World Metrology Day

May 20th is World Metrology Day. World Metrology Day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of the Meter on May 20, 1875. The following is an interesting clip from 2010 on World Metrology Day that I stumbled across. Enjoy!

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Dr Michio Kaku and Education

I found this interesting YouTube video which talks to one of the reasons I started I agree that the US educational system is not creating enough engineers and scientists, and am trying to do some small part to help produce more competent scientists, engineers, and technicians through continuing education.

There is one area that I don’t agree with Dr. Kaku, in that I think we should reduce the number of H-1B visas allowed per year. What having so many H-1B visas does is removes the urgency to fix our own house, and since there are still unemployed US engineers, these immigrants are taking away jobs from US citizens who would be qualified because they will work for a much lower wage.

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Changes in Registration

Some changes have been made in the process of registering as a student on To assure that a valid email address is provided when registering, when one registers as a student, an email is sent that contains a link that completes the process.

It is important that a valid email address is entered when registering to be able to take advantage of some of the new features we will be adding, and it is the only way we will be able to contact you if something goes wrong with your account.

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Course Announcement – INST406 Introduction to the RF Mixer

A new course was just added to the course catalog

The RF mixer is used in many applications, from measurement to communication. This course discusses some of the basic mixer concepts, designs, specifications, and applications.

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Measurement Science Conference Review

I went to the Measurement Science Conference as I have stated previously. It was a good to see people who I haven’t seen in awhile, and to participate in some of the meetings. I also like that the MSC has returned to the Disneyland Hotel. Not to say that it was bad at Pasadena, but as my wife came with me, it was better for her to have something to do during the day. In the evenings, I did go to Disneyland. The rooms at the hotel have much improved over the previous time the MSC was held there.

I did spend a lot of time in the exhibitors area, clearly since ITS9 was held in conjunction with the MSC, there was significantly more exhibitors whose products were temperature related.

I had considered getting a booth for at the conference, but the cost clearly was too high for the business it would likely bring in. I really don’t see the utility for spending something like $2500 for a booth, $100 for each electrical outlet, and then you have to rent tables, chairs, internet connections, not to mention the travel and hotel costs. I doubt that any of the exhibitors have a hope of getting back what they spend in increased business from the conference between conferences. Perhaps its main utility as a reward for the employees of each company, with some small possibility of a slight return.

The conference had a lot of talks from high school students which I think was a good thing for them. It is good to try to inspire the next generation. I think those involved with the Metrology Ambassador program are doing a great job there.

I enjoyed most of the talks that I attended, but the one I enjoyed the most was the talk on the upcoming changes to the SI units. As usual it was difficult to decide which talks to attend, as more often than not there were two talks I was interested in attending at the same time.

I was surprised to see a talk on systems engineering and some of the presenters saying they came from a systems engineering background. I have been considering adding basic systems engineering courses to the course catalog. In particular I think both measurement and uncertainty analysis are important topics in systems engineering, and the design of new measurement capability could benefit from the discipline of systems engineering. One of the reasons I went to the conference is to get some feedback that I could use to plan what courses to develop.

Overall it was a good experience. I will probably attend the next one, although I don’t think it is particularly good for business, other than possibly a source of inspiration.

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Measurement Science Conference Special

I will be going to the Measurement Science Conference (MSC) next week and would like to offer a special for those in attendance.

At the Measurement Science Conference only, for those who contact me directly at the MSC, I will be offering a $50/student/year subscription rate ($10 off the normal rate). You will have to fill out a form and return it to me during the conference listing all the accounts you wish to purchase, if you are a company I will send an invoice for the accounts, individuals will have to pay at the conference. I do not have a booth, so you will have to track me down.

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Upgrades complete

It was a rough day, but the upgrade of the last server is complete. There were some problems in transferring over that caused some things on the site to break. It took a few hours to figure out what was wrong. With this I think I can move away from the hardware problems we have had and get back to working on course content.

There are a number of courses that have been asked for, including more algebra courses, a course on trigonometry, and a course on Fourier transforms. It is interesting to me that the most requested courses recently have been math courses. My on plan is to try to alternate between the math courses and engineering and measurement courses.

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Upgrade Continuing

The server that holds this blog and the podcast was replaced today. Only have one more server to replace next weekend, which holds the main content. When the hardware updates are complete, I will return to course and feature development.

If there is anything you would like to see developed on the site, let me know by sending an email to

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Upgrade progress

The upgrade of our servers is ahead of schedule. The secondary nameserver is now online and with no disruption of the website. This server will eventually be used to take the load if the main server goes down. This weekend will be spent configuring the new server so that it will be possible to manually switch over to the server for the upcoming server upgrade on the main server to minimize disruption in the main server upgrade.

The schedule is still that we will upgrade the podcast server the week after next, and the main server the weekend after that.

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Upgrade Schedule

The first upgrade will be done on February 25, 2012. This should not bring the site down, although there is a slight possibility there might be a few minute disruption. This will be to install a secondary name server, and a server that will take over during the major upgrade scheduled for later.

On the weekend of March 6, 2012 the podcast server will go down for a few hours. The secondary mail server will also be brought back online. It has been down more often than not in the last few months, so this will be a major improvement.

We have planned to perform the final hardware upgrade on Saturday March 10, 2012. The site might be down or intermittent for a few hours as we perform the upgrades.

When the last of these improvements are instituted, there should be a huge improvement in the site performance, and it will be less likely that hardware failures will be a problem. We have been using the same servers with only minor upgrades since 2002, so this will be a big improvement.

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