Exploding Circuit Board catches on fire!

 

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Typical Circuit Board with Public Domain Image

A circuit board that catches on fire in your product does not make anyone happy.  I used to work at a company that had this unpleasant problem in a large electrical control panel for an industrial device involved with explosive atmospheres that was shipped around the world.  This problem made everyone very excited when it started happening on the clients factory floor according to what I was told.

I had never worked on that product line and was barely aware of its existence until my engineering supervisor called me and told me to immediately personally retrieve all of these circuit boards currently in our factory.  I was an electrical design engineer behind a desk at that company and had not yet had the privilege of interacting with everyone in the factory.  There were three boards in the factory at that time and it was relatively easy to retrieve the first two on the factory floor quickly with only minor violations of  factory protocol.

The final board was installed in a large six foot high electrical control cabinet that was packaged tightly in a strong 2 x 4 skid on the shipping dock by a waiting truck.  I asked the workers there if I could open the cabinet to retrieve the circuit board.  They all had a good laugh when I said that and one of them handed me a large crow bar as a joke.  Obviously, they didn’t know me that well. I used the crow bar to rip open the packaging and break the 2 x 4’s sufficiently to get the circuit board out of the cabinet. This rendered the product incapable of being delivered.  The dock workers seemed to be surprised at what I had done.  I returned the crow bar to them, thanked them for its use and wished them a good day.

A short time later there was a conference in my supervisors office about my unexpected actions during the circuit board retrieval.  Fortunately for me the workers had loaned me the crow bar so filing a grievance against me wouldn’t have been a desirable outcome.

My new assignment in life was to correct the defect in that exploding circuit board that a previous employee had designed.  I tested one and sure enough it started on fire when subjected to full heavy loads.  Eventually I figured out that one resister needed a massive increase in the amount of wattage it could handle and made a working model for mass production copies.  Who says that engineering can’t be fun?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five more ways to have a happy blog..

 

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Younger Judy

Here are five more ways to have a happy blog.

First you can always sell a physical item advertised on your blog.  I would like to develop a craft hobby of making modified glass bottle planters with various types of succulents planted in the bottles.  This is more for my enjoyment rather than making a mint. I will probably get around to doing this when I reach the ripe old age of 90 at the rate I am going.  If I manage to hang on to life until I am 100 years old my life insurance will refund all my premiums but I don’t think there is too much danger of that happening.

Second you could use a 3-D printer to print out physical objects for other people or to enhance other items you are selling.  Dremel makes a small printer of this nature which looks like a good bet for this type of minor business.  I always wanted a 3-D printer for my own personal use.  Problem for me, the printer costs about $1000 dollars so it would be a high initial investment and would probably take a long time to recover that investment even if everything went well.  Still worth looking at though.

Third you could write a technical advice column and offer simple advise on technology via phone for pay to people that need help .  Many older people find it difficult to get some types of technology working particularly the first time. This is probably not a way to get rich but it would help someone in need.

Fourth you could help sell products using affiliate marketing.  Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic that leads to sales.  It is necessary to build up a significant readership to make money in this manner.  There are many books on Amazon about affiliate marketing.  Do not try this with the Blogger platform because it is a total waste of time in my opinion.

Finally you could find a company willing to give you free samples of their product to test and review on your blog.  After testing and review is completed, I would use the product myself or it could be sold if it is valuable.  If anyone out there in the cyber world is interested in having their products reviewed on my blog please contact me.

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Four Good Books for Happy Blogging.

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My father doing farm work.

I have been reading a bunch of e-books on blogging in an effort to improve my own blog and help any fellow blogger.  All of these e-books were at one time free on Amazon when I did a search for promotional deals.  I have put together a library of several thousand quality Amazon e-books on many subjects just by taking advantage of promotions on Amazon over several years.  It is possible some may still be free or that very similar e-books may be free on Amazon at this time.  These five e-books have lots of excellent ideas on cross promoting your blog with different social media platforms for maximum leverage and making money online in general.

Blogging 201

Social Media Marketing when you have no clue!

Facebook Marketing Made (Stupidly) Easy (Punk Rock Marketing Collection 3)

Cracking The Website Code: Grow Your Own Online Business Faster With A Smarter Website and Savvy Marketing

Someday I may want to sell some of my artistic succulent bottle garden creations on this blog and other social media platforms. These books have given me a good start on my eventual plan of attack.  I probably won’t get very rich doing that but it does give me a chance to tell other people my opinions and learn a bit along the way.

Five ways to have a Happy Blog!

