Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween looms large once again and I've been SUPER busy

My goodness, time flies when you're in the thick of shenanigans. I'm in it deep, people.  Lots of stuff going on, and one of the things I said to a guy I encountered at a bank downtown was that yes, I blog, and my readers are mainly Chinese so now you know that China is kept up to date on everything going on in Enid.

I'm basically an opportunist, too, and a number of opportunities have been opening up during the course of the week past and you can bet your sweet bippy I've been taking maximum advantage of those.  When I sit down long enough to catch my breath and process videos and pics, you can bet I'll post 'em here as time permits.


Surprise surprise surprise.  After I hit the submit button on the above post, I checked the stats and instantly there were 3 hits on it.  I expected those to be from Google Plus cuz that's where it circulates immediately upon posting, but that's not what the stat counter told me this time.  I got 1 immediate  hit from  Hello, fellow coders, but in case you haven't noticed, I dropped Simple Machines like eons ago...unless one of you three is Ardd.  Hey Ardd, I thought you died or something. Say hi to Apple for, wait...SCREAM. :D

I got a truckload of catching up to do with blogging and I don't know if I can manage this late in this day.  By all means stay tuned though.  The tricks of this week have turned out to be rare treats.

In the meantime, enjoy the dueling banks, each of which have pumpkin decorating competitions...and note that some pumpkin themes appear in both banks.  CNB first--

Are you laughing? When you consider the high male mortality in heavy industry, you shouldn't be. Men stubbornly think it's "manly" to go without adequate safety equipment especially in construction, and yes--they do die, actually, from stubbornness.  Those that don't die manage to suffer significant lifelong disability, and that includes doing stupid things with their back because they fancy themselves strong enough to avoid back injury. If you still think that women aren't strong enough to do man's work, look at all the women on farms and ranches that have had to take over operation of same because the man developed a  bad back.

Christians, the next time you feel like bitching about Islam, remember St. Augustine, among other "Fathers of Christianity".

Fathers of Christianity and of Judaism were the MoFos that Islam learned that shit from.

Men agree, too, because they say, "the difference between men and boys is the size of their toys." There ya go, gals--they admit it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Congrats, Malala! --plus mini-updates

I've been pretty busy getting into mischief with regards to City affairs (and I can't divulge what just yet, although with my previous post about the Open Meeting Act in Oklahoma, you can get a hint about just a part of that), I do think I at least should post congratulations to Malala for being awarded the Peace Prize. No one deserves it more.

When it comes to the City, union negotiations with management, and a whole slew of other matters,  I've been an army of one, and can attest to the fact of Malala's statement.

Sunday UPDATE: In other international news (sort of), PAMBE Ghana of Oklahoma City has announced that their Fair Trade Global Market marketing festival is from November 4 thru December 23(I'm sure they have Christmas in mind), and I don't mind putting in a plug for that, having shopped there last year myself, noting just how definitely international they are, and keeping in mind the ebola crisis this year and how much stuff needs funding over there, generally speaking. Yes, corruption plays a huge part in why things are the way they are over there, so it's not smart to be as generous as your heart tells you to be with a lot of charities begging for relief for anywhere in Africa as we close in on the major holidays, but PAMBE Ghana is a good one.  

Monday-Tuesday UPDATE: I was going to write a blog entry about a TIME magazine article written by Mark Bittman in which he encourages cooking at home, from scratch...and I was gonna rip him for sounding like a man that never did the dishes after he cooks at home...BUT!...more opportunities for more mischief came up, and I went with the mischief.  Can't reveal what it is even yet, but you can bet I'll blog about it when the outcome becomes known. Heheheheheheheheh....

Wednesday UPDATE: CURSE YOU, JOHN OLIVER!!! edition

Just when I thought I could slide by Columbus Day, Oliver pipes up on Last Week Today and says, in other words, what I said last year except for the part where he suggests better Italians for Italian Americans to celebrate...


Last year it looked like I was gonna go with Joe Doce, but as long as Oliver dragged me back into this thing, this year I nominate Father Guido Sarducci.

Monday, October 06, 2014

I luvz ya, Bill Maher & Sam Harris, but y'all are wrong--& 3 updates

Make no mistake, I'm an atheist who curries no favor for any branch of the ill-begotten Abrahamic religions, and who thinks that all religions are the motherlode of bad ideas, but you guys are all wrong about Islam because you all base your conclusions on the rot sold by non-Islamic religions and you bought it, suckers.  With the crap that you bought into, Bill and Sam, you're no different than Christians.


