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N-Scale trains and revisiting history

Model Railroads

The Past

When I was growing up my brother and I had a classic HO model train on a 4×8 sheet of plywood.  The layout was suspended from the ceiling in our laundry room, and we had to lower it to use it and work on it and then raise it when we were done so the laundry room could be used for it’s original purpose.

Today some 30+ years latter I’ve started to revisit model railroading.  But before we start down the what am I up to now path, I want to jot a few notes about what I remember from my HO set.

I had a Burlington Northern locomotive (still need to get the proper terms for it) done in the green and white paint scheme.  My brother had a Union Pacific flat nose locomotive.  I remember the following models:

  • Chevron station, that I could never manage to glow the windows into without getting glue all over them.
  • A coal tiple
  • A set of three homes under construction
  • Tower lights for a yard (similar to the four light version here)
  • A cattle stock car, and a loading dock with little cows
  • a box car with the Spirit of ’76 paint scheme

I have no idea what happened to the original train sets… lost to time.

I think that computers came along and stole all of my energy and passion for trains, which ultimately resulted in my entire career so I can’t actually complain.

The Present

Now thanks to that career I find my self owning a home on the Oregon coast with a large attic, and I’ve decided that the best thing I can do with it, is to turn it into my very own railway.

As I started researching, my first inclination was to do Burlington Northern in the mid 50’s.  After doing some initial research I realized that combination wasn’t actually possible because Burlington Northern (at least under that name) didn’t start operations until 1970.  So then I started researching it’s predecessors and arrived at the Great Northern Railroad, but at the same time I discovered a coal hopper and caboose done up in a bicentennial color scheme from the Carbon County Railway.  Having spent the majority of my formative years growing up in Price, I started researching more in this area.

So as it turns out I’m setting my focus on summer/fall of ’76 with the Helper rail yard as the central location on my layout.  It will include some portion of Price, the Carbon Country Railway yard at Columbia, the Sunnyside mine coal load out facility on down to the Crescent Junction which hosts the branch to Cane Creek / Moab area and then into staging before hitting Green River.

Going the other direction out of helper, you’ll get a small part of Helper, Castle Gate coal, and on up to Soldier Summit and then off into staging, well before reaching the yard at Provo.  This will be a round the room setup with one island to support the Cane Creek branch, but I’ll post more on that as I start to figure out layout and design and how I’m going to finish the attic space.

 

Musings of a father

So it’s Saturday morning, I’m headed to AUS from my hotel after recording Keep Ruby Weird in Austin, Texas yesterday.  Russ Olsen’s story about our efforts to land on the moon is one of the best presentations I have seen at a software development conference.  I’d link to the video, but for now it’s just raw footage on my laptop.

Today I’m headed to Salt Lake City, birth place of all six of my biological daughters.  Two mothers, six daughters, four pregnancies.  It is today that my second singleton is getting married.  Following her convictions and belief that this young man is her partner for life and the here after.  So this is the second of my six to get married.  I don’t think I wrote about when my eldest Wendy got married in February of 2013.  Emily is the second to get married but the fourth in the sibling chain.  Is it significant that both my singleton’s are the first to wed?

As for me, well I’ve been down this path personally on three separate occasions, marriage or any relationship for that matter is a messy affair.

 

A time for change from AT&T to Heroku

After 2 years 2 months and 4 days of working at AT&T Services, Inc.  I resigned on June 13th, 2014.  I finished my last day at AT&T on July 11th, 2014.  During my 26 Months with AT&T I worked with a lot of really incredible people.  I learned a ton of things about “Enterprise” sized companies, about myself, and about motivation in general.

When I “rejoined” AT&T ( I had previously worked for AT&T Interactive / YellowPages.com) I was actually rejoining an organization lead by Brad Mohs.  Brad was the CTO at AT&T Interactive when I started there in 2008 as a development manager.

When I started in April of 2012 I was brought in to build up a new team to build tools on top of an OpenStack based cloud platform.  This was FUN!  I ended up hiring 13 individuals who I had had the pleasure of working with before and brought in two that I had not worked with, but both were strong references from the other folks I hired.  I was also reunited with a number of folks that I had either hired or worked with at YellowPages.com who had stayed

On July 14, 2014 I will start my new position with Heroku as manager of the Foundation Team.

