4,588 reputation
1227
bio website embedinc.com/olin
location Littleton, Massachusetts
age 57
visits member for 1 year, 9 months
seen 10 hours ago

Electrical engineering consultant specializing in microcontrollers and the circuitry around them. Master of engineering in EE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980.

We are certified Microchip design partners, and have been in the top catagory consistantly since around 2000. Various free downloads related to developing PIC firmware and other things are available at http://www.embedinc.com/pic/dload.htm.


1d
comment What batteries would make sense to power 12v devices (e.g. blankets, lights) for camping?
Bring more insulation, instead of power to run a electric blanket. The extra insulation will last indefinitely, is more reliable, and should weigh less than a electric power source to power the blanket for any meaningful length of time.
Aug
3
comment How can I maximise my chances of seeing a wild wombat?
The first step is to get yourself to Australia.
Jul
24
comment In an abandoned quarry, is it possible to pry loose rocks from walls until stable?
Maybe it's because I'm no climber, but that doesn't look like a good idea with all those rocks on top just waiting to fall on your head.
Jul
21
comment Hiking possibilities near Silicon Valley
@Alex: I agree about the openess, but whether that's a problem or a feature is individual preference. There is probably poison oak and ticks, but I don't get the part about trails not for the fainthearted. I don't remember anything like having to use your hands, along the edge of a cliff, downhill and slippery, etc. I really don't know what you are referring to.
Jul
18
comment Hiking possibilities near Silicon Valley
@Mich: It has both, although most of the trails are thru open grassland or sparse trees. You make that sounds like a problem, but this was one thing I particularly enjoyed about the place. Here in New England we have plenty of shaded woods, but trails with open vistas are rare below treeline.
Jul
13
comment Is it safe to be in a vehicle during lightning/thunderstorms?
@Extr: Pretty unlikely. The air space in the tank above the gas is too rich to ignite. The tank itself is usually metal or has metal around it, so lightning wouldn't go thru it anyway. If there is a small fuel leak by the engine, then lightning sparking all around could ignite the vapors. However, that's all less likely than you get hurt due to lightning by being outside the car.
Jul
10
comment Looking for secluded camping land in California, near the bay area
@gerrit: Yes. Since the OP mentioned this was in California, there is no doubt. Pretty much everywhere in the US, unqualified "bay area" is understood to mean the San Francisco Bay area in California. This is true even where I am in Massachusetts, 3000 miles accross the continent and much closer to the much larger Massachusetts Bay.
Jul
7
comment How to stay clean on a multi-day hike?
I find it disgusting to be sweaty or dirty. Get over it, or don't go hiking.
Jul
6
comment What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?
@Niek: Bring whichever device is most suitable for your outing. What format it displays location in wouldn't even be on my list. In the unlikely event that you need to communiate those coordinates to rescuers, they'll deal with whatever you have. Otherwise, you want the most convenient device for your purposes.
Jun
22
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
We already blaze trails with small plastic markers that have a arrow and "Groton Trails Network" printed around the outside. The question is what to do at junctions so that people know which option to take, not how to stay on a trail once they decide on one. I think we have the latter pretty well covered.
Jun
18
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@Mr.Wiz: The data originally came from GPS tracks, but I don't think the raw GPS data is separately available on the web site.
Jun
18
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@Karen: Before you come to Groton, check out grotontrails.org. One way to get introduced to the area is to attend one of our guided hikes, usually also listed as AMC local walks. The next one is this Sunday 22 Jun at 1:00pm at the Rocky Hill Audubon Sanctuary. You can sign up for notifications of such events from the web site listed above.
Jun
18
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
Your point about not knowing who will be around in the future is very good. I think you're right about going for longest-lasting, even if it costs more. At the Trails Committee meeting last night, there was more acceptance of plastic signs than I thought. We are planning a few kiosks with maps, but those will always be scarce due to high cost. We provide our maps on-line. Check out mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?q=http://dl.dropbox.com/u/…
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@Karen: We already have 4 different color plastic trail markers we use as blazes. The different colors are only so you can distiguish different trails within a local area. There is one ratsnest of trails in West Groton that required all 4 colors. Yes I know hardly anyone else has back woods trails signs in this area either, but that's mostly because trails just evolved on their own historically and nobody actively managed them. We are trying to do better in Groton, maybe even make it a hiking destination. We are the only town in the Montechusett region that even has a Trails Committee.
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@Mr.Wiz: It looks like wood, but is weathering in a way I've never seen a wood sign do before. You are right in that the letters look too dark to be natural, so maybe they are burned. It's certainly readable now, but I wonder what it will be like in a few years. It would be nice to know how old it is and what type of wood it is made from. Where is this sign?
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
Thanks for a lot of good examples. I've been warned that while routed signs with paint in the grooves can look quite nice (like your Glen Boulder Trail example), the paint wears off quickly and it takes a lot of effort to maintain. Is that Bell Creek sign real wood or the new "composite" stuff? It looks like it belongs in the woods, and if it's composite it should last a very long time.
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@gerrit: Those are road signs. The US also has consistent directional road signs (white letters on green background), but I wouldn't want to put those at trail junctions in the woods either. If Switzerland (or anyplace else for that matter) has a consistant policy for back-woods trail signs, I'd like to see that in a answer.
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
Stone markers like you show should last very long. But, we can have several feet of snow on the ground in winter, so a sign like that would be completely covered up. Otherwise its a interesting idea I hadn't thought of.
Jun
17
comment Wood versus plastic trail signs?
@Mr.Wizard: I don't have a picture of a plastic sign. I'll try to take one over the next few days and add it to the question. Go ahead and retag as you think is apporpriate. I didn't know there was a signage tag. You don't get to see all the tags when you really need to, which is when you're writing a question.
Jun
5
comment Is drinking urine safe?
Drinking urine is a bad idea. I answered this question in detail at outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/5101/1854.