A Tribute to my Father

8 June 2015

Fred Cox 1998

1998 photo for his church


I lost my dad last Friday evening, the 5th of June, 2015. He was unable to recover from surgery to remove an infected appendix. All his kids had a chance to visit him in the hospital earlier that week. He died at his home.

So it’s time to bid him farewell with this little illustrated tribute, with photos provided mostly by him (scanned and printed with a color laser printer, then re-scanned into images by me).

Background

Edward Cox

Edward Cox probably from 1930’s

My father’s grandfather was Edward, an Englishman living in Canada. My father got to visit him there not long before he died, and this photo probably dates from that period.

Edward was a carpenter, wood carver and musician. He was affiliated with several military bands over the course of his stay in Canada (Vancouver) and he is shown wearing the ceremonial garb he might have worn while performing in, or leading, such a band.

Edward had one son by his second marriage, my dad’s father. He lost his carpentry business in a fire, and his marriage. So his son Frederick grew up with a “foster” family for many of his years in Canada.

Ethel and her son Fred

My dad as a child with his mom

Around 1920 Frederick moved to the Hollywood area, later becoming a US citizen. He married a girl named Ethel and their son was my Dad.

Fred Senior and Polly

Dad’s father with his second wife

Ethel got killed in a car crash when my dad was a kid. His father took 18 months to recover from his crash injuries, and meanwhile my dad lived with one of his cousins. His dad finally re-married, and Polly became my dad’s mom for the rest of his younger years.

Dad spoke and wrote some of growing up in the LA area. He had to learn an instrument, which he didn’t much enjoy. He also got to work with cars, which I think he enjoyed more. And as an older boy he was a counselor in a summer camp for kids.

He wrestled, apparently, with some of the existential questions of life. With what was important, and what not. With what was true and what pretense. And what God really was. So when it was time to go to college, he studied (among other things, I suppose) philosophy. He kept a few books from those years, and I read them when I was a teenager.

My dad met my mom in college – UCLA. In a “social psychology” class, he later wrote. They were married in 1951 and started having kids (me) in 1954. And so he became my dad.

Fred and Gay

Dad and Mom around 1951

Providing homes for his family

A man (a woman) is many things to the various people who meet him (her). But one big role my dad played in the life of the family was providing us with places to live. So this becomes my theme for remembering my dad. Partly this is because it’s what I have pictures of. And partly it’s because Dad took this job quite seriously and always worked hard at it.

This family photo is from our first family home, in Richmond, California.

1960

The family around 1960

After procuring a grant from the NIMH to return to school for graduate studies, my dad used part of that money to get this house in the Berkeley hills, in a community known as Kensington.

Kensington house

Our house in Kensington (Berkeley) California

After finishing his graduate work, but before completing his PhD, he landed a job with the University of Michigan and we moved there at the beginning of 1964.

Ann Arbor house

Our house in Ann Arbor

In this brief tribute, I will skip all the trips and outings our parents took us on, their talks with us, their guidance.

Beaver Island house

Our cabin on Beaver Island (Michigan)

One of our big adventures, though, was building a “summer cabin” on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. My dad was the key mover in this project, and built much of the home himself, with help from his kids and a local contractor. When we finally found clear water from a well bore, it was cause for a major celebration!

Beaver Island well

Celebrating a successful water well bore on Beaver Island

The kids leave home

During the 1970s, all the kids eventually left home to pursue their own lives. My dad took an administrative position (if I remember right) at Michigan State in East Lansing.

Here is a shot of the interior of his home there.

The paintings above us are by David Pierson, Dad’s best friend from LA. The table was made by me as a high school art project.

East Lansing

The family in East Lansing, 1978

In 1980, my dad changed jobs again. This time to the university in Milwaukee. And so, yet another home.

Milwaukee

Dad’s Milwaukee house

Travel

With the kids gone, my dad and mom began to travel.
Here we find him in Madrid, Spain in 1984.

Madrid 1984

During a trip to Spain (Madrid) 1984

His travels included Alaska, Australia and various other places. Later he took to visiting his church’s sister city in Hungarian Romania. He even learned Hungarian during that time.

Retirement

Seattle

Dad’s Seattle house before losing Mom

By the end of the 1980s it seemed time to retire. Dad and Mom decided to move to Seattle, to be closer to my sister and her family of three boys.

They settled on a little house near Green Lake.

We lose Mom

Walnut Creek

Mom’s “resting place” in Walnut Creek

During a trip to the East Coast to help my brother and his new wife bring their daughter into this world, my mom and dad suffered a car crash in Virginia that killed my mom.

This hit my dad very hard. His good friends the Piersons invited him to join them on a short trip to Hawaii.

Hawaii

Dad in Hawaii late 1991

When he returned he was determined to keep Mom’s spirit alive in his work. It was then that he joined the Unitarian Church, as the Piersons had done years before. He developed an interest in tutoring (as a volunteer) and later went to Romania to help his church’s sister city there establish a medical center. He then returned several times to teach English. He wrote lengthy reports on each of his visits, and all his kids got copies. He made many friends in that far off place.

Piersons 1996

With his good friends the Piersons, 1996

Being a father in the Space Age

Dad and his father 1975

With his own dad (1975)

During the lifetimes of my father, his father and their fathers, our planet walked into the beginning of its Space Age.

But the roles of the father as protector, planner, mentor, provider of living spaces, are roles that are timeless (and actually genderless, as well). My father took these roles seriously and applied himself to all of them (did I mention he worked as a teacher?). Technologies will not change this. There must always be beings who are willing to be fathers.

Mushrooms

7 June 2015

U of I path and building

See the mushroom in this scene?


Yesterday I biked to Moscow (Idaho) to visit Radio Shack, Tri-State (Ace) and the Farmers Market. I returned via the University of Idaho bike path, an extension of the Chipman Trail between Moscow and Pullman. There, under a row of spruce bedded in wood chips, I spied a series of mushrooms. As I was coming in from the “back,” thus seeing them in “reverse order,” I’ll show them to you in “forward order” as if you had come in from the other direction.
large white mushrooms in the grass

Line of large white mushrooms in the grass.


First you would have seen this line of fungi that look a little like baseballs or something. I would guess they have benefited from the irrigation of the lawn/soccer field nearby. These mushrooms were big, with smooth, round caps.
big white mushrooms closeup

Cluster of three.


Next you would have come under the shade of a line of trees at the edge of the field/lawn and perhaps spotted this little guy. He’s really not very little, just has a cap that hasn’t spread out yet.
new mushroom under pines

New mushroom under line of spruce trees.


I think my trusty little Panasonic digital camera captured the details quite well…
new mushroom closeup

New mushroom close up.


Then this guy might have caught your eye, one or two trees down. Same variety as one before? Maybe not.
open mushroom flat cap

Open mushroom – different variety?


And last, you would have come across this one nearest the buildings – the first one I spotted. This is a fully developed version of the #2 mushroom we came across earlier.
fully developed mushroom

Fully developed mushroom with conical cap – looks like a little hobbit house roof or something.


And here’s the underside. The gills are still very fresh. In this hot weather it probably won’t stay this way very long.
fully developed mushroom closeup

“Under the hood.”


I would consider it a bit unusual to come across this many large mushrooms in a non-wild setting so close together. So here the event is, captured in photographs.

A Tale of Two Towers

19 April 2015

No, it’s not another 9/11 exposé. For my favorite on that subject see Courtney Brown’s website.

This is a little long-delayed article on making electronic equipment for a hobbyist workbench.

Here’s a view of my two towers:

the two towers on my workbench

Inception

I have designed and built a lot of test equipment for my hobby. I still do.

But a lot of it I end up hardly ever using, or using just once. I had a need. I built something to fill the need. It filled the need. And the need never returned. Or so it seemed.

But some needs kept coming up. A quick source of power. Need to measure a voltage. Need to measure a current, or a resistor, capacitor, sometimes even inductor. I had created a lot of different solutions for these basic needs and usually put them in some sort of horizontal enclosure. This was the standard approach. However, if I put the thing close to me so I could use it, it blocked access to the rest of the bench. And if I put it further away, I never used it, opting instead for something portable that I could put on the bench temporarily then put back somewhere else.

So one day (a year ago?…hard to say when for sure) I got the idea of trying a vertical arrangement. Maybe this was the compromise design that would keep the tools I needed the most close at hand without blocking my access to the rest of the bench.

I started on Tower One. I had a piece of plastic I was going to use for some sort of rack-mount project (19 inches wide) so I just turned it on its end and made a cabinet out of it.

tower one

Tower One

I wanted all the stuff I had put in past designs in this one. A bunch of power supplies, including a variable one. At least one meter. A selectable voltage divider and a bunch of current shunt resistors. And a signal generator. And since I was getting into Arduino, the signal generator would run on software.

I also wanted to include a “patch bay” that I could use to change cable connector types, as this was a constant problem.

And I came up with something.

It worked pretty well.

