Monday, June 24, 2013

Our Em3 and Emflume1 at ASEE 2013 Atlanta.

Lily, Nathan, and I are hosting a booth at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)  meeting in Atlanta.

At ASEE we move from geoscience to engineering, which are separated only by human construct; a river in flood doesn't care what your title is.  It behaves the same either way.

We've had a great response to our new Emflume1, and many happy visits from profs who've bought our Em2 and Em3 models.

Steve Cobb with Murray State University made my day today; dropping by to tell us their Em3 is heavily used by three departments there.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Emflume1 shipping. See it at ASEE 2013 in Atlanta.

After four years of development, we’re introducing the production model Emflume1 at ASEE in Atlanta.

The Emflume1 is a revolutionary flume system.   Small and portable.  To teach students in engineering, fisheries, and geology both theory and applied science of fluid mechanics and sediment transport. 

The Emflume1 is a true desktop flume, with a dry weight of only 51 pounds (23 kg).

Its super efficient ducted prop design requires only 110 watts, and makes no noise at all.

You can talk, and teach, while this flume’s running!

Edit:  Check out Matt Kuchta's high speed videos of the flume here!

The Emflume1 features:

--3.7 inch wide by 6.0 inch high by 14 inch long (95 x 152 x 356 mm) working area.

--Velocities to 1.1 m/s.  Water volume is 6.2 gallons (23 liters).

--Infinitely variable electronic flow control.

--Near zero maintenance, total reliability.

--All moving parts designed to allow pumping of plastic media.

--Tilt over 8 degrees; positive and negative.

--Instrumentation; including a velocimeter.

Our introductory price is US$9,980.00 for shipment within the USA.  Exports will cost more.

By September 2013  we’ll have production running full tilt; until then we are happy to take your waiting list order.

We hope to see you at ASEE in Atlanta.  If not, we’ll soon have much more on the Emflume1 at

Emflume evolution and R&D here.

See media circulation in the Emflume1's Grandfather prototype here. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Emflume1 ready for ASEE 2013 Atlanta!

Tomorrow we'll put first water through our Emflume1.


Make a small, practical "2D" flume to show fluid mechanics and key processes in river management and science.

Shoot video, get published, and in Science.

 Refine.  Display prototype at GSA, ASEE.  Talk to profs about what they want

Test, design, refine, develop tools.

Further refine.  Emflume1.  Production model.   Debuting at ASEE 2013 in Atlanta. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trimble's Sketchup Pro 2013 broken. Ignoring customers. Don't buy it.

UPDATE:  June 2014.  Still broken; crashes on quit.  I can see almost no improvement in the last year for anybody but architects; for machine drafting, forget it.   Does export to ACad formats now without crashing, which is good because I'm dumping it.

June 2014; for a year now I get the beach ball on exit.

If you're considering upgrading to Sketchup Pro 2013, don't.  Continuing from yesterday.

It's broken by bad licensing methods.  Help and support you pay for (listed for $95 in my invoice) are a joke.  The main site now has a "licensing troubleshooter," that wastes a half hour of your time -- and no connections to real people or solutions. 
Because there aren't any; Trimble has broken this formally great software and is now selling it to gullible people like me.

Sketchup Pro 2013 is NOT backwards compatible with Sketchup 8.  That's what evil companies do.  So I can't even go back to the old software, the stuff that worked.

I support nine good jobs, with a deadline two days away, with pencil and paper now.

Trimble, shame on you, fix this.

 UPDATE!  Got a great email from Tommy, asking me to check OS X disk permissions.  Done this a dozen times.  Same behavior on Windows 7.  This "help" has been going on for a week.

UPDATE:  After blog post I got a special call at work; generally respectful, but with a slight sneer I'm told that SU PRO 2013 is much more stable than the previous versions and beta testing proves that, so it must be something odd about my iMac (or me).  [All the previous versions functioned flawlessly for me on both Mac and PC. ]  Support guy sent a two page email with several steps to uninstall and reinstall; including clearing out preference files, etc. manually.  Forty-five minutes of work.  Opened; crashed just like before.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Trimble's Sketchup 2013 is broken, fix it!

Don't buy Sketchup 2013. 

Trimble, if you're reading this, shame on you.  I paid $560 for 2013 Pro.  Crashy on my iMac, on my Air, and on my Windows PC (in the "Make" form).

