General Archive

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back from Vacation

Sorry for no posts last week - I was on vacation (I didn't announce it beforehand because, well, even though this blog isn't very widely read, there's no sense in advertising that my house will be empty for a week). Anyway, we went to D.C. Yeah, I lived inside the beltway for a few years, so I've already seen most of the touristy stuff, but my wife had only ever been there once for an afternoon, and my daughter had never been there. So, we looked at all the monuments, went to the museums, and even got to see my family one day. I'll post photos when I get a chance to review them (my wife took over 1300 photos with her new digital camera). Anyway, back to regular posting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is It Weird to Use 'Dear' in Formal Letters?

LetterI was looking up business letters to double check the formatting for a letter I was getting ready to send, when I was reminded of a thought I often have, that it seems really weird to use 'dear' at the start of a formal letter. I realize that 'dear' can mean valuable or precious (as in, 'you'll pay dearly'), but really, how often in spoken language do we refer to people as 'dear' unless it's, pardon the expression, a term of endearment? I would never dream of addressing another engineer as 'dear' when talking to them on the phone. In fact, I have a feeling they'd be a bit offended at the assumed familiarity. I know I'd be taken aback if someone other that a really, really close friend or relative called me 'dear.' So why does everyone do it at the start of letters?

Apparently, I'm not the first person to wonder this same thing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carter Wind Energy

Carter 300 Wind TurbineI just wanted to make a short post to advertise a new website, Carter Wind Energy. If the name sounds familiar to anybody who knows me, it should. The Carter family has been involved in wind turbines for quite a while, now. Jay Carter, Sr. has been making turbines for decades, and still has his company, Wind Eagle Turbines. Jay Carter, Jr. struck out on his own to make larger turbines with Carter Wind Systems in the 70s, which he later sold before starting Carter Aviation Technologies. Now, Matt Carter is trying to get into the business with Carter Wind Energy (he's targeting a different niche than Wind Eagle Turbines, so he's not competing with Jay Carter, Sr.) He's been working on the project for a while, now, but just recently asked me to create the website. (I've done a little analysis for him, as well, but haven't had the time to work on the project as much as I've wanted to.) Anyway, go take a look at the website. There are bound to be several small changes in the coming weeks as we tweak the layout. Constructive criticism is definitely welcome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few Comments

I've once again put way too much effort into responding to a comment. In the entry, Ray Comfort: Quote Miner Extraordinaire, someone left a short comment about there being no evidence for evolution, and about me being a "secular version of Ray Comfort." So, I left a lengthy comment disagreeing.

On another note, if anyone tried to access the blog earlier this week, you may have discovered a blank page. Apparently, my hosting company decided to set my disk space quota to 100 MB (well below what my site actually uses, and well, well below what the limit had been in the past), which kept the blog from rebuilding correctly. I don't know how long it had been down before I noticed, but hopefully it wasn't too long. Once I contacted the hosting company, they were pretty quick to correct the problem, and I now have plenty of disk space for the time being.

Between the time I spent resolving the hosting issue, and the time I spent writing that comment, I doubt I'll have time to make a real post this week.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Casio EX-F1 - First Impression of the High Speed Video

We recently purchased a Casio EX-F1 where I work. This is a pretty high end digital camera, mostly intended for still photography, but we basically bought it for a single reason - to record high speed video. You see, we do a fair amount of testing on new propeller and rotor designs. These spin pretty fast, and if there's a problem, things can happen too quickly for a conventional camcorder to capture much. We've always wanted to use a high speed video system, but traditional options are expensive and a bit out of our budget. The cheapest traditional system I found was $5000, with prices more typically in the 5 figures, and going up into 6 figures for high end systems. So, when the Casio EX-F1 came out, offering high speed video at under $1000, I researched it, and decided that it would be a good option for us.

I took the camera home with me for a weekend to figure out the settings, and we've started using it at work, so I've had a chance to see how it works. I haven't exhaustively put it through its paces, but I figured that my first impression might still be valuable to some people. And even if you aren't considering purchasing this camera, high speed videos are still cool to watch.

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