Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Weeks In...

Two weeks ago I left Leupold and started at Screaming Circuits ( It was tough to say goodbye to Leupold - a good brand, fun folks to work with, and some great challenging projects over the last three years. There were a number of reasons to move on, one of them being the advantage that Screaming Circuits is so much closer to home. Nearly two-and-a-half hours in the car each day had become quite tiring.

What Screaming Circuits does is assemble circuit boards for customers in rapid time - even as short as 24 hours. There are no minimum runs. Where it takes a full run production line months of preparation for manufacturing a large number of circuit boards, Screaming Circuits can handle the prototypes and short-run productions in just a matter of days. From simple boards with only a few components to full-on computer motherboards with expensive processors and surface mount components the size of grains of salt. Pretty amazing process with quite a number of proprietary processes that make it possible to turn projects in such a short time, and economically. And Screaming Circuits is a division of MEC which itself focuses on the full scale production runs.

I spent the first week on the factory floor, learning the production process and helping where I could. I'm glad I was able to do that, a great learning process, and I met some great folks. I was also able to see the vast variety of clients that these projects came from... Hobbyists, multinational organizations, governments, and everyone between.

This week I was fitting into my normal role, which is the design and development of the front-end tools that the customers use to manage their projects. Mostly I was tooling up and getting plugged into the development systems, but I did begin to crack in on the first project. And that is where I am at going into my third week at this new adventure.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A little too much adventure....

For us this was opening weekend for sailing. The weather on Saturday and Sunday were looking to be beautiful, so we packed everyone and everything up and headed to the Willamette. We put in at Fred's Marina and began the 8 mile cruise up river to the public dock at Portland's Riverfront park. A little engine trouble set us back a few hours (turned out the fuel bleed screw had rattled loose), so by the time we pulled into the public dock it was 10pm.  It wasn't our plan to be cruising through the city at night, but it was quite beautiful and magical. Our mast is tall enough that the steel bridge needs to lift for us, so this journey was also my first experience requesting a bridge lift. It had been a long day and I was glad to be docked, and ready to call it a night. 

A few minutes later and our plans took another turn - both Miriam and Christina got sick. Christina made it over the gunnels, Miriam didn't and left quite a mess in the boat. Abigail had been sick the day before but we didn't think much of it at the time, she has a fairly tender stomach. But suddenly we realized there were five of us in a tiny boat, and at least two had a full on flu. Christina's dad was a phone call away and came to rescue us, taking the girls and a few smelly trash bags of debris off to his place. Thank you Larry! David stayed with me to help get the boat back to the trailer on Sunday. 

We finally bedded down after midnight, but David woke up at 5am and headed out of the cabin for the side of the boat. He was out for the count and I knew I was probably doomed as well. Poor guy was pretty miserable for the rest of the trip - but he was a good sport and even smiled for this picture: 

 By the time we trailered the boat on Sunday afternoon I was starting to feel pretty bad myself, and after parking the boat in the driveway I headed straight up to bed with my own fever. 

What an adventure! Not quite what we had planned, but we survived it, and in a few years it will give us all something to laugh about.