May 14, 2013
Today I had a visit from the Alameda County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program who offer a free lead consultation for owners of pre-1978 homes. Mine's 1939 so mostly certainly has lead in it, and not being one to turn down free education that could help keep me healthy...
Lead is a pollutant and poison, and especially bad for children as their organs are still developing and less able to flush it out as adults. There's now no safe minimum for lead so controlling it as much as possible is the goal. In 1978, lead in paint was banned for residential use). As paint ages it peels and the lead dust can enter the atmosphere. My county, Alameda, offers free inspections to help homeowners contain lead.
The visit was about an hour long and consisted of a visual inspection of any painted surface. My inspector, Gabrielle, was looking for signs of age, and peeling. Fortunately, having a remodel, my house is in good shape. But knowing which areas were higher risk (older) was useful to know in case of future work.
Here are my quick notes:
August 14, 2009
On the way home from a fabulous meal with some old and new friends in town I was asked if I wanted to buy a Big Issue by a young woman. She was clutching a single, ragged copy of the homeless magazine and I jokingly said "but you're gonna keep that aren't you?" She said "yes, it's the only one I have but I need money for a hostel".
I hear this line all the time and have wondered exactly what the mechanics of it are. So I asked, we got chatting, and I was told, in great detail.Continue reading "There but for the grace of God"
April 21, 2009
Leaving the Google building...My last day after a little over three fabulous years at Google is Friday May 1st. I'll be off to help build a company I part-own that tracks media sentiment, providing companies with an insight into how they're perceived by those writing about them (newspapers, blogs, tweeple, etc). This has some interesting applications in quantifying the effects of PR campaigns, organizational changes and other corporate decisions, marketing, and so on. There is some interesting research, some of which we've published, in the area of who media sentiment correlates with stock prices. Perhaps the most compelling for me though is the ethical angle: if a company knows how it's "rated" by everyone else, what better way of encouraging good corporate behavior?
One unusual aspect of this company is that we don't encourage people to work more than four days a week, so people have three day weekends, or one-day midweek breaks. I personally believe that the 9-6, five days/week schedule is bad for creativity, if you wish to have any creativity outside of your workplace.
20% Life Project: I have been getting increasingly interested in currency trading aka forex and now actually have the risk capital to pursue it seriously; I've taken a bunch of courses and been trading with some success on demo accounts. My goal is to be profitable (by my strict standards) so I can trade while travelling this summer. We'll see... I'd love to hear from more folks doing this professionally or who can show profits on demo accounts. I have already made arrangements to stake a trader.
Where next?I don't have immediate concrete plans to leave Ireland but London is calling so that's the longer term plan.
That said, I'm open to anything happening, as anyone who's heard the story of how I ended up in Texas knows...
US & World TourIn the medium term, I'm off to Vegas early July coinciding with the World Series of Poker No Limit Tournaments (as a spectator!) and will try to get around the US before or after that. My fantasy is to catch up with everyone I know in the US so let me know if you're around during the Summer!
Visit Dublin?Talking of traveling & couchsurfing: I now live alone in a very central Dublin flat so now have a spare double room, so if you had plans to visit Dublin, now's your chance!
November 1, 2008
Mostly of interest to my family, my mum Eira's been writing up stories about the families she's connected to, here it is: Eira Makepeace's Family History.
May 24, 2008
Sunday 25th May 2008
18.33 - 18.39
Halfway along Grafton Street, near the clock outside Barratts: map
The Grand Central Freeze:
March 9, 2008
What's an easy way of driving a ton of LEDs? Unfortunately the the Arduino boards can only sink or source about 40mA on each pin, which is enough to drive a few LEDs at most.
Here's how to drive up to eight LED clusters or other high current device off a single, cheap 18-pin IC with no extra components.
March 8, 2008
To control any more than 12 LEDs on an Arduino board requires a bit of trickery. The Diecimila with its Atmega168 chip has 14 digital output pins, but you somewhat lose two from the TX/RX serial pins on 0 and 1 leaving just 12 pins. Today I built an LED matrix with 20 lights using nine pins,
The technique is to light row by row, and rely on our persistence of vision effect. Playing around with the delay it seemed like 3ms for a total of 15ms (five rows) was about the point where flicker just started being noticeable.
Geeky detail after the fold...Continue reading "Arduino showing multiplexed LED matrix"