Islamophobia is the result of believing the rot that the other two Abrahamic branches preach about it.Sure, it's true that ISIS isn't helping in that regard, but it's also true that ISIS isn't Islamic and anybody who says that it is doesn't know squat about Islam either. Nice of you guys to opine about something you guys clearly don't know anything about outside of propaganda, but quite frankly, you're also believing the crap that ISIS is selling you, too, and that makes you a believer in ISIS as well as what makes you Christian.


Actual Muslims know better than you guys for a change.  They know if the Allah they believe in really willed there to be a Califate Empire, we'd still have the first one.  We don't, do we.  As far as actual Muslims are concerned, there is no Califate Empire because it's God's will, and those attempting to establish one are not insha'allah.


Oh dear--I just heard Chris Hayes make sense and then go off the rails. He said he was in Afflek's corner but then said that one should listen to a member of "the faith" as if it was monolithic.  Christianity isn't monolithic either, despite what I may have inferred when I said that Christianity sells one story about Islam (all flavors of Christianity do and it dates back to when Christianity was nearly all Orthodox). Sorry, Chris, but a monolithic Islam is not true.


What is wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture is not that the caption is written in Arabic, nor that the apparent Muslim thinks that this is how a proper woman (hen) is expected to serve her man (rooster) because that's how much she loves him.  What's wrong with this picture is that for centuries, this was what western men believed as a rule, and what abusive western men still believe.

There are Muslims that don't believe this way and there are Christians who do, and NO woman should offer such a thing as this as a token of love...and NO man should expect it, either. Ever.  Bill Maher, it was YOU who complained about "the wussification of America". It's the non-wuss males that are this kind of problem in every religion, and even among atheist men like yourself. FAIL


UPDATE, Reza Aslan/Sam Harris Edition: Boy, that Real Time story keeps generating a lot of high-level-pundit discussion, and I suppose that's a good thing,  but it remains a topic on which purely dispassionate analysis is a rare to find, and only when you get lucky, with Reza Aslan weighing in now.  As I said before, Aslan is a Sufi apologist. while the remainder, regardless of faith of persuasion, simply believe stuff that other religions preach about Islam without going through the trouble of establishing factual facts first.  Aslan makes the very accurate point that both sides lack sophistication.  

The westerners invariably regard the Quran like it was a Bible even in its translation into English when it is not and never was. Westerners regard the Sunni-Shiite divide as "sectarian" when it isn't, and regard sharia law as uniformly more strict throughout "the Muslim world" when it varies from tribe to tribe, nevermind the variations that occur between Sunnis and Shiites, and all westerners of all western faiths invariably believe the rot about how the 7th century saw Islam spread by the sword when that's not true either.

On The Last Word, Sam Harris kept referring to singular beliefs but according to him, believed in by "the Muslim world" when that's not true. Sophistication is a prerequisite for any meaningful, factual discussion of Islam in the entire range of its varying spectrum while recognizing that the Quran is just a pillar of a wide range of Islamic beliefs that find more foundation among the Hadiths and, in the case of Sunnis, the Sunnah, and find that these things are merely foundations supported by the pillars, and upon  that foundation rests the myriad of disparate sharia laws dependent on the myriad of different tribes that profess to be Muslim. 

To paint Islam with a single tone is wrong; to paint Islam with only two tones is just as wrong, too.  In Aslan's case, to minimize the fact that the Sunni-Shiite divide is something to be glossed over and sugar coated is just as wrong too.

Fast-forward to Sunday, and a Fareed Zacharia GPS UPDATE: Zacharia prefaced his program by weighing in on the Maher spat and proclaimed that Maher was some sort of legit intellectual pundit, forgetting entirely that he's a comedian. FAIL

Fareed made only one accurate comment, and that is that the matter is complex.  More on this later.

A very late Tuesday UPDATE:
Lots of stuff going on this Tuesday, from City study session, Commission meeting, and the Tops In Blue concert.  Prior to that, though, was the antique small engine exposition near the fairgrounds, too.  I tried to upload a small engine primer video that I made with some of the footage from that last event, and Blogger decided it didn't like that, so we're back to the same ole video problems Google pushed on Blogger that was experienced earlier; error message claims that there's a 100MB limit now.  I'm going to have to make an iPhone version before Blogger will take it---AGAIN.  Google, get yer frikkin act together already. This is bollocks.

