Monthly Archives: November 2015

By The Mark

One of my favorite songs is Stevie Ray’s Life by the Drop and it’s the way I try to live my life (i.e. mindfulness). When things get weird I pull a Swift and shake it off. Lately, I’ve noticed a higher level of consciousness evolving that I call living Life by the Mark.

Marks are continually occurring events of significance that I look forward to completing. The end of the work day, hump day, Friday, payday and big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last Thursday evening as I settled into my warm office to compose a post, I gave myself a silent little fistbump, another big mark down!

The ultimate mark every year is the last day of school around here, when I can take a deep breath and start planning my summer vacation. As the Fall approaches, I start the process all over again…

Here’s a snippet from Life By The Drop by Stevie Ray Vaughan:

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New Frehq

My latest app Frehq uses a sophisticated JQuery ajax technique called promises which is a deferred object that can handle multiple callbacks asynchronously and relay the success or failure state of each function back to the app as it happens. When you click Submit the program sends out a request to each RSS feed you have selected, simultaneously. As each feed comes back I turn the count indicator red and it’s fascinating to see the sequence they arrive, in real time.

I’ve also implemented a timeout value which stops each process if it exceeds x number of seconds. The default is five seconds, but you can adjust that value with the new slider at the bottom. If any selection exceeds the timer the control turns yellow, the whole thing stops, and you can de-select the slow retrieving feed or bump the timeout value up higher. This gives you control over how much time you’re willing to invest in receiving the content, and the flexibility I’m able to create just blows my old programmers mind!

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Sand Bags

The general theory of traction relativity while driving in the Rockies states that all-wheel drive Subarus are the best, followed by four-wheel drive, and then front-wheel drive, vehicles. Little rear-wheel drive trucks like mine don’t even fit in the equation.

My snow tires are top of the line Hankooks but I needed some weight over the rear end so I stopped into ACE and got four eighty pound sand bags. At five bucks a piece, it’s a great economical way to create 320lbs of traction.

I’m not sleeping back there and we can use the sand in the yard come Spring.

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Telomeres

Telomeres are the caps at the ends of our chromosomes that protect the DNA code of the genome. Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides and at a certain point when they reach a critical length, the cell can no longer divide and will die.

This is the human aging process and scientists are working on techniques to lengthen telomeres as a means of delaying the process, but there are things you can do to protect telomeres from shortening prematurely, such as eating a diet rich in antioxidants.

Cayenne pepper is antioxidant rich. Just saying…

My morning drink is a small can of V8 mixed with one teaspoon each of:
• Cayenne pepper (the hottest I can buy)
• Turmeric root (from the curcuma longa plant)
• Hawthorn berry (ground up in the coffee grinder)

It’s delicious! (Ok, maybe not…)

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Thanksgiving 15

It was another great Thanksgiving at my sisters mansion at the foot of the Tetons. Sis finally has all of her kids living here in the Valley and everyone seems pretty happy about it. Crazy uncle Jim was also there with his partner Steph and he brought along his cool scanner and a great corn dish. Click the photo below to see more…

… and the dogs were kept on the deck until after dinner:

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Award

Steph’s office just won a prestigious award from Suburban Propane corporate. Actually, since Steph is the sole proprietor of this office and totally runs the show (her boss comes over the hill from Jackson once a week, does a conference call and then splits), this really is Steph’s Award. There wasn’t any money attached, but profit margin does equate to year end bonus.

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Five Letters

New five letter domain names suggestive of a real word are a rarity in the internet world as 2015 comes to an end, and my recent acquisition of frehq.com has stirred up a ton of interest from the site hustlers of the world. I’m getting email, and phone calls directly to my cell, from shysters that want to create a website for me at that domain. I suspect they have an algorithm that searches for new short domain names.

This begs the question, why would I buy a domain name without having the html5, css3, jquery and php chops to build a functional site myself and be capable of implementing it on the Bluehost servers that present my work to the world from Utah?

I suppose there are idiots out there that grab domain names and hope the world comes knocking on their door, and from what I see, the world will come knocking, but it would be really stupid, to answer…

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Cold Bus

Our backup bus was pretty frozen up when I came to work this morning. I start her up every few days and keep the power going to her block heater, but Rocky Mountain winters show no mercy. Here’s the front grill:

And here’s the passenger side headlight housing:

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Frehqed

I gave up waiting for RadioReference to issue me a key to their API. I guess I wasn’t destined to create a radio frequency app, oh well. So, I took the great Symegry template that I’d ported over to the $6 domain name frehq.com I bought yesterday, and made a similarly useful app.

This program takes the top six tech blogs with big full images and converts them into a responsive app across all platforms. It’s a great way to get current with technology.

