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Mark Womack
Works at Google
Attended University of California, Irvine
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Major kudos to the codebender crew for adding support for Chromebooks.  You can now develop programs for Arduino and download the code to the Arduino board from your Chromebook. Look, Ma!  No Windows required!

If you haven't tried codebender for developing your Arduino projects, you should take a look.  All the code stays in the cloud so you can access anywhere and it makes sharing code really easy.  Also, there is support for all the Arduino board flavors I can think of and more.
Your software comes to me very highly reccomended but my only personal computer is a Chromebook.Your current Chrome extension does not support my browser.I would very much like to be able to program my Arduino board from my super portable laptop. I would appreciate it, Reddit said to let you guys know directly and that you would probably be able to oblige.
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OMFG, this is f*cking ridiculous.  I realize that I am a native Californian, living in California, so I might be a bit more liberal than the average citizen, but really?  Obama is going to take over Texas?  I fear for our country.  People have got to calm down.  What is it about Obama that seems to set off the nut cases?
 
Oh, Texas... never change.
Texas' GOP governor is sending the Texas State Guard to monitor a military training exercise after right-wing militia alleged it's just a cover for the president's plan to put Texas under martial law.
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+Ron Vered Yes, that is true.  And that relationship has been non-linear since she was First Lady.  It is going to be an interesting 2016 Presidential election, to say the least.  But she is a woman, so maybe is still applies to some degree.  I don't know.  I have to say that I am personally uncomfortable with distilling it down to race or gender.  I'd like to think that we are better than that at this point in society.  There could just be the usual forces being used to drum up stories about "the other side" and it has just gotten out of control with the Internet and lots of money.  It is probably much more complicated, I just don't understand why it has gotten so crazy.
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ownaboat Teardown!

Decided to open up and teardown the ownaboat #2.  Custom. hand-built circuit boards from 1980.  Seems to be pretty well built.  See comments in the album.  But at the end of the day I am pretty sure I can pull all of the existing hardware and replace it with modern R/C controllers and throw in an Arduino board for good measure.  I mean as long as the motors still work...pull out 9v battery, connect to motors to test...er...ok, we have a problem.  The port (left) motor spins nicely...but the starboard (right) motor engages, but does not spin.  Have to look at that closer to see if it is the motor or a bent shaft.

But I am thinking that some kind of all black boat...I know Shane (the guy that gave me the boat) is a Knight Rider fan, so you might guess where I am going with that.  :-)
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I need to do some more research on this, but I have to say that Musk's presentation was pretty compelling about how much area is actually needed to remove the US from dependence on fossil fuels for current energy consumption.  He is no Steve Jobs when it comes to presentations, but he seems pretty sincere is his aims and ambitions.  I am going to be seriously considering solar panels and powerwalls for my house.  I would love to be off-the-grid and free of fossil fuel for power.  Now if I can just get rid of needing any plastics...
Energy Storage for a. Sustainable Home. Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply.
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Note that "free" in my above comment has the usual meaning of "someone else is forced to pay for it".
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I own a boat!  No, really, I own an ownaboat.  At the last Arduino Meetup at the San Jose TechShop, Shane, the meetup coordinator, had three of these things from his garage that he was giving away.  It is a little remote controlled boat from a bygone era.  OK, it says "radio-controlled cabin cruiser".  He didn't have the remote controls anymore, just the boats, and I have to let him know what I end up doing with it.  That was the deal.

I love the artwork on this box.  I am going to keep the box just because of that.  And yes, that appears to be some kind of lead-acid battery inside the boat.  Other than that, there doesn't appear to be much more to it.  There is some kind of control board in the back that I need to take a look at.  And everything is covered in plastic to water proof.  I suspect that I will just end up gutting most of this to replace it with some modern R/C controls.  I think two channels for the motors will be the minimum.  Maybe a few more channels for fun things like lights, ramming spears, and a cannon.  Oops, did I type that out loud?

Interestingly, I can't find anything about these "ownaboats" online.  I figured there would be some collectibles site someplace that would have some info, maybe an pdf of the owners manual.  But I haven't been able to find any kind of reference.  Gotta love those pre-Internet days.  Maybe these were just a local Santa Clara phenomenon.  If anyone has any info they can share, please let me know.  I'll update as I refurbish this one in dry dock.
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We hiccuped in quarter finals.
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Major kudos to the codebender crew for adding support for Chromebooks.  You can now develop programs for Arduino and download the code to the Arduino board from your Chromebook. Look, Ma!  No Windows required!

