December 14, 2010

Racing at Thunderhill - 0

My wife and I took our Carrera up to the Thunderhill raceway this past weekend and put almost 250 track miles on the car. The car performed beautifully and we were both signed off for solo as well as cleared to advance to the intermediate group. Here's a little taste of driving at Thunderhill:

January 26, 2009

Building an RV-7 - 0

Now that I'm nearly done with one all-consuming project (building the kitchen), I'm moving on to another (building an airplane). I'm building a Van's RV-7. Since we already have a 4 seat cross country plane for taking family trips (and since the vast majority of my flights are local and just for fun), a sport plane makes the most sense. The RV-7 is fast (over 200 mph), aerobatic, takes off and climbs like a bat out of hell (for short fields and mountain airports), and basically just a blast to fly. This is probably a 2-3 year project (hopefully). Like the kitchen, I'll be updating a separate blog just for this. You can read about it here.

October 21, 2008

Windows - 0

I seriously don't understand how the fuck people put up with Windows and Windows software. I have to use Windows for exactly two things: updating the Jeppesen NavData database and the Garmin Terrain/Obstacle databases for our GNS-530W. Every month it is a new adventure for me. Twice now, Windows has automatically rebooted itself right in the middle of updating the NavData database. I can understand Microsoft wanting to make automatic reboots the default given that they built such an insecure operating system, but come on, at least look to see if there are any apps actively doing work! On top of that, I've spent over 10 hours on the phone with Garmin tech support trying to track down why I was getting an error updating the obstacle database. Apparently, when run under Parallels or VMWare Fusion emulation, their software corrupts the data card and the only recourse is to get them to replace the card. I assume most people simply don't realize that computers don't have to be this lousy.

June 29, 2008

Madeline Sophia Beaver - 0

Madeline Sophia was born at 7:04pm tonight. She weighed 5lbs 11ozs and was 19in long. More information can be found on her blog.


December 5, 2007

Avionics Upgrade - 0

We're upgrading the avionics in our plane. We're adding a Garmin GMA-347 audio panel, Garmin GNS-530W WAAS capable GPS/NAV/COM, Garmin GTX-330 transponder (with traffic display on the 530), GPSS, and a JPI EDM-800 engine monitor.

Pictures can be found here.

November 18, 2007

Instrument Rating - 0

I passed my instrument checkride!!!

I did all the training in the Cardinal which is a really nice IFR platform. I believe we at least tied the record that my instructor previously set for the most mechanical problems a student faced during training. During the course of the training, we had to replace the alternator and heading indicator, get a loaner transponder because ours failed, had the autopilot serviced, and experienced a static source blockage that caused the altimeter and airspeed indicator to fail in flight. We've got all the bugs worked out of the plane now, and with the new avionics stack we're putting in, it's going to be a fantastic IFR plane.

After the avionics are installed, the plane will be capable of legally flying basically every type of instrument approach in the US. I'll probably spend the entire month of January just learning to fly GPS, DME, DME arcs, LNAV/VNAV, and LPV approaches plus just getting used to efficiently managing the new avionics in flight.

May 11, 2007

Plane - 0

I bought an airplane (well a 1/4 share of one anyway). It's a 1977 Cessna Cardinal. Pictures can be seen here.

August 19, 2006

Kitchen Remodel - 0

We're remodeling our kitchen. Instead of putting all the details here, I've created a separate blog just for the remodel. You can view it here.

March 2, 2005

Google Maps Bookmarklet - 0

Like most people, Google maps has completely replaced Mapquest for my mapping needs. Now when some random site sends you to Mapquest, you can use this bookmarklet to look up the same map or driving directions with Google maps.

It works fine in all modern browsers I've tried except for IE, but you shouldn't be using IE anyway.

December 18, 2004

Jenn in the San Francisco Chronicle - 0

TiVo was giving away free 40 hour DVRs yesterday from 11-1. Jenn and Matthew got there at about 10:30 am, and there were about 800 people already in line (some started lining up at around 5:15 am). Since she had Matthew with her, she attracted the attention of some reporters who took a few pictures of her.

You can see the article here.

June 21, 2004

Space Ship One Launch - 0

Matthew, Jenn and I went to the Space Ship One launch at the Mojave airport today. We left about 10 pm last night and got to the airport about 3:30 this morning. The launch was scheduled for about 6:30, so we were able to get pretty good seats.

We were pretty worried that the launch was going to be scrubbed since it was extremely windy when we got there. We heard that winds were gustings to 70kts overnight, but fortunately they all but completely subsided by 6 am or so.

The launch itself was pretty unexciting, just a few chase planes taking off followed by White Knight (the launch vehicle). Nothing much happened for the next hour or so as the planes climbed to around 50,000 feet east of the airport.

At about 7:45, they called 5 minutes to the launch and told everyone where to start looking. Unfortunately, the place to look was just below and fairly close to the sun, so it was really hard to pick up the contrails until they actually lit the rocket. Once the rocket lit, it was really easy to see the contrail, but it disappeared into the sun for a few seconds. Once he was above the position of the sun in the sky, it was easy to follow. The burn went from approximately 10 degrees above the horizon (50,000 feet about 35nm E) to roughly straight above our heads in about 80 seconds. It was an awesome sight.

