Friday, July 31, 2015

Life Strategy


"The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions." - Paulo Coelho

I love the game of American Football. Football is the perfect balance of intellect and pure raw athleticism. Each play is a unique situation, a new opportunity to make something happen, lead a comeback, or break the game open. In football timing is everything... from the right play call at the right time to timing the snap of the ball perfectly to get that extra edge... timing is a critical component of the game. I think there are a lot of fundamental reasons why Americans love football so much but to me the most likely answer is because it relates to their day to day lives. Therefore a lot of parallels can be drawn between navigating life and a football season.

Paulo's quote resonated a lot with me because left and right all around us we are told how to live our lives and given formulas on how to be successful. Each life is different, each situation is different, and each day is different. There is no general formula for success and a true "warrior" as Paulo puts it is ready to take on each situation with respect and diligence. Taking each situation and making the best call possible with the information available. Blindly following others opinions or sticking to a single formula for every situation may get you to a certain point but will ultimately fail. For example the most successful football teams are the ones that can adapt to any kind of scenario, or do not become one dimensional in their approach to the game and can't be figured out on film. The teams that take an "every snap is unique scenario" approach are the most difficult to predict, and ultimately the hardest to beat.

Ultimately the Seahawks took a different approach than the "usual formula" for the fateful play pictured above. Everyone and their mother said they should have run the ball. They treated that down like a unique scenario and most definitely did not listen to others' opinions. So why did they fail? Well that's just life. Even though they failed on that particular play that lasted ~2-3 seconds they general formula got them to back to back super bowls, and won one. I'd say that overall they are a successful team that has a great strategy for winning, and I can't wait to see what they do this year.

My life strategy... Do everything I do with passion. Learn everything I can from all the people I can in order to make the most informed decisions I can. After that just take it play by play. There is no formula or one person that is going to know how to get me from point A to point B better than myself. I think Paulo would agree.

-Kellen

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lily visit :)

Lily Comes to Visit!

** Warning ** This post is really long so if you want to just skim for the pictures that may be advisable. I apologize but thank you for reading anyway.

So after having been here in Norway alone for awhile my beautiful girlfriend Lily came and gave me a visit. She is an elementary school teacher and had a week off for their spring break. Even though it was only for about a week (3/22 -3/28) I was so excited to have my best friend come and be with me, and we tried to cram as much activity into the trip as possible. A lot happened and we took a lot of pictures so I will try my best to include everything and talk about what happened along the way.

Lily Arriving

First lily had to get here. All in all her flight took over 24 hours because we found a cheap flight :D. Thankfully Lily was a good sport about it. Gainesville FL > JFK > London Heathrow > Bergen.
Once she got to JFK the  international plane arrived!

Goodbye NYC USA.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ski Retreat!

Wow I got really bad at this whole blog posting thing. But NO MORE! I am turning that around right now. No more excuses.

Working in Norway sure has its perks! The group I work with in the office in Bergen was going away on their annual team building ski retreat and they were nice enough to invite me along. I tried to tell them that being a Florida boy they probably did not want me tagging along as I would just slow them down. Well Norwegians are extremely nice and hospitable people and they insisted I come along. Lars even lent me some skis and we were all staying in the personal cabin of Roald. We took turns cooking meals, went skiing, drank, hung out, and had some team building exercises. All in all it was an absolute blast. Plus the weather was perfect! I took a ton of pictures and I will comment on a few but mostly I will let the pictures do the talking. 

The cabin and ski resort was in the area of Norway called Hallingskarvet about halfway between Bergen and Oslo. It took about 4 hours to drive there.

                

Heading out:

We carpooled up into several different cars on the way out. From the backseat of the car I was in I was able to take quite a few good photos. As always click on them to enlarge.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Catching Up

Sorry for the long time between posts here. I had spent a lot of time out at the shipyard and away from a computer. I haven't been able to spend as much time exploring as I would have liked but this post will cover a few more of the interesting things I have seen / noticed while in Bergen and Songefjord.

A few more Bergen things:

I have found my current favorite (widely available) beer in norway. Hansa is a Bergen based brewery and this IPA you can find in most grocery stores.

Current favorite
Another picture from my walk home but this time the sun is peeking through.

Hello Sun!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Another week In


Well I have spent another week in Norway and it has been spent mainly at work. During the week I really will not have much free time I can tell. But that doesn't mean I can't take the time to notice the small things.  Here are some of the things I have noticed, and a trip I took to a more remote region of Norway for work.


Paying:

First thing is first. Europe, and the majority of the rest of the world, is on a different point of sale system than the US. For their credit and debit card transactions they use a "Chip and Pin" system. This system does not require you to swipe your card in order for the merchant to get your bank information. Instead a "Chip and Pin" card requires you to enter in your pin into a microprocessor that hashes it through a decryption algorithm to spit out a result. If the pin was the correct pin then it will release your bank information to the vendor. That of course is an overly simplified explanation of the system and infact may still be wrong. In order to be more educated you can read about the system HERE. To the point though this system drastically cuts down on "hackers" stealing your card information right off the magnetic strip. BUT being in the good old US of A we are late to the ship on this one. WHY? Because we were one of the original adopters of the point of sale system meaning our entire infrastructure (every gas-station, store, atm, and ice-cream stand) was built on older technology. In order to switch over it is going to cost billions of dollars. About $9 billion roughly.

