Friday, 31 December 2010

We're at the new location and settling in

Not much to report, yet. No matter how much pressure I put on him, Frank is certainly taking his time getting all the equipment set up. I know there are quite a few connections to make, but he's being excessively slow and careful about it, so it may be a while, in spite of having the techies working on it all night. One good thing about the move: I must say that the new place is much closer to civilisation than our old one; we can practically see a dozen Wal-Mart stores from the roof top...well maybe not quite that many, but there are quite a few stores in the area, and the view is wonderful. On clear days (which there are many of, except for the recent rain), we can even see the taller buildings in downtown Sacramento.
One of the best things about the new location is that the amenities here are much better, especially the choice of eateries. In fact, right in the centre of Rocklin itself, there's a really nice place to stop for lunch, but it's got to be an early lunch because they close at 2:00pm – the Granite Rock Grill. When you schedule your trip with us, make certain you stop off there for a hearty breakfast before you head may be the last decent meal you'll get for a week!
Seriously though, this building we've moved into is really going to work out great. As the real estate agents are always saying, the three most important things are "location, location, and location" and with this site, we’ve got plenty of that. The power grid is much more stable, there’s a major freeway just down the road, and the folks here are really receptive to new businesses, so I think there’s a wonderful opportunity for growth.
We should have good news to report next week...and maybe more pictures, if we can get them out of the camera.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The rest of them are back, the move is under way

All is well. The second group of hunters made it back, and they brought back quite an interesting selection of specimens. Tom says that the reason this group got so many new trophies is that they didn't rush through the hunting. He says that the first group was in so much of a hurry that they didn't have the time to find the good stuff, but this group slowed down a bit and even got to know some of the natives much better. Besides being invited to spend time in the tavern in the nearby town, they also were shown the best hunting places, but they say the hunting was only the start of things.

According to Tom, that tavern was something worth visiting all by itself. We almost couldn't get him to stop talking about the ale they brew there. In spite of the bite it has, he told us it goes down very smoothly, and he kept bragging about not having a hangover in the matter how much he drank. Well, that's just about enough to convince me to visit, but I'm still concerned about the Door itself. If I understood it the way Frank does, it might not be too bad, but all that engineering mumbo-jumbo still concerns me.

No more trips until we get set up at the new location. Frank has already started the tear down, having the big parts loaded onto a flat-bed trailer. He’s boxing up the sturdy parts and packing them into the back of a small moving van, but he’s keeping all the delicate parts separate, so he can transport them personally.

I’ll let you know when we’ve got the move done and are back up and running. Until then, Frank says that he’ll keep working on documenting just how this thing works. Maybe someday, you’ll be able to read about in one of his techie magazines.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The first group is least most of them

We had anticipated a variety of possible problems, but when we opened the Door to retrieve the hunting group, we faced a problem we couldn't have expected: they didn't want to come back. Apparently when the group arrived, they decided that there were too many of them in too small of an area, so they split up into two groups, with one going hunting whilst the other waited around at camp, and they were going to swap after a while. That idea would have worked fine if the first group had come back on time, but they didn't. The hunting group didn't bother to come back until they'd all bagged the prey that they had been tracking. Unfortunately that took longer than the second group expected, and they never even got a chance to head out.

Fortunately our timing couldn't have been better: we opened the door just after the first group finally got back, so the second group hadn't had a chance to leave the drop site yet. The only thing we could offer them was to let the ones who wanted to stay remain over there for another week. Most of the first group was willing to return, as well as a few from the second group who had given up waiting. We will pick up the rest next week.

One last thing, the pictures that Tom took on the hunt are being developed (they had to be on film because digital cameras won't work over there), so I'll get them posted as soon as they come back from the lab. Keep an eye on things here.

Friday, 10 December 2010

They got off to a good start...move imminent

Frank hooked up the spare bank of capacitors to keep the Door open even longer than normal, and the whole group got through without having to rush, although a few of the porters had to make more than one trip to get all the equipment through. [shrug] I guess it's better to have too much, than to run out of something you might really need. There is still the problem of supply...there ain't any.

