Tim Young's blog

Time Engineers


Time Engineers

Time Engineers is a really cool looking game that teaches kids fundamentals in engineering. It's aimed at middle and high school ages even though it looks entertaining (and maybe even educational) for adult engineers. The basis of the game is to unlock the time travel machine and go back to help cultures in the past with their engineering problems.  For instance you could help the Egyptians build the pyramids or design a draw bridge in Medieval France.


The thing that really tickled my fancy is the first two exercises involve principles that I've included in my PLC tutorial.   The first hurdle involves the time traveler having to use decimal to binary conversion to open up the door to the machine.  After that, a series of switches must be set using Boolean functions like AND, OR and NOT to power up the time machine.

I love educational software like this.


( categories: )

Joke - A priest, a doctor and an engineer

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

Engineer: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!
Doctor: I don't know but I've never seen such ineptitude!
Priest: Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him.
Priest: Hi George. Say George, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow aren't they?
George: Oh yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight while saving our club house last year. So we let them play here anytime free of charge!
Priest: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
Doctor: Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them.
Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?

( categories: )

Joke - Red Rubber Ball

A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer were all given a red rubber ball and told to find the volume.

The mathematician carefully measured the diameter and evaluated a triple integral.

The physicist filled a beaker with water, put the ball in the water, and measured the total displacement.

The engineer looked up the model and serial numbers in his "Red-Rubber-Ball" table.

( categories: )

Rockwell Automation's Retroincabulator!

Warning: this is from the humor department. 

I think this is a must see by any automation professional. 

Rockwell Automation's Retroincabulator (video at ebaumsworld.com)

( categories: )

A new 404 error page favorite

If you go to a dead link on Omron's web site you get a 404 error that says, and I quote,


Although it says very much and not being divided,
there is no applicable page.

Although those who had registered this page into the bookmark are trouble, please give me change of a bookmark.


( categories: )

My Next Display

Multi-Screen Desktop Display
Wow!!!  I think this screen might fill my needs for pixel real estate.  Believe it or not but this is one of their smaller models.  So if you feel like getting me an early birthday present :-)

Joke - Three Metal Spheres

The Board of Trustees of a nearby University, decides to test the Professors, to see if they really know their stuff.

First they take a Math Prof. and put him in a room. Now, the room contains a table and three metal spheres about the size of softballs. They tell him to do whatever he want with the balls and the table in one hour. After an hour, he comes out and the Trustees look in and the balls are arranged in a triangle at the center of the table.

Next, they give the same test to a Physics Prof. After an hour, they look in, and the balls are stacked one on top of the other in the center of the table.

( categories: )

One Server, Multiple Sites - Easy Web Development

Here's a nice tip from WebmasterWorld if you have multiple sites you manage as a webmaster and want to do local development.

This is an example to set up two websites so I can access them at http://mytestsite1 and http://mytestsite2.  You can name them anything you want.  Note also that you can put any extension on the end that tickles your fancy.  Some like to have it as .loc to indicate it's a local copy.

I'm using the Apache web server on WindowsXP so I add this at the bottom of the http.conf file under the VirtualHost section:

( categories: )

Copying Boards in Eagle CadSoft

Eagle is just a bit different then the normal way of doing things in Windows that it sometimes give me a headache to do such a simple task as copy one board layout to another file. My motivation to do this is to match up two boards that mate to make sure that it will all fit together nicely. 

It's actually quite simple even though it burps on me sometimes. Here's the steps...

  1. Open up the board you want to copy. Use the group tool (Edit | Group or the dashed box icon) to select the whole board.
  2. Now select the Cut tool (That's right, the cut tool with the little scissors icon) and right click on the board. This is the thing that always throws me since in Windows this would normally make the selection disappear but in this case the board is still there and in the clipboard.  Delete is the thing that makes it actually go away.
  3. Open up the new file you want to copy into.
  4. Make sure the schematic is closed as we don't want to back annotate.
  5. You might want to zoom out to make some room.
  6. Now you can paste that puppy (Edit | Paste or the little icon that looks like a highlighter) but you have to be sure it's not over anything else (at least in the Lite version) or you'll get an error message.
  7. Sometimes if it's still giving me errors I just exit the program and restart and it works.  Go figure.
  8. Do a "Save As..." something else if you want to keep it.

By the way, this also works even better with library parts.

( categories: )

Eagle CadSoft directories setup for easy backup

Here's a cool thing in Eagle which makes it easy to store project and library files in the "My Documents" folder and thus making it easier to backup. In the Eagle control panel select "Options" and then click "Directories..." Now my settings look like this...

Eagle Directories


$EAGLEDIR is a special variable to indicate the directory of the Eagle program.  Under Windows the value of $HOME is either that of the environment variable HOME (if set), or the value of the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Personal", which contains the actual name of the "My Documents" directory.

( categories: )