Archive for May, 2007


Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Fraser has been having quite a bit of fun with his Canon 30D and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.

This morning, he posted a beautiful capture of a green iguana. I also have that lens and used it to grab this shot of an iguana in Mexico last spring (Canon EOS 350D Rebel XT, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
1/500 @ f/7.1, ISO 100).

Lovely lens and iguanas are cool.

Apple II & IIe: Power Supply Input Frequency Limitations

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Heh. Chris pointed out an amusing old school tech note still live on Apple’s support site.

This one seems to be the lowest # still active.

The Apple II and IIe power supply is a switching power supply. It is designed to accept 107 to 135 volts from DC to 60 Hz.

It will also work at up to 400 Hz but this endangers a circuit which protects the supply from shorting to the point that the protecting circuit will not work.

Of the ones I found, this is my favorite.

The analog inputs on Port A and Port B of the Apple III are designed to read a voltage between 0 and 2.4 volts and convert it to a number between 0 and 255. The schematic on page 82 of the Apple III Owner’s Guide is drawn for a joystick with 5,000 ohm potentiometers. Only the bottom 20% of the potentiometer’s range is used. Using the +12 volt power supply will result in the most stable readings.

One of the very first jobs I had was making custom controllers for the Apple ][ and selling them through the local computer club or stores.

As much as I really enjoy modern computing devices and technology, I still miss the days where the manufacturer documented various ports, provided schematics, and didn’t otherwise shy away from wires.

Heck, I miss the days when hooking something up to the computer didn’t require a controller chip. Not that much, really, controllers have gotten dirt cheap and are easy to work with.

Iris Time Again

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Our neighborhood and community garden has been planting and trading Iris for a couple of decades. Every spring, there are clumps of iris of all different color combinations throughout the neighborhood. When the clumps need be divided, people simply place the removed portions of plant on their yard waste piles. Few of these ever get scraped and hauled away, though, as a neighbor will invariably see the potential plants, grab them, and stick ’em in a hole somewhere around their own house.

This spring has been a particularly spectacular year. And yesterday’s morning rain and intense ambient cloud filtered light made for a perfect opportunity to photograph some of the beautiful flowers throughout the area.

Actually, the abundance of flowers almost made it difficult simply because framing a shot to highlight a particular flower almost always included a neighboring bloom.

This one is one of my favorite colored blossom. It is all pastels from a desert palette like one that O’Keefe might have used.

Read the rest of this entry »

Random Ebay Purchases; Confiscated Tools

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Random Tool Assortment

At whim, I did a search of ebay for “ confiscated “. I figured that any of the random NTSA security theater booty would likely show up on ebay and “confiscated” would be a reasonable search term.

While most of the auctions show lots and lots of stuff with only 2 or 3 items in the actual auction, there were a handful of “random tools by the pound” auctions. I put a bid in on an allen wrench assortment and actually won! All total, it cost me $25.43 for the pictured set of tools.

I needed allen wrenches, but got so much more. Beyond the allen wrenches, of which there are several very nice sets, there are also a bunch of miniature screwdrivers, some random nut drivers, some driver bit sets, a spark plug wrench and– oddly– a single arcade joystick handle.

Strange. Worth the money and entertaining, to boot. Why the TSA might find an arcade joystick threatening is beyond me. Hell, why was someone carrying such a thing in the first place?!?!!

Or, for that matter, why are allen wrenches a big deal? Or miniature screwdrivers?

An Experiment In Story Telling

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Update: Heh — boingboing pointed to a contest involving story writing. I entered mine, even though it was written exactly a week before the contest started. In the spirit of the contest, I even threatened to, like, sick a lawyer on ’em or something.

No response. Wish me luck!

This little story popped into my head. For some reason, it came together as something a junior high school boy might doodle in reading class while bored out of his skull, likely listening to in depth analysis of something exceedingly boring like the John Galt speech in Atlas Shrugged.

Anyway… on to the story:

One day, there was a group of 9 sleek F9 fighter planes flying attack plan 11. As the plan dictated, 2 of said planes had executed phase 9D of the plan and were 74 miles into the run when an enemy plane from sector E3 fired several heat seeking missiles.

At that moment, what appeared to be sheep grazing in sector 5B were actually anti-missile batteries armed with D(evi)8 interceptor warheads placed to support the fight planes.

The mecha-sheep rose up and fired 41 such armed interceptor rockets which, due to their cosmically awesome explosive power, took out 56 of the inbound heat seeking missiles.

Impressive, huh?

While all this was happening, the enemy’s army of mecha-bovine ground skirmish units were warming up in sector C5. 63 of them, to be exact. Unfortunately, during warm-up only 56 proved to be mobile. Though an unfortunate number of downed bovine attack units, there were still 88 explosive patty rockets amongst the remaining forces. Clearly enough to render some awesome destructive power upon their foe.

Ultimately, the final battle was to be had on the rather crucial sector C0. Bloody, it will assuredly be.