Ah. Here we go. iPhone size works. Eff U, Google & Blogger! FAIL!!
(Later in the day I tried to view the vid full screen for desktop and the captions are very very very muddled.  But it's all that Blogger permits at this time. Meh and a half)


There are a number of liberal arts type scholars who like to portray Henry Ford, a couple of which venture into Enid OK, and here's an observation to you folks: if you think I'm hell in the audience asking questions you can't answer, be happy that I haven't gone all blue-collar grease-monkey technical in your face with questions about magnetos, dwell angles, flathead technology and the competition in the form of the Stanley Steamer.  Believe it or don't, I was going easy on your dainty liberal arts asses.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Local, State issues override inernational at this time: Open Meetings/Records laws

Of course I'm aware of the fact that I've been posting local fru-fru considering all the more dire situations across the globe occurring at this time, but here's a reminder that this blog has Chinese minders, and, more recently, Russian minders and I'm not interested in censorship of any sort.

I spent most of the day yesterday in the Woodward area of Oklahoma because of the following newspaper article:

Notice at the very bottom, the inset referring to "Free Open Records Act seminar".  That's what I went to, and it actually covered both Open Meetings and Open Records, at which a booklet was handed out as well as discussed.  I have videos of that which I will post later.

The newspaper article mentions possible charges against the City of Enid regarding all of the following marked sections in the Table of Contents except the first one, which I'll address later.

The top marked item is what the City violated when it held a regular meeting of the Commission at Roman Nose instead of at city hall like it was supposed to do.

I also spent some quality time at Gloss Mountain, and I'll post pics of that here, but later.  Note to the Chinese and Russians: you don't have t his level of accountability, so don't be surprised when the people you govern don't comply with your forced "harmony". The road to actual true harmony is paved with accountability.

By all means, take a number of other shots.
Quite often, persistence pays off, when it's worth it.
 Never say "never".

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Dear Viacom, Suddenlink....Sincerely, The Audience

UPDATE, correction edition: Since this is a correction not only to this post but a prior post about audience analyses/demographics,  I'm putting this update at the top of this page. I didn't say anything incorrect about audience analysts before, but I did leave one out.  I mentioned Kim Andrew Elliot (shortwave audience analyst for the Voice of America at one time) and Nielson (the time-honored TV audience analyst company) but there's a recent announcement by the Broadcasting Board of Governors employing Gallup for the purpose of analyzing the audience in Pakistan.  Here's a screen shot:

The link HERE

 The Broadcasting Board of Governors governs all media distributed/broadcast abroad, including but not limited to the Voice of America, so mentioning Kim as being in the driver's seat on that would be inaccurate.

And there's the matter of Hatchette tangling with Amazon in which both Hatchette and Amazon are the gatekeepers between content producers (the authors, rather than performers) and their audience, the readers.

Cable carriers dispute Viacom's steep rate hikes for content

Dear Viacom, Suddenlink, and other cable/satellite content providers:

All of you overestimate your audience loyalty. Viacom, your bundled content isn't worth what you intend to charge for the bundle when people watch only Comedy Central and TVLand.  Your bundle sucks.  Cable providers, you overestimate your audience's interest in paying current basic cable rates when you think you're good to go to put QVC and Fox on every stinkin' Viacom channel you've yanked.  You're not worth the money you're paid either.

Both of you have a higher opinion of what you're worth than we do, and when you lose audience eyeballs, Viacom, expect your advertisers to start dropping you, too. Your primary revenue is from advertisers, not cable franchises.

Suddenlink, you had a specific franchise contract with the City of Enid, which you would do well to review because a move like the one you made may have created the necessity for contract re-negotiation.Consider also the contract your customers signed with you to provide cable service--what you're giving them is not what they expected that they contracted for, and even though your contract might cover your ass in terms of liability and breach-of-contract claims, it's not making your customers happy to do business with you.  Considering smart-phone access to the Internet, you're not indispensable as an ISP either.


The Audience.

+Suddenlink Communications
Fierce Cable page, which posts other good related links on this matter

Bloomberg article
Multichannel News report

CBS report, and please see the bottom of this post regarding the portion of this report slams directly on the impact that performance has on an audience's willingness to pay for performed content, oh ye who still believe that fans are "fickle".  You're not doing your job.

Trouble with Viacom earlier this year (March)
Cable One's website about Viacom hikes
KFDA report
KETK report

Stars & Stripes article about Asian problems with Viacom

Below is the anti-Suddenlink ad that Viacom had been running right up until Suddenlink pulled the plug.  Note the end of the Viacom ad which shows the name of the advertiser that Viacom over-wrote to display their anti-Suddenlink message.  Note to Viacom stock holders: Viacom clearly doesn't value its advertiser revenue as much as it values service provider revenue, and service provider revenue is exactly what Viacom just lost and not just with only Suddenlink.


