5x a week: 11/27

About 10 days ago I decided to intentionally stay off the usual attention vampires (the site with the big blue Bird). For my state of mind this has been a Good Thing. Instead of twerping my thoughts the moment they arise, I've let them marinate in the old brain box, leaving just the top 5 interesting pieces for today:

  • Became a quadcopter repair mechanic. Having a 4 year old with a love of flying, this was inevitable. We disassembled a motor with a bent shaft while learning about commutators, brushes, field windings, and fixed earth magnets. Discovering the motor to be properly boned, we set about looking for a suitable replacement on AMZN. It turns out for this delightful little quad just about any 6mmx15mm will work, but what RPM motor did it ship with? Taking no chances, I bought my own quad to act as a motor donor (after some all-important test flying, naturally), and also purchased this little pack of replacements. Turns out I "didn't need" to buy a second quad, as those motors were a perfect fit and match for the factory set. Oh well, it's not like my kiddo was going to let me fly his quad.

  • Produced a delectable turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and giblet gravy from the confines of our postage-stamp sized kitchen. Good eats.

  • You know what are amazing? PID Controllers. I think about them all the time. Electronic (or pneumatic/mechanical, really!) control of physical processes with an integral error term. PID-driven temperature controllers, for example, can adapt to variance in the heating element & the individual heat characteristics of the oven. You know what else they're great for? Level flight in a quadrotor aircraft.

  • I repaired a friend's iMac--someone had taken "dual layer" to mean "cram two discs in" the poor DVD drive, and the front glass had a nasty crack. eBay for the exact DVD match, Amazon for the glass + the LVDI cable I broke disassembling the machine (oops). It's a neat piece of modular engineering; it's clear that these machines were designed to be worked on & repaired quickly, say in the back room of an AppleRetail store using only a couple standard tools.

  • Current tea: Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast with a splash of whole milk. It's no PG Tips but it'll do, it'll do.