Fermilab lecture on Nanotechnology

Neil and I stopped at the Little Owl in Geneva for din din, had the Shore Lunch – nice piece of Walleye and fries. Good, but I should have gotten the burger. Neil had the fish combo and concurs. Little Owl was a lot less crowded than I remember.

Got to Fermilab in good time, and walked the path to the Lederman center, checked the time on the sundial, and walked around the building looking in like kids outside a closed candy store.

Back at the Wilson center we watched the MINOS project film. Fermilab closed the other exhibit center in the atrium, and replaced it with a control room for the swing shift at the CERN LHC.

Then the lecture, “Nanotechnology: The Crafting of Self-Assembling Materials for Medicine and Energy” by Dr Samuel Stupp of the Stupp Institute at Northwestern University.

Fascinating. Good questions. This guy must never sleep. I want a job there. And I want some cartilage when they start making it…

Mavica 411

At Bette’s school, the classroom digicam is a Sony Mavica MVC-FD200, circa 2002, very old school with a FLOPPY drive or Memory Stick media.

…Memory Stick card slot and can store up to 128MB of images

(from Steve’s Digicams) We found a compatible Memory Stick on eBay, but this time she did not have it, so used the floppy disk drive. I shoved the disk it, and all I found was a series of .411 files.

Huh? Would not open in Paint Shop Pro, ThumbsPlus or renaming to .jpg did not help. After a bit o’Googling I found they are thumbnail files for the camera, made to go along with an HTM file which the camera produces. The only way I could find to show the images are with an old-school Java 1.1 app, Javica.

So I downloaded the Java 1.1 JRE from Sun and installed it. Tried to run the javica.jar file, would not start. Reset JAVA_HOME and the PATH environments.

Test it:
C:\devtools\Java\jre1.1\bin>jre -cp .\Javica.jar
Java(tm) Runtime Loader Version 1.1.8_010

Opened the JAR with WinZip, read the Manifest. Nothing. Looked thru the class files. Found com.javica.Javica.class. Very sensible.

Take 2:
C:\devtools\Java\jre1.1\bin>jre -cp .\Javica.jar com.javica.Javica
Bam! The GUI comes up and shows horrible lo-resolution thumbnails. Basically unusable. But I could tell they were pictures of our house. Huh?

Then I noticed the files were from 2006. I found that I used the wrong disk. All jpgs were on the ORANGE floppy! These were thumbnails from older 2006 pictures, of which I had the jpgs.

At least I can say I ran a 1.1 JRE. Now I need to repair the registry:
Registry key 'Software\JavaSoft\Java Runtime Environment\CurrentVersion'
has value '1.1', but '1.6' is required.
Error: could not find java.dll
Error: could not find Java SE Runtime Environment.

These cameras are $988 on Amazon why?

College Tour 2009 – Dubuque IA

Kelly goes to Clarke College for PT. We wanted the campus tour, so we walked down Clarke St. for two blocks and saw several dorms, all named after nuns, and a bigger building. That was it. No quad, bookstore, anything. Hey, whatever works.

Her rental house is across the street, and the house next door to hers was full of dudes cooking and drinking beer and throwing Baggo. Ah, I remember it well. She showed us around a bit, and we met her roommate who was sunbathing (or trying to – the wind was a big brisk for bikini weather.) Her roommate and our other contact, Jordan, begged out of lunch due to finals. So we headed off to lunch. First we drove down HUGE hills to Loras, where several friends has gone. It was a nice typical campus, more on the order of Grinnell. Clarke reminded me of IIT – utilitarian, all business – without the Mies buildings.

Kelly wanted to try the Star Brewery, but we did not know where it was. But using GOOGLE via text, she was able to call the place on the way there and get directions. You get there on 5th St (or the bridge on 3rd), not 6th as someone had said.

The Dubuque Star BreweryThe Star Brewery is along the Mississippi behind a dike. It used to be a brewery, but it closed several times, and the city saved it from being demolished and turned it into a tourist attraction and dining and retail center. Retail is still coming, not quite there. It may be a hard sell, being so far from town. Nearby is the Diamond Jo Casino, and a nice looking museum along the river.

You walk thru a series of halls with unfinished retail, and find a small museum, a wine shop with tastings, and an elevator. You take the elevator (we did the stairs) and are in the lobby of the restaurant. We were seated at two tables pushed together right by the window, where we could see the river and the train tracks, and watch the bridge open to let the barges go through. Way cool.

Bette and I split the Asian salad with shrimp. Kelly had a chicken breast breaded in buttermilk batter – she liked it. I had the Star Burger with wonderful sweet potato fries. Why don’t more places (like McDonald’s) have sweet potato fries? I had a couple of Fat Tires, and Bette a Stella Artois, and Kelly a Bud with Lime. I kind of expected a microbrewery, but the draft beer selection was merely average.