From Suddenlink's Facebook page, before it gets censored.

So, +Suddenlink Communications -- how about a locally produced Dr. Fear Channel that doesn't get censored by the City of Enid, hmmm?  How about a Punched Out Judy Channel? You do realize that you're violating the initial terms of your City-issued franchise contract, don't you?

Meanwhile, further down Suddenlink's Facebook page....

The Wizard in the Wizard of Oz may have been a fraud that was overvalued by the residents of Oz, but there is one important thing that he said to the Tin Man when the Wizard gave him a token of affection: it's not as important how much you love, but how well you are loved by others.  That's what your actual market value is, Viacom and Suddenlink. Nobody loves either one of you right now.  It's also true of the current rulers in the City of Enid whose terms dictate to Suddenlink how it does its business and to whom Suddenlink customers don't matter.

I find it interesting that Viacom, on its website, seeks to rally what it believes is its loyal fan base.  There it is again: fan loyalty presumed.  I'm sure that Suddenlink presumes that it has loyal customers, but so did DishTV when it previously had problems with a Viacom renewal.  It is from such a presumption that these entities presume that they have a higher value than they actually have. Both entertainers and politicians forge forward on presumptions as to who in that mass of people is actually invariably loyal, pretty much the way the NFL has presumed until its sponsors started cutting their support, because of THEIR fan base, aka loyal customers.  We may very well be seeing conflict of overinflated fictions.

If content fails to draw an audience, that means that the content isn't worth any effort or pay from the audience, and when cable companies and live performance providers see the word "audience", they're seeing the word "market" and, further, "market share".  Demographer Nielson has known this for decades, and so, apparently, does this CBS reporter, in his article I provided a link to earlier in this post:

"Many baseball pundits expect the Phillies to have a dismal season."  The performers always impact the viewer turnout and that's just an unavoidable fact of life.  What the providers can charge for advertising slots depends on the audience the performers draw, and that's an unavoidable fact of life. When a performance fails to draw, nobody provider OR major advertiser wants it--and it all boils down to whether or not a big audience wants it  In playing chicken with provider rates, Viacom cuts its audience and thereby cuts its future advertising revenue.  This, too, is an unavoidable fact of life, but those who refuse to do the math are invariably blind to it.

If Viacom has so much trouble raising advertising revenue that it has to start gouging service providers, this means that advertisers don't think Viacom is worth much, either. What underscores this statement is the fact that the value of Viacom stock dropped. I'm seeing in Viacom the same pattern observed in Motorola just before it divested its entire Government Sector and Semiconductor Sector in Phoenix AZ (see previous post re: Motorola--the robotics update to the Jeep-Studebaker post).

From another anti-Suddenlink Facebook group
Eyecatching comments posted on a Suddenlink webpage:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

'Nuther Post for RSS check; Jeeps & Studebakers plus robotics UPDATE

+George Strayline --most certainly at your convenience--this post is for RSS feed check.

A post in honor of your Jeep & all its troubles.

The brand name of Jeep did pretty well under its own military steam, and not too shabby when taken over by Rambler. When Rambler morphed into American Motors,  that was kinda the beginning of the end of Jeep as a practical, maintainable vehicle.  AM really got worse when Romney ran it, and then it was passed off to Renault, which did it no favors either.

And it amazes me no end when "historians" think they tell all there is to say about automotive history when they stick to the over-worn deeply-rutted roads of Henry Ford.

In terms of vehicular history, nobody's older than Studebaker because that was a company that made horsed wagons before it started making them horseless, and with the Salty Dog, ran rings around the competition on the race track.  Silver Hawk and Golden Hawk were the best in that category, while everybody remembers the Champion, not so much as a classic Studebaker but as The Muppetmobile.

Remember the big deal that the press made about the last VW Bug rolling off the factory line in Mexico?  That's where the last Studebaker Lark rolled off, too. Volkswagon got it from Studebaker.
Image scanned from a Total Performance tee shirt.

Found this nice pic of the Studebaker Champion, Starlight Coupe model, on the web. Yup, it's the Muppetmobile, but black. That sexy vehicle to the right of it is the Avanti, which went on to become its own brand after Studebaker went belly up and each Avanti was hand-crafted to order, with a Chevy engine under the hood.

