Fail Fail Fail

Duh. I’m such an idiot. I should not be allowed be called an engineer at all. So In my haste to find the cheapest relay I forgot that I needed one with all 5 pins. See, a relay works by using a magnet to pull a switch. The magnet is powered by 2 of the pins, the input to the switch by one pin and the switch points are the other 2 pins. The relays I bought only have a pin for the ‘on’ contact of the switch.

To make an XOR gate and an inverter my design calls for relays that have connections of the ‘off’ contact of the switch as well. Luckily most of the gates in our design are not XORs or inverters so all is not totally lost but I will still need to use 2 different kinds of relays which will not look cool at all. I’m going to have to try to find 5 pin relays that look and act exactly the same.


Small Problem?

So the old adage is this “Measure twice, cut once”. In my haste to choose the relay we will use for the project I somehow didn’t test it enough before I jumped in and bought $100 worth of them. There’s this small problem in that one of the pins of the relay is not placed correctly to fit into a standard PC Board or Breadboard.

Also, I really should have tested soldering and connecting them up to each other before ordering a whole bunch. That part I haven’t done yet.

To know that this will work I’ll need to solder a few of them into a PC Board and find some suitable wire to connect them and see if I can attach that to my solder points as well. The final board will be etched so there won’t be any wired connections, but still, I should have tested that!

A Brick of Relays

What you see here is what I’m calling a ‘brick’ of relays. I was so excited when this arrived. My nice heavy, dense, bad ass box of relays. This is just a small number of the total we’ll need to do the whole computer but it is enough for the first part which is the prototype of one of the bits of the ALU.

I bought 100 since that got me the best discount but even at $0.85 each, that’s still some money! But now things feel more real and less theoretical. This is certainly a motivator to get moving forward on actually building something.

I plan to put a bunch of them together to build a one bit adder next. This will show me that this is possible and also we can measure the current drops (if any) as we move along the circuit.

Change of Pace

Liveblog of the Survivor premiere :

Ozzie, the man.. But both he and Coach have a very hard path ahead of them, especially Coach.

Ok, so I’m going to type as I watch..

Red tribe:

Ok.. right off the bat I have huge crush on Semhar. She’s super cute and really talented.. Did I tell you how insanely cute she is? Wow.

The law student dude Cochran is a trip. He’s got his Survivor trivia down man! But right off bat he’s not going to drop his pants and go swimming? After knowing all he knows about the show he should at least know he has to blend in and socialize while he can. Duh.

Wow.. Semhar is hot! Ok, I’ll stop now.

Blue tribe :

No challenge yet but the blue team is not gelling which is going to be a big issue going forward. Poor coach tires to chat with Sophie the russian major in russian and she basically thinks he’s still lame.. wow.. he’s got some serious work to do..

I’m noting a big similarity to last season with Russell and Rob. Russel the long shot a la Coach and Ozzie, the lovable dude, just like Rob who has the charm and experience to go far.. will he? I wonder.

The contestants are so funny now. They know the show so well. Christine, five mins in is pulling a Russel and looking for the idol.

Red tribe :

Ahh.. shelter? Bah, we’re going to just chill out in the sea for a while.. Haha.. This guy Jim is a MBA Pot dealer but yea he says he’s a teacher. I like the gay NYPD guy Mark, totally out from the start.. love it..

Dawn, the older woman.. I identify with her.. shes not digging the unorganized vibe..

Back to Blue:

Brandon.. how long till they figure out who he is? He’s got to get loved before they find out! Turns out he’s a church boy.. interesting how he’s all acting like a talaban dude (all freaked out from seeing some cleavage) .

Red : Dawn is loosing it already.. will she pull it together? Mark is all smart and tries to chill her out since they are the old people but it doesn’t help.. She’s gonna quit. Ozzie is the man though and of course tries to be her bud so he can maybe turn it into an alliance.. But she clearly doesn’t dig his chill vibe so its not working.. She’s a mess.