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Cattle feeding by grandparents trailer home

…I have learned a few things while configuring Glenn’s Way blog on WordPress.  The first way to have a happy blog is to use WordPress rather than Blogger.  WordPress has better free features and plenty of upgrade potential if you want to pay for more capabilities.  You need to be a little careful what you say on WordPress if you are not self-hosted because WordPress does not seem very tolerant of controversial opinions.  My ancient WordPress blog was turned off eons ago by an automatic process.  It was necessary to contact Lisa at WordPress to get my blog back online.  This irritated me at the time so I switched to Blogger but that was not the best idea I ever had.  Blogger proved to be a long lasting disappointment.

The second thing to consider is that you should use PayPal to collect any donations or payments.  PayPal is safe and easy to implement on WordPress.  Other forms of payment are a little risky and I wouldn’t use them on this blog however a large business/charity would also need to accept credit cards.

Third, do not expect to get rich quick from the proceeds of your blog. Keep your day job for awhile until you show a profit.  Maybe you will be the super blogger that hits it big but don’t bet the farm on it. Also, you can always sell the rights to your blog to someone else for cash if it does not strike it rich. Maybe they will have better fortune than you and you can show a little profit for your work.

Fourth, use a facebook business page to send traffic to your website.  I found the Amazon ebook   facebook marketing made (stupidly) easy to be very useful and I will probably implement many of the ideas in that book for my own facebook page and WordPress blog.

Lastly, have some type of premium content for profit.  Typically this could be an ebook on Amazon or possibly some type of course on your area of expertise.  It is a good idea to give some free samples to your readers so that they know what quality of product you have.

I have a ton or more ideas about blogging that I plan to share in future posts.  Please follow this blog by email if you don’t want to miss any!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lomira High School had a great Physics/Chemistry/Math teacher when I went there long ago….

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The best teacher I ever had was Mr. S. at Lomira High School in Lomira, Wisconsin.  He taught physics, chemistry and various types of math.  Most of the teachers at Lomira were pretty good but Mr. S was stellar.  I never realized how lucky we were to have a great group of teachers like that at lomira until I got to college and encountered some of the unique personality’s of the professors there.

Mr. S. dealt with a wide variety students from the most basic math classes to the most difficult science classes and I am fairly certain that most of his students thought he was top notch.  He had an excellent way of imparting knowledge and maintaining a good attitude while doing it.  He always included “Enrichment” knowledge in his lectures which he would tell you was not on the test but I always thought it was interesting.  I borrowed the word “Enrichment” from him to add to my blog title because I always liked it.  He let us play chess in class provided we finished all our work ahead of time and he was nice enough to be the faculty person for the chess club during my senior year.

I didn’t have a lot of extracurricular activities so being the chairman of the chess club was a great thing to put on my college applications.  I applied to a lot of colleges and I was accepted at several but I was surprised that M.I.T accepted me because my grades were not that outstanding. The M.I.T. representatives told me that the chess club activity combined with my unusually high ACT score test results were critical in getting me accepted.  Unfortunately, once I saw how much it would cost me to go to M.I.T. I realized it was far beyond my financial reach.  My guidance counselor told me that I had plenty of financial aid if I just picked a college in wisconsin so I chose MSOE instead. MSOE’s primary entrance test is to make sure that you can pay the tuition although once you are in there they don’t pull any punches on the difficulty of the work.

I have no idea if Mr. S. is even still alive or where he would be living but he could still teach some of the professors I encountered about how to teach.  His level of organization was so much higher that I was spoiled in high school and had to totally readjust in college to the attitudes of some professors.

One of my college chemistry professors showed up on the first day and wrote a bunch of assignments on the board.  He said that there was no reason to talk to us until we had done the assignments and then walked out the door.  It was supposed to be a two hour lecture and I was paying good money for this lazy son of gun to talk a little so he could of at least said something.  Maybe a word of advice or some enrichment.  At that moment I realized what a good teacher Mr. S. had been and I was glad I was not going major in chemistry at MSOE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should we really believe in science like Bill Nye says?

via Bill Nye Quotes – BrainyQuote

Bill Nye made two statements that are not entirely accurate and may not be good for humanity if followed to a logical conclusion.  Perhaps he may have simply made a minor error while talking with great enthusiasm but here are his quotes.

“Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back.”

“Science is the best idea humans have ever had. The more people who embrace that idea, the better.”

