Category Archives: Personal

Willie Mosconi and How Pool is Like Life

I was talking with my neighbors yesterday about motivating students. They are both teachers at a local college and are finding it difficult to excite their students over Zoom.  While I am not in education, many of the companies I have worked for have struggled to motivate staff (local and remote). My employers would occasionally have occasionally brought in motivational speakers to try to fire up the workers, most of which were good but not great (Lou Holz was great). Continue reading

 
Posted in Management, Personal | 4 Comments

Maple Sap is Sweet This Year

I am being a good citizen and am socially distancing at my cabin in northern Minnesota – avoiding people is easy in the dense forests that surround my residence. When I went out for my daily walk and I saw the maple sap bags that my neighbor put out (Figure 1). Most folks around here collect their sap in these blue bags. Continue reading

 
Posted in Cabin, Personal | Leave a comment

Web Scraping Sailboat Reviews Using Power Query

While it is true that I worked on US Navy contracts for twelve years and spent some time on ships testing new underwater vehicles, I know very little about recreational boating. However, I have always been fascinated by sailing, though this fascination has been limited to reading books about the Age of Sail. Continue reading

 
Posted in Excel, Personal | Leave a comment

Thanks Team

I have now started on my next employment adventure. I can only say thanks to the wonderful team of people that I leave behind. They created the products that allowed the Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTTH) market to flourish. Tens of millions of FTTH products are now manufactured every year by companies around the world. These products are amazing in that for very low-cost they can contain such diverse technology: high-speed digital electronics, FPGAs, RF video,  telephony, battery backup, and wireless. The team can be proud of what they have done. You succeeded where many others failed. Continue reading

 
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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 | 11 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

 
Posted in Personal | 6 Comments

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

 
Posted in Excel, Personal | Leave a comment

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