I'm sorry, I'll read that again: livestock update.
Top Hat's parasite test came back negative. Doesn't cover tapeworms, but I haven't seen evidence of tapeworms this year. Must have been something else.
Tinga needs stitches; that's happening today. Don't know yet when she'll be coming home. I'm trying to make plans for the coming weeks, and Tinga's medical schedule figures into this process.
Southmoon is being inconvenient. Assembling a wiring harness just took considerably longer than it should have, on account of the contacts and bits of wire being swept aside by a wagging tail. She may dream of being a mountain lion when she grows up, but at the moment she's waggy nor a golden retriever, which makes for a remarkably unconvincing fierce wild animal.
Huckleberry, meanwhile, is looking for mischief to get into. Whoops! Now he's sitting in the office wastebasket again. Post-relocation policy: all wastebaskets shall have pedal-operated lids, and sufficient fixed ballast to render them un-tippable by a pesky feline.
The New York Times has this here article about the downside of humanity's discovery of fire.
This needs discussing? Didn't Douglas Adams sum it up nicely, many years ago?
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
Only weighs 12 pounds? Huh. She feels heavier than that.
She was quite well behaved, apart from an initial hiss at the vet tech. Didn't try to hide under any furniture. Generally seems to be in good health (as expected), but we're waiting on the results of the parasite test on the, er, sample she left on the living-room carpet just before I put her in the carrier.
On the assumption that she's picked up some parasites again, she got a dose of Profender, a praziquantel-and-something product that's applied to the back of the neck.
Now, here's the linguistically interesting thing. Bayer calls the product "topical", presumably on account of its being applied externally to a particular part of the body.
But! Other "topical" medical products - antibiotics, for example, or anesthetics - are applied where the effect is needed*; this is consistent with the more general meaning of "topical". This stuff, though, is applied to the back of the neck, for an effect mainly inside the digestive tract.
Technology Demonstrator level 1.1 is mostly assembled... all the boards are mounted on the big copper-clad substrate, the gross wiring (power, and plenty of ground) is done, and I've connected all the internal USB cables and verified connection to all 32 UARTs plus one ACM device.
The USB cables will need a bunch of tidying before I try to hand this thing to the client; there's a lot of excess length.
Also, the fine wiring (two analog signals, shared among the modules, and eight individual inter-module control signals) remains to be done. And I haven't finished patching the new power path into the control module.
But, in general terms? It looks promising. Power consumption is more or less consistent with estimates; it'll be higher in the lash-up than in the production item, since the test modules have local linear regulators for 3.3V (to allow for standalone testing), and the production unit will have a single switching regulator to supply all the 3.3V.
Tomorrow: wiring up the small fiddly signals, and testing CPU usage with all those USB UARTs active-ish. (Also a bunch of errands, some of a veterinary nature.)
Yeah, this made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, I think.
A proposed answer to "Where are all the aliens?" is: "Hiding in the future, because they haven't evolved yet."
According to this notion, the Universe is net yet ready for intelligent life; statistically speaking, it should evolve far in the future, around smaller, cooler suns than our own. Say... three million years from now, aboard a red dwarf, from a cat named Frankenstein?
So perhaps we turned up early, and are the anomalous first ones. In which case, I call dibs on evolving into the flaming tiki head.
Or, maybe, other intelligent species evolved before us, but fled into the future because life in the past was boring, or just to see how things would turn out. We'll find them watching the closing credits, and wondering what a "dolly grip" is.
So, hoping to decrease losses in the power-path prototype, I reduced the value of the boost capacitor.
Suddenly nothing was working right. The boost voltage fell far more than expected. The 5V output was way low... like under 2V.
The scope didn't show anything odd other than the 5V regulator operating in skipping mode, which might be perfectly normal for this level of load... if the regulator chips thought the output was coasting along right at 5V.
Wait. The input bus is showing 20V. The power supply claims to be putting out 24V.
Power cycle the fancy Agilent bench multimeter. Try again. Everything's nominal.
Somehow, the voltmeter had lost its mind. Maybe I shouldn't leave it turned on so much.
Update: Everything apparently being in order, I administered the Uncontrolled Input Surge Test, which consists of hot-plugging a particularly nasty unregulated power brick.
Despite my addition of a soft-start circuit, the 5V buck regulator chip developed a hard short from the supply input to the switch output.
I suppose it's just possible that the brick in question might somehow, during a contact-bouncy hot-plug operation, be putting out some totally insane spike; the chip's absolute maximum rating on the input is 67% higher than the brick's nominal output. Except that when I was first exploring this problem, I added a TVS to the board, and that didn't stop the splodey-chip effect... and the tacked-on patch to implement soft-start did stop it.
