Scarfing and Planking

6 April 2013 7:46pm | Posted by Alex

Day two:

Scarfing the bottom board:

The first plank goes on:

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What the Chicken Said

6 April 2013 7:43pm | Posted by Alex

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Counting Screws and Sewing Sails

3 April 2013 11:58am | Posted by Alex

Yesterday three very large boxes arrived on the back of an semi-trailer containing the worlds flattest boat. Or at least proto-boat.

It's a kit for a 11' 2" Shellback sailing dinghy, a plywood lapstrake boat designed by Joel White (E. B. White's son, among other things). The kit is CNC routed out of marine grade plywood by Chesapeake Light Craft in Maryland (pics below).

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Push to Talk

22 February 2013 2:40pm | Posted by Alex

I spend a lot of time on Skype, either on conference calls or calling into meetings. Because noise reduction is imperfect, I try to keep my microphone muted when I'm not talking, so we don't accidentally develop feedback. But as often as not when I go to speak, I miss clicking on the unmute button in Skype and have to start the sentence again, which makes it hard to interject in a timely way. Plus it would be nice if the muting interface was the same even when we use Google Hangouts or other video conferencing software. So to deal with this I put together a simple push to talk switch.

The mac app Shush is a partial solution. It's a master microphone mute that lets you push to talk (or push to mute) by holding down a combination of control keys. But it doesn't quite solve the problem for me, as to save desk space I use a Logitech Easy Switch Keyboard connected to several computers and much of the time I'm on Skype on one and typing on the other, so push to talk from the keyboard doesn't help.

The solution I put together is to use a Teensy 3.0 microcontroller, which is an Arduino compatible board with a micro USB port and built in HID emulation, to make a single button keyboard. The button is a normally open pushbutton with a good action and the case is an old parallel port switch, chosen for its relative heft. The source code is included below.

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The bees are still alive!

14 January 2013 2:59pm | Posted by Alex

It's well over 50 degrees today and the bees are stirring!

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Whiny is laying now too

14 January 2013 8:31am | Posted by Alex

It seems that Whiny (the surviving Wyandotte hen) is now laying as well. This morning we found Red in the process of laying in the corner of the coop behind the feeder (she also had a second egg, probably from yesterday, back there with her) and another egg, slightly paler and a bit more pointy in one of the nest boxes.

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Brave Chickens

4 January 2013 1:12pm | Posted by Alex

The chickens have been cooped up, quite literally since just after Christmas, on account of all the scary white stuff on the ground. They didn't venture out more than to run down the ramp and hide under the coop, where their summer dust bath has frozen into an icy little lake. But today they decided that the white stuff might not be so bad and went exploring. Meanwhile, the squirrels have been at the bird feeders out back, dumping sunflower seeds on the ground, the foraging is good.

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Chicken Christmas

24 December 2012 11:28am | Posted by Alex

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First Egg!

22 December 2012 8:49am | Posted by Alex

Someone laid their first egg!

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10 July 2012 11:00am | Posted by Joy | Originally posted here

RIP Red Dave. I think you managed to break your own neck, tangled in some fencing maybe. We're not sure. Chickens aren't the brightest birds out there, but it's still sad.

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