I rarely spend an entire day relaxing but came pretty close today. I completed a few small projects (vacuuming my car’s interior, relocating the air compressor we use to inflate tires in the garage and installing a bracket on which to store the hose, and a little shop maintenance). I spent almost an hour at the website 24hoursofhappy.com which I highly recommend. I then decided to search the yard for small subjects to photograph.
I spent the entire day working on the garage with help from Kyle, Maya, her friend Maddie, and Jeanine. At some point, the BMW i3 I have on order will arrive and it will need a place to sleep. The bulk of today’s project involved reducing the size of the landing between the garage and our mudroom by half to make room for more efficient storage of our bicycles. The railing pictured here used to go straight across instead of turning. I was able to recycle all the wood for this project and the girls did a fantastic job of giving it a new coat of paint.
The iRobot 710 Kobra is a powerful, rugged, fast robot that carries multiple heavy payloads without sacrificing mobility over rough terrain and stairs. It can lift in excess of 330 pounds and travel at 8 mph. It is a beast. This evening after work, members of the development team and management celebrated our first customer order. During the celebration we received word of a second order.
After a ten hour offsite financial planning meeting, iRobot participants enjoyed dinner together at Chopps. Several in our party of 22 ordered the ribeye steak. I don’t think any of them were expecting quite so large a portion. I had the tuna which was quite good and sized more reasonably. Unfortunately, I also had shrimp for an appetizer. Based on the fever, aches and other symptoms I experienced in the middle of the night, I believe I may have developed an allergy to these crustaceans. I was almost fully recovered by the morning but there was no getting back the lost four hours of sleep.
When Maya returned from a friends house this evening, she was eager to continue watching the Emmy Awards show, something she has never been interested in before. It occurred to me that she has never seen a video of her own father accepting an Emmy. I did so 24 years ago on behalf of Pinnacle Systems which was subsequently acquired by Avid where the trophy is currently on display. The award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was for pioneering work in the field of desktop video which I led while at Truevision, the company I co-founded. Truevision was subsequently purchased by RasterOps and then Pinnacle Systems. Emmys awarded for technical achievement follow the company, unlike those given to artists who get to keep the trophy. The only positive thing that can be said about my acceptance speech is that it was the shortest of the evening.
Jeanine sent me this photo today. It came with a message that said “AM walk.” I will interrogate her for more details when she returns from Colorado Springs tomorrow.
I was unable to play in a soccer scrimmage this morning because of a back injury I sustained during last week’s tournament. By late afternoon I was feeling good enough to install a charging station for my new electric car which should be arriving in the next few weeks. Expect a photo of said installation in tomorrow’s post.
Kyle and I spent quite a bit of time together today. First we went to Emerson Park to watch Maya play in a soccer scrimmage against Wakefield High School. Concord won by an impressive 6-0 margin and Maya is looking very strong on the pitch. Kyle befriended this very affectionate dog that was out for a stroll. After lunch at Verrill Farm we completed a 7 mile hike on the Minuteman Trail giving us plenty of time to catch up with each other.
Jeanine departed for Denver today. There she rented a car and visited the Denver Botanical Gardens before driving to Colorado Springs. She plans to rendezvous with Nicolai who has just completed a cross country road trip to Colorado College. She is schlepping two 50 pound duffle bags in addition to her carry on. They are filled with everything Nico wants to bring with him to college. Jeanine will spend the next several days helping him to feather his nest, an instinctive maternal need that cannot be suppressed by even the most independent child. Meanwhile, I am holding down the fort with Maya and Kyle.
At iRobot it is not uncommon to encounter adaptations of the environment to suit the needs of our engineers. This section of carpet was converted to a test area for measuring angular range of a sensor system. In contrast to the hard lines of work, my walk with Kyle through Mattison Field this evening, featured soft curves and soothing textures.
I will be traveling to China next month to visit with several of our contract manufacturers. My visa has expired so it was necessary to provide an updated photo. Kyle was kind enough to take the picture for me after I set up the lighting and exposure. I capitalized on the opportunity to get a new photo of him as well.
Our backyard is home to many critters. We have a resident woodchuck, owl, hawks, hummingbirds, and family of rabbits. Transient visitors include coyotes, deer, blue herons, and a one time fly over of a bald eagle. Nala keeps them all at bay when she is outside. Not so today as this tiny bunny ventured out from its den.
Kyle returned today from California where he wrapped up his summer internship with Palo Alto Networks. We are delighted to have him back just as Nico is off to Colorado.
When I arrived at the office this morning I was greeted by this fellow seated at my desk. Not quite sure what to make of it, I sent the following e-mail, titled “New SVP of Engineering” to my colleagues.
I returned from travel to Pasadena last week to find my replacement seated at my desk. Here is what I can tell you about him.
He is the strong, silent type.
He is an exceptionally good listener and never interrupts.
He remains extremely calm under pressure.
His ego is in check and he is extremely humble.
He is not a fan of management by walking around.
He takes frequent naps and can endure the most boring meetings.
He is immune to pressure from management and is willing to take a hit for the team.
He can be a little cold and some find him devoid of emotional depth.
He is not easily moved from his positions.
He has said nothing to convince me he knows much about robots but neither did I when I first arrived.
No one has come forward to claim credit for the practical joke or to reveal the significance. I will continue to investigate. The crash dummy, which is the actual weight of a person, was probably used to demonstrate that our largest robot could drag an injured soldier out of harms way.
In our neck of the woods hummingbirds abound. Jeanine has concocted her own nectar formula which the local birds cannot resist. Our feeder is just outside the kitchen window allowing us to watch visitors through the glass from a distance of 2 feet. Few things are more beautiful to watch than a hovering hummingbird.
Jeanine drove to Pennsylvania yesterday to attend the 25th wedding anniversary of her childhood and best friend, Kris Earle. A weekend long soccer tournament prevented me from joining her. Jeanine arrived at the party in the still fitting bridesmaid dress she wore to the wedding. Kris located her wedding dress and the pair posed for this reenactment. I searched my photo archives for a matching photo but was only able to find the one below of Jeanine in the same dress with her boyfriend of the time.