I see a red Packard in the back, off in the distance.  That's what you'll see at the historic Studebaker factory in South Bend, IN, too. It's where the Avanti gets made by hand and you can watch.

My own Nellie Belle looked like this, vintage 1963, minus the radio antenna and minus the back 2 doors. Back then, radios were options to be sold separately, and Nellie didn't have one, and there was no place in the dash to put one if you bought a 3rd party radio, either. Nellie wasn't this fine looking either--I bought her with a salvage title and her brakeline was completely missing, as was the radiator. 30 days later I had her on the road, licensed, and headed to the ANARC convention in 1978--and that was in Montreal, Canada, at what was La Maison Radio Canada.  Lost tread on all four recaps on Queens Highway, too. Froze a wheel drum just outside Akron OH and that's how I wound up in Beautiful Downtown Burbank....Ohio.  Good times. I did a drawing of Nellie's back end with the caption MONTREAL OR BUST, and that's what made it to the cover of Glenn Hauser's Review of International Broadcasting in 1978.
Technical UPDATE: Here's where I talk more about Nellie Belle specifically, in detail about how I found it literally in scrapping process when I rescued the machine.  I knew the owner and attempted to buy it from the owner when I was informed that he'd lost the keys. I was waiting on word for when he found them, but apparently he never did and sent the car to the junkyard, where I've been known to frequent when I was shopping for other parts.  I didn't find out that it was in the junkyard until it was almost completely stripped of its guts.  I paid $60 for the hulk, towed it home, and proceeded to rebuild.  I found that the engine's head was cracked and in need of replacement, too.

It took a trip to KY to get a replacement head and I had that reconditioned and properly milled at a local machine shop, so yeah--I even rebuilt the engine in it.

Thank goodness for Warshawski's/ J. C. Whitney mail order.  That's where I found stuff like teflon valve seals, chrome cylinder rings and other whatnots that would fit a Studebaker overhead 6 engine.  Yeah--the type of Studebaker engine that typically suffered from cracked heads when the tappets got out of adjustment, and they did that fairly frequently.  The Lark was an attempt by Studebaker corporation to cut costs in response to consolidated motor enterprises like what became General Motors, the latter of which also enjoyed government contracts denied to other automakers. Ford enjoyed such partiality too, and that's pretty much why the multitude of individual automakers either joined or merged with The Big Two or died.  Chrysler and Rambler survived by snapping up other popular but individual model makers but still were barely treading water because of the level of government favoritism toward the Big Two.

Nash merged with Rambler early in American Motors history, and that's the firm that first came up with "unibody construction" with a minimal chassis: Nash-Rambler. Chrysler got Pontiac, and so forth. Studebaker remained defiant, as did Kaiser and so many others that eventually went belly up before American Motors did, and before Chrysler suffered its first bankruptcy crisis.  So yeah--I'm just as fond of Hank Ford as I am of Tom Edison. Meh and a half.

Anyhoo, back to Nellie Belle.  Yeah, I named my Stude after the vehicle driven by the sidekick on the Roy Rogers - Dale Evens show--and that was a Jeep--mainly because ole Nellie was just as temperamental as that particular Jeep was.

 But my Nellie was as non-stock as you could get, more suitably represented by Johnny Cash's song, "One Piece At A Time".

When I got the ole girl home, I had to find more parts.  I found an Impala radiator that fit nice until you got to the bottom of it.  Bolt holes didn't match down there, but they did up at the top, so I just drilled me some new ones and in it went.

From that point on, ole Nellie would cease to have value as an original stock vehicle--but she was MY Nellie.  Anybody stealing that gal for collectability would get a very rude awakening.  Nellie was mine and nobody else's and I was the only one on the planet that would know how she worked.  When she got temperamental, I'd be the only one who could get 'er running again.

She got all new brake lines, and the brake cylinder got rebuilt, as did the wheel cylinders. Knowing what models of auto that used the same equipment as Nellie came in handy in rebuilding the wheel cylinders, to which I also took a cylinder hone.  I did the same thing with the inside of the engine cylinders, too, by the way, and made a point of getting oversized rings from Warshawski's in that regard.  Also got some updated stem seals for the cylinder valves because if there's one thing Studebaker was notorious for, it was for leaving an oil slick on the ground where ever it was parked. Those stem seals pretty much took care of that.

