Category Archives: Hobbies

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about the Schools Contest held by Chelmsford Engineering Society (CES). The first week I explained the basic background of the contest and then how I take part in the judging process. Well this week its awards time and we get to see who has won! Once again our hosts are Anglia Ruskin University who help out lots with this and other CES events. There was also lots of support from the sponsors including my company ebm-papst UK Ltd who also supply one of the trophies (full list of sponsors at end). The award winners came along and one again put on a great show of the work they have done. For me like some of the other judges it was our first opportunity to see some of them or have a long chat about the work. Its hard to take in 50…

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I will never be as good of a guitar player as I am the day of an engineering test. Why? Because I’m a procrastinator. Hell, I’m procrastinating doing some things around the house this afternoon, just to write this post!. And when I procrastinated in school, my distraction of choice was playing the guitar. So to this day, I still associate the two. Learning guitar as a hobbyist and learning electronics as a hobbyist. And my learning process for the former was strikingly similar to how people learn the latter (at least in the practical, hands-on sense). Even more similarities exist when you include institutional learning in the mix. While this article will not be a treatise on the benefits of institutional over hobbyist learning, it will point out where weaknesses may develop and how to possibly better merge the two for an overall more well-rounded  student of electronics or guitar. I also limit…

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Last week I introduced the Chelmsford Engineering Society (CES)  Competition for schools. As I said before, I was one of the judges, and this week, I want to report back on what I have seen and what stood out. Before I show you the entries that stood out, I first want to run though the background information about the contest so you better understand the whole day. My day started at the Marconi Building, which is on the Anglia Ruskin University complex, at 8:15am for registration. I was one of 42 judges taking part on the day. We were being supported by members of the CES, who were organising and helping log scores. We are all paired up with another engineer who we have not meet before; I was with a chap called George who, in his day, used to make TV Camera tubes before it all went solid-state. Each…

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For the next few weeks, I’m going to hog EngineerBlogs to talk about a school’s engineers competition that’s taking place. The contest is taking place at Anglia Ruskin University, which is in Chelmsford, England, the “birth place of radio”. The contest is run by Chelmsford Engineering Society, which is a group of engineers that run the competition in their own time and are sponsored by local businesses. Each year, schools from all around the area come to Chelmsford, displaying their projects and hoping to win one of the many donated prizes. My part in this is that I am one of the many judges that the local companies sponsor. My firm, embpapst, sends two judges each year as well as donates money to the society. It’s important for us and other companies to do this, otherwise, these contests just could not take place. The contest takes place on the 1st…

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Now that I’m a full time blogger for EB, I guess I had better get my act together, start thinking more about what I write, and spend less time reading magazines. This week, however, it’s the content of magazines and the way in which hobby projects are written up that I want to consider. In the UK, it’s hard to come by electronics magazines in the local shops. It’s just not a popular hobby as, say, fishing, motorbikes and guns – don’t ask! So most hobby electronics engineers get magazines through the shops’ own subscription system (they order it for you) or direct from the distributor. I do remember a time, however, when electronics magazines were very popular, so I guess that shows my age. I used to select a magazine each week or month and then follow the building of the project. A great example of this is shown in…

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I, like most people, eat on a fairly regular basis. 🙂 And I, apparently UNlike most college students, like to eat good fresh food with lots of vegetables. I appreciate my free seminar pizza as much as the next guy, but given the choice I love my own food. I find cooking therapeutic, creative, and a darn tasty hobby. Every so often I try new things – experimentation and curiosity are the foundations of an engineering approach to life, after all. This past week I found myself with a bunch of extra orange juice to use up, so I decided to try my first ever two-layer cake. I borrowed two round cake pans from my friend (must have the right tools for the job, right? first rule of any project). Carefully I baked the cake layers for an Orange Marmalade Cake. But then as I went to assemble the cake,…

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