So what is the point of me writing all of this? In order to tell you if you are an American planning on travelling to Europe or anywhere that uses the "Chip and Pin" system, plan ahead. Either get your bank or credit company to issue a chip enabled card, or get a pre-paid card that you can transfer money onto.

If neither of those are a viable option for you then there is still the possibility of using the traditional swipe and sign method. However most cashiers / places don't even remember how to do it from my experience. After many failed attempts to pay with card and having to resort to cash, I finally figured out the trick. Swipe your card as you normally would into the machine depicted below instead of sliding your card in like show.

"Chip and Pin" reader or more formally EMV
Then when the system asks you for your pin number..... don't panic. Simply hit the RED button telling the system that you are instead from america and laugh at danger. Then it will ask you if you really want to sign for the transaction instead. Hit the green okay button letting it know that yes you are aware you are susceptible to credit card fraud, and wallah! You can now tell the cashier how to handle the next American that walks through the door. Fear not though you will likely only have to worry about this until October of 2015 when a large portion of US companies are planning to switch over.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Starting to Explore


Now that I have been here for a couple of days it was time to start exploring around. Obviously with it being Friday I needed to start exploring the local beer. I took a trip to my convenience store and picked out "Aass, Norges Eldste Bryggeri" Aass, Norway's eldest brewery. Figured If Yeungling was decent and had been around in america for that long then this stuff couldn't be too bad either.

About $22 dolars worth.... Won't be drinking too much here!

All in all it was a decent beer, but not my favorite, I will have to keep trying out different varieties and figure out what my tastes are here.

Mountain 1/7:

Well since this is the city among the Seven Mountains, I figured I should try to climb as many of them as I can while I am here. With that in mind on my first weekend here I figured I should start with the one closest to my apartment. Løvstakken - 477m tall and south east of the city centre. I was able to walk out my front door straight to the trail head.

Here is a map of the 7 mountains.


Getting settled


Getting some food

 Well now that I have made it to Bergen it is time to get settled in, find my way to work, pick up some groceries, and start functioning on a day to day level. One of the very first things I did was set out to find a place to buy food. Well it didn't take me long as the closest grocery store was 800 feet away from my apartment. The grocery store is small but it has a lot of the basics and definitely whatever I will need to sustain myself. If I need anything extra I will go to some larger stores.

Produce galore!

Everything else too

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Journey!

Well my first post will pertain to the first big step in my trip to Norway, which is actually getting there!

The journey actually started way before purchasing a plane ticket. Once I found out I was going to be going to Norway my companies division for global travel set off on the arduous task of determining whether or not I was going to need a work visa. This took about a month and a half, or maybe two, I don't know haha it just felt like an excruciating amount of time. During this waiting period I was fortunate enough to have very gracious friends that let me stay at their pad on their couch. These are also the same gracious people that are willing to look after my pup. Thank you James, Kayla, and Ryan! Once I finally knew I was going we had a final supper at Farm Burger which was everything one could want in a true american meal.

The final supper! Bacon, Peperjack, jalepeno, lettuce burger with a chocolate shake and sweet potato fries.
After that It was off to Gainesville to pick up my transcripts (which I needed for my work visa) and visit my lovely girlfriend one more time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Motor is Spinning!


I have been traveling a lot over the past month due to the holidays etc... However I have been working on this project in the few hours of spare time that I have. I just have not been able to post much. I have gone through a few revisions of my board due to some mistakes that I made but the most important part is that I have a spinning motor! I will edit this post or make some additional ones that describe how i got to this point, and attempt to explain my code and my mistakes.

Enjoy the above video that shows the motor spinning at %50 duty cycle at 25kHz carrier frequency with a 12.9 - 14.1 V high rail for the h-bridge. I will add additional videos later of higher voltages and speeds.

Update 1:

I am having some minor issues. I attempted to run the motor in the other direction. So far it has been running in the counter clockwise direction (CCW). Now when i try to run it in the clockwise direction (CW) it draws way more current. When at 100% speed it is drawing up to and over 5 amps which is beyond the range of my supply. Conversely when running at 100% speed in the CCW direction it is only drawing in the range of 1 amp. 

Here is a video showing both directions 0-50% speed. I am currently trying to come up with some solutions.


Update 2:

Sorry for the length in between updates here. After poking around online and asking the great people at /r/ECE for their input I believe the issue is due to a mis-alignment in the hall effect sensors. This is likely due to the fact that I installed them my self on a very small motor. This means that even a fraction of a degree off on the mechanical placement can result in large errors on the electrical control. Because of this I believe that In order to implement a hall sensor based control on this motor I would either need to create a jig to hold the sensors in exactly the right place, or use a back emf sensing design. Alternatively I can purchase a motor with the hall effect sensors already installed in exactly the right place. I may use the latter option for now just to continue on the same development path.

However I will not be posting on this project for some time now. I am currently travelling abroad for work and will be gone for the next few months. You can view my trip here. I did not bring any of my equipment with me and I will have to pick this back up when I return.