Project Goose-ifer is on it’s way

I figured I’d give the four of you that might actually look at this blog early warning that I’ve got something interesting on the way.  I’ve been playing around with a few toys – my Raspberry Pi, OpenCV, OpenCV Haar training, turret construction….and my dislike of goose-poop.   All are coming together in what I call – Project Goose-ifier.  It’s an attempt to use machine learning to get the f’in geese off my lawn.

Angry goose after hearing about project goose-ifier.

You are going down, pooping-machine!

Very early results are promising – promising enough to continue.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more results.

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Minecraft Halloween 2013

I’ve made a promise we’d have a Minecraft themed halloween display this year.  With all the atmel chips I bought to flash with Ardunio, and leds and other electronic baubles, I have quite a bit of road to hoe.

Anyway, here’s the first step (and the easiest).  Everyone in our neighborhood puts up pumpkins over their streetlights.  This year, we decided to go farther.  How far?  To the nether!

Minecraft's finest export from the nether

Minecrafts finest export for the nether

It wasn’t completely insane to make. I’ll post directions on how to make on general in a future post about how to make a creeper. I am hoping it gets easier to make over time.

Finally, I have a software tool I’m about to launch. I’ll have more info on that in the next few weeks as well. It’s an extension of something I’ve built to help some freinds, so I know it works. Look for more information shortly.

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Some projects in the hopper

Hello, it’s obviously been a long time.  Anyway, I have been working on some side programming projects just because I enjoy doing that sort of thing.  Through that, I’ve happen to come into contact with some bright guys that have put together an easy tool to help writers shape their content so it is more Google friendly.  I’ll write about it more later (I PROMISE)  but they have opened it up for a limited beta.  The tool is located here.

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying watching my children grow up.  It’s hard to believe that they’ve grown this much.

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Not About The Lightscribe – I’m talking the Ceton Cablecard

Wow, I’ve fallen behind. I am alive!

I was going to write about the “magic pen” I had recently purchased but since that was months ago I’ve no longer got the urge. It is pretty cool – it’s the Lightscribe. I use it for the meetings I have at work.

As part of my job, I meet with management teams from different companies. Usually they have canned presentations that they have delivered to over 100 people before they’ve met with me, and it shows in their delivery. Add to that my ADHD, and I have a hard time staying focused. With the pen, I can go back after the meeting and listen to whatever I missed in my notes.

Take a look at this review for more info – I’m not going to go into anymore detail. Get it if you need to take notes in meetings – it’s awesome.

I’m more excited about my newest arrival – the Ceton Infinity cablecard. It allows me to record up to 4 high-def stations to my Media Center at the same time. I never thought I’d use all four, but I actually have a few times. Other than Time Warner having no idea what one was, screwing up on installation TWICE and then charging me for something they didn’t give me it’s been an awesome purchase.

Actually, I’m going to write about it more later this week. I don’t have any pictures or screenshots right now, so once I do I’ll post it up here.

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Sorry so quiet

I’ll have more this week – I was off on vacation in Florida for a week which killed some time. Also working on some side projects which is sucking up a good amount of time.

I have a pretty cool gadget I bought that I’ll review tomorrow/this weekend – it’s helped with two of my biggest weaknesses. No, not my gut – my lack of organization and my somewhat suspect memory. Stay tuned.

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WOD – puppy-style

Here’s an example of a Cross Fit workout, scaled to a new-guy like myself:

10-8-6-4-2 reps of the triplet:

pull-ups
Box jump, 12-15 inch box
Sit-ups

This means 10 pullups, 10 jumps, 10 situps, 8 pullups (no rest in between), 8 jumps, etc…

Now, I did this at home tonight while Tracy was out with the girls at basketball. I have no pullup bar, nor a box. So I adapted,improvised, overcame:
for pullups -> subsituted “reverse pushups”. Hard to explain, but lay on your back on first step of stairs, one hand on each railing with feet out as far as possible. Pull up! This is good for me as I really suck at pullups, so it’s assisted ones for me for a bit anyway.
Box jumps-> jump up 2 stairs. Takes a little more balance not to jam your toes, but if I can do it so can you.
Situps ->situps. Don’t be a wuss.

It’s not impossible to do, and the regular workout is 10-9-8-7-n…2-1. I am trying to take extra care not to go gung-ho like normal so I minimize the chance of doing something stupid and hurting myself.
It didn’t take long to do, but if you do them in a continous loop you’ll feel it by the end. Give it a try!  After I finished, I threw on my compression socks to help with recovery and my  legs felt nice.

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Training for Chicago Marathon is On Like Donkey Kong!

Sorry for the sparse level of updates lately.  I’ve been very busy.  In short, here’s what’s been up:

1) After seeing how quickly my summer has filled up with some awesome life experience items + my motivation to ride my bike hours at a time has remained tragically low, I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not going to get any half or full Ironman distance races in this year.  I’m trying to use the time to balance out my body’s weaknesses and strengths.  Looking back at last year, I forgot about the 30+ trips to the physical therapist for various deep lower back (core) & upper ass (core) problems I had.  I don’t want to suffer through those again.   So, I’m slowly easing into CrossFit workouts, while trying to correct some of my more glaring running form issues.  I’ve always “sucked” from a form standpoint as a runner.  I remember Coach Walcholz and Labinski both making fun of my Stevie Wonder-like gait, and it’s only gotten worse.  Luckily my wonderful wife has done wonders for herself through Chi Running.  She’s liked what it’s done for her issues so much she’s taking the classes to teach others, and using me as her guinea pig.  So far, so good for me.  I’ll have more on the CrossFit stuff later.