One of the tests that collectors of old cars make is the Magnet Test--if a magnet don't stick to the body, then the body isn't pristine.  Nellie ended up about 1/8 Bondo and/or fiberglas and would have failed the Magnet Test miserably.  Look at the pic of the Lark again, and notice where the headlights look like they've got eyebrows.  That's the first part of a Stude Lark that rusts out badly, and Nellie was no exception.  But I think I did a damn good Bondo job on those areas that it would take a magnet test to detect that the metal was all gone. No, I did NOT break my arm patting myself on the back for that, either. :P

I put all new lines on the braking system, rebuilt the brake cylinders on the wheels, rebuilt the master cylinder, and all that. Rebuilt the engine with new! improved! non-stock parts via mail order. I fired 'er up, put 'er in gear, and discovered that gear shifting was a rough proposition, so I took the tranny out to see what the problem was.  Yup--it was old age.  It was a plain vanilla Borg-Warner 3-speed stick-on-the-wheel kind of arrangement, and as it happened, I could take an identical Borg-Warner 3-speed tranny out of any other vehicle and make it fit perfectly, which I did.  Tranny came out of a Rambler.

Long story short, I had 'er roadworthy and passing inspection at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles of Illinois 30-ish days later and thought that attending the ANARC Convention in Montreal would make for a great shake-down cruise.  It's what shook out that made that trip a real adventure, part of which was spent in Beautiful Downtown Burbank Ohio because a rear drum froze up.  But hey--I lived to tell about it, didn't I.

Note to the shortwave radio demographic of this blog's audience: Lawrence Magne (you got that right--THE Passport to World Band Radio Lawrence Magne) has a pic of me and Nellie after just getting back from that epic Montreal trip, after which he gave me a lift to the NUvention in Indianapolis...which provided fodder for one of my vintage Clara Listensprechen Reports.  I got the invite from Serge Newman, as it happens, and Larry really thought my Nellie was amazing.  After that trip to Montreal & back, so did I.

For you old NASWA old-timers who remember the "Clandestine Corner" that Larry wrote for FRENDX, you should also remember the masthead artwork I did for Larry's column. It morphed into "Clandestine Cranny", but here's ya a piece of NASWA history for ya.  Yup, I'm the same person who doodled up David Walcutt's column's Log Report masthead, too. We used to be neighbors in Carbondale, and that's how I wound up buying his Barlow-Wadley XCR-30 machine.

So yeah--I'm an electronics technician and I'm a mechanic, which turned out to be the big surprise at Motorola when some of the guys who didn't believe a woman belonged in their shop assigned me to work in the mechanics shop out of the electronics technician shop. Much to their consternation, I mastered that, too, ha.  I'm just as much a heavy-industrial-machine mechanic as I am an electronics technician, but they had no idea about that.  I haven't stopped gloating over it, either.  I was now a silicon ingot saw meister. All of this snit was noticed by the engineering department in QA, and so they adopted me as their favorite technician, and so I stayed on, and in the process picked up skills with robotics.

I actually did work on, repaired, calibrated and programmed actual industrial robots. For real. And an assortment of automated production and test equipment. For a living--got paid to do that, actually in actual fact, believe it or don't. A former co-worker on Facebook (Dennis Gatten) can verify what I claim here in the industrial area.

Okay, I got a question about availability of Studebaker parts & where did I get 'em. Well, as you can see, I used parts designed for other vehicles but I was able to get factory-genuine parts from the old Studebaker plant in South Bend via the on-site vendor, Newman & Altman, who was still making both glass and plastic versions of, say, tail light lenses and such.  Recent of vintage but made with the Studebaker manufacturing equipment. I also relied heavily on mail-order for stuff, too, mainly J.C. Whitney. Plus I did a lot of shopping at junk yards.

I think I forgot to mention what types of robots I worked on/with, and I have to draw a line somewhere between robots and automated manufacturing equipment although the line between the two is rather blurry.  I worked on U. S. Robotics and PUMA "peanut picker" arms, in the main, but the list of automated manufacturing equipment is a very long one, I'm afraid. It should be noted that it's via the automated robotic-like equipment that I became fluent in "speaking" hexadecimal. You could say that I "speak robot" and be quite correct about that.

Okay, you skeptical programming geeks out there, check out this Boolean hexadecimal joke:


HAH!  I hear you laughing from 'way over here. :P :D

Tuesday Mini-UPDATE: I got another chuckle when I saw this posted on Facebook, and then Shared it:

Ya, what I said at the top of the Share was that I'd seen Microsoft's earlier efforts at robot programming but what I hadn't said is that I encountered Microsoft's RBASIC at Motorola's EPI department when working with other automated machinery which includes the aforementioned PUMA et al.  Unless RBASIC is just an programming interface with writing assembly (machine) code, it's the most useless and clueless approach to serious robotics.  Microsoft couldn't find somebody to steal from and so it floundered.  Here's a reminder that Microsoft got started with MSDOS which was swiped from CP/M, and Windows was swiped from Apple.

