Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Drawing Easel

After my first drawing class at the University of Louisville, the instructor said it would be nice if we had desk easels. So I tried to make one and here is what I came up with.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Idea Festival - Ray Bradbury Speech - End of Festival

Well, I must say it was fun volunteering at the Idea Festival and meeting all the nice people and staff of the festival. Hopefully, I will be able to do it next year. I got to attend the dinner and speech of Ray Bradbury after collecting tickets at the door for about an hour. Since this was the last event there was not a whole lot to do except packing up some of the supplies used at the booths. We packed up Festival ID badges and T-Shirts. After the talk, we handed out posters to people who attended the presentation.

It was a pleasant surprise to be able to attend the event at the end. Things were not too busy and pretty laid back after we collected the tickets. I have not read any of Ray Bradbury's books but I did see Martian Chronicles as a child. Did not really understand it though. Ray was a very energetic speaker and it was even more a surprise since he is 87 years old. He spoke about how he became a writer and what events influenced him. He encouraged everyone to become passionate about something and follow that passion. At times he seemed possessed about getting this point across, I guess he knows his time on this Earth is limited and this is his chance make one last impression on society. It was a good motivational speech. I did not get to hear all of the speech or the Q&A since I had to prepare for poster handout.

I did not take any pictures and probably should have. The Teleportic system did not seem all that 3-D to me. Ray did use his arms a lot in the presentation, I think for the benefit of that device. He did answer questions from our site and he could hear the audience but I am not sure if he could see them. The Teleportic system looks like a screen sloped at 45 degree angle from a side view. The screen starts at the top and slopes downward toward the back.

All and all a good festival and I am glad I am now aware of it now.

Idea Festival - Steve Wozniak Speech

My volunteer experience at the Idea Festival was helping out with the keynote speech event at Kentucky International Convention Center. I enjoyed Steve Wozniak's speech as he shared his engineering and development experiences. His talked about making circuits and the influence of the Silicon Valley around him. His engineer father and engineer friends, availability of technology companies and his school giving access to advanced classes were the reasons he gave in part to his success in electronics. Steve talked about building digital counters and trying to reduce chip count which reminded me of digital logic design class in my college studies. He also talked about building prototypes and programming using punch cards at the University of Colorado. His attraction to the school was seeing snow there. I think if he had to drive in snow that love would have worn off quick.

He shared a number of Steve Jobs stories: how they met, selling to Atari a breakout game, selling a color video terminal, and the early days of Apple corporation. The stories about working long hours on issues and designs tells of the engineering problem solving life.

Steve is now 57 years old and does not appear to do computer development any more. He told a Google audience he might code scripts or use C programming language from time to time. He said once he reached a certain age, family considerations and other interests kept him from developing. Also he pointed out that he was quite a shy person and product development helped with a feeling of empowerment. It was good to see that he now gives public speeches despite being shy.

At the end of the speech, he was given a personalized bottle of Woodford Reserve to mark his visit to the area. He thanked the presenter but said something about having trouble getting it on the airplane and also that he did not drink.

I watched the last part of the speech from the hallway through the open doors going into the exhibit hall next to the stage. Out in the hallway, it was amazing to see the number of people coming out to talk on cell phones. There was also quite a number of people going to the bathroom. All this movement did not seem affect the speech though. I had an interesting angle to view the speech from, see picture below.

Attendance was very good and I hope the festival did not lose money on the event. The number of tables for the dinner seated maybe 864 people. It appeared that maybe 3-4 tables might have had open seats at the back of the room.

I had heard Steve talk about technology on This Week in Tech podcast. He talks quite quickly and ran a little over time on his speech. I did not get to hear the whole speech or the question/answer time afterwards. We were handing out Woz posters at the end to attendees of the event.

This speech got me to look for more info on Steve Wozniak and his speaking engagements. It looks like he charges $30000-50000 for a speech. At the speakers website, they provide a sample video which appears to be a speech given to Sharp printer sales people. There is also a Charlie Rose interview on the web where he is promoting the iWoz book.
Here is a link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctGch5ejjT4) to his speech to Google employees with a book signing. It is very similar to the speech he gave to us. He does customize his speech to the audience somewhat but his core stories about development can be found in most of the speeches.

NOTE: I did not use a flash on my still frame pictures and thus got blurring pictures. Sort of knowing this would happen, I took Quicktime movies with the camera in low light conditions to get some better images. The pictures I am posting were frame grabs of these movies.
Afterwards, Steve sat at the Borders books table and signed iWoz copies. I was able to take this picture from the floor above were he was. It was interesting in that the picture of him signing a book for the guy in the suit. After signing the book, the guy gave him the poster to sign as well, which at first seemed to surprise Steve. Maybe he did not know there was a poster but we had quite a few left after the dinner. The signing line was long with maybe 100 people or how ever many people it takes to stretch down the hallway to the exit. From what I observed, he seemed very friendly and easy going.

