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Pictures & Words

Snow Puppies!

We had a little dusting of snow last night—so what could be better for the puppies first trip outside then a little bit of fresh powder? These two girls are really sweet and a lot of fun—I wish that we had another half-dozen of them in the litter because they're great puppies. This first trip out in the snow was pretty exciting, but after fifteen minutes I think they had enough. The temperature wasn't bad, but there was a pretty stiff wind from the south.

Click on the flying puppy to see some more photos!


In Remembrance of Michihiro Yamaki

Michihiro Yamaki passed away a little over a week ago from a battle with liver cancer. He was the founder and CEO of Sigma. He was the person who gave the Foveon imager a chance when no one else would take the plunge, and without Sigma, there likely would have been no Foveon-based camera. He was a pioneer in the photographic industry in Japan, and his achievements were well known and celebrated. I had the pleasure of meeting him at PMA and again in Vermont. He was a very energetic and passionate person who loved to discuss photography. Although my time with him was fairly brief, I will always remember his kindness and generosity. And he loved to tell stories!

I looked through my photos to see if I had anything decent with him—I had never asked to take his 'portrait', although I'm sure he would have obliged. These are a couple photos of him after Dick Merrill's memorial service.


Rest in peace, Michihiro. And thanks for your visionary leadership at Sigma!

What ever happened to puppy photos?

I have to admit that I've been severely slacking regarding getting puppy photos up on the blog this time. Maybe it's because the litter was a C-section, maybe because there are only two puppies in the litter. It's certainly NOT because they're not adorable. In fact, I've been spending plenty of time enjoying these two little girls. They've got typically great personalities—they're dealing great with the older dogs, they're not afraid of much of anything, and they're very fun and outgoing.

But I haven't been taking photos. So without further delay, here's some.


About this Nest

A couple months ago one of the tech blogs I read was mentioning a new, very cool thermostat. One that learns your preferences with AI algorithms. One that can sense when you're away and turn the heat down automatically. One that's connected to the internet, and can use external data (forecasts) to help decide how to heat and cool. And one that's designed and built by former Apple employees, that's elegant and very easy to use.

At $250, it's not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either. I ordered one off of their site—which was only open for a couple days due to the overwhelming demand (they got some great coverage). They sent me an email saying that it was backordered, but that I should see it around the new year. And indeed, I got a followup email allowing me to order one (or up to five). I did, and it came this past week.

It was beautifully packaged (very Apple-like in the presentation). It comes with a multibit screwdriver, a connection plate, a couple optional wallplates, and the thermostat itself. It has the basic guts of a smartphone it, including wi-fi connectivity. The installation was extraordinarily simple—it took me 15 minutes to disconnect my old thermostat and put this one on the wall. Probably another 15 minutes to walk through the very well designed setup program. This was a great customer experience—we'll see how the thermostat performs (I'm hoping that it will help to cut our energy usage AND let Jen turn it up easily when she needs to). The following are a bunch of pictures around the install...

The packaging


The old thermostat


The new one before the wires are connected. I screwed up the first time: the 'C' wire (the red one above on the left) was really Rc, but the R is hidden by the display. The Nest is apparently smart enough to tell you if you've got it wrong, assuming that you have the Rc (power) wire connected...  :-)


Turn it on, and connect it to your wi-fi hub. It starts downloading an update


And then installs (and reboots)


Then you go through the heating/cooling setup


This is the graphic of what it thinks you've connected. Very nice (and realistic)


And basically that's it for the heating equipment


Set up your location


To set up the temperature, you tell it a little about your heating system. I think this helps it figure out how to do lead times to change the temperature. It eventually learns that for itself based on the data it collects


And this is what it looks like in operation!


And a Happy New Year!

So, there's nothing better than kicking back and watching football on New Year's Day. Even better if it's NFL football, and our beloved Packers are playing the Detroit Lions. The Packers sat a bunch of their starters, including Aaron Rodgers. No problems though—Matt Flynn set Green Bay records for passing yards (480) and touchdowns (6) as he rallied the Pack for a 45-41 victory on the semi-frozen tundra.

In preparation to celebrate the game, Jen got creative and crafty last night. Those poor puppies had to sit for the whole game wearing puppy-sized cheese heads. Please don't call the SPCA!


Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.