On the way out, we had to dodge the train – an actual train came by as we walked along the river, and stopped on the tracks, blocking the 5th St exit. So we found the bridge after getting lost in the Coast Guard station.

On the way back, we visited Jordan in the Mary Ben dorm, with a great view of Kelly’s house, dropped Kelly off, and headed home. Bye, Iowa.

Star Brewery – 600 Star Brewery Drive Suite 200 – Dubuque, IA

College Tour 2009 – Grinnell IA

So here’s the route:


View College Tour 2009 in a larger map

We set out with the new Honda CR-V Friday afternoon. Traffic was a little funky in Rockford at the I39 on-ramp, and I-80 was trashed at the IL state line as usual, but for the most part, the trip was uneventful. Lots of water at the side of the road, and rivers we crossed looked very high.

The car did great. I was fairly comfortable, and Bette really liked it. There was a lot of room for stuff in the back seat, and our single suitcase fit underneath the rear cargo area cover. I reset the MPG meter and we averaged 26.7 MPG on the 700 mile trip – filled up twice. Not bad; the Van got 15MPG on a good day, and the Volvo does maybe 20. The CR-V does not have the pickup of the Volvo when you want it — a turbo is good for some things. But I never really needed any more power than I had. Fine.

We found Grinnell and felt our way to Broad St as we left my printed Google maps home. We called Leah as we approached, and we parked on the main drag, in front of a take-out Chinese place. Leah’s apartment is over the bike shop. If we had time, I would stop there to look at bike racks.

Funny how nervous I am about parking the damn car now. With the van, I didn’t care – nobody in their right mind would break in except to sleep in it. Now, will someone hit it, break in, steal it? A drawback to a new car I suppose.

We walked around a bit and saw the Sullivan Jewel Box building, now a city hall. Wonderful concrete sculptures all over the front with a gorgeous round window.

For dinner, headed over to the Depot Crossing, a restaurant built in the old railroad station. Nice place. Went in, sat at the bar for a few minutes and we had a beer. We split a great bruschetta appetizer, almost gooey, not like the crunchy ones you usually get. Bette had the 1/2 burger. I had had the Maytag Bleu Cheese Sirloin ($24) with a glass of Red Diamond Zin ($6.50). Leah had the sushi-grade grilled tuna ($18) and a small Caesar. We finished with coffees. Good meal, the place is very nice.

Had breakfast at the hotel, and met at the coffee shop in front of Leah’s. Fresh coffee, lots of people, and art for sale on the wall. We got 16 oz. CERAMIC MUG coffees and sat on the tables in the early sun. It was very calm, and warm. Sunny. Wonderful. People walked by. With dogs. Nice.

Leah came and we shared a caramel bun. It was good, but South Beach has ruined me for meaningless carbs.

Walked around the campus, in and out of various buildings. Nice campus. Then we headed back, Leah to study, us to hit the “Bikes to You” bike shop.

The heavily equipped bike shop dude recommended the Saris Thelma 2. It fits the Honda receiver hitch via the adapter and weighs 26 lbs. so it’s easy to put on. A dude in the store asked if I was considering it, I said “Yes.” He said it was a great rack, he has had several and it is the easiest to load and mount. He said it was a top-five purchase – well worth it. The bike shop dude told us $260 or so. Based on Web search, that looks like a fair price, but I really need to see if the bikes will work on it, as some of the REI reviews say their bikes don’t fit and warn about bikes with fenders as Bette’s has.
I wish I could buy it from him, but shipping would be a killer and what if it doesn’t work? Maybe next time we are in Grinnell.

Saints Rest Coffee House, 917 Broad St, Grinnell, IA‎
Bikes to You Adventure Outfitters, 921 Broad St, Grinnell, IA‎

Wine Review – Oak Leaf Cab; Dominio de la Peseta 2002 Crianza

So on our trip to Iowa, we did our pilgrimage to Walmart, and found their $3 answer to “two-buck Chuck”Oak Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. It has no vintage. I couldn’t resist.

I drank this. Its color is very weak, does not have much aroma. Kind of a nasty start. Finish is harsh. In short, it’s probably as good as 2BC, and worth every penny.

But, I found a wine at the Armanetti’s in Woodstock which is night and day better, and is $6. It is a Spanish red blend, Dominio de la Peseta 2002 Crianza. Aged 10 months in oak. I’ll bet 2BC is aged 10 minutes in pine. Not a lot of cash, but with a powerful aroma, notes of earth and grit. I really didn’t like it much at first, but it grew on me. The wine dude at the store said it is a good wine, they got a good deal on it, but it is not a cellaring wine, and it’s already 7 years old. Good, I’d rather drink it! Considering a case.

-Update 5/21 Got a case – save 15%, and no shipping!