You can learn more about Steve Wozniak at his web site (http://www.woz.org/). I found the letter section to be educational as he responds to questions and stories from the general public. It is always good to see public figures do that on their websites. Unfortunately, he appears to have stop posting after 2006. Maybe because he was writing his book and then promoting it after September 2006.

One last note, another volunteer had to quickly prepare a menu to be placed on the 108 tables. I was asked to help him prepare them using the computers at the Geek Squad exhibit and print them with the Lexmark printers. We eventually got it done and delivered but we had some help printing them from a visiting Lexmark engineer. I did not get his name but he was very friendly and helpful. He was some sort of sales engineer for the inkjet printer group. He said their popular product was the wireless inkjets that just need to be plugged in and people can start printing with them.

This picture shows the view from the audio/video control area that was off to the side of the room.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

IdeaFestival - Louisville KY

Well, I have been volunteering at the idea festival and was working there this morning. First, it is difficult to finding parking downtown and realize the value at working at companies that have free parking lots!

I thought the crowd was pretty good for a weekday morning. My time was spent getting people badges and tickets they had signed up for. The Lexmark representative was having a quite a few issues getting the wireless printer to work at the Geek Squad exhibit and I was very tempted to go help them out. It looks like they eventually got it working.

I got see several film crews making reports and WFPL (89.3) did a live airing of the State of Affairs show. That was neat to watch the small crew of 5 people put on that show.

Did not get to go to any presentations but there appeared to be quite a few people going.

Find out more information check out: http://www.ideafestival.com/

Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Watermelon

Another Crimson Sweet Watermelon was picked and it turned out to be excellent. The melon weighed in at 10.2 lbs. It had good color and was sweet to the taste.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Visit to Chicago

We visited the Museum of Science and Industry a while back during a visit to Chicago.

Great place to visit and the weather was very nice. It was in the 80s during the day. I had visited the museum when I was a child and remembered the u-boat. It was outside and at the end I got a plastic replica of the u-boat made by a small machine.

Well, things have changed and yet stayed the same. The u-boat was given an exhibit hall in 2004 and what an exhibit it is. You walk down a series of hallways with documentation and images showing the scenes for World War II related to the battle in the Atlantic with u-boats and allied shipping.

You then come out of the hallway and are greeted with this large boat in a very large room. It is like a holding pen with its concrete shell to protect against bombings. Watch the movie Das Boot to get an idea of what this facility was like.

We got our tickets a head of time on the Internet which was good since the tours had sold out for the day when we got there. We had a good tour guide who had some pretty good jokes. Too bad we could not take any pictures because the guide said people were selling them on the internet and the boat was now copyrighted. It was neat to see the inside and it is hard to believe that almost 60 people had to live there for months at a time.

The exhibit has a lot to offer with more displays around the submarine with some of them interactive. It was too bad we did not have time to study all the exhibits but we had spent time looking at other things at the museum like the trains, the Boeing 727, the chemistry and energy exhibits, and eating lunch. I wish I had time to look at the geology exhibit.

I took a picture of the dents in the submarines nose. I wonder how those dents got there.

At the end of the U-505 exhibit do not forget to look at the monitor on the ceiling that shows how they moved the submarine into its underground chamber.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Watermelon Harvest

The first of the watermelons were harvested yesterday. I think this is the latest I have ever began picking the melons. Two were picked a Crimson Sweet (striped one) and the a Sugar Baby (more solid green). Both weighed 9.4 lbs.

They are both a little bigger than a volleyball.

This is the view from inside the Sugar Baby melon. It has a good color and few seeds.

This is the Crimson Sweet melon cut open.

Louisville Hike and Bike

I participated in the Louisville Hike and Bike yesterday morning. Wow, a lot of people showed up for this than I have seen at past events. It was tricky riding in that large of group of cyclists that varied in different skill levels. It was good that there was a staggered start with the racers up front. I had a pretty good ride and got to some people it as been a while I have ridden bicycles with.

Scene about 30 minutes before ride started with people visiting the different tents with bicycle related information.

Picture above is of the main stage and tent where they were beginning to get people to do warm up exercises.

Toyota was a sponsor and they had some of their popular models out on the Great Lawn for display. Since the hood of the Toyota Camry Hybrid was up I took a peek inside. I was disappointed to not see a visible oil filter. One of the great features of the Toyota Camry we have is that the oil filter in the front of the engine compartment and it slopes down about 45 degrees. This filter configuration allows the filter to be changed easily and without a lot of mess. Maybe the non-hybrid engine has the different configuration.