If you haven't tried codebender for developing your Arduino projects, you should take a look.  All the code stays in the cloud so you can access anywhere and it makes sharing code really easy.  Also, there is support for all the Arduino board flavors I can think of and more.
Your software comes to me very highly reccomended but my only personal computer is a Chromebook.Your current Chrome extension does not support my browser.I would very much like to be able to program my Arduino board from my super portable laptop. I would appreciate it, Reddit said to let you guys know directly and that you would probably be able to oblige.
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Good news!  I was able to remove the ownaboat starboard shaft and remove the motor from it.  The motor seems to run just fine.  I think the shaft rotation was meeting a lot of resistance from the coagulated lubricant.  I guess that means I should probably extract the other shaft to clean it up.  And need to clean out the shaft tube as well.  There is still a chance that the motor is damaged and weak.  So, I'll need to run a few more tests to see if they are both up to snuff.
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I need to get a SolarCity estimate to see how my house would rate with a solar panel system, but I think this guy has a point about the size of the system required.  In order to provide power during the day AND charge the battery for night, the system needs to be larger.
Unless your solar-powered home is entirely disconnected from the grid, an expensive battery backup system like Powerwall does not make economic sense.
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Diablo Solar... Been around since 1970s... They have very cool toys that tell you how many and where. South facing roofs are the start.
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I was all set to watch the MicroMouse competition at Robogames.  But alas, apparently there were no competitors that signed up this year, so there was nothing to watch.  Very disappointing.  Given this development, I am rethinking what I want to do for the next Robogames.  I have decided to switch gears and work on an autonomous robot for the RoboMagellan competition instead.  I got a chance to watch a number of competitors for one of the three rounds.  There are definitely some meaty problems to work on.  I still think the MicroMouse is a harder problem to solve in many ways, but I don't want to be a competition of one.  I do want to compete after all.  I'll have to figure out a subsumption architecture approach to my design, since that is part of what interests me.  And there are many subsystems to be understood and mastered before putting it all together.  Now if I could just get my Magician chassis together for a simple robot, I'll be on my way...
RoboGames (formerly ROBOlympics) is the largest robot competition and Expo in the United States.
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Robogames 2015

Well, I did go to Robogames, I just never posted any of the photos until now.  It was interesting to go with more of an interest in the autonomous robot competitions instead of the robot fighting competitions.  But I have to say that no one really goes for the autonomous competitions unless they are actually competing or they are a parent of someone competing.  Everyone really comes for the robots that fight and destroy each other.  Which is kind of disappointing, I think.  Don't get me wrong.  I can't resist watching sparks and molten metal fly either.  And while watching yet another humanoid robot trip over its own feet, it is really hard to stay when you hear the crash of combat and the roar of the crowd in the distance.  But I did make a good effort to watch the autonomous competitions.  Of course, it would have helped if there had been an actual schedule of competitions posted someplace.  Or that when the winners for competitions were awarded/recognized, that there was some kind of announcement for the ceremony.

Things that intrigued me:

* RoboMagellan - These are outdoor robots that have to navigate to waypoints, identify an orange cone and then touch it.  Doesn't sound that hard, but surprisingly few entries were able to do it.  A couple did, others got close, others just ran off course at high speed.  Lots of different designs and approaches.  As I will mention in another post, I think this is a competition I am going to focus on for next year.

* Miniature Robot Combat - There was an incredible fly and lightweight division of fighting robots that fought in a tiny little arena that everyone could just stand around.  And even though the robots were still remote controlled and not autonomous, I found those rounds of fighting more fun and interesting to watch.  Maybe because it was more intimate.  Or maybe because it just didn't require as much investment of resources to put together a decent fighting robot at that size.  And it was fun to watch.

* Counter Revolution - I was sure that the fighting robot Counter Revolution was going to sweep the heavy weight class of fighting robots.  Two high speed spinning clockwork disks of death that essentially chopped up and threw opponents across the combat ring.  I have never been so glad for bullet proof plastics in my life.  But then it was taken out by a mechanical failure and the other much less worthy robot won by forfeit.  So, disappointing.

* Autonomous robots are hard to do right.  One little slip and suddenly the robot is hugging a wall and can't get unstuck.  Or the lighting is messing up your sensors and it can't even see straight.  Or your programming is off and you slam into a wall at high speed.  Or your motor burns out.  Or...

* I would like to see autonomous fighting robots.  Is it really that hard to do?  Is it that the reaction times required or the battle strategies used can only be handled by biological triggers and human brains?  Is hardware just not up to the task?  I don't know, but I think it is a good time to start trying it out.  Maybe at the smaller size levels at least.

But maybe next year, if there is a next year for Robogames (I hope there is, we don't have many outlets for robots around here), maybe there should be more of a separation and specific support for the autonomous games and the fighting/remote-controlled games.  That way each gets the attention they deserve.
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Husband, Father, Software Engineer, Gardener. But really just a little kid most of the time.
Introduction
Interests in: Space exploration, science fiction, gardening, comics, cellular automata, autonomous robotics...but not nearly enough time to do as much as I would like in those areas.

If you have something interesting to say, I'll probably listen to you.  I may not agree with you, but I will listen.

Anything I say or post here does not represent any positions or opinions of my employer or any other organization I may work with or represent.
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I have been fortunate enough to work with smart people at great companies creating cutting edge, world changing products. And I still am.
Education
  • University of California, Irvine
    Information and Computer Science, 1984 - 1989
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Software Engineer
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  • Google
    Senior Software Engineer, 2005 - present
  • Adobe Systems
    Senior Software Engineer
  • BeVocal, Inc.
    Software Engineer
  • Infographics, Inc
    Software Engineer
  • Computer Aided Systems for Engineering
    Software Engineer
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We visited Dona Maria based on the other reviews, and it did not disappoint. The inside is not fancy, but it is nice, and the service is great. The food is fabulous, especially the enchiladas. I don't think you can go wrong with anything on the menu. From our visit, it is obviously a local favorite, since it filled up after we arrived. If you are in the area and want some good Mexican food, definitely give it a try.
Public - 10 months ago
reviewed 10 months ago
We visited Java Jazz for breakfast, and it was fantastic. The service and food were great, and it was a short walk from the resort. Prices are very reasonable. Highly recommend the Huevos Rancheros and the Early Bird special!
Public - 10 months ago
reviewed 10 months ago
Excellent food, very authentic. Affordable and great service. Highly recommended.
Food: ExcellentDecor: GoodService: Excellent
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reviewed 2 years ago
6 reviews
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reviewed a year ago