My Moto Phone Upgraded to Nougat over the Weekend

Some of the Nougat enhancements (like the battery management, bundled app notifications and the display element sizing enhancements) are going to be a useful addition. I only got this G4+ phone a short time ago, so what’s a little more change. Since Nougat was released back in August of 2016, I am hoping all the bugs have been worked out and I won’t have to write about any surprises here.

WoW that is one mean April Fools trick

One large on-line game I like to play with my son (who lives a few states away) is World of Warships. This is a naval action-themed massively multiplayer online game produced by international game developer and publisher Wargaming. The game features several classes of warships fulfilling different roles within teamed player versus player battles.

The ships fall into 4 classes: Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships and Air Craft Carriers.

One thing that has been discussed since the first time I played the game was “Why are there no Submarines?” Well this week they played off that desire and added them to the game and gave everyone one – it was just that you couldn’t actually play it!

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For those who really wanted to take on the Sub role that was just cruel. April fools!!

Back in Seattle

Last week, I was able to go back on the Microsoft campus in Redmond for a meeting. That’s the first time I’ve been back there since I spent 3 months there as part of the EDS Top Gun program back in 2005.

Flying into Seattle, we got a good view of the Space Needle and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.seattle

There were a number of déjà vu moments walking around the Microsoft campus.

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I always find these opportunities to see what companies are most proud of very telling. It was clear that cloud, analytics and human interface transformations were in the forefront of their thinking — much like the rest of us.

It was all goin’ to hail down in Texas last night

Just last week I posted about preparing for spring weather.

Yesterday, we were pummeled by a hail storm and the tornado sirens went off.  Nothing like a spring storm to bring a day to an end quickly. This is what it looked like off our back porch.

During the late afternoon, I was listening into the Denton repeater, running a Skywarn net and it was clear that there were a number of tornadoes in the area. Near Justin they had baseball size hail, so our golf ball hail was not that bad.

Babbage in motion

While I was in Seattle I had the opportunity to see one of the two Babbage Difference Engines in operations. I’d seen it before in the Computer History Museum, but never in operation.

A difference engine is an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. It is viewed as a pioneer computing device and was created by Charles Babbage. There is quite a complex and intriguing story about how it came to be invented and then how the device came into being at around the year 2000. I’ll not go into that here though.

The difference engine is fascinating to watch, especially the back side, which reminds me of DNA‘s double helix. I added a youtube video of it operating that has a good background narrative.

Spring Weather Safety Preparedness

tornadoGrowing up in Indiana, spring always brought with it once thing – tornados. Indiana is ranked as the number one state to die from a tornado. Growing up we used to call them trailer magnets, since tornadoes through them around like straw, when they came through.

Since I now live in Texas, it’s clear I haven’t learned. Tornados are scary.

Although most people don’t know it Raytheon does quite a bit with NOAA. Most of the weather information you see every day came through Raytheon, one way or another. One of these efforts is the Weather Ready Nation project where they have safety modules to share what do to for certain kinds of natural disasters. Spring safety is one of the areas of focus in this NOAA post of last year. For some reason, the CDC also has a focus on Spring Weather – that really makes me wonder about the underlying meaning of spring fever though.

In any case, it is a good time to think about what might happen and prepare. Dealing with Indiana weather was one of the things that kept me involved in Amateur Radio growing up.

A Great Glass Blowing Experience in Dallas

For Christmas, I purchased a glassblowing workshop with a Groupon for my wife. This weekend we finally got around to going to the workshop by Aaron Tate at the Marrsart studio.

We were shocked by the range of objects they would let us make in the workshop. Sure, they had the typical glass paperweight but they also had vases, bowls, cups, ring holders… with quite a range of colors as well.

The support staff were very helpful and patient, explaining everything that was going on and why it was being done. IMG_20170319_173337789

Michelle made a ring holder and I made a glass paperweight (with little bubbles in it).

We both decided that next time we’re both going to make bowls, since you actually first create a big blub (yes, like a Christmas ornament) and then suck on the tube to pull into a bowl shape.

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That’s a picture of Michelle pulling the glass to twist the colors into it.

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This is a picture of me turning the colored glass in the furnace that will be in the center of the paperweight. I had to get it up to temperature, so we can work with it more.