February 2020

wed feb 5
First … hats off to Mitt Romney.

In other news …
I needed to glue some paper to some wood, and the only spray adhesive I’ve got is for:
“foil, foam, paper, metal, plastic, fabric, cardboard, and insulation.”
Should I use it or not?
For once, I ‘threw the winds to caution’ and I did a test piece.
It seemed to work.

sat feb 8
I’m not much of a music connoisseur, but usually, I know it from noise.
Today is the day after a big snow storm, and I decided to go for a walk. It was calm and bright, cold and white, and I headed up the hill past the pig farm next door.
A car passed me, pulled over in front of Herbie’s, and the driver went inside. I kept walking, and I could hear music from up ahead, and it got louder as I got closer to the parked car.
“What kind of an idiot leaves his radio blaring while he’s gone inside,” I thought?
I kept walking past the car, but the music kept getting louder. Finally I drew even with the barn, and I realized that the ‘music’ I’d been listening to was just the pigs squealing up a ruckus inside.
It weren’t music, but it had a hell of a melody.

sat feb 22
A few months ago, the oven failed to cool down when I shut it off. I toggled the switch vigorously, and the problem ‘went away.’ Until the other day.
The other day, I set the oven to 250 degrees and went downstairs. 15 minutes later, an alarm went off, and I went to investigate. The oven was waaay hot, flashing an error code, and generally haywire. I hit the breaker and took a thermocouple reading.
550 degrees! Something was very wrong.
Don’t even think about calling a repairman. Not my style.
I pulled the oven out of the cabinet and looked it over.
I took off the cover plate and exposed the control board.
I googled the hell out of it. The Bosch site is one of those legendarily awful sites with everything except for what you’re looking for. Even on the rest of the web, I couldn’t find a Bosch service manual, and I thought that was mighty strange.
But I’m an exceptionally bright guy, so I took some measurements, figured out the problem, and ordered a part. “It’s a good thing I’m exceptionally bright,” I thought to myself. “How the heck would a normal person fix such a problem?”
I grunted, shook my head, and started putting the oven back together.

And there …
On the back of the cover plate …
Was the maintenance documentation. In good old paper and ink.
Telling you exactly how to do it.


tue feb 25
Occam’s Razor says that “the simplest explanation is usually the right one.
That’s why, when the openCV GaussianBlur() function didn’t work on the gpu, my first thought was to try using medianBlur() instead. It worked, but it didn’t speed up, and it didn’t really make sense. Maybe Occam’s razor wasn’t so sharp after all?
It had been a tough 2 weeks. I’d struggled with my threading, meddled with my mutexes, and mangled my histograms. Not to mention the new-fangled gpu api!!
What could be wrong?
Everything. Murphy and Occam are in cahoots.
I worked to get it working and, at first, Nothing worked.
I cleaned up the threading, so ‘only everything else’ was broken.
I fixed the mutexes.
It dawned on me that setUseOpenCL() only works on a per-thread basis. (Whoa!!)
Pretty soon I was down to one last problem, and ‘only everything else’ worked fine.
But I’d gone full circle, and the one thing that still didn’t work was GaussianBlur().
Could it be that I’m doing nothing wrong, and GaussianBlur() is broken?
It’s never happened before, but it sure makes things simple.
So Occam was right after all, and it took me 2 weeks to prove it.

I snuffed out the Last Known Big Problem this morning, and C3PR is running like gangbusters.
I am Feeling Fine.

Occam aside, simplicity seems to be a zero-sum ideal.
Here are the old and new hand assemblies.
It isn’t much simpler, but it’s way better.

sat feb 29
Short month. Short blog post. I know you hunger for more.
It seems as though I can program or I can blog, but not both.
So take heart: I got a lot of programming done.


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