But after sitting on my bench for six months or so, it was obvious there were parts of it I hardly ever used. The minus supplies were one thing, but didn’t matter that much, as they didn’t take up that much space. The whole top section was not being used, either. The other parts were being used a good deal, but I wished I could monitor voltages and currents easier.

So I decided to build Tower Two.

tower two

Tower Two

I wanted to make this tower half the height of the other. I had a hard time finding a good enclosure, but finally decided to take the front panel of a rack-mount enclosure that I didn’t want and cut it in half. I used both halves, with a hinge between them. One half had the power supplies in it and the other half the rest of the electronics. I expanded my Arduino application to monitor 4 power supply outputs at the same time.

(I didn’t photograph the towers with the displays on because I thought they would just glare and look bad.)

I had to find a little stand to sit this on to get it up to near eye level, and settled on an old plastic speaker cabinet that was the perfect fit.

I simplified the “patch bay” to a few most essential connectors.

Result: I use the new patch bay all the time, but for some reason prefer the power supplies in the other tower. That’s probably because my current metering didn’t work out very well in the new tower.

I still use other tools quite often, including a little Radio Shack multimeter that I modified to work off an AC adapter, and a cute capacitor meter that I found online and installed in a rack-mount enclosure that sits to one side. This capacitor meter is very cool, as I often want to know cap values with more precision than they are marked – or can’t read the markings.

The Bench

This is probably the most productive bench I have ever used.

The Radio Shack temperature-controlled soldering iron is really nice, I have all my hand tools pretty well organized, and I don’t try to make it double as a table to eat at, as I used to with past workbenches in other apartments.

Yet the look of it is not yet that great, wouldn’t you agree? It still looks pretty messy.

Order is defined as a condition in which everything is in its proper place and performs its proper function.
– LRH
HCOPL 14 Feb 1980 Order Versus Disorder

So maybe I don’t totally have order in on my workbench yet. But at least I have some good guidance on what to do about it.

my workbench

Part of my workbench in a unusually cleaned-up state.

Notes from the wild side, and YOLO

17 March 2015

From the esteemed pages of Wikipedia:

YOLO is an acronym for “you only live once”. Similar to carpe diem, it implies that one should enjoy life, even if that entails taking risks. The phrase and acronym are both used in youth culture and music, and were both popularized by the 2011 song “The Motto” by Canadian rapper Drake.

The phrase “you only live once” is commonly attributed to Mae West, but variations of the phrase have been in use for over 100 years, including as far back as (the German equivalent of) “one lives but once in the world” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his 1774 play Clavigo…

I recently encountered this popular idea in a slightly altered form on a site run by a guy named Tyler Durden and referred to often on Jean Haine’s blog about “the coming changes” before she recently stopped adding material to it. Durden’s version goes:

On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

Now, I wish to make my position on this issue very clear:

This idea is incorrect, unethical, and untrue!

And in particular, it is unethical. Ethics has to do with the making of pro-survival decisions. If one truly believes that he only lives once and thereafter is “out of here” forever, one will make very different decisions about survival than if one was quite sure one would be returning again soon, and probably many, many times.

Moreover, the idea expressed in the Wikipedia article that this phrase supports living the life of a carefree risk-taker makes absolutely no sense to me. One might just as likely believe that having many lifetimes would allow for taking more risks in this one, than the other way around. Indeed many Christians apparently believe that after you die out of this life you must wait somewhere for the day of judgement, when your actions this lifetime will determine whether you end up in heaven or in hell. If I really believed that, I’d be ultra-careful, and that’s actually how I see most people behaving. They’re scared shitless they’ll screw up their one big change to get it right!

The latest from David Wilcock, and past lives

On the evening of 7 February, David gave a long presentation to a big room full of people at an event in the LA area called Conscious Life Expo. The presentation included data from “new insiders” about the oldest known ET invaders of our solar system, dating about 5 million years ago. They were giants (compared to us) and lived in the area for a considerable amount of time, until they caught the attention of their enemies (who thought they had been successfully banished) because of the rings they were building around Saturn.

David also revealed that the US runs a secret space program that controls several ships and has visited many places in and around this solar system.

During a follow-up interview David did on Coast-to-Coast AM with George Noory, David mentioned a doctor who had done extensive research into past lives based on cases he saw in his deep regressive hypnotherapy practice. (I subscribe, by the way, to the LRH viewpoint that hypnotherapy is not safe for patients.) The doctor’s name is Michael Newton and he has a website (of course) and sells books (of course – though one or two have been scanned into PDFs available online) and is very sincere about his findings but not very circumspect about them. In other words, he sees the between lives process as necessary and desirable, including, apparently, the memory wipes that he works so hard to penetrate through with his therapy! In any case, this is a resource for those who don’t want to take Hubbard’s word for it on the subject of past lives and between lives.

Remote Viewing ET

Courtney Brown has recently started releasing videos about his latest project (the last being on 9/11) on remote viewing ET. He started with the “face on Mars” in the present and in the past. Sure enough, the remote viewers found Mars populated in the past, though not, I think, the original builders of the oldest ruins that exist there (remember – that could be 5 million years ago!).

The material obtained was pretty good considering how it was procured, and I look forward to the next release.

Recap

So, we have the Top Guys apparently willing to talk about a track of human experience extending back about 5 million years. That doesn’t quite match the 76 trillion years of track plumbed by Hubbard, but it is longer ago than most ET or other sources were discussing in the recent past. Sheldan Nidle’s sources, for instance, talk about 1 million years. Billy Meier’s contacts mentioned a few events of 22 million years ago, including an invasion of giants into this solar system. But most of the events they mentioned are less than a million years ago. After all a million years IS a LONG time!

I’m not sure what to make of these disclosures. This is not a complete list. But the predictions of coming doom are too prevalent to be worth mentioning. Yes, some sort of “doom” will arrive here sooner or later. The question is: How prepared will we be for it?

Spam about spam!

18 November 2014

I found this today in my spam queue and found it interesting enough to be worth publishing. It is a collection of all the most-used spam comments, complete with numerous variations. My spam queue regularly fills with comments taken directly from this list!

Spam about spam!

Submitted on 2014/11/18 at 8:58 am

{
{I have| I’ve} been {surfing| browsing} online more than {three| 3| 2| 4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s| It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion| Personally| In my view}, if all {webmasters| site owners| website owners| web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet| net| web} will be {much more| a lot more} useful than ever before.|

I {couldn’t| could not} {resist| refrain from} commenting.
{Very well| Perfectly| Well| Exceptionally well} written!|

{I will| I’ll} {right away| immediately} {take hold of| grab| clutch| grasp| seize| snatch} your {rss| rss feed} as I {can not| can’t} {in finding| find| to find} your {email| e-mail} subscription {link| hyperlink} or {newsletter| e-newsletter} service. Do {you have| you’ve} any? {Please| Kindly} {allow| permit| let} me realize| recognize| understand| recognise| know} {so that| in order that} I {may just| may| could} subscribe.
Thanks.|

{It is| It’s} {appropriate| perfect| the best} time to make some plans
for the future and {it is| it’s} time to be happy. {I have| I’ve} read this post and if I could I {want to| wish to| desire to} suggest you {few| some} interesting things or {advice| suggestions| tips}. {Perhaps| Maybe} you {could| can} write next articles referring to this article. I {want to| wish to| desire to} read {more| even more} things about it!|

{It is| It’s} {appropriate| perfect| the best} time to make {a few| some} plans for {the future| the longer term| the long run} and {it is| it’s} time to be happy. {I have| I’ve} {read| learn} this {post| submit| publish| put up} and if I {may just| may| could} I {want to| wish to| desire to} suggest| recommend| counsel} you {few| some} interesting| fascinating| attention-grabbing} {things| issues} or {advice| suggestions| tips}. {Perhaps| Maybe} you {could| can} write {next| subsequent} articles {relating to| referring to| regarding} this article. I {want to| wish to| desire to} {read| learn} {more| even more} {things| issues} {approximately| about} it!|

{I have| I’ve} been {surfing| browsing} {online| on-line} {more than| greater than} {three| 3} hours {these days| nowadays| today| lately| as of late}, {yet| but} I {never| by no means} {found| discovered} any {interesting| fascinating| attention-grabbing} article like yours.
{It’s| It is} {lovely| pretty| beautiful} {worth| value| price} {enough| sufficient} for me. {In my opinion| Personally| In my view}, if all {webmasters| site owners| website owners| web owners} and bloggers made {just right| good| excellent} {content| content material} as {you did| you probably did}, the {internet| net| web} {will be| shall be| might be| will probably be| can be| will likely be} {much more| a lot more} {useful| helpful} than ever before.|

Ahaa, its {nice| pleasant| good| fastidious} discussion| conversation| dialogue} {regarding| concerning| about| on the topic of} this {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} {here| at this place} at this blog| weblog| webpage| website| web site}, I have read all that, so {now| at this time} me also commenting {here| at this place}.|

I am sure this {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} has touched all the internet {users| people| viewers| visitors}, its really really {nice| pleasant| good| fastidious} {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} on building up new {blog| weblog| webpage| website| web site}.|