Both of these quotes sound kind of nice and would seem to be a good thing to tell the kids.  I am familiar with science being an electrical engineer.  My questions are can you really believe in science and is it the best idea humans have ever had?  Pure science has the potential to create amoral systems which are controlled by people who claim to have a greater knowledge of science.  Good science should teach us to question and examine everything to determine if it is real.  Science should not be a dogmatic religion that forbids questioning of those who know better.  Shaming people who don’t believe in your theory is an easy way to make sure that no one questions your theory.  What if your theory isn’t quite real or needs modifications?

It is necessary to have some type of good moral human control of the technology that science produces or we will produce problems for real people.  Good science is never settled by someone shaming you until you have to believe in it.  The best idea that humans have ever had is constitutional representative democracy combined with freedom of religion because it stops one group of self-proclaimed experts from telling everyone how to live their life.  Group consensus on a course of action is acceptable provided it does not infringe on a minority’s rights to believe and live the way they choose.  I always question the ulterior motives of anyone who is trying to shame me into choosing their perfect belief system and that includes scientific experts.

Scientific theories should not be made into a belief system religion that says any unbeliever is holding back humanity by questioning a settled scientific dogma.  Mr. Nye should know this since he is an engineer.  Engineer’s are required to make things work based on reality.  There are many scientific theory’s that do not have any actual application and this means there may not be a way of proving they are real although they may be true.  The belief system that Mr. Nye proposes in his statements is vague and it seems to unnecessarily insult anyone who questions any scientific theory.  Forcing someone to believe anything by using innuendo insults is inappropriate.  All science should instead be subject to question if real evidence suggests its modification.

 

 

 

 

How High Should the Great Wall Be ?

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I am not a cheer leader for everything that President Trump does but I don’t believe that everything he does is totally wrong either.  My father used to say that “Even a blind chicken picks up a piece of corn once in a while”.  Is President Trump as lucky as a blind chicken?  We will see.  No one can be wrong 100% of the time unless they really work at it.  He is clearly not as smooth as an experienced politician like Mike Pence but he is smart enough to win an election against Hillary Clinton.  He understands what motivates his voters.

Our country has a duty to regulate its border in order to protect its citizens from anything or anyone harmful.  The exact details of how we do that are open to legitimate debate but the basic principle seems reasonable to me.  Is it even possible to build a giant wall across our southern border?  Of course its possible, the Chinese finished their first great wall in 206 BC under the orders of the first Emperor of China without the aid of modern equipment.  Do we really need to build another great wall here in the United States or could we come up with a more cost effective solution?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more humane to allow more legal hard working immigrants that will contribute to our economy into this country.  If it were up to me I would give existing illegal immigrants amnesty and give them a path to citizenship provided they do not commit any crimes.  I would require legal immigrants to have a United States citizen sponsor who would be legally and financially responsible for them for a significant period of time such as 10 years before they could become a citizen.  There does need to be a real vetting process to prevent criminals/terrorists from entering this country along with significant monitoring time even after a person is allowed to immigrate to this country.  Other countries should also be able to share the burden of caring for refuges from oppression.  The United States is not the only country in the world and other developed countries need encouragement to take care of refugees also.

Building a giant wall across isolated areas of our border would not necessarily stop all illegal crossing of the border.  Monitoring by the border patrol is still required because drug traffickers will soon find a way to cross the great wall and this will open a method for others to cross.  We need to dry up the market for illegal drugs the same way we did by ending alcohol prohibition.  Alcohol is just as bad as other drugs and yet we do not have  illegal border traffic with alcohol as the cargo because we make legal alcohol here.  We need to legalize and regulate drugs like Marijuana.  Produce some less dangerous drugs similar to alcohol in the United States to improve our economy and prescribe them to be monitored by a physician.  This would cut down illegal border traffic activity and allow greater concentration on important border problems.

We still have a need for an effective method of stopping illegal border crossings in large isolated areas.  A wall may be cost effective in some crowded areas but it would not seem to be cost effective over very long runs of land consisting of empty desert.  We should develop drone aircraft for the border patrol capable of monitoring large areas of empty land from the air and destroying any type of dangerous cargo such as nuclear bombs, chemical weapons or biological weapons from the air using standard guns, missiles or lasers.  The capability to generate an electromagnetic pulse capable of disabling any unhardened vehicle or  aircraft in a targeted area should be included on a drone of this type.  I believe the new joint strike fighter being developed has such an EMP capability so it is not impossible.  Combine these armed drones with satellites and regular armed helicopters to prevent any unauthorized border crossings in isolated areas.

