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   I checked on my rendering project now that I am back, and it has done 1000 frames of the 1500 total.  I estimate an other two days and the rendering will be finished.
   Pictured is the tunnel between A and B terminals in Detroit.
   I shall now rant about this picture.  This is a shot of my speedometer on the rental car, a Kia Sportage (I think).  Notice how the speedometer goes to 150 MPH.  This vehicle has a 2 litter 4 cylinder engine and is close to (but not quite) an SUV.  When you step on the gas hard, it makes a lot of noise, but the acceleration is far from impressive.  People who have been a passenger in my car know I am notorious for driving no more then the posted speed limit.  So here is my problem: who decided to put in a speedometer that goes to 150 MPH in a vehicle that couldn't hit this speed unless you dropped it off a cliff?  Less then half of the speedometers range is completely useless on 90% of roads, and my guess is this vehicle couldn't make it over 100 MPH going downhill with a strong tailwind.  So I have to deal with 20 MPH labeled increments and tinny divisions because of this.  Even if people wanted to drive the speed limit this vehicle makes it hard because of their pointless speedometer scale.
   On a positive note, this vehicle handled pretty well--much better then my coworkers rental.

1 comment has been made.

From Noah

January 10, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Just like my poor old Jeep Wrangle - the speedometer went to 100 but the gearing ratio left it gasping at 60! I suppose it's a compensation thing.

January 06, 2011

The return home

   Our install solved some of the problems, but I need to go back to the lab to finalize a change to solve the last problem.  Although my implementation was correct, due to the physical nature of the problem what I did wasn't going to be useful.  So we moved my departing flight to this afternoon and off I went.  Although my flight from Detroit to Chicago was delayed an hour, I still made it back in time for Thursday night coffee.
   Pictured is Detroit airport in the terminal A building.  The tram is in this picture, and the little kid in me just loves trains. 
My view from the station

My view from the station

   Findley Lake, New York is beautiful.  Hwy 426 goes right along the lake and it's surrounded by hills.  Every day it snowed a little and gave a picture perfect winter scene.  At the station you can see Peek'n Peak ski resort and the view is of a winter wonderland.  This is my favorite station to work because of how pretty the area is.
   A long day, but just about everything went well.  There were snow furies as I set out, and the back roads were rather slippary.  But once I was on the Interstate everything was fine.  My destination was the cheapest economy lot at O'Hare at $9/day.  My flight was at 6:50 am, so I planned on being in the lot by 5:00 am.  I use to fly out of Midway airport, so I don't know the area around O'Hare all that well.  I turned off of I-90 onto I-190, but missed my next turn onto Hwy 12.  Luckily I hedged my bets on the ramp being setup as a four-leaf clover and took the next exit.  After some looping I was right where I was suppose to be. 
   I am use to shuttle buses between parking lots and terminals, and so it was natural to wait for the bus.  But it took us to an other parking lot where there was an electric tram that would take us the rest of the way to the terminals.  I thought it was a really nice system, and better then the buses as they didn't have to worry about traffic or stoplights.  One reason I prefer early flights is how quickly one can get through security, and I easily did this at one of the world's busiest airports in only a couple of minutes.
   From O'Hare I first went to Detroit.  This airport was really nice.  The A terminal building had a tram inside that shorten the time it took to move around from it's more then 70 gates.  My flight stopped at the A terminal building, but naturally my connecting flight was in the B terminal.  So I took the tram, and then walked through an underground tunnel.
   From Detroit we flew to Erie, Pennsylvania in a turbo prop.  Erie's airport tinny, and after O'Hare and Detroit I was expecting to have to walk a lot more.  They might have had 10 gates at the one terminal, and were even smaller then my beloved Kansas City (KMCI) which was so easy to navigate.  I picked up my rental car and was off to the station, seeing a fair bit of downtown Erie in the process.
   The drive is really pretty.  Rolling hills and snow--and I love snow. 
   My first day I didn't do too much.  I needed to go through my safety training (a yearly thing) and get things setup we would need in order to do this upgrade.  I saw a lot of old faces I had not seen in years and there was defiantly a feeling of nostalgia working on this project again.


   A day of preparation.  I needed a pair of steel-toe boots for the field.  I still had my hardhat, but I wore my old steel-toe boots out a few years ago.  I have not flown commercially since I worked for this company over 5 years ago, but I still know the procedure.  I am scheduled to be out from Tuesday to Friday.  I only need to bring close, toiletries, some small electronic devices, my laptop, and hardhat.  I though I might try using my laptop bag and a small duffel, but I didn't like the idea of having two items to lug around.  So I thougth I might try using a large backpack and putting everything in that.  However, my hardhat made this unworkable--it was too big and doesn't compress for some reason.  So I settled on putting everything in a small duffel bag, which worked out just fine.  Back in the day I could be packed and ready to travel in less then an hour.  But now I lacked a lot of my small travel items so getting ready was an all day ordeal.
   Bed time at 9:00 pm tonight as I get up at 3:00 am and set out for O'Hare.


   Getting ready to travel, and finishing up everything that needs to be done for my work project.  I'm rather pleased at all the systems I put in place for the project I have been working on.  I have not touched the project in 5 years, but it has been pretty easy to pick it up and extend things.  One item that is rather important is the release procedure.  Naturally the changes I will be making go to the customer.  We had started a version control system before the company dissolved, but of course it is no longer around.  But I had been using my own set of scripts to do releases.  We were a small company that moved from theory to practice very quickly.  I was quite use to getting a call in the morning and shipping off software to the field by the afternoon.  And it was important to have copies of what I released. 
   This system has a lot of software pieces: there is software for two controllers, and an HMI that change regularly.  The HMI is web-based, meaning there is also a web server, PHP, and Firefox as part of the software package.  I had put together scripts to deal with all of this.  The controller software archived the binary every time a new build was made.  It did this by searching for the time/date code stamp in the binary using the C macros __TIME__ and __DATE__.  This way, the binary file had the time stamp of the date built right in.  In addition, there is a script called "archive" which can be used to make a snapshot of the source code.  This is run after a build when the software is to be released to the field.  The HMI setup had a "release" script, which automatically increments version numbers and determines which controller software it is compatible with.  All the HMI software is backward compatible, but may or may not be forward compatible (although it usually is).
   So I made sure to relearn all these system for the release I was about to do.  Monday is a holiday for this company, so I will travel Tuesday morning.  And I feel I'm pretty ready.