Wow, this {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} is {nice| pleasant| good| fastidious}, my {sister| younger sister} is analyzing {such| these| these kinds of} things, {so| thus| therefore} I am going to {tell| inform| let know| convey} her.|

{Saved as a favorite| bookmarked!!}, {I really like| I like| I love} {your blog| your site| your web site| your website}!|

Way cool! Some {very| extremely} valid points! I appreciate you {writing this| penning this} {article| post| write-up} {and the| and also the| plus the} rest of the {site is| website is} {also very| extremely| very| also really| really} good.|

Hi, {I do believe| I do think} {this is an excellent| this is a great} {blog| website| web site| site}. I stumbled upon it ;) {I will| I am going to| I’m going to| I may} {come back| return| revisit} {once again| yet again} {since I| since i have} {bookmarked| book marked| book-marked| saved as a favorite} it. Money and freedom {is the best| is the greatest} way to change, may you be rich and continue to {help| guide} {other people| others}.|

Woah! I’m really {loving| enjoying| digging} the template/theme of
this {site| website| blog}. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s {very hard| very difficult| challenging| tough| difficult| hard} to get that “perfect balance” between {superb usability| user friendliness| usability} and {visual appearance| visual appeal| appearance}. I must say {that you’ve| you have| you’ve} done a {awesome| amazing| very good| superb| fantastic| excellent| great} job with this. {In addition| Additionally| Also}, the blog loads {very| extremely| super} {fast| quick} for me on {Safari| Internet explorer| Chrome| Opera| Firefox}. {Superb| Exceptional| Outstanding| Excellent} Blog!|

These are {really| actually| in fact| truly| genuinely} {great| enormous| impressive| wonderful| fantastic} ideas in {regarding| concerning| about| on the topic of} blogging. You have touched some {nice| pleasant| good| fastidious} {points| factors| things} here. Any way keep up wrinting.|

{I love| I really like| I enjoy| I like| Everyone loves} what you guys {are| are usually| tend to be} up to. {This sort of| This type of| Such| This kind of} clever work and {exposure| coverage| reporting}! Keep up the {superb| terrific| very good| great| good| awesome| fantastic| excellent| amazing| wonderful} works guys I’ve {incorporated| | added| included} you guys to {| my| our| | my personal| my own} blogroll.|

{Howdy| Hi there| Hey there| Hi| Hello| Hey}! Someone in my {Myspace| Facebook} group shared this {site| website} with us so I came to {give it a look| look it over| take a look| check it out}. I’m definitely {enjoying| loving} the information. I’m {book-marking| bookmarking} and will be tweeting this to my followers! {Terrific| Wonderful| Great| Fantastic| Outstanding| Exceptional| Superb| Excellent} blog and {wonderful| terrific| brilliant| amazing| great| excellent| fantastic| outstanding| superb} {style and design| design and style| design}.|

{I love| I really like| I enjoy| I like| Everyone loves} what you guys {are| are usually| tend to be} up too. {This sort of| This type of| Such| This kind of} clever work and {exposure| coverage| reporting}! Keep up the {superb| terrific| very good| great| good| awesome| fantastic| excellent| amazing| wonderful} works guys I’ve {incorporated| added| included} you guys to {| my| our| my personal| my own} blogroll.|

{Howdy| Hi there| Hey there| Hi| Hello| Hey} would you mind {stating| sharing} which blog platform you’re {working with| using}? I’m {looking| planning| going} to start my own blog {in the near future| soon} but I’m having a {tough| difficult| hard} time {making a decision| selecting| choosing| deciding} between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your {design and style| design| layout} seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something {completely unique| unique}. P.S {My apologies| Apologies| Sorry} for {getting| being} off-topic but I had to ask!|

{Howdy| Hi there| Hi| Hey there| Hello| Hey} would you mind letting me know which {webhost| hosting company| web host} you’re {utilizing| working with| using}? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 {completely different| different} {internet browsers| web browsers| browsers} and I must say this blog loads a lot {quicker| faster} then most. Can you {suggest| recommend} a good {internet hosting| web hosting| hosting} provider at a {honest| reasonable| fair} price? {Thanks a lot| Kudos| Cheers| Thank you| Many thanks| Thanks},
I appreciate it!|

{I love| I really like| I like| Everyone loves} it {when people| when individuals| when folks| whenever people} {come together| get together} and share {opinions| thoughts| views| ideas}. Great {blog| website| site}, {keep it up| continue the good work| stick with it}!|

Thank you for the {auspicious| good} writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to {far| more} added agreeable from you! {By the way| However}, how {can| could} we communicate?|

{Howdy| Hi there| Hey there| Hello| Hey} just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The {text| words} in your {content| post| article} seem to be running off the screen in {Ie| Internet explorer| Chrome| Firefox| Safari| Opera}. I’m not sure if this is a {format| formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser| internet browser| browser} compatibility but I {thought| figured} I’d post to let you know. The {style and design| design and style| layout| design} look great though! Hope you get the {problem| issue} {solved| resolved| fixed} soon. {Kudos| Cheers| Many thanks| Thanks}|

This is a topic {that is| that’s| which is} {close to| near to} my heart… {Cheers| Many thanks| Best wishes| Take care| Thank you}! {Where| Exactly where} are your contact details though?|

It’s very {easy| simple| trouble-free| straightforward| effortless} to find out any {topic| matter} on {net| web} as compared to {books| textbooks}, as I found this {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} at this {website| web site| site| web page}.|

Does your {site| website| blog} have a contact page? I’m having
{a tough time| problems| trouble} locating it but, I’d like to {send| shoot} you an {e-mail| email}. I’ve got some {creative ideas| recommendations| suggestions| ideas} for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great {site| website| blog} and I look forward to seeing it {develop| improve| expand| grow} over time.|

{Hola| Hey there| Hi| Hello| Greetings}! I’ve been {following| reading} your {site| web site| website| weblog| blog} for {a long time| a while| some time} now and finally got the {bravery| courage} to go ahead and give you a shout out from {New Caney| Kingwood| Huffman| Porter| Houston| Dallas| Austin| Lubbock| Humble| Atascocita} {Tx| Texas}! Just wanted to {tell you| mention| say} keep up the {fantastic| excellent| great| good} {job| work}!|

Greetings from {Idaho| Carolina| Ohio| Colorado| Florida| Los Angeles| California}! I’m {bored to tears| bored to death| bored} at work so I decided to {check out| browse} your {site| website| blog} on my iphone during lunch break. I {enjoy| really like| love} the {knowledge| info| information} you {present| provide} here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m {shocked| amazed| surprised} at how {quick| fast} your blog loaded on my {mobile| cell phone| phone} .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. {Anyhow| Anyways}, {awesome| amazing| very good| superb| good| wonderful| fantastic| excellent| great} {site| blog}!|

Its {like you| such as you} {read| learn} my {mind| thoughts}!
You {seem| appear} {to understand| to know| to grasp} {so much| a lot} {approximately| about} this, {like you| such as you} wrote the {book| e-book| guide| ebook| e book} in it or something. {I think| I feel| I believe} {that you| that you simply| that you just} {could| can} do with {some| a few} {%| p.c.| percent} to {force| pressure| drive| power} the message {house| home} {a bit| a little bit}, {however| but} {other than| instead of} that, {this is| that is} {great| wonderful| fantastic| magnificent| excellent} blog. {A great| An excellent| A fantastic} read. {I’ll| I will} {definitely| certainly} be back.|

I visited {multiple| many| several| various} {websites| sites| web sites| web pages| blogs} {but| except| however} the audio {quality| feature} for audio songs {current| present| existing} at this {website| web site| site| web page} is {really| actually| in fact| truly| genuinely} {marvelous| wonderful| excellent| fabulous| superb}.|

{Howdy| Hi there| Hi| Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally| from time to time} and i own a similar one and i was just {wondering| curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments| responses| feedback| remarks}? If so how do you {prevent| reduce| stop| protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise| suggest| recommend}? I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad| insane| crazy} so any {assistance| help| support} is very much appreciated.|

Greetings! {Very helpful| Very useful} advice {within this| in this particular} {article| post}! {It is the| It’s the} little changes {that make| which will make| that produce| that will make} {the biggest| the largest| the greatest| the most important| the most significant} changes.
{Thanks a lot| Thanks| Many thanks} for sharing!|

{I really| I truly| I seriously| I absolutely} love {your blog| your site| your website}.. {Very nice| Excellent| Pleasant| Great} colors & theme. Did you {create| develop| make| build} {this website| this site| this web site| this amazing site} yourself? Please reply back as I’m {looking to| trying to| planning to| wanting to| hoping to| attempting to} create {my own| my very own| my own personal} {blog| website| site} and {would like to| want to| would love to} {know| learn| find out} where you got this from or {what the| exactly what the| just what the} theme {is called| is named}. {Thanks| Many thanks| Thank you| Cheers| Appreciate it| Kudos}!|