Sketchup was (was) a wonderful 3D CAD program that anybody could use.  It was free.  I've done amazing things with it at LRRD; it's revolutionized CAD..

History here.  Promoted by Google, then sold to Trimble.

If you're running version 8, keep it.

Trimble has broken "2013" with licensing.

The support I paid for is a joke.

I know Trimble, I buy survey-grade GPS stuff from them.  Sent them $2,500 for a software update last year so I could keep using a GPS unit.  Just keep using it, not improve it.  Just make it functional.

I hope somebody kills me if:  "Your Emriver Em2 is has stopped working?  Send us $2,500 and it will start working again.  For a while. Sort of"

Trimble might surpass AutoDesk, even Microsoft, at putting a needle in your arm and extracting money.

Shame on you, Trimble, fix this problem.

What I do with Sketchup, or used to when it was reliable:

Monday, June 10, 2013

"We are now in a new climate regime…"

Jeff Masters said it well:

"If it seems like getting two 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year floods in eleven years is a bit suspicious--well, it is.  Those recurrence intervals are based on weather statistics from Earth's former climate. We are now in a new climate regime with more heat and moisture in the atmosphere, combined with altered jet stream patterns, which makes major flooding disasters more likely"

Photos of flooding in Central Europe from the Atlantic.

If you flip a quarter 10 times and get all heads; what are the odds?

Odds are the quarter is no longer fair.  What used to be 100 year floods are now 10 year floods.

We are in a new climate regime, the evidence is very strong now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Emflume design. Lawyers and architects.

I spent my weekend checking and finalizing design details for our Emflume; we debuted a prototype at ASEE a year ago.  We’ll build hundreds of them, even a tiny mistake will cost us, and our clients and colleagues, a lot.

As I work, listening to This American Life: horror stories about “patent trolls.”   A fascinating tale from the amazing Ira Glass and his team.   

Especially for me -- My designs have been stolen and patented by others.  It’s easy to do.

This problem is more immediate:

Architects and other fraction-lovers in the United States use a Stone Age measurement system.  Non decimal fractions and Imperial (or "English") units.

Our US military uses  the SI system. Our medical system, mostly.  Scientists, of course. The United States could have converted in the1970’s with minimal pain and cost.  I’m going to take a wild guess a who (hint: reactionary) didn’t like that idea.

2013:  Engineers mostly use decimal feet (or inches); the many miles (oops, km) of streams I’ve surveyed were done that way.  Everything is  10.30.  3472.56

Architects and most builders still use feet, inches, fractions.   Fabricators, too.  Our machinists contractors.

Add 2’ 3” + 1’ 4”.  Then divide by three.  Then try 13 1/8” +  1 9/64”.

I lose perhaps 10% of my design time converting fractions to decimals and back again to order materials.  Another 10% when we're building.   It causes errors.   This Mars mission mistake cost us $600 million.

I work in a purgatory where all materials come in Imperial sizes.  Fractions.  Engineers are trending away, but the architects cling to it.

CAD packages are forced to accommodate this, including Sketchup, the one I’m using.

Architects:  Fractions of inches? Twelve inches to a foot, then inches, and then fractions of inches?  For real?

Scene:  An architect in the Emergency Room could be dying!

Nurse:  “I’ve calculated the dose to save this designer -- it’s  27 milliliters!"

In this ER, in a stunning building hated by all those who have to actually work in it, syringes are marked only in ounces and fractions.  Its designers insisted that its gesture extend even into the tools used in it.....anyway:

He's dying, hurry!  27ml = 0.950 ounces.

The syringe has 1/32 ounce calibrations, so:

1/32 = 0.03125 oz per graduation;  0.950 oz / 0.03125 = 30.4 graduations, so fill that thing to 30.5/ 32 oz, right?

Right?  Doctor? Oh my.  His left pupil is 13/64 inches, his blood pressure is down to 2 and 37/64 inches over 53/64 inches!  We're losing him.......

I do that ridiculous stuff day after day.  All my nuts, bolts, shafts, shims, sheets, rods and drill bits are in this stupid system.

 It must cost our economy $billions every year.

Can't show you all my work (remember those patent trolls?), but here's a jig I'm designing tonight.  It'll hold the big acrylic parts of the flume while they're being joined.