Clark

Clark is an 8 week old medium hair tabby that joined our family on 5/31.

Smokey is about 8 years old now, and Pewter is 10.  It’s fun to have a kitten in the house again.  As the older two aren’t very adept at adjusting to strangers Clark is going to be my office cat for the next 6-8 weeks while we give them little intervals to adjust to each other.

Here are some photos:

2014-06-01 17.10.58 HDR2014-05-31 18.42.13 2014-05-31 18.34.22-2 2014-05-31 18.36.25 2014-05-31 18.36.41

Dell Ultrasharp Monitor Lock Out – U2711

dell_u2711_1-300x244 (1)dell_u2711_1-300x244 (1)

I’ve had a pair of the Dell U2711’s now for almost nine months, tonight I went to switch from DVI to the Display port on one of them (Switching from my PC back to my Mac), and when I pressed the OSD Menu button I got a purple lock symbol on the screen…. WTF?

After some searching I found this helpful post thanks to google.

http://jrause.com/blog/?p=13

So the solution is to press and hold the two keys directly above the power button for 15 seconds… and it didn’t work.  Really?  There is one gotcha… you have to have a signal hooked up to the current display mode in order for the unlock action to function correctly.

Yup, once I put the DVI signal back to the monitor and then held the two buttons directly above the power down for 15 seconds I got the magic unlock symbol and my monitor was back in action.

Thought I’d put that cavet on the internet.  That way if someone else has this problem, perhaps they’ll land here and discover what I did thru trial and error.

 

Agile Manifesto and it’s counter part.

I love both of these sites and wanted to share:

http://agilemanifesto.org

and it’s cousin the sad panda:

http://halfarsedagilemanifesto.org

 

Time flys

My month so far:

  • 1 – 2 – Parents visiting, getting ready for trip to Sweden
  • 3 – 14 – travel to and tour Sweden
  • 15 – 16 – travel to Lincoln City for Amber’s college graduation and celebration
  • 17 – first day back at work and get my parents to airport to head home
  • 18 – sick 🙁
  • 19 – work – catching up
  • 20 – work – one of my oldest twins and two friends arrived just before midnight
  • 21 – work – other twin and another friend arrive
  • 22 – morning with visitors, return 3 friends to airport (standby travel does have negatives)
  • 23 – return Carley to airport 6AM hang out with last Madi aka Cat
  • 24 – return Cat to airport, work

So now that we are back to just Kelli and I in the house I’m going to try and get the blog posts from Sweden done up this week, and start my first real costume project, repair a few RC cards; amazing what five 20 somethings can do in an hour to a fleet of RC vehicles :), and generally get back into the flow of things.

And this week we are going to official launch OpenStack on Ales.  More on that soon.

Technology yet again…

Driving up Söderköpingsvägen on the way from Öland to Stockholm.  Just got my laptop out, plugged it into my iPad that is using a prepaid Telia SIM card and I’m on the internet with my laptop in the car.  Not a big deal today, I’ve done similar posts from 30,000 feet in the air on flights so it’s not new, but that doesn’t make stopping and appreciating it for a moment a bad thing.  In 1988 I sat in a passenger seat of a Chevrolet Celebrity while heading to my Mother’s family ranch in Enoch Valley, Idaho, making a similar notation in a journal on a Toshiba 1200HD laptop, so amazed at the technology then, still amazed today, and totally loving the freedom it gives us.

Nothing like driving around a country side with a map that shows you exactly where you are and satellite photos of the areas you are in or headed to.  Nothing like looking at the images and deciding that this road looks like it gets really tiny, but does eventually reconnect, let’s take it and see 🙂  At the end of that road we did have to open a farmers gate and drive through a small part of his drive way to get back onto the main road, but it was great fun, and saw some parts of the island that your typical tourist won’t see.

Now I’m going to stop this post and go work on OSOA web-site so we can launch OpenStack on Ales next week!

Sweden Adventure Day #5

June 8, 2013

Note: These are notes – I will update this post with pictures and more writing after the trip.