The new building has been secured and leases have been signed. We'll be moving in the next couple weeks. Frank doesn't want to risk moving anything whilst there is a group on the other side, just in case some setting on the equipment gets changed. It would be a real pain to drop off a group in one place and then try to pick them up hundreds of miles away, so we're going to wait for them to get back, early next week, then start packing up the Door equipment. Most of the office stuff has already been boxed up and loaded into the trucks. In fact as soon as this group returns, I'm going to be spending the rest of the week setting up the new location. Frank and the Door will be coming later. He's in charge of packing the Door itself, so it might take more than a week to complete the actual move; you know how engineers are. :-)

Lots to do, and hopefully everything will be up and running by the end of next week, so I can post on time.
Keep busy!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Volunteers? A trip out

Well, it looks like we've got folks who're ready to volunteer...not for a trip, but to help out in the office. I guess not everyone is willing to take the plunge and head out into the unknown. Don't worry, there are folks heading out this weekend. Remember those big game hunters I talked about last week? Well, we've got a good sized group leaving tomorrow. I told them about the charging problem, so they're bringing everything they need for a week in the bush...including their own porters. It'll be crowded in the office when they all arrive, but once they've left, Frank has some ideas to test out.

Talking about the office, it seems we've found a possible new location for the operation: an old abandoned, warehouse-sized building. It sits at the end of a road, so there's little issue with traffic. It's near enough to civilisation that we will be able to get customers in and out easily enough. And down the hill from the back side is a train track, so we can transport some of the heavier equipment in and out with ease. The funny thing is that it used to be a Wal-Mart store. Well, at least that's funny to me as I haven't visited that store chain for almost a dozen years. Just not my type of employer to support. [shrug]

Anyway, I'll set the poll to track your opinion on that topic and be back in a week.
Keep up the adventuring!

Friday, 26 November 2010

All is exciting news to report...they all survived

I was really hoping to be able to report some exciting news, but all the squints survived just fine. Although we got the Door open later than planned, they weren't worried. They were just biding their time over there, patiently waiting. How boring.

BTW I was right about them not getting invited to any parties, in fact they pretty much were snubbed by the natives, which was only expected as they snubbed the natives as well. The high-tech scientists didn't think the backward natives had anything to contribute, and the kick-back natives thought the techies were too uptight. Apparently the squints never even tried talking to the natives. One look at the native agricultural society and the scientists put down the entire world. Talk about judging a book by its cover. Ha!

Good news: Based on the experiments they did, the scientists are planning on reporting to the government that there is no reason to keep us shut down, so I'm gathering a group together to get a real hunting party going. I've got friends who've hunted big game in Africa, India, and even South America, so I'm going to let them have a chance to see what they can do over on the other side of the Door. Can you imagine putting up on the wall, next to a lion or tiger or bear, the head of something that has never been here on this planet? What a conversation piece. (I actually don’t know what there is over there, but I know it’ll be something interesting.) I’ll make certain that they take pictures, and then I’ll post them. You’ll want to see that!

On the tech side of things, the charging is going well, and Frank almost has a full second set of capacitors hooked up, so future rescue operations will go over much smoother.

That’s all to report for this week. See you in seven days.
P.S. Check out the poll. I’ve extended the time to respond.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Delayed, what do you expect?

Apparently there were problems in slowing down the charging cycle. As the capacitors get closer to a full charge, they charge even slower, so there wasn't enough power to open the Door on schedule. Frank says it has something to do with the Law of Diminishing Returns. To quote him, “The charge approaches 100% asymptotically.” Yeah, right, whatever that engineering mumbo-jumbo means.

Anyway, the techies need a lot of help getting a full charge, so I'm on call to fix things for them, but I want to make a quick comment on the poll we had on the bottom of the page. We asked where you’d like to vacation. Most of you (75%) agreed with us. An Out of This World Vacation certainly sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The rest of you need to open up your minds and consider the possibilities. The poll for this week (or so) has to do with what you’d bring with you on such a trip. If you have any better ideas, let us know.

