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Neil Martinsen-Burrell
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Neil Martinsen-Burrell

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A little education goes a long way

You send one daughter to a Shakespeare class in the afternoons and all of a sudden your FOUR YEAR OLD is greeting you in the morning with "Have you no modesty? No maiden shame? Fie fie you counterfeit, you puppet you!
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My brother was studying Shakespeare while I was in elementary, and I helped him learn some lines from Julius Caesar.

A friend of mine got in trouble for using the word "stuff" in a sentence, and the teacher claimed it was not a real word.  I walked up to her and recited:
"Thrice I offered Caesar the crown, and thrice he refused; yet Brutus says he is ambitious! Ambition should be made of sterner stuff."

She glared at me and sat down.  I got no recognition from the lady teaching us English for quoting the Bard.  You gotta love public education.
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I'm in Seattle this week to start my new job with +Moz​. Very excited for the new opportunity and to meet a great group of people in person. I'll train here this week, then it's back to Iowa where I'll be working remotely. 
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Moz
 
{High Five} friend!
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Mucca Pazza Tiny Desk Concert

These lovable freaks make me wish I could play a band instrument. Maybe there's room for a second

http://www.npr.org/event/music/384964401/mucca-pazza-tiny-desk-concert
With 23 members, the performance-art marching band is the biggest ever to play the Tiny Desk, complete with horns, woodwinds, strings, percussion and several cheerleaders.
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super bande encore....!
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Brin Knows Privacy

Science fiction author (and futurist even) +David Brin  is the most cogent voice talking about privacy in the modern world.  As he does on most topics, he veers away from knee-jerk techno panic while also avoiding head-in-the-sand ignorance of repercussions.

After listening to +Leo Laporte and +Jeff Jarvis too many times on This Week in Google argue childishly about privacy, I submit this modest proposal.  +Leo Laporte should interview +David Brin on his show Triangulation about The Transparent Society (http://www.amazon.com/The-Transparent-Society-Technology-Between/dp/0738201448) a book published 15 years ago that presages everything we have seen this past year from Snowden to Ferguson.

Let's make this idea viral enough to actual happen.  Re-share this post if you'd like to see it happen
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I second this to have +David Brin on Triangulation.  +Leo Laporte 
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Homebrew Arduino Morse Code Keyer

This is a homebrew Morse Code keyer based on an Arduino Leonardo from Borderless Electronics and the code/schematic from K3NG (blog.radioartisan.com/arduino-cw-keyer).  The hookup between the board that I built and the Arduino is a little hairy but I took good notes on the color scheme.   I already had a couple of these Arduino boards from a very nice +Indiegogo campaign and I knew one of them was destined for this project.

There are two buttons, a command button and a single memory slot.  (When you've been sending CQ by hand on a straight key, one memory seems like complete luxury.)  I installed a piezo buzzer for audio feedback from the command system but I expect that I will use my radio's sidetone when sending CW.  The key line is an RCA jack to differentiate it and to match the connector on my TenTec Omni C which is where I intend to primarily use this.

I had considered trying to be elegant and create a sort of shield from header pins that would plug in atop the Arduino, but without PCB etching and a drill press, I didn't think that I could achieve the necessary accuracy.  This was the simplest setup that I could dream up with what I had on hand. The USB and power jacks are still usable and the Arduino could very easily be switched out for a Nano board (e.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/271545629048) for packaging in a small enclosure.

Now I need to finish my homebrew paddle like +Steve wGØAT.

#arduino #hamradio
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N1MM on Mac OS X under Wine

When I share my fledgling interest in contesting, people always suggest that I get started using N1MM Logger, one of the most advanced contest logging programs.  I would love to take their advice, but it is a Windows program and all of my computers are Macs.  I could run a Windows virtual machine, but then I would need a copy of the Windows OS to install on the VM (not in the budget).

Today, I remembered that there was another way to run Windows programs on the Mac, the Wine project.  Wine is a reimplementation of the core Windows system on another operating system.  It is advanced enough to run many, if not most, Windows programs.  Originally for Linux, there is also a version for Mac OS X.

It takes a while to install from source using Homebrew (http://brew.sh) as it has to compile Wine and all of its dependencies, but it eventually installed.  Following the nice write-up of KM4IK (www.qsl.net/l/lu7did/docs/contest/WINE_N1MM_english.pdf) I installed one more set of DLLs using winetricks.  I found I had to run the wine command from the N1MM directory to find the N1MM DLLs, but it looks to be up and running.