8ish get up, awesome getting so much sleep – feel wonderful!

drive back through Toreboda to Fägre check out the grave yard across from Fägre Kyrka

turn on video camera – so I can do a time lapse video of the drive through Randstop, random exploring on dirt roads beyond Randstorp up and across Göta Kanal and back out to the main road then down through Vassbacken then on to Moholm, then Varing then Skövde and down around the tip of the lake through Jönköping and back up to Linköping.

On the drive between Jönköping and Linköping Cindy called from NYC, we walked through troubleshooting an issue with Wirecast and the Matrox MX02 Mini that we use for live slide streaming, and were able to get things working + she is recording and live streaming GoRuCo today… or as of this time, she should be in the last few hours anyway…

During the drive for some reason I turned off the iPad, doh… SIM is locked, I threw away the PIN code with the trash when we left Stockholm (face palm), so we went by a Telia store, waited for 40 minutes and the queue had only gone from 32 to 36 and I was holding number 42, and they closed at 2 PM, we got there at 12:40, I decided I could do without the internet and was not going to waste another hour in Sweden sitting in a tele-comm store.

So we left Telia, stopped by a Willy:S grocery store and picked up some ice and a few other supplies, then we headed over to the Linköping De Kyrka, it’s amazing the way some of these churches have been built up over time.  Dad had a great time talking a gentleman at the church (photo) but discovered he was having a hard time finding words to carry on a regular conversation in swedish.  impressed by how much he does know, and everyone (randquists and this man) have complimented him on his swedish abilities.

Left the church found Hotell Stanga with GPS, since no internet 🙁

checked in, plugged in everything since I failed to do so last night in Mariestead, luckily not fully charging everything didn’t bite me today.

after 90 minutes at the hotel plugging in and trying to figure out why my MBP wouldn’t connect to the third hotel wifi … I finally punted and we went to McDonald’s for dinner… yea I know why would you go to McDonalds?  Well we wanted to see what prices were like in comparison to the US and how the menu differed, other than the language menu felt pretty much the sam.  Although a double cheese burger was 20 sek, this is the same double cheeseburger I get in Bend for $1.29.  As I right this the conversion from SEK to USD is: 1 SEK  = .15 USD, so that double cheeseburger cost me $3.03, ouch!  granted 12.5% of that is effectively a tax, but still more expensive.

Ok after dinner back to the hotel, we’ll be getting up tomorrow and looking for the place dad lived in here in Linköping for 11 1/2 months of his mission 50 years ago.  Then checking out Gamla Linköping or the old village portion of town and then heading further east so that we can start exploring the island of Öland probably on Monday.

Store hours are well posted here, every business has a sign (BIG) that states the hours öppet Mån-Tor 9 – 22 means open Mon-Thu 9 AM to 10 PM, Fre 9-24, Lör 10-24, Sön 10-14, or Fri 9 to Midnight, Saturday 10 to Midnight and Sunday 10 to 2 PM.

anyway… it is after 11:00 PM, I turned on a video camera aimed out the window at 9:00 PM, going to leave it running all night, so I can do a time lapse of just how light/dark it gets during the night.  Anyway I’m off for now.

 

Sweden Adventure Day #1

June 4, 2013

Today was strange… spending 9 hours and 23 minutes on an airplane, followed by a 60 minutes to run from one end of the airport (Gate E) to the other (literally Gate B35) at AMS, and clear Customs.  It was a challenge, made it with about seven minutes to spare.

Then a two hour flight from AMS to ARN and we were finally on the ground at Arlanda International Airport in Sweden.  After picking up our bags we stepped outside to meet Madeleine Randquist.

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Madeleine Randquist and my Dad in front of the Arlanda Terminal 2 just after our arrival in Sweden.

From we we went and picked up the rental car a 2013 Volvo X70 (I think…)

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Our rental car for our time in Sweden – a 2013 Volvo X70

My Dad rode with Madeline into the city and I followed in the rental car.  We checked in at the hotel and freshened up.

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Our hotel in Stockholm – Mercure

Madeleine came back an hour or so latter and picked us up for a wonderful dinner of beef stew at her place.

After dinner and much conversation we returned to our hotel room about 11:30 PM in time to rest.  We’ll be meeting Madeleine in the morning for breakfast and start our first day touring the old inner city of Stockholm.

It does not get very dark at night here sunset was 9:53 pm and sunrise is at 3:30 am.