2) I found out I am eligible to activate my Italian citizenship.  I started doing genealogical research after my grandma died, and found a cousin that got his Italian citizenship four years after starting the journey.  Expect to hear much more about this going forward as it is a large paper chase with some interesting history wrapped in.  There will be some good drama too I’m sure.

3) I’m doing the Chicago Marathon with Tracy for our anniversary.  She’s likely to try to make a run at qualifying for Boston.  I just want to get through it uninjured.  It’s easy enough for me – I just need to drop 25-40 lbs.  And seriously, that’s easy enough on paper as well.   I have to this point just lacked the willpower to do it. 

So here is my testimonial to the world – I’m going to be under 200lbs by the time I toe the line in Chicago on 10/10/10 with the Open Heart Magic charity team.  I’ll be chronicling my journey on these pages, so stay tuned.

I’ve also got some web design hobby stuff going on that might be interesting.  And at work, we managed to be the Category Kings in both of our funds (Small Cap Growth and Mid Cap Growth) through March 1st.  Not easy to be the top fund for very long, and we’ll see if we can keep it up for the year.  I don’t usually talk about work on here because it bores most of you and I’m afraid I’ll say something that compliance wouldn’t like, but I wanted to give the Portfolio Managers (Patrick and Ken) congrats for all their hard work.   They have the hard job – listening as I pitch the latest goofball tech or clean energy idea dejour.

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Bison Jerky Recipe

I’ve made my fourth batch of bison jerky this year, and they’ve all been pretty good. This was the first one I made where I used my own marinade. (I’m trying to cut down on my MSG intake, thanks).

  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 1.5 cups soy sauce (oh, I so non-paleo – I’ll turn in my card at the door)
  • 1 tsp red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 pinch curry powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Canadian steak seasoning
  • 0.5 cup water
  • Ground buffalo can actually be cut into strips.  Who'd have thunk?

    Ground buffalo can actually be cut into strips. Who'd have thunk?

    Take the tube of ground bison, and cut it in half lengthwise. Mix up all this crap and pour it on top of the buffalo meat. You have two choices here (I’ve done both): either mix in a little more water, and simmer it over low heat for 2-3 hours until the meat gets up to 165 f, or put it in the refrigerator for 12+ hours and let the meat soak it in. If you go with the heat method, you’ll need to pat down the meat and let it dry a bit before cutting it into strips.Either way, cut the meet into 2-4 inch strips, and put it in your favorite dehyrdator for the next 8-12 hours. See what the directions for your dehydrator say – I’m sure it varies depending on the horsepower yours has.
    Here’s the end result – protein with a kick – all grass fed and good for you.

    Bow down at the might of my bison jerky, peon!

    Bow down at the might of my bison jerky, peon!

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Installing the Zoom 5900 Skype Adapator on Windows Home Server

I’ve been playing around with replacing my landline with either Magic Jack or Skype. It’s silly to pay the $35/month for a phone we really never use. Both my wife and I have cell phones. The only reason we have a land-line is so the sitter has a line when taking care of our kids.
This led me to the Zoom 5900. It’s a pretty cool little device – it plugs into your pc through a usb cable and allows you to use a normal phone on Skype. This also means it only works when the computer it is hooked up to is on. Since I have a Windows Home Server (also known as WHS, which besides the XBox 360 is Microsoft’s best product of the decade) there’s no problem for me there. The issue is WHS is a modified version of Server 2003, and there aren’t a ton of drivers made for it.
So, in case anyone else out there is looking to try to install the Zoom 5900 on a Windows Home Server, here are the steps I followed to get it to work. It’s not hard, but it just took some digging around the internet to find all the parts.

  1. Download the old version of Skype and install it on your WHS. The new version doesn’t support some of the features through the Zoom 5900, so just trust me and get it. You’ll want to turn off the nag screen for updates and automatically download updates as well.
  2. Next head over to Zoom and download the newest drivers for the Zoom 5900. Make sure Skype is running.
  3. Now, here’s wehere you need to head away from the directions included with the driver. I ran into a problem where the WHS wouldn’t recognize the sound driver Zoom installed. It turns out after reading this post on the Magic Jack and WHS that my problem was how I was logged into Remote Desktop Connection while doing these installs.
    This solved the problem.
    Start–> Run–> %SystemRoot%\System32\mstsc.exe /console
    Click options –> Local Resources, and choose Leave at remote computer under Remote computer sound. Add your password and log in.

Once you logon to Remote Desktop Connection, you can set up the Zoom 5900 in Skype by following the instructions with the driver. Essentially it entails making sure Skype selects the Zoom Adapter driver as the sound source. After that, you are good to go – stored speed dial and all.
I have to say, so far it works great. I’ve only been running it for a day, but if it works this well for the next week or two it’ll be time to run the “family phone” on it for a while – and then eventually dump the main land-line.

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Buffalo Jerky!

Look at one of my favorite gifts from Christmas:

Bison Jerky is soo good, and Paleo too.

Bison Jerky is soo good, and Paleo too.


This was my first batch of bison jerky. As I set up my goals for 2010, I know I need to change my body composition. The more I read about it, the easier it seems. More veggies, more fruits, more lean animal food, less processed crap. I’m not 100% sold on the Paleo diet, but I think the basic make sense.
Anyway, I’ve had trouble getting over my “chip need”. I like to eat something like a chip – crunchy, and not wet like a pepper. Not that peppers are bad, just that they don’t seem to fill this need. Oh, but yummy bison jerky does.
Ground buffalo is ~$7/lb, from a farm a few mintures from here. Nice big dumb grass fed meat, like God intended it. After 8 hours in the dehyrdator, 6 oz of jerky comes out. Both my sons (6 & 2) loved the stuff – my daughter not so much. I myself am in heaven when I’m crewing it down.
I’m going to experiment with some different recipes; if I find one that rocks I’ll post it here.

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