Keeping it short this week as Frank is frantically running around trying to get the Door open and ‘rescue’ the squints. (They hate it when I call them that, but it’s a habit I picked up from Seeley.) See you next week!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Just waiting...

We’re still charging the capacitors, but we’re keeping the cycle slowed down during most of the day, only running it up to full power in the middle of the night so that it won’t affect the neighbours; we’re trying to stay on good terms with them. Fortunately the slowdown has been calculated so it won’t affect the plan to open the Door by the end of next week. I really want to be there when the squints come back through. I’m curious to see how well they’ve survived out there in the open world. Knowing them, they’ve probably built a whole lab…including a basement, but we’ll just have to wait until later to see.

While the charge continues to build, Frank and the techies are working on trying to fully understand the technology that makes the Door work. They think that pretty soon, they’ll be able to actually control where the Door opens. Apparently at this point, they can open it, but they can’t aim it. It’s gotten so bad, according to Tom, that when he’s sitting over there, on the other side, ready to return, he’s had to sprint to get over to where the Door appears, so he can get through before it shuts. It hasn’t happened yet, but even if he does miss the Door, he knows that we’ll re-open it as soon as we can, so that’s not really a problem, but the way things are right now, it could be as much as another whole week before we get up enough charge for a rescue attempt. That’s why Frank is trying to get a second set of capacitors connected up. He wants to get them charged and keep them on the side, just for emergency openings. You never know when we might need to get Tom back in a hurry. Tom’s solution was to only open the Door at night. That way the light from this side will shine through and be easily visible, and he can start running as soon as it starts opening. I'd rather get the Door to Tom, rather than hoping Tom can get to the Door.

Until next week, we’re all still waiting. See you then!

Friday, 5 November 2010

We've been shut down :-(

Apparently, despite the fact that the government dumped the equipment we’re using, now they want it back. They hadn't considered using it as a commercial venture, and we’ve already shown that there's some real money to make. Fortunately, at this point they haven't actually shut us down. All they've done is force us to let a bunch of scientist go through to the other side to do some real experiments (not like the ones Tom has been doing, but I bet they won’t get invited to any parties). I don’t know what they plan to do, but they took an entire chemistry set, a bunch of wires and batteries, and more sealed cases than I’ve ever seen before.

So far there’s only been one party of almost a dozen squints, but keeping it open long enough to get all of them, and their equipment, through the Door drained our stored power to the point where we won’t be able to open it again for another two weeks, so we’ll just have to wait until then to find out what they’ve discovered (if they share any info with us). At least we don’t need to worry about being sued; since they’re all military scientists, it’s not our problem if they don’t survive. (Of course that doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned.)

We’re continuing to upgrade and stabilize the Door, and we’ll tell you more about it next week.

Friday, 29 October 2010

A few solutions

Tom did quite a few more experiments, and although we can’t even detect a magnetic field on the other side, we did determine that there is no apparent effect on long guns: bullets fly just as expected. (Frank was wrong?) Again, the natives gave Tom quite a party when he brought in all the critters he shot. They even invited the rest of us to the party, but besides the issue of techies being afraid of the sun (are techies really vampires in disguise?), no one was certain that they wanted to eat what was cooked. We’ll continue to leave that up to Tom. He’s daring enough for all of us.
The other problem we’ve been working on wasn’t as easy to solve as we’d hoped. Adding more capacitors just created a different problem with the power: when we start up the charging cycle, the initial in-rush of current shuts down everything for a few miles around. Frank says that we can compensate for it with some kind of fancy resistor, but then that slows down the overall charge, again taking longer, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Apparently part of the problem has to do with the amount of power available here at this site. And that takes us to the next obstacle: location.
We had originally selected this place so that we were well out of view of the public during our design and trial runs, but the town of Timbuctoo, CA (half way between Marysville and Grass Valley on Hwy 20), is apparently just too far out in the boonies, too far off the grid, and we need the grid. Besides once we open up to the public, we’ll need some way to get them in and out. The roads here just don’t support that kind of traffic, so we’ve got folks out looking for a more appropriate place, but at this time we’ve yet to pin anything down. Any suggestions?
We’ll keep you informed when we make a decision.