I created this app in one day, like today. Click the image below to try it out:

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Juice Right

I’m getting pretty good at this juicing thing. I set out just the right amount of carrots, celery and beets this morning to make a very full canister. One more piece of anything would have flowed it over.

And it filled a couple of jars quite nicely…

Steph asked (from Tennessee) how much snow was down, not much…

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Frehq

I decided to play around with the RadioReference API today, of which I am a member thanks to a $15 charge to my PayPal. They possess a database of scanner frequencies around the world and supposedly allow you access to it if you are really a software developer, and they approve you.

Well, I am, so I just created a new website called frehq.com (pronounced freak) and then requested an API key from this address. That was several hours ago and I’m still waiting for approval, spinning my wheels while trying to decide if I can do anything productive with their data.

I’m certainly spoiled by the big players, like Google, who grant API keys immediately. The best part about this little project so far is that my provider BlueHost only charged me $5.99 for the name. I took the core code from my latest project Symegry and whipped up a shell, that has no function yet, and it looks like this!

Six bucks for a domain name that’s good for a year, you can’t beat that…

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Frequency Serendipity

I’ve connected the top of the line RS-800Mz antenna to my state of the art BCD436HP scanner, and the result is radio frequency serendipity! My next addition to this bad boy setup is the Uniden BC-GPSK which is a GPS unit that gathers up all the action frequencies based on your current location.

Which means, as I travel around next summer, the scanner will automatically present the local frequencies to me as I drive through small town America. There’s no need to get it now since I’m hunkered down for the winter, but it will definitely be sitting next to my Garmin next Spring.

I created this image tonight, btw… Here’s the BC-GPSK below:

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Slick Roads

Our first major snowstorm of the season is going down today and like every first snow around here, the roads are really slick. I think it’s due to a grease buildup, but what do I know. Anyway, Targhee opens tomorrow and they must be smiling up there.

I’ve been listening to my scanner today and local dispatch called this one officer to respond to a rollover in the dry farms off Hwy 33 and he was pretty flustered having just cleared one scene and on his way to assist with a jack-knifed semi on Hwy 32. He asked dispatch for a description of the vehicle and she replied: “It’s a vehicle that’s rolled over.” Sorry, but I laughed out loud. (I already knew there were no injuries…)

I’m home now, hunkered down in the warm comfort of my man cave office, still listening to the drama unfolding around me. We have a major accident going on now just north of Driggs and everyone is on the scene. The fire department is extricating…

Wrecks are happening all over the place now, mostly vehicles sliding into the ditch. The statement by the dispatcher just now summed the latest incident up: “I’ll have somebody respond, as soon as somebody clears“, and then I heard her sigh…

I realize how relatively less complicated and stressful my job is compared to our first responders. Other than driving in dangerous conditions the only thing that stressed me out today was closing the door too early on a little munchkin. She was fine, but I beat myself up over it all the way home. Compared to what these folks undergo on a daily basis, I have no complaints. Now, where is my lap kitty?

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First

I have a new first pickup of the morning north of Hatches Corner in Tetonia and this 0740 ride works out great. I pull up to the gate, the boys mom spots me, drives on out, and then walks her son on the bus. I don’t even have to leave my warm seat. I then backtrack to Hatches, wait ten minutes for any Com School kids to arrive, and then head South. When I arrive at the Driggs Elementary the boy is met by a teacher and walked off the bus and then I drive to Victor and drop the Com Kids off. Sweet!

Later on today I was fueling up at the Exxon and guess what rolled up on my right: The Number One! You see, around here the old (i.e. lower) license numbers are a coveted property. My co-worker Karens number is around 200 something and she was born and raised here. Stephs and mine are in the 20 thousands!

I ran into the nice old couple that owned this little Rav 4 in the store and got one of those great nods from the old guy, the kind you can only get around here. They had Teton Valley royalty written all over them. I’ll bet Karen knows them…

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Door Pull

Winter is here and the house is cold. Heat management is critical so sometimes innovative measures are called for. As the evening evolves I turn the base heater in my bedroom up, crank the electric blanket to about eight, and close the door so everything warms up.

When we go to bed (that would be me and the cat), Piper picks her spot and I conform my body around her. Sometimes her choice sucks so I scoop her ten pounds up in the middle of the night and plop her down somewhere out of the way, but I digress…

The real problem is that when she gets up to go potty or get a midnight snack she leaves the damn door open! So, I lay there thinking about all that precious heat flowing out the door into the rest of the cold house, and of course I get up and close it when she returns, which messes with my sleep state.

Here’s my latest version of the door pull system. I did this once before but it was down at floor level and this one goes high. I used gorilla tape and some soft little hair bands and I will find out tonight how it works.

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