I also thought it should be possible to make a missile with an inexpensive non-lethal chemical warhead that could disable vehicles by releasing a cloud of some type of chemical or other agent that would foul the engines of any vehicle within range.  The ash from volcanoes has this  effect on aircraft so we should be able to come up with something just as effective mounted on a missile fired from a drone. Someone else has probably had this idea before but I haven’t seen it in print yet.  The non-lethal chemical warhead could also contain some type of UV glowing sticky paint that would mark people and make them easy to see and recover without hurting them.  This is currently done by police with ransom money.

We need non-lethal methods of stopping illegal border crossings in large isolated areas.  A simple wall or fence can always be breached unless it has an active defense so why not save the money spent on Trumps useless great walls and give the border patrol the tools and skilled manpower it needs to get the job done without risking the lives of Border Patrol agents or illegal immigrants.  An armed drone with sensors constituents a higher and more cost effective wall than the proposed “great wall” of President Trump and I believe it would be less politically offensive to Mexico and other countries.  A drone is essentially invisible until it is used so it would not be necessary to damage our diplomatic ties with our closest neighbors. Simple border walls would still be needed for some limited applications in urban areas and at points of allowed entry but these already exist for the most part.

I admire Hispanics and others that have enough guts to enter this country and risk their lives just so they can get a job and their children can have a better life.  That’s the type of people this country needs.  I am not worried about them hurting me or my family.  I am concerned that terrorists and criminals of any race/religion will use our lax border security to enter our country and kill us exactly like they did on 9/11 at the twin towers in New York city.  We should increase legal  immigration of people that will be good citizens and shut down any future unregulated illegal immigration.  The 9/11 attack or worse will happen again if we don’t control entry of dangerous people into this country.

 

 

 

Happy St. Patricks Day

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St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Engineers according to my former professors at Milwaukee School of Engineering.  A student used to be elected St Pat for the day and he had the power to shut down a class and dismiss it.  He would dress up in garb similar to the pope and have a court with people ringing bells and blowing smoke.  St Pat would go from class to class cutting the ties off of professors and dismissing the class.  If the professor refused to open the door to have his tie cut off the court would ring bells and blow smoke under the door of the classroom until the situation improved.  I don’t remember many of my classes at MSOE but I do remember when our advanced calculus topics  professor tried to delay the court of St Pat shutting down his class.  St  Pat eventually won.  I wonder what was in that smoke that they were blowing under the door because it always seemed to be effective at shutting down the class.  Engineers know how to have fun at least at MSOE.

Glenn

 

Your TV is watching you

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My wife was right.  She has been saying for years that the government can use our TV to spy on us.  We have been putting on quite a show for the government people listening and watching us so I think we should get paid for our past entertainment services.  I used to get paid about $50 per hour for my time 20 years ago and I think I should get the same back pay hourly compensation for both my wife and myself.  We should also be compensated for our cat’s time.  I may be easy going but my services are not cheap.

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Wikileaks leaked some secret documents that show how the intelligence agencies get this nefarious job done.  Smart phones, TV’s and other internet connected devices can be used to spy on a person in their home. I would like to think that a search warrant would be needed first but there are no guarantees in my opinion. If the government can do it then I suspect that hackers and other criminals will also use this capability for illegal purposes.  Even Mark Zuckerberg was caught putting masking tape over the camera on his computer and you would think that he might know more about the situation than the average person.

My policy is that I’m good with all that.  In fact, I feel kind of valuable just knowing that someone considers my life worth spying on.  It might be pretty boring watching me so I don’t know why someone would want to do it. It doesn’t really do any good to hide anything about yourself because everything always becomes public eventually anyways if someone wants to make it public using the internet. It is difficult to threaten a person with public ridicule if they just don’t care what anybody thinks. I do care a little what people think about me just not that much.  Rich people with something to hide may have a different view of the situation.Politicians would really need to live in fear.  So if you can’t stop it you might as well look at the positive aspects.

 

 

 

 

Tech Poetry !

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Joshua Sellnow: Terzanelle

A DSL Hell

A CPU devil dwells
on an evil desktop throne
in a DSL hell.

All hope of sleep and real world freedom gone,
a hacker demon sits here, its keystroke unlocking a cyber abyss,
on an evil desktop throne.

The incessant, infernal loading time persists
as the computer eats a paperback’s soul.
A hacker demon sits here, it’s keystrokes unlocking a cyber abyss.

The endless clicking and typing is taking it’s toll
on a damned former novelist staring, tormented,
as the computer eats a paperback’s soul.

The imps dance on the shores of the digital stygian water
surrounded by megabyte flames
as the damned former novelist stares, tormented.

Playing pernicious, diabolic software games
a CPU devil dwells
surrounded by megabyte flames
in a DSL Hell.