Or maybe it was the combination of sort-start and TVS?
Regardless, this has to be fixed in the production design. Customers will apply power in uncouth ways, and exploding is not an acceptable response. This thing is supposed to be (and, indeed, is) immune to reverse power connection (provided there aren't any ground loops in the installation), and is designed to operate through surges to 150% of nominal supply.
Update 2: Must be something to do with that particular bargain-bin brick. After repairing the board, I repeated the Uncontrolled Input Surge Test, only using a real industrial power supply rated 20 Amps and probably having some serious output capacitance. No boom. I wiggled the plug rapidly, getting visible and audible sparks as the soft-start circuit didn't have time to reset. No boom.
I should, if only out of curiosity, investigate what exactly happens during the failure... but not now. Got other priorities at this stage. The insane test case goes in the curiosity file.
With all the special exemptions allowing various sorts of specially-favored businesses and political organizations to make robocalls, even to numbers that are on the do-not-call list, we really need a way to rein them in.
Here's my suggestion.
The person responsible for any permitted robocalling campaign must wear a shock collar, which will be activated if the recipient of any call presses "5" during the call.
The shock will increase by, say, 2% for each "5" response received. After 150 shocks or so, the level will have escalated from mildly painful to potentially lethal.
All in favor...?
Update: Lisa from the Green Study Survey whatsis gets two shocks from me, a few minutes apart: one for the landline and one for the cellphone (both on the do-not-call list).
Yesterday evening, not long before her bedtime, Tinga was acting awfully itchy. As in, she was too busy picking at herself to chew on my nose.
I smeared some soothy-goo on her, which seemed to help, then applied the Cone of Shame (as usual) and put her in her night cage (as usual).
This morning, when I removed the cone, she seemed OK. But, a couple of hours later, as I was heading out the door for morning walkies?
Huckleberry was standing under Tinga's cage, looking worried. Tinga was climbing frantically around the bars, nipping at herself. There was blood on the bars, and on her tail, and on her wing.
Near as I could tell - she wasn't exactly being cooperative - she'd drawn blood at the base of her tail. Maybe bitten a blood feather? Anyway, there didn't seem to be much ongoing bleeding, so I put the cone back on and stuck her back in the night cage, with food and water.
After lunch (and the copper-oxide incident, which didn't affect her), I noticed that she was acting much too subdued, e.g., not screeching and demanding to be taken out of the little night cage. So, time to call the vet.
At the vet's office, with the vet and the tech to wrap her in a towel and take a closer look: turns out she'd chewed a sizable hole in herself, just forward of the tail, and where, in the absence of determined inspection, she could hide it with her wing.
So, she'll be staying with the vet for a couple of days.
And now it looks like one or more of the cats may need a trip to a different vet (one that deals with cats). Top Hat is the prime candidate. Got to identify a cat vet, and figure out how to transport a critter, being as how I haven't gotten around to buying a set of large dog crates yet.
All that, a quite debilitating sinus headache (the copper-oxide incident), and there are a couple of errands (of indeterminate duration) I gotta run before Sunday.
Update: Top Hat has a vet appointment for Monday morning. With Tinga not here, I don't have to close up the lab in the evening, so maybe I can have some productive time later. Errands have to happen Saturday.
Update 2: Amid Saturday-morning errands, I stopped by to check on Tinga. She seems to be doing better, but will have to stay there for a few more days. I brought home a bit of cellphone video to show to Huckleberry, who's been acting worried.
Aside from better grounding, it needs to include eight instances of Module C, instead of the two in the initial lash-up.
This calls for a larger substrate. I'd already identified a suitable-looking piece of FR-4 with copper on both sides. Should make a good physical support and ground plane!
But, after a decade or so in my garage, the surface was tarnished. Putting visible markings on it was going to be troublesome. Hey, a little fine steel wool and elbow grease oughtta fix that, right?
Well, yes. It's all shiny now. But my nose hurts all the way down to my throat.
Saline nasal spray helps, a little. But I think a dust mask would have been a really good idea. Maybe also wet steel wool.
I think my most excellent plan for the afternoon has gone astray; with this pain level, I'm not about to be very productive. Maybe it'll clear up soon. If I take some homeopathic pseudoephedrine, will it make my nose run?
Testing the power path for a product under development.
What I learn from this:
The +5V regulator runs a bit warm.
The gate boost circuit runs significantly warm. I should probably reduce the value of the capacitor that feeds it, so it doesn't have excess power to dissipate. After all, the steady-state power requirement is nearly nil.
Some of those current-carrying copper fill areas are getting decidedly warm; heavier copper and other improvements are needed.