Cochran won’t last either.. he’s just not got it.. He’s trying to be charming but I don’t think its going to work out for him.

Blue tribe :

Haha.. love how Hantz isn’t taking off his shirt!

The challenge :

eh.. nothing to comment on.. it’s a challenge. This is all about picking my winner..oh.. but now Semhar is melting down.. noooooo! We can’t loose her on day one.. Also Hantz still has his shirt on even though it’s like 200 degrees!

My guess after the challenge is that it will come down to Semhar and Dawn with Semhar going 🙁

Red team :

Yea Ozzie! Save Semhar for me!! But I don’t think it’s going to work out for her.

The vote :

They are tying to build tension but it will be Semhar going. I would bet money on that.

Who will win?

Hard to tell but I’m going to say Ozzie will go far, but he won’t win. Maybe Jim or someone from the blue team (the baseball coach guy maybe?).. There’s a guy named Keith who we barely saw that looks like he can go far. Elyse has that cute/smart vibe going, as does Edna (who is can anesthesiologist). Rick (the rancher) will go far if he’s tough enough.

But I have to pick someone. I will choose Rick… longshot but he’s my choice.


Went on a little voyage today that normally I would have been just manic about. I went on a 2 hour trip on an old oyster schooner. It had a crew of 12 that have been on her since April and we sailed the Delaware. As a passenger my job was to help hoist the sails and then to wander around on deck enjoying the trip. For me, someone who loves sailing and being on the water and boats in general, this is something that I would have loved. I’d be all over, checking things out, talking to the crew, observing the little details all the tourist crew wasn’t seeing, etc.

Instead, I spent the entire time trying to manage the pain in my leg. Every time I tried to sit or lean on something I had my old pain down my left leg so I had to immediately stand up and try to make it go away. The frustration was intense and of course it severely limited my fun.

So, overall since my 2nd surgery I have been healing up and trying to move past this sad chapter in life. But last wednesday after squatting down to pick something up I felt a familiar sensation in my leg. It was my old shooting psiatic pain. Same places, same intensity. This lasted for 5 days until Monday morning when I went to visit one of my doctors. (of course).

Doctor said essentially that this kind of thing is normal. Maybe it was some scarring, or something moved around, but I’ve nothing to worry about, it’s all part of the healing process. It’s been 5 weeks since my second surgery. I left feeling reassured a tiny bit. Since then the pain has been non-existant. Even today at work, no problems, but of course as soon as I stepped on the boat it was back. Now, at home, it’s mostly gone.

So what gives? I have stopped trying to determine causality. Yes, today I went back to some of my perscribed PT stretches (I’d stopped on Saturday) but that’s just on theorey. It could be I was wearing my sandles instead of my sneakers. It could be the increased humidity from the water. Who the fuck knows anymore?

It’s this process of healing and not healing, wondering if I’m injured again that has pretty much pushed me into a pretty severe depression. My house (usually spotless and well organized) is a disaster area. I didn’t even bother to take out my trash today. Apparently I’ve lost a lot of weight (says about everyone I know). I don’t eat much anymore. I’m just so unmotivated. I’m on the fence about the PT too (which is supposed to aid in the healing).

I need this to be over. I need to be able to say “yes, it sucked but I made it through and now I’m whole again”. But it’s not. If I’ve injured myself again there’s another 2-4 months of hell ahead and a couple of more scars on my body. I don’t know.. whatever.

Brake Lights

Brake lights on cars should blink rapidly when someone is pressing the brake really hard and slowly when they are just teasing it.. Just saying..

Second Batch Arrives

The second batch of relays arrived today. This batch from Jameco. Out of 7, 2 made the cut. Of those 2, this one won out since it is only $0.89 in bulk!





This leaves me with a tough decision. This relay is super cheap and since I’m going to be buying hundreds of them, it’s going to make a difference, but it’s solid black case isn’t as cool as the clear one.

I’m going to have to confer with Troy.