{Hi there| Hello there| Howdy}! This {post| article| blog post} {couldn’t| could not} be written {any better| much better}! {Reading through| Looking at| Going through| Looking through} this {post| article} reminds me of my previous roommate! He {always| constantly| continually} kept {talking about| preaching about} this. {I will| I’ll| I am going to| I most certainly will} {forward| send} {this article| this information| this post} to him.
{Pretty sure| Fairly certain} {he will| he’ll| he’s going to} {have a good| have a very good| have a great} read. {Thank you for| Thanks for| Many thanks for| I appreciate you for} sharing!|

{Wow| Whoa| Incredible| Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly| just} like my old one! It’s on a {completely| entirely| totally} different {topic| subject} but it has pretty much the same {layout| page layout} and design.
{Excellent| Wonderful| Great| Outstanding| Superb} choice of colors!|

{There is| There’s} {definately| certainly} {a lot to| a great deal to} {know about| learn about| find out about} this {subject| topic| issue}. {I like| I love| I really like} {all the| all of the} points {you made| you’ve made| you have made}.|

{You made| You’ve made| You have made} some {decent| good| really good} points there. I {looked| checked} {on the internet| on the web| on the net} {for more info| for more information| to find out more| to learn more| for additional information} about the issue and found {most individuals| most people} will go along with your views on {this website| this site| this web site}.|

{Hi| Hello| Hi there| What’s up}, I {log on to| check| read} your {new stuff| blogs| blog} {regularly| like every week| daily| on a regular basis}. Your {story-telling| writing| humoristic} style is {awesome| witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing| up the good work| it up}!|

I {simply| just} {could not| couldn’t} {leave| depart| go away} your {site| web site| website} {prior to| before} suggesting that I {really| extremely| actually} {enjoyed| loved} {the standard| the usual} {information| info} {a person| an individual} {supply| provide} {for your| on your| in your| to your} {visitors| guests}? Is {going to| gonna} be {back| again} {frequently| regularly| incessantly| steadily| ceaselessly| often| continuously} {in order to| to} {check up on| check out| inspect| investigate cross-check} new posts|

{I wanted| I needed| I want to| I need to} to thank you for this {great| excellent| fantastic| wonderful| good| very good} read!! I {definitely| certainly| absolutely} {enjoyed| loved} every {little bit of| bit of} it. {I have| I’ve got| I have got} you {bookmarked| book marked| book-marked| saved as a favorite} {to check out| to look at} new {stuff you| things you} post…|

{Hi| Hello| Hi there| What’s up}, just wanted to {mention| say| tell you}, I {enjoyed| liked| loved} this {article| post| blog post}. It was {inspiring| funny| practical| helpful}. Keep on posting!|

{Hi there| Hello}, I enjoy reading {all of| through} your {article| post| article post}. I {like| wanted} to write a little comment to support you.|

I {always| constantly| every time} spent my half an hour to read this {blog| weblog| webpage| website| web site}’s {articles| posts| articles or reviews| content} {everyday| daily| every day| all the time} along with a {cup| mug} of coffee.|

I {always| for all time| all the time| constantly| every time} emailed this {blog| weblog| webpage| website| web site} post page to all my {friends| associates| contacts}, {because| since| as| for the reason that} if like to read it {then| after that| next| afterward} my friends| links| contacts} will too.|

My {coder| programmer| developer} is trying to {persuade| convince} me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses| costs}. But he’s trying none the less. I’ve been using {Movable-type| WordPress} on {a number of| a variety of| numerous| several| various} websites for about a year and am {nervous| anxious| worried| concerned} about switching to another platform. I have heard {fantastic| very good| excellent| great| good} things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can {transfer| import} all my wordpress {content| posts} into it?
{Any kind of| Any} help would be {really| greatly} appreciated!|

{Hello| Hi| Hello there| Hi there| Howdy| Good day}! I could have sworn I’ve {been to| visited} {this blog| this web site| this website| this site| your blog} before but after {browsing through| going through| looking at} {some of the| a few of the| many of the} {posts| articles} I realized it’s new to me. {Anyways| Anyhow| Nonetheless| Regardless}, I’m {definitely| certainly} {happy| pleased| delighted} {I found| I discovered| I came across| I stumbled upon} it and I’ll be {bookmarking| book-marking} it and checking back {frequently| regularly| often}!|

{Terrific| Great| Wonderful} {article| work}! {This is| That
is} {the type of| the kind of} {information| info} {that are meant to| that are supposed to| that should} be shared {around the| across the} {web| internet| net}. {Disgrace| Shame} on {the {seek| search} engines| Google} for {now not| not| no longer} positioning this {post| submit| publish| put up} {upper| higher}! Come on over and {talk over with| discuss with| seek
advice from| visit| consult with} my {site| web site| website} . {Thank you| Thanks} =)|

Heya {i’m| i am} for the first time here. I {came across| found} this board and I find It {truly| really} useful & it helped me out {a lot| much}.
I hope to give something back and {help| aid} others like you {helped| aided} me.|

{Hi| Hello| Hi there| Hello there| Howdy| Greetings}, {I think| I believe| I do believe| I do think| There’s no doubt that} {your site| your website| your web site| your blog} {might be| may be| could be| could possibly be} having {browser| internet browser| web browser} compatibility {issues| problems}. {When I| Whenever I} {look at your| take a look at your} {website| web site| site| blog} in Safari, it looks fine {but when| however when| however, if| however, when} opening in {Internet Explorer| IE| I.E.}, {it has| it’s got} some overlapping issues. {I just| I simply| I merely} wanted to {give you a| provide you with a} quick heads up! {Other than that| Apart from that| Besides that| Aside from that}, {fantastic| wonderful| great| excellent} {blog| website| site}!|

{A person| Someone| Somebody} {necessarily| essentially} {lend a hand| help| assist} to make {seriously| critically| significantly| severely} {articles| posts} {I would| I might| I’d} state. {This is| That is} the {first| very first} time I frequented your {web page| website page} and {to this point| so far| thus far| up to now}? I {amazed| surprised} with the {research| analysis} you made to {create| make} {this actual| this particular} {post| submit| publish| put up} {incredible| amazing| extraordinary}. {Great| Wonderful| Fantastic| Magnificent| Excellent} {task| process| activity| job}!|

Heya {i’m| i am} for {the primary| the first} time here. I {came across| found} this board and I {in finding| find| to find} It {truly| really} {useful| helpful} & it helped me out {a lot| much}. {I am hoping| I hope| I’m hoping} {to give| to offer| to provide| to present} {something| one thing} {back| again} and {help| aid} others {like you| such as you} {helped| aided} me.|

{Hello| Hi| Hello there| Hi there| Howdy| Good day| Hey there}! {I just| I simply} {would like to| want to| wish to} {give you a| offer you a} {huge| big} thumbs up {for the| for your} {great| excellent} {info| information} {you have| you’ve got| you have got} {here| right here} on this post. {I will be| I’ll be| I am} {coming back to| returning to} {your blog| your site| your website| your web site} for more soon.|

I {always| all the time| every time} used to {read| study} {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} in news papers but now as I am a user of {internet| web| net} {so| thus| therefore} from now I am using net for {articles| posts| articles or reviews| content}, thanks to web.|

Your {way| method| means| mode} of {describing| explaining| telling} {everything| all| the whole thing} in this {article| post| piece of writing| paragraph} is {really| actually| in fact| truly| genuinely} {nice| pleasant| good| fastidious}, {all| every one} {can| be able to| be capable of} {easily| without difficulty| effortlessly| simply} {understand| know| be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.|

{Hi| Hello} there, {I found| I discovered} your {blog| website| web site| site} {by means of| via| by the use of| by way of} Google {at the same time as| whilst| even as| while} {searching for| looking for} a similar| comparable| related} {topic| matter| subject}, your {site| web site| website} {got here| came} up, it {looks| appears| seems| seems to be| appears to be like} {good| great}. {I have| I’ve} bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

{Hello| Hi} there, {simply| just} {turned into| became| was| become| changed into} {aware of| alert to} your {blog| weblog} {thru| through| via} Google, {and found| and located} that {it is| it’s} {really| truly} informative. {I’m| I am} {gonna| going to} {watch out| be careful} for brussels.

{I will| I’ll} {appreciate| be grateful} {if you| should you| when you| in the event you| in case you| for those who| if you happen to} {continue| proceed} this {in future}. {A lot of| Lots of| Many| Numerous} {other folks| folks| other people| people} {will be| shall be| might be| will probably be| can be| will likely be} benefited {from your| out of your} writing. Cheers!|

{I am| I’m} curious to find out what blog {system| platform} {you have been| you happen to be| you are| you’re} {working with| utilizing| using}? I’m {experiencing| having} some {minor| small} security {problems| issues} with my latest {site| website| blog} and {I would| I’d} like to find something more {safe| risk-free| safeguarded| secure}. Do you have any {solutions| suggestions| recommendations}?|

{I am| I’m} {extremely| really} impressed with your writing skills {and also| as well as} with the layout on your {blog| weblog}. Is this a paid theme or did you {customize| modify} it yourself? {Either way| Anyway} keep up the {nice| excellent} quality writing, {it’s| it is} rare to see a {nice| great} blog like this one {these days| nowadays| today}.|

{I am| I’m} {extremely| really} {inspired| impressed} {with your| together with your| along with your} writing {talents| skills| abilities} {and also| as {smartly| well| neatly} as} with the {layout| format| structure} {for your| on your| in your| to your} {blog| weblog}.