The power FETs seem to be doing fine, though the layout should be adjusted to put more copper on the drain side.
That impending-meltdown smell is coming from the load bank, not the board under test.
It's not just so they can work and pay into Social Security. Oh, no indeed. There's another reason!
Life-extension treatments using the blood of the younger generation are now a thing. New companies with legendary names such as Ambrosia, Alkahest, and Jha'dur offer immortality to the wealthy, but a continuing supply of young blood is required.
My original plan for this summer involved spending more time with the offspring, especially what with her being nearly local (Santa Cruz) these days.
What with one thing and another, it hadn't been happening, but I did manage to get out to that side of the hills for a while this afternoon, for a stroll along the bluffs at Wilder Ranch and a late lunch.
She hadn't really explored that stretch of coast yet, and wasn't aware of the little cave (which turns out be be called, appropriately enough, Fern Grotto).
Also, yes, last month I broke down and bought myself one of those thermal-imager modules that the ElectroBOOM dude has been pushing. Been wanting a thermal imager for a couple of years now, for work reasons (examining temperature rise and heat flow in electronic modules), but last time I'd looked the starting price for something marginally usable was well over $1000, which I couldn't justify. This module, at Amazon's price, now? Definitely justifiable, and I expect to be putting it to business use later this week.
And, as of a moment ago, at least one of my lists appears to be fully ticked off. It's the latest round of changes, tweaks, and fixes on the current toaster project, and they all appear to be resolved.
As one might expect, the resolution of the last item on the list (being #5 of 12) raised another opportunity, this time related to the possibility of providing a happy-shiny user-friendly interface for retrieving and interpreting detailed self-test status. But that's for another time, and most likely another project.
Time for a little break, then back to work on the big project.
Well, I started the weekend with quite a list of work to do, both business and household.
I managed to accomplish a little of both. Even completed one subtask (repairing the buried portion of the front-yard watering system; the perimeter flex-hose drip system needs a near-total rebuild, but that must wait).
But now it's time to catch up on the silly. Ever notice how, when a towel is hanging from the towel bar, there's a tag hanging down with a row of cryptic symbols?
Let's see, now. From left to right, we have:
Hm. Some power electronics company whose name escapes me? Possibly an obsolete logo;
I just put up a few photos and an index.html in a subdirectory of my ~/public_html directory, for purposes of making them available to members of a local group.
Just to make sure I'd gotten it right, I figured I should take as look at it from outside my local network. Easy, right? Extract phone from pocket, turn off WiFi, launch browser, type in URL: www.gumbyware.com/~eric/mumble... um.
Where's the freaking ~ on the Android keyboard? Do I have to configure it for Spanish? (That wouldn't make sense, would it? It's not like it's a standalone character in Spanish.)
Oh. It's well hidden, in a non-obvious way. Hit ?1(smiley-face), then the little =\< that appears above the ABC, and ~ is hidden in that submenu.
I just turned on my old droid-o-phone, and the ~ is about equally well hidden on that one... but entirely differently hidden. I think it was hidden in yet a third way on the current phone, before a system update rearranged the whole ferschlugginer keyboard.
Expect a lot of them, from August through the beginning of November.
Here are some suggestions.
Wikileaks (i.e., Russian intelligence) will continue dribbling forth data gathered from the Democrats. This will include Trump's tax returns for the last several years, and considerable other financial information on him, all of it clearly obtained by illegal means. This makes Watergate look utterly inconsequential by comparison, but won't get much play in the press.
The misacquired data on Trump will show his net worth, by conventional calculation, to have been roughly $18 million at the beginning of his campaign, not the $10 billion or so he'd been claiming.
Anyone else remember J. Schwartz, New York?
Meanwhile, a wave of Trump's creditors will start filing suit against him for nonpayment. The Wikileaks revelations will only accelerate the process. Trump will be hastily indicted for several types of financial fraud.
Hillary will do the gaping-maw thing one time too many and swallow a fly, setting in motion a tragic sequence of events.
Gary Johnson will be damaged in a traffic accident, revealing him to be just another terminator playing the role of a moderate Democrat with an "R" after his name.
Jill Stein will drop out of the race after contracting measles.
With the race reduced to Pence vs. Kaine, the confused public will mistake Kaine for Herman Cain and thence for Herman the Munster, and Pence for Tuppence Beresford or possibly Gary Hartpence.
When the computers are done tallying the votes, Nursultan Nazarbayev will have 87% of the popular vote. The Supreme Court will rule 7-1 that he is ineligible to hold the office, and 2-1* to award the Presidency to Beatrice Aardman, the first name in an alphabetical listing of all those who are eligible.
Never fear. I'm sure Beatrice will make a much better president than anyone currently in view.