Here's a link to the IEEE article.

What's interesting is the last paragraph, the author's note in italics.  Nope, that doesn't surprise me, either. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Tom Edison was the Bill Gates of his time, and Bill Gates is the Tom Edison of ours.

I've been reconsidering mentioning the automated equipment I worked on besides robots because there's not a whole lot of difference between an industrial robot and automated manufacturing equipment. If the criterium is that equipment can't be taught and robots can be taught, then such equipment as the Kulike & Soffa die and wire bonders, and wafer saws,  are robots.  Hard to imagine, that. I've heard a few Motorola co-workers refer to a particular type of wafer polisher as a robot, but it wasn't teachable.  It relied on simple limit switches and variable resistor values to determine its position and whether or not it would pick up a wafer to transport it to the polishing turntable.

Well, when I get around to it, I'll go ahead and post the long list of automated equipment I've been responsible for keeping in good repair, calibrated, and taught, but don't hold your breath for that.  I'm sure I'll have left something out by simply forgetting.

Yes, I have been a teacher. To robots. So, basically, yes, I do speak robot.

UPDATE 2: I tried to google up some of the equipment I used to work on an it's just too antique for teh interwebz, alas.  There was an equipment company named Kasper that made both photo aligners (photographed circuitry on bare wafers) and wafer scrubbers. I built a machine-code test box to test each of the scrubber's modules with and it would have served as a good example here of how I spoke to automated equipment so that I could test for functionality.  I could find a modern Kasper aligner, but made by Eaton, but there's no sign of the wafer scrubber.

Some of the equipment was in-house engineered, like the polisher arm I just mentioned as not being a legit robot as such, so there won't ever be pics of that anywhere, ever.  There was one of those polishers that was giving the entire maintenance office conniptions day in and day out, and I named it The Boogie Beast and did up a cartoon of it in a book where I kept a bunch of cartoons poking fun at situations like Khartoumb Book.  I'll have to find that and post the thing here sometime.  Here's a sample page out of it, and keep in mind that, at the time, there was a best-selling motivational book that Motorola liked to recommend,  called "In Search of Excellence":


Semiconductor Sector
Artifacts of Antiquity

(a work in progress, subject to change without notice)

Me & a co-worker (hi, Dennis!) tried to come up with a list of all the equipment that Equipment Maintenance was responsible for maintaining, and neither one of us thinks the list we came up with was complete.  I added on stuff from previous employment and it's still overshadowed by all the stuff I had to deal with at Motorola.  Here goes...

In looking over the stuff I got in my Khartoumb Book, I noted my transition from Bubbles to Epi/EMO (Electronics Materials Organization) and most of what's in there is from Bubbles (Bubble Memory facility), so the Boogie Beast isn't in this one; I started a new book with Epi and can't find it at the moment.  The Oft Quoted Quotes in Bubbles sound like those in Epi, although I've got separate sections for those.  The cross-over quotes:

"I can't find it. It's around here somewhere."
"You cleaned the shop and now I can't find anything."
"This machine is a piece of junk. Got any dynamite?"
"Heard any rumors about what our incentive bonus is dropping to this month?"
"Sure, it's obsolete and we don't use it.  We're saving it for parts."
"Please get the board out of the temp cycle oven. It sounds like it's dying."
"We need to inventory this equipment we can't find."

When I talk about "Bubbles", that's what the factory which made bubble memory chips was called.  They had a softball team called "Tiny Bubbles" and when we got the notice that corporate was going to close the facility, I drew a khartoumb picturing the Titanic going under with lifeboats still moored to the top, with each labeled "IOS", which stands for Internal Opportunity System. We were told that we couldn't transfer out of Bubbles and couldn't use the IOS.  The softball team captain (Joel) liked it so much he had tee shirts printed up with that image on it.

Here's what a bubble memory chip looks like...

Bubble memory chips were diced from a processed garnet substrate wafer that looks like the following, after it has been laser-marked with a traceback lot number.  It's hard to see on the following pic but it's etched on the upper side, where the "flat" is.  While a crystal is still in ingot form, the ingot is x-rayed to determine the layout of its crystal lattice and then a "flat" is ground on the ingot before it's sliced into wafers, for the purpose of indicating how the crystal lattice is laid out internally.

