Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Delta II Launch Pads

The Delta II Space Launch Complex (pads SLC-17A and SLC-17B) in the background. These pads were visible from the museum. We actually got an official tour the Delta IV HIF and drive right up to the Delta IV (SLC-37B) with the GOES-N rocket ready to launch, but I didn't dare take pictures. Those guards pack heat! Same reason I don't have any pics of Vandenberg AFB SLC-6...

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To dream the impossible dream...

Scotty fulfilling a life goal: to work at NASA! I've wanted to be an astronaut since I was a boy. Even if that won't happen, working at NASA still fulfills that dream. The Boeing Delta LPD project has been extremely interesting. Even though I missed the Mars Recon Orbiter launch by a day, touring the Cape and VAFB has still been a highlight of my career!
Speaking of astronauts, check this out: Apollo Lunar Surface Journal and go see the new IMAX!

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Boeing: Home of the "Can Do Team"

Boeing: Home of the "Can Do Team". I've been priviledged to work with the folks from the Boeing Delta Launch Preparation Documents team for the last several weeks, both at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB!

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Launch Complex 14

Complex 14, launch site of the Free World's first man in orbit. We weren't sure how much access our badges allowed us, so we didn't get much closer. I also did not want to park in the bug guys parking spaces...

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The Original Mission Control

The original Mission Control at Cape Canaveral

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Sunset at the Cape

The most beautiful sunset I've ever seen, complete with palm tree and Mercury Redstone!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Congratulations, Brandon!

Congratulations to my cousin, Brandon, on the birth of his daughter!

Carina Akela was born on August 15th at 7:27pm via c-section. She was 6lbs 15oz and 20.5" long.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Single Sourcing for Beginners

I'm often asked for good resources on writing modular documentation for single-sourcing, chunking, and reuse. It's a learned skill, and a task that takes planning and effort, but can be immensely valuable.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and has some Information Architecture and Schema development resources thrown in for good measure...

If you want an exhaustive list, visit:

There is also a course/book called Information Mapping that is good for getting authors to think about writing self-contained information objects, too.

For DocBook newbies, I'd recommend: Norm Walsh's Tutorials and, of course, DocBook: The Definitive Guide.

For those of you in the industry, what do you recommend?

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DocBook XSL 1.69.1 available

This release was actually made available on Aug. 11 by Michael Smith, but I was working down at Cape Canaveral, and didn't get a chance to post on it.

The 1.69.1 release is production-quality, and fixes a minor bug-fix to the 1.69.0 test release, after a performance issue was identified with annotation support in xsltproc. The parameter is now off by default.

I've been testing the 1.69.0 release on Saxon 6.5.4, and did not notice any performance issues.

The latest stylesheets are available at:

Thanks Michael!

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

For such a time as this

Timing. That's really what most of life is about. And only God knows the best timing for each of us.

For me, this year I wondered when was the right time to leave Sun. It turns out, the timing was perfect. Since working at Flatirons Solutions, not only have I been able to go to Space Camp with my son, but now I'll be working on a project for Boeing at Cape Canaveral!

So for bad timing, I didn't know when the Shuttle Discovery was scheduled to return when I bought my tickets, and it looks like I'll miss seeing the landing by about 12 hours (Godspeed and safe return, STS-114!). Then I scheduled my return home in time for the Perseid meteor shower peak (camping trip), but I'll miss the launch of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite N, or GOES N, for NASA and NOAA aboard a Boeing Delta 4 on Friday!

Oh well, for good timing, I've always wanted to be an astronaut on Mars, so I'm hoping to catch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launch on Wed, Aug. 10 at SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Definition: Cheesy Goodness

Cheesy Goodness
Gastronomic euphoria initiated by the consumption of heated artificial processed cheese-flavored substance from the culinary proprietors known as Taco Bell: Creators of the "I think I'm in Love" Talking Chihuahua™ and Baja Mountain Dew.

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Shuttle audio for HAMs

Just found a link with info on listening to audio from the Space Shuttle on your ham radio: (145.460 MHz in Boulder). I'll have to try it out. I've been a little lax on turning on the radio lately.

My primary reason for getting my ham license was for storm chasing. I wanted to be able to report in and warn people of dangerous weather. I've been a member of SKYWARN for a number of years, but seem to be under deadline at work when the best storms come up!

I've always wanted to talk to the Shuttle or ISS, so I'll have to try it some time.

In other space-related news, check out this cool blog: Good luck, Damaris!

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Dearest!

After much prompting, my wife has entered the blogosphere!

She's been thinking about writing a book for a while, and I've been encouraging her to start with a blog, and see how it goes first. We've taken and taught Growing Kids God's Way classes together, which she's taken a few ideas from.

She's also come up with a lot of her own great ideas on raising children. A lot of the techniques are tried and tested, on our kids as well as the Little Lambs (preschool) class at our church. The techniques are extremely effective, with the goal of raising children to be a blessing to everyone around them.

When we read Seth's advice for authors, she decided to take the plunge.

So, make way and please visit Shining Examples!

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eXtreme parsing: Saxon 8.5 now available!

Michael Kay has just released the Saxon 8.5 parser, in time for eXtreme Markup, too! (wish I could be there...)

Saxon is by far the most powerful, and speedy XSLT parser I've ever used. Sure, I started with Xalan, but after working a lot with the DocBook stylesheets, Saxon is the best way to go. To be fair, I have also used xsltproc, but Saxon is usually my first "go to" parser.

Oleg Tkachenko's blog has a much deeper explanation of new features, but basically Saxon 8.5 provides:

  • hash join optimization for both XSLT and XQuery
  • binary disk representation of validated source documents
  • sequential XSLT processing of input documents without reading the whole document into memory for serial transformations
  • integrated processing of an entire directory of files using John Cowan's Tag Soup parser

You can download the latest version of Saxon at:

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