{Is this| Is that this} a paid {subject| topic| subject matter| theme} or did you {customize| modify} it {yourself| your self}? {Either way| Anyway} {stay| keep} up the {nice| excellent} {quality| high quality} writing, {it’s| it is} {rare| uncommon} {to peer| to see| to look} a {nice| great} {blog| weblog} like this one {these days| nowadays| today}..|

{Hi| Hello}, Neat post. {There is| There’s} {a problem| an issue} {with your| together with your| along with your} {site| web site| website} in {internet| web} explorer, {may| might| could| would} {check| test} this?
IE {still| nonetheless} is the {marketplace| market} {leader| chief} and {a large| a good| a big| a huge} {part of| section of| component to| portion of| component of| element of} {other folks| folks| other people| people} will {leave out| omit| miss| pass over} your {great| wonderful| fantastic| magnificent| excellent} writing {due to| because of} this problem.|

{I’m| I am} not sure where {you are| you’re} getting your {info| information}, but {good| great} topic. I needs to spend some time learning {more| much more} or understanding more. Thanks for {great| wonderful| fantastic| magnificent| excellent} {information| info} I was looking for this {information| info} for my mission.|

{Hi| Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog| weblog| website| web site| site} {so| thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am| I’m} {trying to| attempting to} find things to {improve| enhance} my {website| site| web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of| a few of} your ideas!!
\

Six movies about the future

9 August 2014

In the past two weeks or so I purchased six movies on disc. One of them (ostensibly) has nothing to do with the future (one of the Lord Of The Rings series) and one is marginally about the future (mostly about the near past) but included here as a kind of reality check. The first one on the list was purchased earlier.

During the last week I watched (or re-watched) all these movies on my new A/V system (see previous post). Let’s list them out in the order they were released:

The Mouse that Roared (1959, based on a 1955 novel).
2001 A Space Odyssey (1968, Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke collaborate).
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005 – based on an idea that started around 1978).
Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006 – based on historical events of the previous ten years).
Oblivion (2013 – based on a graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski).
Elysium (2013 – based on an idea by Neill Blomkamp).

I mentioned writers’ names for most of these films, but I won’t get into who those people are and what their purposes are. They are all dealing with timeless themes that we, as a “maturing” society, are being pushed into whether we like it or not.

The Mouse that Roared deals with the human potential to blow up planets and dreams up one fanciful handling for this “little problem.” The remains of one less fanciful result of this technology exists in the form of the asteroid belt. Yes, several researchers are quite sure it was once a planet. Hubbard is quite sure that planet was destroyed in a war.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide (the movie – I haven’t read the book) begins with the total destruction of earth by a moronic group of bureaucratic ETs. I wonder if Adams knew how possible this actually is! Of all these films, it is my favorite.

To me, A Space Odyssey (which obviously refers back to the ancient Greek Odyssey and its hero Odysseus) is mainly a setting for 2 major works of music: Also sprach Zarathustra and The Blue Danube waltz, and “four highly modernistic compositions by György Ligeti that employ micropolyphony…” (Wikipedia). Though definite themes regarding Man’s reliance on machines, etc., exist in the story, these seem downplayed in favor of pure art.

Who Killed the Electric Car documents the events surrounding the creation and destruction of a fleet of battery-powered cars by General Motors Corporation between the years 1995 and 2005. The biggest problem with these events was that GM was less than forthcoming concerning their motives in creating the cars and their subsequent plans to destroy them. Out of over 1,000 vehicles produced, only about 40 were not destroyed, and all those had their engines removed. The cars were not destroyed because they didn’t work; all the cars worked great.

Now we jump to Oblivion. Here we get a bit more on the edge, partly because the whole story is never told; you have to piece it together yourself. As the story goes (if you re-linearize it) in about 2017 earth is attacked by ET invaders. Some of the survivors of the war are made to think that they won, and that more survivors left on earth who are still fighting are of ET origin. However, the situation is actually reversed. The ETs did win, leaving a huge artificial intelligence craft called the “Tet” (tetrahedron – it looks like an inverted pyramid) to run the place. When the Tet was first approached by a human craft, it captured its crew, wiped their memories, cloned them, and used them as its workers. The cloned workers thought the Tet was theirs, but it wasn’t. It was an ET machine. By implication, most if not all of the human clones looked like the commander of that last human ship (Jack Harper played by Tom Cruise) or one of his female crew mates (called Victoria). Jack’s real-life wife was also on board that ship, but in a rear compartment in “delta sleep.” At the last minute, when the original Jack realizes they have been fooled, he releases the rear compartment which eventually (60 years later?) lands back on earth. The Jack we are following when the movie starts (#49) is having memories of his earlier times with his real wife. Apparently all the Jacks on earth share these memories to some extent. Jack #49 finally figures this all out, and accomplishes a suicide mission to blow up the Tet. Two years later Jack #52 finds Jack’s wife living with her two year old daughter at Jack #49’s hideout in the hills. They agree that #52 is a good enough copy to make it work.

Elysium (after an early Greek concept of a kind of heaven on earth, reserved for special people) is contemporaneous with Oblivion. But no evil and deceptive ETs this time. In this story all the evil comes from humans. The movie is basically a scifi action flick. Elysium is an invitation-only space colony. Most people on earth were not invited. Earth has been allowed to deteriorate into a place that is almost unlivable. And yet it still remains overcrowded! The story tells how, by a series of somewhat unlikely events, all of humanity on earth get accepted for citizenship at Elysium. The hero, again, dies in order to save the human race. Several bad guys die, too.

Common Themes

Concentration on the physical

Physicality has been a prime fascination for us since it was invented. And that was a long time ago! Yet we have also always given importance to the non-physical, and Hubbard discovered more than 60 years ago just how important it is. Many others besides Hubbard have realized that assigning cause for the creation of physicality to that same physicality makes no sense. If physicality WAS created, then only something non-physical could have created it. Many people, even scientists, have had to admit that all the evidence points in this direction. Yet none of these movie-stories take us in that direction. A Space Odyssey probably comes the closest, with its long sequence of abstract images near the end, accompanied by bizarre modern music. And then the hero dies, and when he comes back to earth he sees it from the eyes of a glowing being that looks like a fetus. The imagery is extremely abstract!

And again, only A Space Odyssey tries to deal with the idea that evil entered into the human psyche from some poorly understood and enigmatic source. Even the computer HAL 9000 somehow gets infected by this mysterious source, and is only turned off by the hero after killing several humans in its care.

Deception

In these stories, standing in, in a way, for the world of the non-physical, we have deception. It is actually a major theme in the first movie. A tiny “country” declares war on the US for the sole purpose of losing the war and collecting foreign aid. Then at the end of the movie, the “Q” bomb which this tiny country has come to possess turns out to be a dud. But this is kept secret because that bomb has become the key to world peace.

In A Space Odyssey, the US space agency decides to keep secret the fact that it has found evidence for the existence of a higher ET intelligence on the moon. It instead spreads the story that there is a disease epidemic on the moon base which has been placed under quarantine. Likewise, the two astronauts try to deceive HAL that they plan to turn him off, but HAL finds out by reading their lips, while keeping his own plans to kill all the humans on his ship a secret from them.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide, being a comedy, does not dwell on this subject so much. However, it does deal with all sorts of supernatural phenomena and ideas, and postulates a large and vibrant ET community. This is more in line with other popular scifi stories such as the Star Trek series, the Star Wars series, and other “space opera” stories that are actually laced with big doses of possibility.

Who Killed the Electric Car makes a strong argument for a deceptive angle to those events. GM swears by its version of the story, but the facts just don’t add up. There was obviously oil money at work, and that means banking interests, and that means City of London. And that leads to a pretty much proven den of thieves. Yet no one can come out and just talk about that aspect of life on earth!

Oblivion is all about deception and in particular, mind control. This is a much-rumored ET ability and demonstrable at the human level in the form of stage hypnotism. Mechanisms for “mind control” definitely exist and have been used. Yet the average person is told almost nothing about this, even through these movies. This was Hubbard’s bridge into the realm of the spiritual (the non-physical) and it could be that be for all of humanity if we could just confront it. I am aware, however, that it is a subject not easily confronted.

In Elysium deception is mostly of the classic good-guy versus bad-guy form. When skillfully done, such stories show up the weaknesses of evil. Yet, when the hero has to die at the end, the incentive to fight evil does dull a bit.

Advanced Technologies

This is of course a hallmark of scifi. It made sense in the times of Jules Verne (France, late 1800s) but starts to feel a bit quaint now. The question now is not how advanced technology can get, but how does it work, how do we make it, and is there any way to make it safe in human hands?

