tw's blog

New overview video of the Die Roller

Thought I should post an update to the Die Roller project. It’s getting kind of useful and a lot of fun! If, you know, you’re into those sorts of things - games, statistics, computer vision, mechatronics, Fig Newtons.

http://youtu.be/FVWqVM4xyRU

3D-printed burr puzzle

Burr puzzle, assembled

I read Scientific American religiously as a child. Sometime around 1980, in Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” column, he reprinted a woodcut from an 1893 book called Puzzles Old And New by one Professor Hoffman. The illustration showed the pieces and assembled form of what Hoffman called the “Nut” puzzle, and Gardner explained that there were many variations of this puzzle.

I was fascinated, and wanted to see how it worked. So I made one out of balsa wood, and solved it. read more...

The Five Stages of Back Pain

Having gone through the cycle of back pain many times, I felt like posting this handy chart to aid in discussion:

Stage Pain Phrase Response Activities
0 none “woohoo” charge around anything
1 tweaks a bit “oh” stretches and strength exercises careful lifting
2 twinges more often “hm” stretches, careful strength exercises, maybe ibuprofen no lifting or bending
3 angrier twinges, aches most of the time “not this again” careful stretches, ibuprofen no smiling or fast movement
4 constant ache and some stabbing “oh no” ibuprofen, cyclobenzaprene no facial expression or unnecessary movement
5 strong pain whenever vertical and often when horizontal “holy sh*t” above + narcotics lie and grimace

Fortunately, none of these last forever. Unfortunately, that includes Stage 0.

When are we going to get artificial discs? I’d like a whole new spine, please. read more...

Die Roller is rolling

http://youtu.be/fHL1VMb2SS0

It rolls a die, controlled by USB. It’s not done yet.

Working on this project makes me hungry for some reason.

An der schönen blauen Donau

https://youtu.be/yPm078MCLWk

Clara and I performing a recorder duet at our school talent show; Very Serious Classical Music. read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #3: Is it working as designed?

Sometimes you start by troubleshooting assuming something’s broken, when really it’s just not working the way you expected. Put another way, it’s “working as designed” - but you and the designer miscommunicated, or disagreed.

Some questions to ask: read more...

Fall Creek School of Rock

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLAzzNg44pU

The final edited video for the first performance of our elementary school’s School of Rock - an 80-member rock band including ages from pre-K to fifth grade and skill levels from complete novice to experienced performers. That’s me oompahing on the tuba at 1:33. I suggested the song, arranged it and did lead vocals and tuba for a performance by our adult band as a demo for the kids, and coached the wind section. My daughter is visible singing at 2:02 (on left, in profile) and at various other places. The whole project was a blast, and we’re now working on our next song in the second 10-week session. read more...

One Bottle of Pop

Fellow parent Angela Comprone (of Not From Wisconsin) and I helped Clara’s first grade class learn “One Bottle of Pop.” This is our performance at this week’s school assembly. I was impressed that they could really get the round going.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E554hKvEJMo

Wavin' Flag

Clara received this song on a mix CD from her cousins, and it got into both of our heads. So she wanted to perform it at our school’s assembly. I’m very excited that we can do harmonies together now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW0kJfHTfyI

A cat that fetches?

Of course many cats like to play with toys, and chase them, but I’ve never had one before that would bring a toy to me, fetch it back, and repeat ad infinitum. I thought that was a dog thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2_e6dLJCJg

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