After circuits have been etched into the substrate (basically chevrons and lines in a bubble memory chip, unlike other types of integrated circuitry), the wafer gets diced up and each die gets mounted on a lead frame.  The following is a pic of a lead frame in which a garnet chip is mounted but the wires haven't been bonded on yet.

Oh gee, this is Motorola property--what the hell am *I* doing with it? Well, when Bubbles got scrapped, nearly all of this stuff got put on the back dock to be scrapped, and I actually asked if I could save some of it as souvenir of something that was about to become history.  I was told that would not be a problem, and even though all Motorola facilities were fenced and guarded, the guards knew what was going on with Bubbles and basically didn't care either, as long as we covered their asses with proper paperwork...which looked like this....

This particular property pass was obtained so that I could move my tools from Bubbles on Price Road in Tempe to Epi on 52nd St. in Phoenix--in this particular case, my soldering station supplies.  Speaking of forms, here's a maintenance equipment report for the area that grew silicon crystal ingots from scratch:

The entry GATTEN_D is the aforementioned co-worker who was maintenance, not actually an operator.
The "CZP" were called "CeeZaps" and the MKVs were Motorola-brewed ingot saws using wires to saw wafers with. Some of those were Mark Vs and some of those were Mark VIs.Collectively: "midsaws"

Here we go--found some instructions for setting up the Mark V wire saw. This is just the last page of it...

I was the first female to be hired in that long-standing good ole boy shop, but having worked among all guys back at the power plant, that part didn't bother me a bit, but it clearly bothered some of the folks in the shop. I eventually got bad peer reviews, all interpersonal relations-based, but the engineers in the Quality Assurance dept. saw what was going on and despite all the efforts (which included shuffling me from the electronics tech shop to the mechanics shop, where I was expected to fail but didn't) I was appointed chief technician over QA equipment as well as the person responsible for training the other guys in both shops, ha.  I got a raise in spite of hell & high water, anyway. It wasn't much of a raise, but it wasn't what the good ole  boys were shooting for.

Don't get me wrong--being the only petunia in an onion patch had its challenges even back at Illinois Power Co.  Nobody had a high opinion of me at the start there, either.  The first thing I was told to repair was a Leeds & Northrup transmitter that I found out later nobody else in the shop could fix. Sure, I'm gonna tell you I fixed it because I did, but I can tell you exactly what I did--what the guys before me overlooked--to get the thing running again.

In testing the input compared to the output, it appeared that a transistor had gone bad.  But it also appeared that it had been replaced by somebody who worked on it before I did. Well, what also appears to have happened is that people before me used The Shotgun Method of troubleshooting: replace a lot of parts and you're bound to fix the bad one.

Apparently, the Shotgun Method was a failure in this case, and so I got the problem.

So, what I did is look for the suspect transistor in the schematic to see what else might be dragging that part down, and I found it.  When you look at the transistor in the context of its neighbors, it was part of what's called a push-pull amplifier and the other transistor it's supposed to work with, pushing and pulling with, needed to be a MATCHED opposite number and what I was looking at on the circuit board was a pair of mismatched transistors.

The old transistors were obsolete, and so the opposite number couldn't be replaced as a matched set, either.  So I proceeded to look up transistor specifications, located a matched npn/pnp set of completely different but usable transistors, replaced both of them, and the thing worked again, much to the amazement of my new co-workers.  When I was asked to explain how I did it, and I attempted to relate the above story, I was interrupted with grunts of "whatever".  Kinda like the verbal equivalent of eyes glazing over.  Anyhoo, that broke the ice, as it were, with the shop and I was accepted a bit more.

But not entirely because it was also presumed I wouldn't take up a fight with the administration when it came to union contract negotiations.  I was presumed to be stereotypically weak.  After I got to the point where I was fighting for proper promotion and the backpay that the union told me to forget about, and WON (much to the astonishment of the union and the co-workers), I was finally accepted as one of the guys.

And to this day I think that, even if it was a dirty job, it was the best damn job I ever had.

Now you know how I got to be the way I am, like John Wayne toilet paper. Rough, tough, and won't take no shit offa nobody. And besides that, perfectly qualified to operate and maintain my own time machine.

Well, remember I mentioned a "Boogie Beast"?  Motorola home-brew wafer polisher, known more formally as the "friction mount polisher".  Here's one of the drawings that maintenance had to go by when troubleshooting the animal:

 Kinda brings home the saying "A woman is expected to do twice as well as a man to prove that she's his equal--but fortunately, that's not difficult".