These are eternal questions when we realize that advanced technologies have been in use in the various “space opera” societies for millions of years. They include all those recently (past 200 years) discovered on earth as well as many more yet to be discovered. Being familiar with Hubbard’s findings on this subject, one becomes curious about aspects of it that most popular stories don’t touch, such as: How do these technologies get rediscovered on developing planets? Do any of the discoverers ever become aware of where their knowledge came from? How much imbalance between helpful and harmful uses of technologies can be tolerated before a society starts to decay? How decayed (really) are the space opera societies that still exist, after using such technologies for uncountable thousands of years?

Elysium concentrates on medical advances and the use of robots to control (police) people. These are all real possibilities. It touches on mind-machine interfaces, which the Matrix movies are famous for. But I think this theme is not well thought out. In A Space Odyssey (and Star Trek) people just talk to the computer system and it does what they ask…usually. The issue of how a machine mind could be corrupted is important and not much developed in these stories, though many of them use it as an important plot angle. The idea that a being could directly take over a computer is not much touched on yet in scifi, yet per Hubbard’s work is a distinct possibility.

Questions that really matter

None of these films are particularly good at delving into the questions that really matter. I like Hitchhiker’s Guide because it at least plays with some of them a bit.

One theory on why this is is that the story writers are just not that aware.
Another theory is that such discussions are being actively suppressed by a ruling group whose power depends on us not confronting and working out real answers to these questions.

Here are a few:

Is there any way to make biology a viable game, or should we abandon it in favor of more robust life forms?

Could the whole deteriorating trend in the universe ever be reversed?

How would a society work if biological beings in it had supernatural powers? If it was only the ruling classes? If it was everybody?

What can a race do if its planet is destroyed? Can it do anything? Is it worth it?

If we could create a new game in this universe, one that has never been played before and rises into tone levels that most of us lost the ability to maintain thousands, if not millions, of years ago, what would it look like?

HDMI Exposed!

9 August 2014

It all started innocently enough…
I was wandering the aisles of my local Shopko when, there it was, seemingly alone on its shelf…a Blu-ray edition of Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968). I had never seen it. Well, I thought, I should pick it up and find a way to play it…

Digital Video

Blu-ray is a data storage technology. A blu-ray optical disc has roughly 25GB of storage capacity compared to 5GB for a DVD. It uses a blu-violet laser to read the disc and a smaller spot size.

The importance of this technology to “the industry” is digital video. Digital movies have become a huge business. They are also a most potent way for corporate America (or the global military-industrial complex – however you want to look at it) to get its messages across to a live audience. Story telling has always been used for this.

In the Old Days of video, the picture wasn’t digital. It was an analog signal combined with digital synchronizing signals. It was used for TV for years. Movies used film; they still do. But now the frames of film can be digitized into digital video. They put films onto video tapes for TV shows using a similar process. Video tapes were the first way for consumers to buy movies and watch them at home. But that video was very coarse compared to the film it was made from. And so the pressure was on to bring video up closer to the quality of film. Digital video was seen as the answer.

Home movie watchers want an experience more like they get at a movie theater. And that means “high-definition” (HD) video and “surround sound” audio. People have “theaters” in their homes all set up to view movies the way they are shown in a movie theater. And blu-ray gives people a way to buy (or rent) high-definition movies on disc.

Encoding

Digital data of any type must be stored using some sort of coding system. It’s just a binary number until it’s decoded and its significance to humans (if any) is retrieved. Computer science has worked out hundreds (if not thousands) of coding schemes to turn data that means something to people into streams of binary numbers. In its digital state, data is relatively meaningless. But while in that state it can be reliably manipulated to include, for instance, encrypting, which then requires someone who wants to decode it to also have a decryption “key.” Both of these features of digital data – encoding and encrypting – are seen as valuable to people who think they have the “rights” to the data and should be able to charge others for the privilege of using it.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)

When I got home with my blu-ray disc, I discovered that none of the optical disc players in my house were blu-ray compatible. That means I had to purchase a player. I looked online and found a refurbished one at NewEgg for what I thought was a reasonable price and purchased it. When it arrived a few days later, I found out that the player had only one output on the back: HDMI.

I had heard of HDMI, but I had no equipment that used it. My DVD player outputs analog video and audio; easy to make copies from this output. But HDMI is totally digital; difficult to make copies from this output. That’s why “the industry” likes it!

Actually, the HDMI system is pretty cool. It has four channels of very high speed digital, transmitted on “differential” twisted-pair lines the way ethernet signals are. These channels can go really fast. That means they can squeeze high-definition video PLUS up to 8 channels of digital audio (32 channels with version 2.0) through an HDMI cable, plus let the source of the signal “talk” to the receiving equipment to ensure all licensing fees have been paid by the manufacturer of the receiver!

None of this solved my problem of not yet being able to view the movie I bought.

And I didn’t see buying an HDMI TV ($500 and up) as an option.

Handling the video signal

Video is relatively easy with HDMI. I have computer monitors with DVI inputs (another digital video connection system) and the signals are compatible. Just get an adapter that has DVI on one end and an HDMI connector at the other. Then connect disc player to monitor with an HDMI cable.

Problem: No sound!

Handling the audio

Older blu-ray players had analog audio outputs (I am told). I couldn’t find one. I tried a gizmo that converts HDMI to VGA video (that’s analog but for computers) and analog audio. My player talked to it and decided it wasn’t licensed. Nothing came out!

At this point I went a little crazy. I tried my best to research it all out on the internet and make the right decision. From what I read it sounded like I needed an “A/V Receiver” and maybe even an “A/V Preamp.” A/V preamps specialize in pulling the audio out of HDMI signals. They are considered “top end” and are très cher (very expensive). Not an option.

I settled for an older A/V receiver. It had lots of audio amplifiers. If worse came to worse, I could use them for something else. It had an HDMI input, so I figured all would be good. I wanted to make sure I would have one that worked so I bought two of them! The first one arrived, I opened it and got out the manual, and there in the fine print…”the audio signals which are input into the HDMI IN cannot be reproduced on this receiver.” Wow. I had 12 60 watt audio amplifiers at my disposal and still…no sound!

The next day I went back to Shopko and got a blu-ray player there that was on clearance sale for $70. It had a coaxial digital audio output. I remembered that the receiver had a coaxial digital audio input. I was going to be in business.

I haven’t studied the manual for my Sherwood RD-5405 Audio/Video Receiver yet. It’s a computer-controlled gizmo like all these “modern” electronic things are. But I read enough to figure out how to connect it up to some speakers I had laying around, and to my new blu-ray player, and to one of my computer monitors, and I finally got to watch the movie I’d purchased about 2 weeks earlier!

(See the next post for more about some movies I watched.)

Electronics Projects Update

28 July 2014
vacuum tube demo

Vacuum Tube Demonstration Project

Here’s a project I’ve had in mind for quite some time that has finally come together. The inspiration came from the item on the right; an LED lamp made in the style of a camping lantern. “I should put a vacuum tube inside that,” I thought, “you could look at it without worrying about hurting it or yourself.”

At the time I thought I could squeeze all the electronics needed to power the thing inside its bottom battery compartment. But I gave up on that; too cramped. So recently I finally put together a separate box that has all the power supplies needed plus some meters to show you what’s happening.

The display at the top left gives the approximate value of “B+” divided by ten. Below it is the voltage on the plate, also divided by ten. There is a 6,000 ohm resistor between B+ and the plate (or anode). The top right display shows heater voltage, measured directly. And below it is grid voltage, which is actually an inverted copy of the actual grid voltage, which is negative.

Here we have the heater at about 5 volts, the grid at about minus 3.5 volts, and B+ at about 136 volts. The plate is at 96 volts indicating that the tube is conducting about 136 – 96 / 6,000 amps = 6.7 milliamps. This tube is actually rated for 6 volts on the grid, a B+ of about 200 volts and plate currents of up to 30 or 40 milliamps. So I’m not stressing it (or my box) out too much.

Almost all of the materials used in this project are used. The enclosure still has its original panel label on it; a very nice aluminum enclosure. The electronics inside were cool for their day but have almost entirely been replaced with computerized equipment. The power supplies (4 – 48 volt switching supplies plus an 8.5 volt switching supply for the heater) are all used. The digital meters are new, as are most of the control electronics (but purchased from surplus suppliers Jameco and All Electronics).

I was glad to get this one materialized, as it was harder than I thought it would be.

Electronic Percussion

electronic percussion project

Electronic Percussion Project

Here’s a skimpy shot of the beginnings of an electronic percussion instrument. Most of this is new equipment, but not expensive. What you see here includes a stage rack made of black aluminum tubing, one of two BOSS percussion pads which I have had for a long time, and two new KAT pads. Each of the KAT pads has 4 sections, so the whole instrument has 10 striking surfaces in all. All the pads output audio samples of some preselected sounds. The two KAT pads also output MIDI control signals, so I can attach them to a synthesizer and play any sound I want.

Also hiding underneath these pads are used tube clamps from All Electronics. These are an important part of the project as I did not know how I would secure the pads to the stand. The clamps required adapter plates to convert from the hole pattern on the clamps to the hole pattern on the pads. For these I employed 1/8-inch-thick aluminum that was also being sold as used/surplus.