After the burn, we didn't hear much for several minutes as the space ship continued upwards, reached apogee, and started heading down. Within a few minutes, they gave us an unconfirmed report that he had indeed made it into space. After 10 minutes or so, we caught sight of the space ship hooking up with the chase planes for the trip down. They circled several times right over our heads until the space ship was low enough to land.

After landing, they towed Space Ship One (with Mike Melvill standing on top) in front of the public viewing area for pictures.

Here are most of the pictures from the event. I'm still waiting on one roll of B&W film I shot.

Click the picture for more details.

February 23, 2004

Matthew's Dresser - 4

I finally finished Matthew's Dresser. It took WAY longer than I expected (over six months), but I probably spent less than 150 hours total. That's still a lot, but I could probably do it in half the time if I were to do it again.

Click the picture for more details.

November 7, 2003

Technorati - 0

Technorati sorts news based on references in blogs. This effectively sorts news based on what the population thinks is interesting rather that what the news organizations think is interesting.

October 31, 2003

Trouble reading this site? - 0

If you have trouble reading this site, you might try this.

July 19, 2003

Router Table - 3

I finally finished the router table extension for my table saw. Going to the hospital every day really cuts into your free time (not that I mind).

Click on the picture for more details.

June 24, 2003

Details on Matthew - 0

If you are interested in daily updates on Matthew's status, please click on the "matthew" link to the left or click here.

June 21, 2003

Matthew Clay Beaver - 0

For some reason that the doctors haven't figured out yet, Jenn went into early labor friday (June 20, 2003) morning. The doctors did what they could to stop the labor, but were unsuccessful. Matthew Clay Beaver was born at 8:50 AM, Saturday June 21, 2003. He weighed 1lb, 11oz and was 13 inches long. Jenn was only 24 weeks along (just over 5 months), so he's very early. He's stable for the moment, but things are critical at this stage.

June 2, 2003

It's a...BABY! - 0

We had our third ultrasound's a boy!!! Now to pick a name...we're currently waffling between Chester Floyd and Enos Wilburt...

If you have any problems viewing the video, upgrade to the latest version of QuickTime. If you're using an older browser, you may have to right click on the image and save the file to disk before watching it.

May 17, 2003

Sharp - 0

While changing the blade on my bandsaw, my forearm decided to bump into the ascending side of the blade. A lot of lost blood and 10 stitches later, I have a newfound respect for it. I think I'm going to leave the blood stains on the saw as a reminder...

April 19, 2003

New Bandsaw - 0

I love my wife! We stopped by Harbor Freight Tools to return something, and she asks me if there are any new tools I need (Did I mention how much I love my wife?). I'd been looking at bandsaws recently, and they just happened to have their 14" bandsaw on sale for $219. Other than a cheap blade, it's actually nicer than I expected it would be. I'd been looking at the Grizzly and Ridgid saws, and I'm not sure they're any better quality.

New Job - 0

I have a new job at Apple, working in the Internet Services group. It's neat...

March 29, 2003

Second ultrasound - 0

We had our second ultrasound this past monday. You can now start to see the little guy's arms, legs, ribcage and facial structure...definitely humanoid.

March 24, 2003

New table saw... - 0

So I decided on the Ridgid TS3612 table saw. I was seriously considering the Powermatic model 64, but I just couldn't justify the extra $300 for what you get. Yeah yeah, I know the Powermatic has a cast iron trunion and the Ridgid's is aluminum...I'm not convinced it matters. I would have liked the solid cast iron wings and biesemeyer fence (even though the biesemeyer clone that comes with the 64 is a little wimpy), but they're not worth $300. I didn't seriously look at the Jet and Delta contractor saws because I really want a left tilt saw for safety reasons. I didn't look at the Craftsman saws for obvious reasons.

I'm actually quite surprised at the quality of this saw. The table is flat within 0.012" (would be crap for a jointer, but fine for a table saw). The fence locks within 0.002" of parallel every time. Runout on the blade is 0.003", but I'm going to replace it with a Forrest Woodworker II blade anyway. The scale is darn accurate as well. I was able to make repeated cuts within 0.002" using just the scale to set the fence.

I also know Rigid power tools are discontinued; I'm not too worried about it though. Emerson has been around for a LONG time, and they'll have replacement parts as long as I would ever need them.

March 12, 2003

Time for more tools... - 0

So I've decided that I'm going to build a crib and a dresser for the little guy, and I think we've decided on this crib. I guess that means it's time to buy some new tools :-). I've been doing a little research on all of the new multi-base routers on the market. I bought and returned the Porter-Cable 693VSPK. It comes with a nice fence, but the plunge base sucks and it's a little underpowered. In the end, I ended up getting the DeWALT DW618PK. It's a snap to switch bases, and it's got more horsepower. I also picked up a starter kit of Whiteside router bits. They're a little on the pricey side, but they're great. Next up, a real table saw.

February 21, 2003

It's Official - 2

The doctor hasn't confirmed it's human yet, but we're hopeful...

February 13, 2003

Moore's Law - 0

For an article written in April, 1965, Moore got it amazingly right...

January 30, 2003

Clowns - 0

Why are some people afraid of clowns? They're so nice...not like skeletons, they're scary...

January 25, 2003

Penn is cool... - 0


January 23, 2003

Never hurts to ask... - 0

Our landlord just dropped our rent $400 a month. Hmmm, I wonder what new toys there are...

January 22, 2003

Splat! 1.1 - 0

Splat! 1.1 has been released. This version includes a new board editor.

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