Get Knotted!

For a product that I am working on, I need to attach a rope to the product. Simple, I thought, tie a knot. My first feeble attempts fell apart. Later attempts did the job, but looked a mess. A quick Google later, and I had a knot that seems to do the job. The tucked double overhand. Three simple images are enough to explain how the knot works. Moments later I had the knot off pat, and decided to show the production department.

All of a sudden we hit a problem. For some reason, no one else is able to tie this knot! I can’t believe that I am particularly gifted in this area, but maybe I am not a dumb as I think sometimes. Is this a hard knot?

This animation was done in Povray. I got fed up of trying to show the knot to people, so next time they ask, they will get a link to this.

Alarm Function Request

Ok, so I doubt anybody who stumbles across this will really care, but here goes anyhow. The alarm function on my mobile phone is great. It makes sure I get up each morning. However, it could be better. At the moment it is scheduled to wake me up at the same time each work day, and do nothing at the weekend. Every now an then, pesky things called ‘bank holidays’ come along, and the last thing I want is to be woken up early when I could stay asleep a bit longer.

What is needed is a function that disables the next alarm only. Then when I go to bed the evening before the bank holiday, felling good about not having to get up in the morning, the alarm can be disabled for the next alarm only without the fear that I may forget to turn it on again the next night.

New Bike. Well maybe….

This is starting to do my head in. A few months ago, it became apparent the my old Claude Butler hybrid bike was nearing the end of its useful life. For the amount of miles it has done, I have been pleased considering it was reasonably cheap. Well it now seems that all the components are wearing out at the same time. The front rim is worn out by the brakes. The rear wheel needs a new hub. The chain, chain rings and sprockets all need replacing. To look at the rear sprocket it is amazing it works at all.

The reason this bike was a cheap one, was to find out if it would get used. In the past, it could be claimed that exercise equipment was not always put to it full use in this house πŸ™‚ Well the bike has been great. Most weeks it gets me to work three days, which is a 22 mile (35 km) round trip. One reason I have been so keen to use it is the alternative route to work on those days is to use the train, which is also used by the local Grammer School kids. So, as the bike is getting used, a simple replacement is not worth it. I need an upgrade!

This is my problem. What do I buy? Having spent far to long considering this problem already myself, and to avoid waffling on too long here, I have decided on a Cannondale Bad Boy Singlespeed.

My reasons for this choice are:

  • I want a road bike, but I don’t want to wear Lycra
  • I want to go down the occasional foot path
  • Low maintainance
  • It looks darn cool

Some doubts

  • Eccentric Bottom Bracket is a know weakness
  • Single Speed. What if I really need gears?

That final doubt is manageable. I am sure that the distance I am riding will not be too hard to get used to. There is only one significant hill, and I can walk that if it is too much to start with. Also, as the bike has an eccentric Bottom Bracket, it will be possible to upgrade the rear wheel to one with a hub gear with minimal fuss.

Please comment if you have any other great ideas for an Β£800 budget.

Book Meme

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • DonÒ€ℒt dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

And we get:-

7 Add features.

from SolidWorks Office Premium Advanced Part Modeling 2007 Training Manual.

Maybe I should not have done this at work πŸ™‚

Google Chrome

This has been rumoured for a long time. Now it is here. Google have created their own web browser. Unfortunately it is only for Windows at the moment, but I understand that it will eventually be available for Linux.

In the mean time I plan on using it at work.

First impressions are that it is very fast. Certainly on Google pages such as Gmail and Google Maps. Even Openstreetmap seems very smooth.

As it is Open Source, I hope that it has the desired intention of moving the whole browser world forward. The next question is, how long before I start to see Google Chrome appear in the logs of my web server?

By the power of SED

It\'s a graph!I think I have just used sed for the first time. Well the first time where I have decided what the problem is and that the solution requires sed, and then using it.

This is a big deal for me. I have been aware of sed, and awk for a log time. I have even used them either when advised by others or as part of scripts that I have run (but not written).

This time, however, I can say it is all my own work. I have some data at work that I need to graph. There is too much to simply load into a spreadsheet, so I have to munge it a bit before I can use it. A simple perl program does that for me, and outputs a csv file that I can quickly load into a spreadsheet and make a graph. Once it I am happy that the data is correct, I then use Gnuplot to generate my final graphs. The problem is that gnuplot likes to have tab separated values, not comma separated. Here comes sed to the rescue.

sed 's/,/\t/g' data.csv >data.txt

Now that may not exactly be rocket science, but I very nearly wrote my own perl program to do that for me.

Simon Brown Images

Through my work, I have come to know Simon Brown. He comes and helps with some aspects of our computer systems. Potentially fairly dull. However, I always enjoy talking to him about his main interest which is Diving. I remember a few years back he was telling me how he wanted to buy a new underwater camera. Now he has that camera, and is enjoying a second career selling the pictures.

Due to changes in where I work, I may not see much of Simon in the future, so I thought that I would write this mainly as a reminder to myself. However, if anybody has need of an underwater photographer, I am sure Simon would be interested, for the right price πŸ™‚

Ive been sold!

Well not me, but the section of the company that I work for has. Or should I say Disposed

I can’t say I am overjoyed by the prospect. For the last few years McMurdo has provided a decent working environment mainly due to the people that are there. Once this sale goes through, I will be the only person from the engineering department transferring with the business and will therefore be the sole engineer.

If anybody wants a mechanical engineer to be part of their team, I may very well be interested πŸ™‚