So, about that.

The process of learning interests me. I worked at an elementary school for years and was intrigued by the types of educational activities that worked and those that did not.  Apparently, my last post fell into the later category for a number of my readers and for this I apologize.

Because of my love of learning and my desire to aid in the process for those interested, I really want to provide simple, clear explanations of some of the more complex and obscure topics I might share.

So, I’m going to give the numbers systems explanation a second shot. Primarily because I feel it’s simple enough to do right. Actually, I’ll probably provide multiple drafts of that conversation as I attempt to flesh out different techniques for making numbers a little less of a foreign language.

While I continue work on my re-draft I’ve got some other projects in progress that I’ll try to bring you up to speed on and may even saunter off the technology path and share some of my other passions.  For those of you who don’t know me well, my interests vary… widely. I’m still teetering back and forth about just how focused I’d like this space to be, so if you happen to have an opinion one way or the other please comment below because I’d like to keep my three readers happy.

I’d be a horrible host to not keep you occupied while I’m working though, which is why I suggest you go here  This guy is amazing.  The kill math section is astounding.  Makes me wish I was smarter.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized



Sorry, but before I get to the electronics we’ve got to have a refresher course in counting.  Yep, counting.  Most likely you use the decimal system, also called base ten, for all of your mathematical figuring.  Base ten is just another way of saying we use ten unique characters , 0 through 9, to represent all numbers.

Those few numbers are able to be used to represent all integers (numbers that aren’t fractions or weird imaginary) because we recalculate their value based on position.  I’ll show you what I mean.

We know 90 doesn’t equal 09, because the position of the nine matters.

If you’re anything like me you stopped thinking about how all of this worked because it became second nature,

But this is where it gets fun! Using this basic knowledge you can use other bases.

All digital electronics are limited to two states.  They’re either on, or off.

Which is exactly why computers don’t use the decimal system. They only have two ‘characters’, so, they utilize base 2 or binary.

If you have a an LED (that’s a little light for the non-nerds) and you want to display a zero you turn it off. When you need to display a one, you turn it on. Super easy.  But how do you display larger numbers if you have more lights?

You just do what big brother base 10 does and increase the value by multiples of your base!

So, in binary 110000 = 32 + 16 = 48

Make sense?

Now here’s the electronics.  I played around with my ardunio and hooked up 7 LED’s.  Starting from right to left I assigned them binary values like so…

Then, I sat down and wrote up a little program which counts every time you press that little red button and displays the number in base 2 by lighting up the LED’s like so:

Here’s the code for anyone that might be interested…



Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


It begins.

I really don’t expect the majority of people that might ever stumble across this blog to know anything about electronic hardware, or programming languages. Actually, if I’m honest, I don’t imagine that most will even care.

But for those of you who might secretly wonder about the nerd underworld, or are just kind enough to feign interest in the jumble of wires and flashing lights, I’ll do my best to explain simply any projects I decide to share.

For the past couple months I’ve had a renewed interest in microcontrollers. A microcontroller is a really simple computer.  Really, really simple.  The board I picked up is called an Arduino Uno.  It supports a bunch of inputs (think sensors like temperature, or buttons) and outputs ( like lights and motors).  Plus it’s opensource, so all the programming tools are free.

Since this is the first chance I’ve ever had to play with a microcontroller I’m taking it slow. My first project was to hook up a switch and a light, then write some simple code to turn it on when I pressed the button.

I know… lame.

I made project two better by adding more LEDs. Still lame, but much brighter.


Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


If I weren’t so cool…

A number of years ago I made the mistake of mentioning out loud one of the random musings I’m fond of entertaining myself with.  I happened to have my brain-to-mouth filter turned off and I commented to a co-worker friend that if I weren’t so cool, I’d be a nerd.

Jokes and t-shirts ensued, and all were entertained.

So, now that my secret is out, I figure I might as well document some of my nerdery and possibly grant a glimpse into just how deep this rabbit hole goes. Over the next weeks and months some percentage of my posts will be dedicated to this endeavor.

You’ve been warned.


Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


The wife.

Those previous ramblings I mentioned were primarily written in the aftermath of my first ‘wife’ leaving me.  There was roughly a year between that event and the moment I first set eyes on my true first wife.

Now that I’ve been married for nearly five years ( today being just nine days from our anniversary ), it’s amazing to read my own words during that year.

I think I thought more.

Actually, I know I thought more. Apathy has sauntered up and, without my realizing, wrapped her arms lightly around me. Her caress lulling me to sleep.

Until, as I mentioned, I stumbled into those words.  To say they just reminded me of that time would be too understated.  I was drawn back in and forcefully reintroduced to that man.  Full of sorrow and shame. Friends cast in text instead of flesh so he could avoid having to be seen. The years of telling my story have made it just that, a story.  Something that happened to some other person, in some other time. That man reminded me it wasn’t him.

It was me.

I started thinking again. And it was good.

I remembered a promise I made to myself in those days.  Were I ever to meet a woman who could love me, I would never consider her less than a treasure.  What I couldn’t imagine in those depths was that a woman so far above me would choose to do so.

She pulled me out, dressed my wounds and patiently waited while I learned what it was to be loved.

She married me nearly five years ago.

It’s good to be reminded of sorrow. Reminded that time is short. The cast shadows reveal the brilliance of the light.

Love, you paint all my shadows white.

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


Where I am.

After running headfirst into a smattering of my previous ramblings I was inspired to return to cataloging a subset of my internal thoughts publicly. Now, as I am aware of my tendency to move on from things as rapidly as I begin them, I can’t speak to the longevity of this endeavor. But if my experience of life holds, then one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to value deeply those things you have now, and be willing in a moment to let even the most precious go.

To quote a soon to be released Switchfoot song,

I’m not sentimental, this skin and bones is a rental.

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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized