Saturday, August 27, 2011

12 Aug 2011

I’m writing this on 12 Aug 2011, however it wont be posted for some time.  This is because yesterday I started a long awaited trip and wont be posting till I get back to C3.  Yesterday I took my favorite mode of transportation from C3 to Bagram and met up with the Paladin STAT guys here.  I’m going with them to a number of places across the country to work on helping with some new technologies being fielded in theater.  First we are going to see the USMC guys down at Camp Leatherneck, then we’ll go to Kandahar and finally on to FOB Shank for a few days.  In addition to helping out with the new stuff I’ll have a chance to talk to some soldiers and get some feedback on current gear.  More or less the sort of stuff that I came over here to do.  We’ll see how it turns out, but I think this will be a good trip so I’m pretty excited about it.  Then again we’ve already had a flight canceled so we’re still in Bagarm waiting to leave.  But ehh that’s how going places around here tends to be.  The Paladin guys have pretty much adopted me for the time being,  they are a good bunch and pretty fun to hang out with so no complaints here.  I’ve even managed to get some work done while I’ve been here which will help keep the boss happy even If I’m out of the office so that’s a plus.

Every time I’ve been to Bagram I seem to eat at atleast one DFAC that I’ve haven’t been to before.  I don’t know how many they have here but there sure are a lot, of course with the size of this place you need a lot to keep everyone fed.  I think Bagram might have a larger population than a number of places that I have lived in the states, BIG difference when you’re coming from somewhere as small as C3. 

Work this week went pretty well, I got some useful stuff done so that helps the time move and doing useful things which help out is just generally good too of course.

On a possibly more important note, Oreos, we now have a rather decent collection for the taste test.  We have regular ones (which are now much easier to get since the new PX stocks them), Double Stuff, Cool Mint, Goldies, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Berry Blast.  Personally I’m not sure why you would think the Berry Blast would be a good idea but I guess chocolate covered strawberries are pretty good so who knows.  I even brought a small stash with me (well more like the boss forced me to take it but hey no complaints here), so I wont be going hungry.

I also finally tried something I had been thing about doing for a while now.  Playing my PSP while riding the bike down in the gym.  It is actually pretty easy to do and has a surprising side benefit of I actually workout harder since I get sucked into the game and don’t pay attention to the workout.  Put the legs on autopilot and just go.  Plus of course I get to ride the bike for 50 min AND play video games for 50 min all in less than an hour.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.

The beginning of the week I have two rather clever ideas which I’m rather happy with as well, having good ideas always makes the day better!  The first was to download a software program that lets me use the sound card in my netbook as a signal generator.  Which is useful because now I can use it replicate an R/C type servo control signal and have the Arduino I’m working with read that incoming signal and react to it.  Once I get that part sorted out I can start programming useful code for the Arduino since of course it will be going in the boat sooner or later.  The other idea I had while much cooler also happens to be something for my boat that I can’t share at the moment but it has a lot of potential to increase the performance of every ship in my fleet, well and it is just kind of cool.  Now I cant’t wait to get back home so I can start doing the research/development type work that I need to do in order to implement this idea.  Mayhaps I’ll even get my very own rule out of the deal if I manage to pull it off correctly and it works as envisioned.  Either way I’ve got lots of cool projects and ideas in store for the winter.

Back to the Arduino, the kit I got is pretty good, the “cookbook” I got for it isn’t really what I was expecting so that was a little disappointing but oh well.  The more I learn about them the happier I am, the base microcrontroller and all the different sizes/configurations which are available and able to run the Arduino bootloader.  Some of the smaller microcontrollers chips are less than $2/each (granted they have reduced memory and functionality) which means I’ll probably be using them a whole lot more than I ever had thought about using a BasicStamp.  I’m very pleased with this as you can do some pretty spiffy things with microntrollers, especially if you can get them at a reasonable cost.

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