I don't need any rig control facilities, so I'm not concerned about driver support and the like, but it is a very nice way to record QSOs in the contest situation.  I've been using CW contests as a place to practice my Morse code skills and I'll probably be using N1MM now to keep track of those contacts.
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Kindle death mask 
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Even more deconstructionism: the book is "Cloud Atlas".
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Neil Martinsen-Burrell

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DTRT vs. DWIM

Apparently, Apple's Mavericks OS introduces a "feature" that tries to auto-create typographical niceties such as smart quotes, ellipses, en-, and em-dashes. Word processors such as Microsoft Word have been doing this, but with Apple's longstanding commitment to typography, I can see where they wanted to add this on the OS level.

The problem is that the OS cannot know the context of what I am typing.  If I'm in a Slack chat with another developer discussing the "`--no-splits`" option then the backticks indicate that I want literal text and those two initial dashes should be preserved as is. But Mac OS X doesn't know anything about Slack and Markdown syntax so it tries to Do The Right Thing (DTRT) and convert the double-hyphens to an en-dash. D'oh!

I think that this is an Achilles heel for the OS trying to DTRT. It doesn't know the context and so it has no idea how to Do What I Mean (DWIM). Boo, Apple. If you want your computer to keep doing what you tell it to, go now and turn this "feature" off.

#mavericks #dwim #dtrt  
Hi,. Since I upgraded to Mavericks, Mail.app started persistently auto-correcting three consecutive periods (dots) into the "ellipses" (single) character. This is not one of my System Preferences/Keyboard/Text/ replacement rules. Is there another place where such auto-correction rules are ...
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Shush, Apple knows best. Always.
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Now I know I am old. I drive the same car as my mom.

New ten year old Prius picked up in Rochester this morning. 
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"ten year old Prius" seems to be an age indicator too!
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Apparently I have some many messages in the mailbox that the message counter wrapped over to negative numbers. That's better than Inbox Zero!
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I have hope they use different technology in their autonomous cars...
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"She believed collage was the greatest of all the arts"

After finishing building my homebrew Arduino keyer, it worked great, but it was unwieldy with a loose piece of copper-clad board with the circuit components that were jumpered over to the Arduino.  In fact, the copper-clad board shorted out the pins on the Arduino power connector and seemingly fried the voltage regulator.  On a second Arduino board, with some more careful insulation (a sheet of paper) it worked well enough for me to want to package it up.

I'm a "use what you have" kind of ham so I cut down a cardboard box from the recycling to the size I wanted.  I used aluminum foil and double-sided tape for shielding on the inside of the box.  Finally, I needed to cover an ugly ding in the top of the box (what do you expect from the recycle bin).

So, I cut out a picture from the latest QST and taped it on top!  It won't fool anyone for long, but I get a chuckle out of seeing my dream radio on top of my very humble homebrew morse code keyer.

(_Song lyric from "Estelle" by Dan Bern: http://danbern.com/lyrics/estelle/_)
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Great idea on the KX3 pic. If you want a good little keyer that doesn't cost much, just build a PicoKeyer kit from hamgadgets. $28 including plastic box.
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Gimmick Key

A capacitor formed from two strands of wire is a gimmick capacitor, so this must be a gimmick key for CW.

I was vacationing with my family in Northern Wisconsin and threw my QRP portable bag in the back when I was loading the car.  On our second night, I put the end-fed half wave up in the tree, and then I realized that I had left my morse code key on the radio bench back home. (I'm not the kind of guy to have multiple keys in my stable.).  I did a little listening that night but gave up dejected.

The next night, I realized that my bag still had the cable I use to connect the straight key to the radio.  It's made out of a piece of coax cable with the two conductors twisted to go in the key terminals.  With a little practice holding the loose ends in my left hand, I was able to key reasonably enough to have a short QSO with W6OGC with 5W and a couple of wires!

What a gimmick!
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Nice one. There's an episode of Adam-12 where the officer is pinned down by gunfire and for some reason his radio microphone was broken. He stripped the wires and used it to send a Morse Code message to dispatch. 
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Independent Statistics Educator
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Teacher, geek, father
Introduction
I'm an independent statistics educator.  I work as a consultant with graduate students and companies who aren't statistics experts.  I've been involved in teaching math for over fifteen years and I love to share my experience.

In other news, I'm also a gadget lover, a ham radio operator, and a farmer.
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Burrell