felt like a (passably) normal person. I wasn’t feeling awkward or a fish out of water and am really grateful for that!

I went to Toastmasters. (Anthony Wayne Toastmasters Club 521 founded in 1947) One of the prominent members and his wife were unable to come. There were four of us there and we visited for about a half hour since we didn’t have any speakers. We saw projects that Leon made that were really awesome… elegant wooden steering wheels that had clocks in the center. He said that he’d given many of them to friends. He also described how he made them.

We got on the subject of 3-D printers. Leon did a better job of explaining them than I could. He had been a member at the makerspace TekVenture in Fort Wayne in the past and so had I. We made an expedition across town to see the facility. We got a really nice tour.

Tekventure was pretty cool. On the stage, some were practicing a play. I saw a lot of people working in the ceramics section of the workshop. I also learned a little about CNC milling machines. My guide explained that experience with a manual milling machine is a helpful background before one starts making CNC programs. I got a liability release form and indicated that I wanted to join. I need to pick the right day to pay online so that I have something to do right away.

After leaving TekVenture, I went to Kroger to buy some groceries. I was looking at the Jumbo, Extra Large and Medium eggs to compare prices and decide which would be right to buy. (I chose the medium. They were 30% cheaper than the jumbo.)

While I was there, a woman came next to me and was looking at a coupon for large eggs. I tried to help her and noticed on the coupon that it said 18 large eggs. I had only wanted 12, so I didn’t look for the 18s. She hadn’t noticed the 18 count citation on the coupon. Once I showed which she needed, she picked the package that she wanted and went to the rest of the store. She apologized for bothering me, but I said it was ok.

I was having trouble finding nail polish remover. I asked a woman at the pharmacy and she went out and was very helpful too. Overall, it was one of the most pleasant shopping experiences. (Actually the whole day was pleasant, so it was a nice way for it to wind down.)

Then, on my way to the checkout, I realized that I had left _my_ coupons behind in the car. I spoke to one of the cashiers and she commented that she had her eyes on my cart. I got the coupons and came back. I thought of a couple more things to buy and went back to the same cashier’s line.

The woman I helped earlier was immediately in front of me and before her was a very tall man. I wasn’t listening to their conversation real closely, but I did learn that he was 6′ 9″, had played basketball in college and was looking to become a basketball coach.

The woman wasn’t sure about whether her coupons matched what she had bought, but they did. Her balance was $0.00. It took the cashier a minute to figure out how to cash out a $0.00 balance, but she must have been experienced and figured it out.

The cashier, woman and I talked briefly. We were laughing and I learned a little about her late husband and mother. I was smiling all the way to my car. I did not have as good of coupons as the awesome woman who I saw near the eggs.

TekVenture & MantisBT

I’ve been busy the past few days.

Saturday I went to a workshop at TekVenture in Fort Wayne. I had worked it out and if I joined (at $40/month) it would be $5/hour or less for the time I’m there. That seemed pretty inexpensive to have access to scopes, milling machines, CNC mills, wood working tools and 3D printers. This week I got rid of my land line which will save about $30/month, so it comes out pretty even.

Today was an experiment to see whether I’m more productive down there. I went this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that the trip only required 35 minutes. That’s not bad for reaching downtown Fort Wayne from Auburn. I stayed about an hour and a half today.

Much of the time was spent trying to diagnose why I couldn’t connect to the wifi… and then I realized my laptop had its wifi turned off. Doh! Once I did that, I was up and running in about 10 seconds. Another block of time was spent getting the drivers for the Arduino installed.

Today I connected my Arduino to the prototype output board for the first time. I wrote a simple driver program (which worked after a surprisingly few tries) and the Arduino and display worked perfectly together.Circuit board with 12 digits

The other thing I did this weekend was set up MantisBT bug tracking software. I was going to install Bugzilla, but Bugzilla depends on Perl. Its install needed me to run some Perl scripts. I don’t know how to do that on my hosting account. MantisBT is all PHP and was going after a only few hours of work.

The bug tracker has a learning curve + a setup hump. Each project’s setup is evolving which slows down how I use it. I created 3 projects so far: “How Far Is Mars”, “yyj-tool” and “SysAdmin.” I don’t want to need to remember what needs done next. I’m getting to the point where I am starting keeping little slips of paper and comments in disorganized notebooks.

yyj-tool is the version logging tool that has evolved over the years. I’m getting it going pretty well. One part I’m working on are self-tests. I have big dreams for the next one, yyj-tool++ when I add a few more features.

The next feature to add to yyj is a hot-spot detector. It will take a Git archive and identify blocks of code that had changed a lot in the Git project.,The theory is that the “hot” areas need more care. The analyzer would probably create HTML documents to browse the analyzed code.

How Far Is Mars is a device to display in real-time the distance to Mars from Earth. I’m still prototyping the algorithms for that. Perhaps the local astronomy club would be interested–especially if it also displays the azimuth and elevation of Mars from the user’s location.

Meet up at Toastmasters

I recently joined meetup.com I found out about a drop-in every Thursday at TekVenture http://tekventure.org in Fort Wayne. When I was at tekventure there were a couple of other people who found out about the drop-in the same way. I went once, but it conflicts with Toastmasters so I won’t go much. However, I got an event schedule at TekVenture and found there’s a workshop tomorrow morning that I’m going to.

Our district of Toastmasters has a meetup.com group also. I get notified of all of the different Toastmaster group meetings that are coming up. I’m looking forward to going to some other groups in the area this coming week.

The club that I belong to, Anthony Wayne Toastmasters, was chartered in 1947. I was toastmaster last night and introduced the speakers, general evaluator and the topic master. (The general evaluator organizes the feedback parts of the meeting. The topic master has impromptu topics to ask so that everyone gets a chance to participate.) The group is really supportive and wants me to succeed (like everyone else).

Last week I gave a speech about Open Source Hardware. It was lots of fun. The PowerPoint came out well. I had fun using gimp to put together the images.