Year Nine

In my forty-odd years of employment, I kept a list of things I wanted to do, but for reasons of expense or time, I had to put off. “Fly an airplane” was one of them. “Write a novel” was another. When I retired at the beginning of 2015, I reviewed the list. Some things were […]

Cooking Up Plutonium-238

Somewhere between 1995 and 2000, I was sent to teach a pSOS+ class to Westinghouse engineers in Savannah, Georgia. At the time, the debate between Assembler-language versus C for application programming was still hot and heavy. Programs written in Assembler took longer to develop and had more bugs to detect, ferret out, and correct, but […]

Vintage 3″ Oscilloscope

Found this at auction for $15. No name plate and nothing to that effect inside. It powers on and there’s a trace, but definitely needs help. If I can identify the make and model, I can they try to get a schematic. Depending on what’s gone, I may be able to “make it better.” But […]

Houston, We Have A Problem

The log in our family firewall caught one of our home computers assaulting another one with three packets. It’s called a “Denial of Service” attack and it comes from a virus, affectionately named as you can see in the snippet above, “Smurf”. Three packets won’t, in themselves, cause a problem. The targeted computer will look, […]

Blinking HDMI

Does your HDMI-fed TV go black for a second or two and then come back on? If so, you may have what I’m calling HDMI Blink. Ending a multi-year, on-and-off quest, I think I understand the cause and, with it, I’ve found and verified a solution for, at least, the equipment I have. Sadly, YMMV […]

Antenna Analysis (New Toy!)

Ok, Ok, you’re right. It’s a new toy and I wanted to show it off. You’re absolutely right. But I learned some things and can do better on my next wire antenna. So, take this as a sales pitch or a gee-golly-wiz piece or whatever. But I learned some things and, to help me remember them, I’m […]

Back in the Virtual Saddle

Four days this week and then the same next week, I’ll be teaching via laptop and headset. This week it’s hard real-time and next week it’ll be harder real-time – avionics. The difference is in dealing with the inevitable “Oops!” What do you do when the computer program that’s been working for ten years suddenly […]

Speaking of Flux

Opening the door to the unventilated warehouse, the acrid stench was unmistakable. “What’s that smell?” someone asked. “It’s rosin-flux, the wetting agent used when soldering resistors, capacitors and wires to electronic circuits. The rosin comes from pine trees. When the equipment heats up,  the smell gets stronger.” Soldering is done at high temperatures that would […]

Stop Picking Your Nose!

After a high school field trip in the mid 1960s to see a digital computer, my electronics teacher said, “Digital computers will never last.” “Analog computers,” he went on, “are faster, more reliable and have some practical uses besides accounting such as cannon trajectory calculations for battleships. But those digital computers like what we just […]

Flux Your Braid

Grand knows his stuff — thank you, Sir! More flux did the trick. If you’ve been following the action here, you’ll know that I botched my first attempt with the integrated circuit you see here as “The Problem”. The two pins in the lower right corner of the 1/8″ square integrated circuit are shorted together […]