April 24, 2020

Notes on sheltering in place #2

Notes on our #COVID19 Shelter-In-Place journey.

  • Miles has been printing out Ear Saver/Mask Straps on his 3D printer.  In a little over a week he's already printed out close to 200 of them.
  • We are doing family Zoom meetings on a weekly basis for our extended family.  The security still isn't there, but you can beat the price.  We've been using Skype to talk to family a lot as well.  Surprisingly we don't use Facetime at all.
  • It has been determined that my immediate family is not suited for spaceflight, Lunar or Martian colonization.
  • Grocery delivery services are amazing. 
  • Google Classroom (or at least how my kids' school district has implemented it) sort of sucks. 
  • Texting friends is helpful.
  • I am not cut out for permanent telework and am looking forward to going into the office.
  • Several weeks into this thing the daily schedule for schoolwork/physical activity/meals is still working.  This was a surprise.
  • I'm getting numb to the infection and death count numbers.  That isn't healthy, but I'm focusing more on work, school with the kids and family demands and I've just sort of hunkered down.  My focus is on getting our family unit to the conclusion of the school year and several work related milestones.  Beyond that is an unknown.
  • We planted a garden in newly assembled planters, with some veggies an flowers in our back yard.  This is also something to look forward to.  The goal is to have something in the future to look forward to, to take us beyond the "Groundhog Day" repetition of our daily life.
  • We had our kids do academic work during spring break to keep them in the habit.  Probably worst spring break activity ever, but I don't feel guilty one bit. 
This thing that I've had a real hard time with is the loss of my Grandpa.  He was old, had a phenomenal life and had a huge input on making me who I am today.  He passed away in the beginning of this COVID-19 thing, before all the lock-down activities.  One of the things that I am looking forward to is getting together with family for his memorial service.  With all that is going on, I haven't had a chance to really process his passing.  I have so many stories and good memories. 

March 28, 2020

Notes on sheltering in place #1

As I write this I have CNN going in the background and the kids hunkered down on their iPads playing games with each other.  I really should be writing a journal with my thoughts, but instead I will try to compile them here.

On the things that I am truly grateful for:

  • I already mentioned it, but online delivery of everything has been incredibly helpful
  • My immediate family being in one place, even if there is a lot of yelling 
  • I am aghast, but I'm thankful for the dreadful social networking platforms for keeping us connected.
  • Having three kids causes you to buy in bulk anyways, so you already have to have a week of supplies on hand on the best of days.
  • Broadband, sweet broadband.  I've got close to half a class C subnet in my house and it all uses on Xfinity cable modem link.  I really hate Comcast, but they have an excellent IP backbone.  You can quote me on that one.


On staying sane:

  • Keeping a regular schedule during the week.  This has been incredibly helpful in getting our kids to transition from a rigid school schedule to working at home.
  • Treating hygiene and getting dressed as a ritual.  Get dressed and get cleaned up as if you were going to school or work (OK, casual Friday dress for me) 
  • Try to keep up regular events if you can, event the small ones.  In my house we have big breakfast on most Saturday and Sundays.  Today was fresh buttermilk pancakes and bacon.  People that are very sociable are using Zoom and other video conferencing systems.

On permanent telecommuting: 

  • I try to be patient, but my official working setup really sucks, since it was only meant for sporadic usage.
  • I use paper a lot more for my paperwork, make notes and then enter it later.  Bad for the environment, but it is the only way I can function right now.
  • Multitasking with family is difficult.  Having the schedule I mentioned above is helpful in cutting out times to do work phone calls and video conferences with minimal interference from the kids.
  • Sharing a home office is hard.  My wife works from her home office when she is not in the field doing sales.  Now we are in the home office 100% of the time.  When it is computing only, it isn't that bad, but when we both need to do phone calls it is the worst cube farm ever.
  • The schedule that includes meals for the family will stop you from snacking every 15 minutes.

On distance learning and home school:

  • My children's school pulled together a curriculum in two days.  Bravo.  They have good leadership.
  • Having three children at home trying to do work requires more attention to keep them on task than I was hoping.
  • With the schools transitioning to do doing more Zoom video conferencing for the classes, the getting dressed and cleaned on a daily basis makes a lot more sense.  We had many conversations with our kids about the places that were appropriate for being on camera and where you can point your camera.
  • I am not a teacher.  I have a few degrees and I've taught classes in the past.  I am not an elementary school teacher and my kids are going to need time to catch up.  On the flip side, my first grader is reading fourth grade books.  I had no idea how proficient a reader she was.