Inspiration

One of my inspirations for building an electronic percussion instrument was Gamelan Sekar Jaya, which I participated in for a year in 1980. There is the backside of I Wayan Suweca, the Balinese teacher who showed us all how to play our parts. At center-left (looking up) is Michael Tenzer, the original mastermind behind this gamelan, who bought the instruments in Bali. He’s now a music professor at the University of British Columbia.

sekar jaya berkeley 1980

Gamelan Sekar Jaya early rehearsal in Berkeley 1980

To Moscow…Idaho

18 May 2014
anemone

Anemone flowers at north end of trail.

I took this trip on the third of May (2014).
I went for the express purpose of checking out the Goodwill store and the Palouse Mall.
The day threatened rain and was a little colder than I would have liked, but it didn’t rain much.
I started at the north end of the trail, which is near where I live.

rabbits

Rabbits living in protected wetlands.

The Pullman-Moscow bike-jogging-walking trail follows the streams that drain the area. The land immediately adjacent to these streams has been designated as protected wetlands. There is a little watershed conservation district here that is quite active – probably due to the biologists at the two universities.

steam locomotive

Little steam engine on display downtown Pullman.

An attempt was evidently made to preserve some of Pullman’s historic artifacts from the railroad days. However, this little locomotive and the cars behind it are in disrepair and seem to be used by a real estate company.

With the help of a west wind, I arrive at the outskirts of Moscow about 1-1/2 hours after leaving. This is where several stores and the Mall have been built. It is right next to the Washington-Idaho border.

goodwill sign

Goodwill parking lot.

palouse mall

View of the Mall.

The Mall is just east of a big Walmart, which is just east of the older Staples-Goodwill-hotel-restaurant complex. It is a real suburban-style mall with clean, bright indoor-facing stores covered by a roof. In this area, this arrangement makes a lot more sense than the parking-lot-facing “strip” mall that was so popular everywhere in the ’60s.

bicycle

My vehicle.

I ate lunch at the Qdoba and found the usual assortment of corporate sales outlets at the mall. There is also a Chinese “buffet” restaurant. All-you-can-eat lunch for 8 or 9 dollars. I also shopped at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store which has a “satellite” building at the mall. I needed something to cover my Goodwill purchases in case it rained.

The local model plane flying club also had a neat display set up inside the mall. I didn’t try to take any photos inside, though.

the trail back

The trail back.

Time to head back to Pullman. The going was a bit rough, as even though the grade is slightly downhill, I had a headwind. I walked the bike much of the way.

duck

Duck in little pond near halfway mark.

Near the halfway mark is a little tunnel under a crossing road. On the east side was a bench that was out of the wind, so I rested there a while. There was a duck in a nearby pond, but it wandered off when I tried to get closer to take more photos.

jorstad's fence

The Jorstad’s fence.

One of the features of the Chipman (Pullman-Moscow) Trail is the Jorstad’s house. I don’t know anything about the family, but these photos tell you something about them by themselves.

the jorstad's

The Jorstad’s

Panel Project – First Successes

30 April 2014
panel project illustration

My panel connected to a computer.

This is my first article about a project I have been working on for some little time now. I’m presenting it now because I finally got some important features of this project working.

Depicted above is my hardware for this particular project. The “control panel” was once part of a now-replaced flight training computer program. It supposedly represents some of the controls on a Cessna airplane. It was meant to be attached to an old-fashioned game controller to give it a “flight yoke.” I added the basic parts of such a game controller to the top of this panel, but am not using it yet, and probably won’t.

A Problem and a Solution

This panel is operated by a microcontroller that talks to the flight simulation computer program over an “old fashioned” serial communication line. These days microcontrollers are equipped with “flash” memory to hold their programs. This type of memory is permanent, but its contents can be changed. The older microcontrollers were programmed once and that was it. So there was no way for me to adapt this panel for my own use.

I had to rewire it with a new controller somehow. I found a way to do it (which I won’t get into here) using a Digilent product much like the Arduino Uno that I thought would have enough pins to connect to all these buttons. This product was purposely made to be programmed in a very similar way to the Arduino. As gone over earlier, this means this product uses a programming system that is a standard used for many different purposes today.

So, after installing the new microcontroller in the panel, I worked out – over a period of many weeks a few hours at a time – a program that would send out data about the panel. The code for this is gone over below.

Discovering a workable host program

I needed a program running on a computer to stand in for the flight simulation program that went with the original control panel. The original program was made for Windows. Those programs are a bit difficult to write! But there are several ways these days to achieve a similar effect. And one pretty good open source program-writing resource is Processing, which I covered briefly in a previous post.

I discovered that Processing had a little code “library” (a collection of usually short programs that adds a certain feature) for “old fashioned” serial communications. Many modern microcontrollers communicate to the computer that is used to program them through a USB cable that is set up to mimic an “old fashioned” serial communication line.

So all I had to do with the panel was program it to send “old fashioned” serial messages through its USB cable (which also powers it) to the host program written using Processing.

Below is a screenshot of a generic panel program I wrote using Processing to receive and display data from a panel of up to 64 (8X8) separate controls. Most of these controls would ordinarily be switches, and that is the only functionality I have implemented so far.

This panel has two other types of controls besides switches: Rotary switches called “encoders” and sliding controls that can be assigned numerous values depending on position. These are a little bit trickier than switches to code for, so I’ve left them for later.

This application shows a grid of colored rectangles with some text in them. They switch colors depending on data received from the physical panel. This screenshot shows that some of the positions on the panel are open or inactive (grey). A “1” from the panel results in a yellow box and a “0” results in a red box (I was going for something more orange, but I liked this color better). So this application just gives us a start at writing a host program that can take data from a control panel and act on it, do something with it.

panel display

Screenshot of the Processing application that displays the state of the panel.

The Code

With some trepidation, I present below the code more or less as I have written it so far. The data behind the slashes are “comments.” This is information that helps the program writer explain to himself or others what he or she is trying to do with a line or section of code.

The following code was written on the Multi-Platform IDE for uploading into the microcontroller that is wired into this panel.

/*
DigitalReadToSerialMonitor2
Reads digital inputs connected to the controller pins and sends
out the result on a serial communication line.
Modified extensively for the FS-100 application.
This example code is in the public domain.
This version implements simple handshaking scheme
to make sure the host is ready for the next message.
*/
// Set up global (can be seen by all other code) arrays of values:
int prevValues[8][8]; 
// 8 by 8 array holds previous state of the panel to compare to.
int valueArray[8][8]; 
// 8 by 8 array holds most current state of the panel.

void setup()
{
/* These setup steps are needed to tell the microcontroller
what its pins are connected to. I don't use all these pins 
in this particular program. */
pinMode(0, INPUT);
pinMode(1, INPUT);
pinMode(2, INPUT);
pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
pinMode(8, INPUT);
pinMode(9, INPUT);
pinMode(10, INPUT);
pinMode(11, INPUT);
pinMode(12, INPUT);
pinMode(13, INPUT);
pinMode(14, INPUT);
pinMode(15, INPUT);
// Below are the data lines that will be read by this code.
pinMode(34, INPUT);
pinMode(35, INPUT);
pinMode(36, INPUT);
pinMode(37, INPUT);
pinMode(38, INPUT);
pinMode(39, INPUT);
pinMode(40, INPUT);
pinMode(41, INPUT);

/*
The 3 volt outputs of the controller are connected to
inverting transistors ("buffer") that output 5 volt signals.
Reset needs a high pulse, so I give the buffer a low pulse.
This reset pulse is for the rotary encoders, not yet implemented.
*/
digitalWrite(7,HIGH);
delay(5); // delay() introduces a time lag in milliseconds.
digitalWrite(7,LOW); //reset the encoders just once
delay(5); // delay() helps make sure your timing works out.
digitalWrite(7,HIGH);

for (int i=0; i<8; i++) // this line implements a "loop"
{
  for (int j=0; j<8; j++)
    {
      prevValues[i][j] = 0; // This fills one array with zeros.
    }
 }
Serial.begin(9600); // This activates the serial comm line.
}

/* The Processing IDE uses a program element called draw()
to contain code that will be repeated over and over again. 
This IDE calls this loop() as it does not draw to the screen. 
Void refers to a method (function) that does things, 
but does not return any value. */

void loop()
{
/*
During each iteration of this loop, the panel is scanned
by issuing an address, then enabling the controls that are
at that address (up to 8) and reading their values.
Right now, all we are reading is digital (on or off)
controls. These data go into the valueArray.
Addresses are inverted due to inverting buffer...
Start with address 0 which is 111 inverted.
Output enable (on pin 6) is active-low. 
That means issuing a LOW turns it off (makes it HIGH).
*/
digitalWrite(6,LOW); // Ensure outputs are disabled.
delay(5);
digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
digitalWrite(5,HIGH);

digitalWrite(6,HIGH); // Now enable the control outputs.
delay(5);
// Below illustrates how an array is addressed in code.
valueArray[0][0] = digitalRead(34);
valueArray[0][1] = digitalRead(35);
valueArray[0][2] = digitalRead(36);
valueArray[0][3] = digitalRead(37);
valueArray[0][4] = digitalRead(38);
valueArray[0][5] = digitalRead(39);
valueArray[0][6] = digitalRead(40);
valueArray[0][7] = digitalRead(41);
digitalWrite(6,LOW);

