Ham Technician License – KK6RUH

A couple of weeks ago on a lovely Saturday, I sat in on an all day prep / test for my ham technical license. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do since I was around 12 years old. (Yes, I am that much of a geek 😉 The test was interesting and is predicated on the idea that you learn more / better once you have your license and can get on the air.

The prep work was to read through all the possible multiple choice questions with the answers and highlight the correct answer and only the correct answer. Then re-read the question and answer. And re-read it again. Ignoring the wrong answers with each re-read. Now move on to the next question.

It’s not about learning the material but learning which is the correct answer for that question. You’re actually at a disadvantage with this method if you actually know the material. About 60% – 70% of the questions I already knew the answers. And I just had force myself to follow their process and not work out the correct answer for myself. This goes against everything I ever learned about learning and test taking. But at the end of the day, it worked and I passed w/ 2 wrong answers. Not bad though it’ll be interesting to see how I learn and recover from mistakes as I get on the air.

Today I received the notice from the FCC that it’s official, I am a licensed amerature radio operator! My call sign is KK6RUH. Wahoo!

Gravity Cars – Crucible Style

After three very successful weeks of Gravity Cars at the Crucible, it was time to invite the staff and faculty to build cars and race them.

Of course, we captured some video of the festivities!

Metal Titans



Camera Car Test Run

Max Skidding

More Flames

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Gravity Cars and a Nerdy Derby Track

I recently had the opportunity to create the Gravity Cars class for the Crucible’s Youth Program. As part of that work, I created a race track based on the Nerdy Derby design.

Creating the track was a fair amount of work and involved implementing the design in Autodesk Inventor based on the original PDF from the folks at Nerdy Derby, creating tool paths for a ShopBot Alpha to cut out the pieces, gluing the segments together and assembling the track. But it was most definitely worth the time.

All files for the project can be found on my github repository.


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K9 Mark IV-BM

The Burning Man DMV hotties have provided conditional approval to bring K9 to the playa. Follow the antics as we build him at http://k9markivbm.com!


Nagios Monitoring of Directories

I had a recent occurrence at work that caused me to look around for a tool to monitor a directory for any changes made. Since there didn’t seem to be anything out there, I created a check called dirchanged. It looks at all the files in a directory and creates an sha256 has of the names and contents of the files. That hash is compared to a known value to determine if there have been any changes made.

There are a couple of issues with this check specifically that it doesn’t look into subdirectories and that the hash for comparison is passed on the command line from within the Nagios configuration files. I think the first issue will be fixed soon enough w/ a flag to indicate if the directory tree is to be traversed. The second issue is more cumbersome in that the hash value has to be stored somewhere. I’m not yet certain that putting it in the Nagios configuration files is better than putting it somewhere on the target file system. From the security standpoint, having the check not stored on the target file system is better, much less chance of it being changed by bad guys.

I’ll let it run for a while and see how it behaves and if changes are warranted.

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