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  1. Things are well

    July 28, 2013 by Saar Drimer

    It’s a distinct kind of joy to have my inner-engineer take over. One such memorable period was during my undergraduate senior design project when I worked like mad for twelve weeks to build a camera with an FPGA on it from scratch, PCB included. I didn’t quite finish the whole thing, but was the only one who got an ‘A’ in the class. This project got me the ‘Dean’s Award’ and later let me nail an interview, after which I got a job at the only company I really wanted to work for, at a time when no-one else was getting jobs in Silicon Valley back in Autumn of 2002. I’m really proud of that work. I’m not writing all this to boast — trust me, I’ll happily tell you that I’m not that smart — but to say that ever since I’ve been looking to replicate this elated feeling of engineering-driven obsession.

    That time was a peak that I wasn’t quite able to experience since, not professionally nor academically. Sure there were some local maxima along the way, but not quite that long-lasting feeling of “I want to shout to the world that I love what I do!” kind. Recently I stumbled on something that got me to that peak again — a combination of my life-long obsession with doodling, love for hardware design, and an awesome programming language called Python. By luck — yes, luck — I got into a situation where starting to write PCBmodE seemed like a good idea, combining years worth of random ideas and concepts that I kept in my head. Embarrassingly too long into the project I realised that since I’m enjoying this so much I should try to make a business out of it. It was one of those duh! moments in the shower. You know the kind.

    So I aim to make PCBmodE and Boldport a successful and dynamic company. It will be hard. It might fail. But the good news, to those who know me and those who have been following me on this blog for years, is that things are going well for me right now — I love what I do!

  2. World Olympic Entertainment, Inc.

    July 8, 2012 by Saar Drimer

    The Olympic torch passed by Cambridge yesterday. I was walking to a pub to meet a friend when I heard the distant cheering as the torch arrived to Parker’s Piece near the center of town. I wondered to myself why I wasn’t there, all excited about the torch — after all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see it; I wondered why I could care less about “The Games”.

    The Olympics is all about entertainment. Without entertainment value, people wouldn’t want to see it, so it wouldn’t be profitable to broadcast, and so it wouldn’t exist. And why do most people watch The Games? They watch for the opportunity to see extreme failure — drama — and/or extreme success — breaking records. Extreme failure doesn’t need help — athletes fall, fail, break down and cry naturally; it is without a doubt a stressful occupation. Guaranteeing the breaking of records requires technology and chemicals.

    Records are being broken all the time. If we assume that the human body hasn’t evolved dramatically in the past 50 years (it hasn’t) we can attribute performance improvements to technology and science. Our understanding of the human body, nutrition, and advances in materials helped extract better performance out of athletes. Performance can also be enhanced through the use of chemicals. Technology is allowed, but some chemicals are not.

    I find the demand for entertainment value and the prohibition of what could provide it hypocritical to both athletes and viewers. Let’s be clear: I think that performance enhancing chemicals are categorically bad all around, and I wish they — legal or illegal — have never existed. But it’s too late now; chemicals already influenced the game. Pretending that the Olympic events are fair, and that the prohibition of chemicals is effective, requires suspense of disbelief. That bothers me — we shouldn’t pretend something is something when it isn’t.

    Everyone knows that the WWE is fake, and that’s OK; can the Olympics follow a similar model, and stop pretending that it’s real? Should it? Would people watch a genuinely fair Olympic games — where records are rarely broken — if that was physically and practically possible? Have the Olympic games become sport’s equivalent to TV’s “reality shows”?

    In any case, I won’t be watching; I never watch sports anyway.

  3. shower caps — useless?

    April 24, 2012 by Saar Drimer

    Shower caps. Meh. Well, I’ve got five words to say about them: perfect bicycle-seat rain covers. Thank me later. Oh, email me if you know where to get those in bulk — I want a hundred at home and hundred at work, and for gifts. Meantime, I’m collecting them from hotel rooms ;)

  4. Good music makes you feel older

    March 25, 2012 by Saar Drimer

    We went into Ryman’s for some reason and actually entered my teenage years. RV from Faith No More was playing, and I started rocking my head in three degree movements. I told Caroline to keep moving to Sainsbury’s while I stayed there enjoying my teenage space among the stationary and oblivious pen-seekers.

    When we last went to the Natural Science Museum a guy was playing Enter Sandman from Metallica in the tunnel between the South Kensington tube station and Museum Cluster. Think about the age demographics he’s appealing to for 20p. I’m it. Rapidly approaching middle age with a rebelion spark that’s still brought out by what has become background musac in a store and fermented underground passages.

    When I hear Highway to Hell in an elevator, I’ll retire.

  5. Hot sauce

    January 5, 2012 by Saar Drimer

    I was left with a bunch of semi-dry lovely hot peppers from the summer/autumn yield. Some I cut up and put in olive oil for “chili oil”, and others I used to experiment with making my own hot sauce. After some research, the recipe shown in this video appealed to my senses — I particularly liked the sherry twist to quickly add that aging flavor. Shopping for distilled vinegar, I discovered sherry vinegar and thought that this could do the trick, combining both ingredients. I blended a few peppers, sherry vinegar, garlic, and salt and the result is pretty good; very hot. Fresh, there was a slight aftertaste that I did not particularly like, but it might be the amount of vinegar — I usually don’t like hot sauces to taste too vinegary (like Tabasco, and unlike my favorite sauce, Cholula). It might be the garlic, though; I need to experiment more.

    This simple sauce is not far off from what you can get in a bottle at a supermarket, but it’s cheap, quick to prepare, and doesn’t have the typical additives. Also, one can tweak the ingredients according to taste.

  6. Box of nails

    October 1, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Box of nails

    Box of nails

  7. Party of squares

    September 7, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Party of squares

    Party of squares

  8. My first lesson in sales

    September 1, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Thirty years ago, I was about six years old; I lived in Netanya, Israel; my best buddy was named Teddy; the currency was the Old Israeli Shekel; and, together with Teddy, I found a large stack of last week’s TV-guide that went (new) for a single Shekel. Teddy and I figured that since these are almost new we could still easily resell them for a bargain half a Shekel each, the street value of a popsicle.

    Under our building in Ha’Galil Street there was a gap in the hedges and a nice wide stone fence where we could set up shop and display the merchandise. People passed uninterested for a while and then we got our first customer — an old man. This old man gave us half a Shekel and a bit of wisdom: an explanation why people aren’t going to pay for last week’s TV schedule, news, and gossip. We understood. We folded.

  9. Monsters

    August 24, 2011 by Saar Drimer



  10. Wiggle

    August 8, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    If the creators of Hangover 3 use this one as a tattoo, I’m going to go after them with all I’ve got.