// Repeat for address 2:
digitalWrite(6,LOW);
delay(5);
digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
digitalWrite(4,LOW);
digitalWrite(5,HIGH);

digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
delay(5);
valueArray[2][0] = digitalRead(34);
valueArray[2][1] = digitalRead(35);
valueArray[2][2] = digitalRead(36);
valueArray[2][3] = digitalRead(37);
valueArray[2][4] = digitalRead(38);
valueArray[2][5] = digitalRead(39);
valueArray[2][6] = digitalRead(40);
valueArray[2][7] = digitalRead(41);
digitalWrite(6,LOW);

// Repeat for address 4:
digitalWrite(6,LOW);
delay(5);
digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
digitalWrite(5,LOW);

digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
delay(5);
valueArray[4][0] = digitalRead(34);
valueArray[4][1] = digitalRead(35);
valueArray[4][2] = digitalRead(36);
valueArray[4][3] = digitalRead(37);
valueArray[4][4] = digitalRead(38);
valueArray[4][5] = digitalRead(39);
valueArray[4][6] = digitalRead(40);
valueArray[4][7] = digitalRead(41);
digitalWrite(6,LOW);

// Repeat for address 5:
digitalWrite(6,LOW);
delay(5);
digitalWrite(3,LOW);
digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
digitalWrite(5,LOW);

digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
delay(5);
valueArray[5][0] = digitalRead(34);
valueArray[5][1] = digitalRead(35);
valueArray[5][2] = digitalRead(36);
valueArray[5][3] = digitalRead(37);
valueArray[5][4] = digitalRead(38);
valueArray[5][5] = digitalRead(39);
valueArray[5][6] = digitalRead(40);
valueArray[5][7] = digitalRead(41);
digitalWrite(6,LOW);

// Repeat for address 6:
digitalWrite(6,LOW);
delay(5);
digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
digitalWrite(4,LOW);
digitalWrite(5,LOW);

digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
delay(5);
valueArray[6][0] = digitalRead(34);
valueArray[6][1] = digitalRead(35);
valueArray[6][2] = digitalRead(36);
valueArray[6][3] = digitalRead(37);
valueArray[6][4] = digitalRead(38);
valueArray[6][5] = digitalRead(39);
valueArray[6][6] = digitalRead(40);
valueArray[6][7] = digitalRead(41);
digitalWrite(6,LOW);

/*
Next step is to loop through and compare old values to new values, etc.
*/
for (int i=0; i<8; i++)
 {
   for (int j=0; j<8; j++) 
    { 
      if (prevValues[i][j] != valueArray[i][j]) 
        { 
          String outStr = String(i)+String(j)+String(valueArray[i][j]); 
// Here is where we implement the semi-handshake. 
            if ( Serial.available() > 0)
              {
                Serial.println(outStr);
              }
            else
              {
                delay(100); 
// If we don't get an answer in 100 milliseconds, send the data anyway.
                Serial.println(outStr);
              }
        }
    }
 }
/*
Now transfer new values to old values using loops.
*/
for (int i=0; i<8; i++)
 {
   for (int j=0; j<8; j++)
    { 
      prevValues[i][j] = valueArray[i][j];
    }
 }
  delay(5);
}

And here is code written in the Processing IDE to receive this data:


/**
 * SerialReadControlPanel
 * Larry Cox 2014. Developed from "Simple Read" and other code examples.
 * Read data from the serial port and change the color of a rectangle
 * This code was tested 29 April 2014 and worked with loopback cable.
 * (Loopback = pins 2 and 3 connected.)
 */

import processing.serial.*; // This is the serial communication features.

Serial myPort;   // Create object from Serial class
int ports;       // Number of ports in list of serial ports.
String inputStr; // Data received from the serial comm line
String titleStr; // via out serial port.
int cols = 8;    // For the display grid.
int rows = 8;    // For the display grid.
Cell[][] Panel;  // Cell is a special object that displays as a grid.
String[][] labelArray = 
  {
  {"1"," 9","17","25","33","41","49","57"},
  {"2","10","18","26","34","42","50","58"},
  {"3","11","19","27","35","43","51","59"},
  {"4","12","20","28","36","44","52","60"},
  {"5","13","21","29","37","45","53","61"},
  {"6","14","22","30","38","46","54","62"},
  {"7","15","23","31","39","47","55","63"},
  {"8","16","24","32","40","48","56","64"} 
  };
int[][] valueArray = 
  {
  {1, 9,17,25,33,41,49,57},
  {2,10,18,26,34,42,50,58},
  {3,11,19,27,35,43,51,59},
  {4,12,20,28,36,44,52,60},
  {5,13,21,29,37,45,53,61},
  {6,14,22,30,38,46,54,62},
  {7,15,23,31,39,47,55,63},
  {8,16,24,32,40,48,56,64},
  };
  int rate = 0;
  int evenToggle = 0;
  
void setup() 
{
  size(800, 500); //Initial window size.
  
  ports = Serial.list().length; // Find out if any ports are active.
  if (ports > 0) // If one is, assume it's the first one (index = 0).
  {
  String portName = Serial.list()[0];
  // I create an informational title string.
  titleStr = "# of ports = " + str(ports) + " :" + portName;
  myPort = new Serial(this, portName, 9600);
  myPort.bufferUntil('\n'); // '\n' means a linefeed in the C language.
  myPort.write("000"); 
  myPort.write('\n');
/* The above lines will initiate the first serial event if 
the serial line is connected as a loopback. */
  }
  else
  {titleStr = "No serial ports currently active.";}
  Panel = new Cell[cols][rows]; // This is called a "constructor."
}

void draw()
{
  background(255);             // Set background to white.
  fill(rate);                  // Fill color for update ticker.
  ellipse(750,25,40,40);       // Draw update ticker.
  fill(0);                     // Set fill to black.
  text(titleStr,2,2,700,20);   // Draw the title.
  
                                // Create the panel.  
  for (int i = 0; i < cols; i++) // For each column in Panel...
  {
    for (int j = 0; j < rows; j++) // create a row of cells. 
    {
      // This line initializes each object in turn.
      Panel[i][j] = new Cell(i*100,(j*50)+50,100,50,labelArray[i][j],str(valueArray[i][j]));
/* Cell Constructor syntax:
Cell(float posX, float posY, float width, float height, float angle) */
      Panel[i][j].display(); // Draws the panel a rectangle at a time.
    }
  }
  // I want an indicator to flash at the speed I'm updating the display.
  int nextRate = 0;
  if (rate == 0) { nextRate = 255; }
  else { nextRate = 0; }
  rate = nextRate;
}

/*
The serialEvent() method runs automatically whenever the buffer reaches 
the byte value set in the bufferUntil() method in setup().
This is the crucial code that responds when data are received.
*/
void serialEvent(Serial myPort) 
{ 
  inputStr = myPort.readStringUntil('\n'); 
  inputStr = trim(inputStr);  // Just in case it contains junk characters.
/* The int() method will convert a numeric string to a value. */
  int i = int(inputStr.substring(0,1)); 
  int j = int(inputStr.substring(1,2)); 
  String k = inputStr.substring(2);
  valueArray[i][j]= int(k); // Updates array contents - crucial!
/* I wanted to toggle the data that gets sent out so in a loopback 
test I could see it changing on the screen. */
  int nexToggle = 0;
  if ( evenToggle == 0 )
  { 
    myPort.write("000"); // Send a string to serve as a test and to ask for more data.
    nexToggle = 1;
  }
  else 
  { 
    myPort.write("001"); // Send a different string...  
    nexToggle = 0;
  }
  myPort.write('\n');
  evenToggle = nexToggle;
} 
// A Cell object is defined below:
class Cell 
{
// A cell object knows about its location in the grid as well as its size.
  float x,y;   // x,y location
  float w,h;   // width and height
  String label; // Cell "content"
  String value; // rest of cell content

  // Cell Constructor
  Cell(float tempX, float tempY, float tempW, float tempH, 
        String tempLabel, String tempValue) 
  {
    x = tempX;
    y = tempY;
    w = tempW;
    h = tempH;
    label = tempLabel;
    value = tempValue;
  } 
  void display() 
  {
    stroke(255); // Draws a black border.
    strokeWeight(2); // One of several border options.
    fill(204); // Fill color for the next object to be drawn.
    rect(x,y,w,h); // Gives us an array of boxes on the screen.
    fill(0); // Fill color for the text.
    text(label,x+2,y+2,w-4,h-29); 
// Above line draws text superimposed over the boxes.
    text(value,x+2,y+27,w-4,h-29);
  }
}

I didn’t capture quite the latest version of my code with the yellow and red logic in it, but this is plenty for now.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers