Archive for category: Rants and Raves

On quadcopters…

June 18, 2015 | DIY Drones, Quadcopter, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve been having a bit of fun with my DJI quadcopter lately, but there is something that is annoying me and stressing me in the back of my head, and that’s surrounding the legality of flying quadcopters. Basically, it’s impossible to determine with any certainty whether flying your quadcopter in any particular place is legal. […]

You can’t learn some things from the Internet…

September 29, 2014 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Internet is awesome. For instance, this morning I found a link to this amazing Nixie Tube clock, which uses neon bulbs (no transistors or ICs) as the logical elements (clocks are really just fancy counters). I think I might have seen that neon bulbs could be used as logical elements (Alan Yates? Did you […]

It’s quiet… too quiet…

September 3, 2012 | My Projects, Radio Controlled Airplanes, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I received my second email inquiry yesterday (yes, two whole emails) asking me why I hadn’t been posting to brainwagon lately. It’s gratifying that both of my readers would each send me a note asking if things were all right, so I thought rather than addressing you each separately, I could double my efficiency by […]

Realization: I’m a dinosaur…

August 7, 2012 | Programming Languages, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

About once a year, I get the urge to push my programming skills and knowledge in a new direction. Some years, this results in some new (usually small) raytracers. Sometimes, it results in a program that plays a moderately good game of checkers. Other years, it results in code that predicts the orbits of satellites. […]

A Maker Faire Post Mortem…

May 21, 2012 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Phew. My legs are sore, and my voice is just returning to normal after a whirlwind two days at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. Thanks to everyone I bumped into and chatted with: I had a very nice time, and the partial solar eclipse was an added bonus (some pictures to come in a […]

MLB.TV still stupidly refusing to offer me a product that I want to buy…

February 22, 2012 | Baseball, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Two years ago, I complained that MLB.TV’s black out rules basically robbed them of a chance to get $120 of my hard earned cash in exchange for a product which they supply to others in the U.S., but which they refuse to sell me. Fast forward to today, and nothing has changed: I still can’t […]

Spray-on Antennas? I say “Spray-on Bunkum”

February 17, 2012 | Amateur Radio, electronics, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Thanks to John, who pointed out that this post was mangled. Fixed now. I wasn’t going to mention this one, but Dave, Chris and Jeff over at The Amp Hour brought it up on their most recent podcast, but other than Jeff’s somewhat enthusiastic declaration that he thought it was BS, I don’t think they […]

A phrase I don’t like: “Dumbing down.”

January 14, 2012 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

We’ve all heard it (and most of us have said it): “X is just a dumbed down for the masses.” Heck, I came dangerously close to saying it myself in today’s earlier rant. But I didn’t say it, and I try not to, because I think it’s not really very useful. First of all, if […]

The downside of Arduino…

January 14, 2012 | Arduino, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

First of all, I really like the Arduino. There are lots of reasons: great community, relatively inexpensive, wide hardware availability and variety, and often a good “impedance” match to projects. But there are a few design choices (both hardware and software) that can be a nuisance, especially as you try to push the limits of […]

Building a distributed satellite ground station network (or not…)

January 3, 2012 | Amateur Radio, Amateur Satellite, Hacking, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

My twitter intro says that I am an “enthusiast for enthusiasm”. When I wrote that, it was simply because there are some questions that I really think aren’t helpful at all. Questions like: Why didn’t you just buy X instead of building your own? Didn’t somebody do that years ago? Why are you playing with […]

Forbes on Steve Jobs as a Role Model…

October 13, 2011 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering contributor Kyle Smith posted a provocative editorial today, which I thought deserved some commentary: Steve Jobs Was A Lousy Role Model – Forbes He does have a point, and it’s a point that I’m willing to concede: that asking the very rich for advice on how to run your life is probably not very […]

Stallman: Jobs exerted ‘malign influence’ on computing

October 11, 2011 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Several people have forwarded this article on to me, where free software advocate Richard Stallman had this to say about Steve Jobs: Stallman: Jobs exerted ‘malign influence’ on computing • The Register. Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died. As Chicago […]

iPhone 4S Disappoints? What the hell is wrong with you people?

October 7, 2011 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve had this rant percolating in my head for the last few days, and can’t let it carry into the weekend, so you all with have to bear with me. First, the caveat: I’m a happy iPhone/iPad/MacBook user. These products are (for me) so clearly better than the products from other manufacturers that they replaced […]

Are ‘ham’ operators going the way of 8-tracks and VCRs?

September 7, 2011 | Amateur Radio, Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Jeff, KE9V pointed at the following article via Twitter: Are ‘ham’ operators going the way of 8-tracks and VCRs? The author actually meanders a bit (into the why we call it “ham radio”, for some odd reason, but his main point seems to be this: As National Public Radio found last March, amateur radio is […]

Some thoughts as Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple…

August 24, 2011 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Breaking news: Silicon Valley pioneer Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple, and Tim Cook will be stepping up from his previous role as chief operating officer to become CEO. This post talks a bit about my employer, Pixar Animation Studios, but in no way should be construed as anything but my own […]