On my predictions on the future from what I am seeing today:

  • Drones.  Delivery of packages.  Delivery of cooked food.  Delivery of medicine.  This pandemic will fast track the use of drones in the way they are currently being tested in West Virginia. 
  • Computerized Voting.  This scares the crap out of me.  I'm a fan of voting by mail or in person, but this will get pushed forward and will be one of the biggest problems to be solved in the next decade.
  • Nationalized healthcare.  The system is not consistent throughout the United States.  Too many people are going to die from this to go back to the status quo.  I don't have the answer, but what we have right now is not it.

March 26, 2020

Social Distancing

I got a head start on the social distancing thing on 3/11/2020 when I was sent home from work for attending the RSA 2020 conference in San Francisco.  As good as the conference was with hand sanitizer, they had two people attending the conference that had positive COVID-19 tests, and one of which that passed away.  Since I started telecommuting (telework in the Federal government terminology), I had a chance to get my home office arranged in a maximal configuration before the SHTF with Alameda County's shelter in place order, and the following California shelter in place order.

We have been at home as a family unit trying to get school and work done, while staying safe.  I can't say that anybody is thriving in this situation, but we seem to be functioning.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, Costco Delivery, Safeway Delivery, Target.com and Chewy.com we are able to get the staples for all members of our family without going out in public.  We have dedicated one hour a day to go outside and hike or walk.   

I've continued on with my #ADVENTURE45 project in this crazy world and just shipped a dozen rolls off to Dwayne's Photo in Kansas for processing.  I am really looking forward to receiving the results.  There is so much craziness in the world and shooting film is one this that is very soothing.  Stay safe everyone!

#believeinfilm #film #filmphotography #filmisnotdead #35mm #analog #ishootfilm #filmcamera #analogue #kodak #analogphotography #staybrokeshootfilm #filmfeed #movies #buyfilmnotmegapixels #shootfilm #35mmfilm #keepfilmalive  

March 11, 2020


In the last two weeks, the Novel Coronavirus has gone from a localized event in Wuhan China, to a worldwide pandemic.  While it is not a great idea to panic, it is a great idea to stay informed.  I recently found a website through a friend that tracks the outbreak using verified data and then aggregating it.  In the future, I hope that the high school students behind this site use their coding superpowers for good.

February 15, 2020

Two Weeks In

I have officially been working on this #ADVENTURE45 project for two weeks now.  At this point I'm averaging about 3/4 of a roll shot per day.  The cameras that I'm using right now are not the ones that I prefer, but they are the ones that are working.  My beloved Pentax K1000 that I've been using for over 25 years is having a shutter lockup problem and both of my Canon EOS 5 units are acting up.  When you reach an obstacle, just improvise!  I have started rotating through my "plastic fantastic" toy cameras that have gone unused for a few years.  What fun!

Time to buy some more film.  Once I'm up to about 20 rolls, I'll be shipping an order out to Dwayne's Photo in Kansas for developing and scanning.

#believeinfilm #film #filmphotography #filmisnotdead #35mm #analog #ishootfilm #filmcamera #analogue #kodak #analogphotography #staybrokeshootfilm #filmfeed #movies #buyfilmnotmegapixels #shootfilm #35mmfilm #keepfilmalive 





February 01, 2020

ADVENTURE45 is live

With the start of February, the #ADVENTURE45 project is live. Just moving through my boring day, I shot three rolls of 35mm film.  This is going to be fun! 


January 24, 2020

Random Notes - January 2020

Here are a few random notes for today.  They are really for my use, but if you find them interesting, hooray.

I have been using Ubuntu Linux and derivatives for the last decade or so.  I've played with X/L/Ubuntu and other derivatives over the last few years and recently played with Ubuntu-mate on an old anemic laptop.  I really like the experience and it works on antique hardware.  As a side note, I played with AntiX, and while it was VERY fast on junk hardware, the networking left a lot to be desired.

My kids use Chromebooks in school and their district has invested in the Google Edu suite.  I don't own any Chromebooks, but I found that you can make your own with an older laptop using NeverWhere's CloudReady chromium distribution.  It is pretty lightweight and works pretty well on the hardware that I've tried.

I am a licensed ham radio operator, but haven't been really active in the past few years.  I was reading a recent article in QST regarding a Ukrainian Transverter company that build boards to do TX/RX frequency translation for many ham radio bands.  I own a 10m SSB rig, but don't have SSB equipment for VHF.  This is an inexpensive way to play with non-FM modes on VHF.

AI is cool and creepy at the same time.  An application of AI generative adversarial networks is here.

Once you cannot update or patch an old phone, tablet or iPad it becomes a security liability.  Other than going to a landfill, an interesting application is to use it as an electronic mirror.

I like to camp with my family, but we are really not in a position to purchase an RV or store one at our house.  A vehicle like this would be pretty fun for weekend adventures.

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