Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts

Articles by SKR

Phantosmia and SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

In 2014, I was delighted to find a lecture program (MOOC) on Coursera presented by Dr. Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago: Understanding the Brain: Neurobiology of Everyday Life. This was fascinating and well-presented, and it rekindled my lifelong fascination with neural science… prompting me to dive into Kandel, Blumenfeld, and other texts. Note…

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Extreme Harsh-Environment Packet APRS in Kayak – CQ VHF

When the Microship project ran out of steam in 2002 after a decade of work, I had the urge to get on the water without any more complexity than necessary. Of course, that is a highly subjective subject, and with my technomadic affliction it would not do to merely hop in a kayak and paddle around.…

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WANDER: A Portable Linux Data-Collection System

By 2002, the Microship project was starting to feel like work… creeping featuritis, endless landing-gear refinement, and complex integration of electronics that we had developed so long before that the whole network side (originally done in FORTH on 68HC11 boards) was being re-designed with modern tools. I had started the Inside Microship book project, but there was…

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Islands Are More Fragile – Stanwood Camano News

This is a bit of a departure from the main content thread on this site, but is included in the interest of completeness. When I bought a house and built a lab in the woods of Camano Island, I unintentionally took on a very protective attitude toward that beautiful and fragile place… a slender slice…

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Designing Technomadic Systems – Dr Dobb’s Journal

This was the most substantial published Microship system architecture discussion, and still, over a decade later, reflects the basic design concepts underlying my machines. Although the hardware implementation is completely different, the model is the same: distribute low-power networked nodes throughout the environment and provide a means for anything to talk to anything (even cases…

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Ship of Dreams: New Adventures of a Technomad – CQ VHF

There was a point in the 10-year Microship project that I think of as the peak of system design, and only two articles really capture it… the one below, and another in the venerable Dr. Dobbs Journal. I wrote both during a 2-month layover in a rented house in Bellingham where we stayed after first…

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Technomadics at Sea – Multihulls

An essential part of the armchair sailing library during the Microship project was Multihulls Magazine, and on rare occasions I found my way into its pages. This article was from my brief (2-year) tenure as the land-based “skipper” of Hogfish, a Farrier-folding tri built by John Walton and Mike Michie before they founded Corsair Marine. …

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Technomadness and the Internet – Internet World

I am fond of this article, which was written during the heady days of the Internet’s “takeover” from the mess of competing centralized services. Inspired by my own experiences with technomadics, it seems to anticipate the emergence of online-centered lifestyles… with physical location less and less relevant. The editor of this magazine was Daniel P.…

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Anatomy of a Unixcycle – SunWorld

An inevitable side-effect of having the Bikelab at Sun Microsystems was my exposure to a whole new computing culture… I was a Unix and SPARC noob when I landed there, and the learning curves were steep and plentiful. This article, which also kicked off an ongoing series in SunWorld Japan, reflected some of the ways…

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A Matter of Perspective – South Bay Naturist News

During my extended layover in Santa Cruz and Soquel, working on the third bike version (eventually named BEHEMOTH), I spent a lot of time relaxing on the spectacular beaches in the region… textile and otherwise. Somewhere in there I made friends with some folks at Lupin Lodge, and enjoyed a few visits in exchange for…

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