With Wings As Eagles: Tech/Computer/Electronics Entries

An awfully long drive just to sit on a couch

2011 December 13 00:21

I took a road trip this weekend (including Monday) bewteen two weeks of training. I drove 526 miles up and 538 miles back today. It seems like a long way to drive just to sit on a couch.

Getting on I-39 where it begins at Bloomington. Driving dead north--NOW we're getting somewhere!

There are a couple of big wind farms along I-39 in northern Illinois. Here's a side shot. The camper is a random occurence; the "bend backwards" stance amuses me. I presume it's because of the way the camera raster-scans the image.

For quite a while here, it looks for all the world like the road is goin to go between those two wind turbines, like the Gates of Argonath from the Lord of the Rings.

But the road turns eventually.

Some closer shots of turbines:

This is either a Unicycle built by B.S. Johnson of the Discworld novels, or else a new power line pillar with wheels for running the new wires.

I love the mural on the back of this truck.

In Wisconsin, I-90, 94, and 39 run together for a while. I-39 continues to the north, but I branch off to the west with I-94 to head towards Minneapolis/St. Paul.

It's been cold farther north. There's still snow on the ground.

And finally, at the end of the drive up, here's the river as I cross into Minnesota. Yay!

The primary reason for going on this trip was to surprise my brother by showing up to his 30th birthday party. Here's photographic evidence. I'm on the left, my brother Dave is on the right. Would you trust your computer to these guys?

The other reason I went was I visited Chippewa falls Monday (today). One of my stops there was the Chippewa Falls Museum of Science and Technology, which contains an extensive exhibit of vintage Cray hardware.

I'm sitting on serial number 1 of the Cray 1 Supercomputer. The computer parts are in the tall cylindrical section behind and above me. The wider part, that I'm sitting on, houses the power supplies. It was awesome seeing this museum. The early Cray systems defined the very idea of a Supercomputer, and were marvels of engineering and computing design. (At the left of the picture is a display with three floppy disks illustrating how storage has gotten bigger over time.)

The end-of-trip obligatory speedometer shot.

I bought this car just about exactly 2 1/2 years ago, and I've already put almost 55,000 miles on it. In a bit over 5,000 miles from now, it will have passed even the extended warranty that I bought for it.

What do your eyes see?

2011 December 04 06:59

Perfect is the enemy of good enough. I keep having these grandiose ideas of the really groovy stuff I want to blog about, but then I don't have the time to edit up the nice photo set, so the post gets delayed, and I don't write the post. I have trips in October and November that I have lots of photos that I want to document. Several interesting posts about airplanes and one about cars coming up.

One quick on that the pictures are ready for. I flew to a conference in Seattle early in November. On the way back, from SEA to ATL, I photographed this unique-looking river-convergence. Note the airport marked with green dots:

I didn't have my iPad along on this trip, but I figured that this formation of rivers, town, and airport had to be fairly unique.

It turns out that I was flying over "little Egypt", which is the very southern tip of the state of Illinois. Here's that same spot on the sectional on the screen of my iPad:

The town is Cairo (pronounced "kay-row", by the way). I find it often tough to figure out where you are when you're looking at stuff from an airliner, but this time I got lucky and managed to figure it out.