Category Archives: Personal

Cabin Is Complete

My cabin construction project is now complete. My wife and I are now beginning to furnish our new home, which will take some time. I continue to work on the garage construction myself, which will take until sometime in May to finish. Overall, our planning was good and there were no major surprises. The one area of difficulty that I did not fully appreciate is the remoteness of the site. Before you go to the site, you need to plan out every possible tool or part that you will need while there. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction, Personal | 10 Comments

Time for a Job Change

My company is changing its approach to hardware development, and after much soul-searching, I have decided to volunteer for layoff. I do not have any immediate plans – it is just time for a change. I will continue to write on technical topics because math, electronics, and software are in my blood. Continue reading

 
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Santa Rosa Fires And My Coworkers

I work for a company that is headquartered in Petaluma, California, which is just south of the Santa Rosa fire region. Six employees lost their homes in this fire. One employee, Danny Pomplun, and his wife, narrowly escaped the fire by sheltering in their pool. Their dramatic story is told very well in this Washington Post article. If you cannot gain access to the original news article, try this PDF of this story. Continue reading

 
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Baby Name Frequency Ranking Using Power Query

You may have noticed that many of my recent posts are focused on data processing and analysis. These recent posts reflect the fact that I am preparing for a career change as I near "retirement," and I plan on working in the data analysis arena. This means that I have been in serious Python, R, and statistics training. While I love working with Python and R, I keep finding myself drawn back to Excel and Power Query (aka Get and Transform) for quick, ad hoc analysis work. While this blog will look at the frequency over time of the name Mark, you can use the tool to generate the same chart for any name. Continue reading

 
Posted in History Through Spreadsheets, Personal | 1 Comment

Largest Counties in the US

I am currently building a retirement home in Itasca County, Minnesota. While at the construction site, I spoke with with a sheriff's deputy about law enforcement coverage for my area. He told me that there were only two deputies on duty at night covering an area larger than the state of Delaware. He also said that if I the deputies are tied up in the southern part of the county it can take a while for them to get to my place, which is in the the northern part of the county. I had never thought about the size of the counties in northern Minnesota, but there are some large pieces of real estate there. Continue reading

 
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My New Cabin Construction

A number of folks have asked that I post pictures of my cabin construction project. The project actually consists of two separate activities: a large garage (started last fall) and a two-story cabin. I will start posting photos here as things progress. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction, Personal | 9 Comments

Business Trip to Portugal

I just came back from a business trip to Aveiro, Portugal. What a beautiful place! It is a very vibrant university town that lies about 6 km from the ocean. It is known as the "Venice of Portugal" because of its system of canals, which is a legacy of the old days when Aveiro was a major source of sea salt for the region (Figure 1). The climate is warm, with a very substantial breeze that blows out toward the Atlantic ocean. I liked my visit so much that I plan on bringing my wife on a future trip. Continue reading

 
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I Am Now A Grandpa

I am bursting with excitement right now. My youngest son and his wife now have a little girl. The baby arrived about 3 weeks early, but both mother and baby are doing fine. I could not be happier for their family.
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Posted in Personal | 5 Comments

Video of Wild Cat in Northern Minnesota

Like me, a number of my coworkers have cabins in Northern Minnesota and most of us have cameras that record activity on our properties. A coworker came in the other day with this video that shows a wild cat going by one of his cameras. I am not sure what kind of cat it is – probably a lynx. This site is not far from the Canadian border. Maybe one of you out there can identify it? Continue reading

 
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Age of Presidents at Inauguration

I was crawling around the Wikipedia looking for presidential information, and I found a list of the ages of the US presidents ordered from oldest to youngest. I threw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump into the list (Table 1) to see where they would place – they are old by historic standards. In fact, Donald Trump would be the oldest ever. Continue reading

 
Posted in History Through Spreadsheets, Personal | 5 Comments