Health and Fitness – the changes

So I have just updated my pages banner with a new picture. My last picture was taken in September 2010 on Rottnest Island in Western Australia when I was holidaying there in my semester break. I really liked the picture, how the sea was in the background and it inspired me the other day over the Easter weekend to take another whilst walking at my local beach.

When comparing the two I noticed just how different I look and thought it would be a good time to make a blog on my current fitness and how my goal has panned out.

So I’ll start with the Dukan diet – I started this Diet along with my family in May and lasted on it full time up until the middle of July. In that time I also really stepped up my gym regime  and trained alongside a mate who body-builds. I went from 104 kg to 87 kg in that time, and was very happy with that as my goal was to get to at least 90. I kept and still keep alot of habits from the diet till this day and have further lost weight and am now a fairly sturdy 84 kg.

I kept a fairly consistent gym routine – going atleast 3 times a week up until christmas and after new years, with just a 50/50 mix of cardio and weights but In January decided to experiment with supplementing and muscle building.

I still keep a fairly heavy cardio routine – try to run 3km in under 15 min atleast twice a week, but have increased the amount of time I stay at the gym and try to really focus down on muscle and strength building. I have been taking WPI post workout along with pre workout booster and I really am enjoying it and seeing the results. I don’t really go to the gym with a set workout routine, but I do try to target only specific areas every session, e..g chest and arms monday, back and abs wednesday and arms and legs friday.

I dont really intend to lose any more weight but I dont wanna gain too much back in muscle either, just want to be trim and strong. My knee seems to have benefited greatly from all the working out I’m doing, but I’ll leave the specifics of that for another blog.

I know this was a fairly rough overview but I just wanted to share my success and the journey I have been on, Losing weight and getting fit isn’t hard, you just need to be commited and patient! :D

For comparison here is my old banner, I still have the same sun glasses cause I cant find a pair I like more than this design :P

Final Year Project – Wideband Software Defined Radio

For my final year project I have been working on a Software defined radio. When I originally chose the project, it was classed as a “Wideband radio receiver”, when I met with my supervisor I had told him about my interest in SDR technology and he was quite happy for me to use this as my basis for design.

If you are unfamiliar with what an SDR is – the idea is essentially to do as much of a radios implementation on a digital platform. The most common methods of doing this is direct sampling into a computer by a high performance ADC or have a “front end” analog device that does a bit of mixing/filitering to bring the input frequency down before sampling, so that less power hungry/expensice ADCs can be used (e.g. a sound card!)

The second approach was the one that interested me the most, not just because of the price but how the “Ham world” (amateur radio enthusiasts) were approaching the front end design. I found an article published by the ARRL about what was dubbed a “tayloe” detector which essentially  down-sampled rather than mix the frequency of interest down into the audio frequency so that a soundcard could be used to feed into a computer processor for software demodulation. The device essentially sets up two audio-frequency channels that are dubbed I and Q as in the complex plane  notation – Inphase and Quadrature.

Now I’ve written alot as it is (for a small blog), and I have written an interim report detailing every aspect of how this “out of the box” contraption works and its around 30 pgs long so I’m not gonna rewrite it here. you can find many documents out there on the internet under both “Tayloe Detector” or as I liked to call it, a QSD (Quadrature Sampling Detector)

At this stage I have built a  functioning QSD prototype on a breadboard, and it works! The video below essentially shows me getting in a local AM station with by just using a simple wire antenna, RF amplifier and a signal generator to clock the QSD flip flops.

At this stage in the project I have around 6 weeks left, and I have decided not to focus so much on the software, as  there are plenty freely available to use with my device (plus I have experimented with GNU radio and have made a simple AM demodulator I can easily extend) – I have decided to extend my front end with an additional “basic” mixer as to be able to grab all relevent RF bands from 0.5 to 150Mhz. At the moment I have all my relevent filters designed, and a Direct digital synthesizer (DDS) PCB board microproccesor board PCB ready to be made. The DDS is what I am gonna use to mix the RF down, and of course being conventional mixing I need to filter out images so this is why the filter boards are there.

Sorry this is very short and brief but I’m very busy with this project and my other course work, I shall keep you updated closer to the finish line!

Urgh, Blogging Fail :/

Oops! I’ve kinda neglected this website :(  Its almost  a year old and up for renewal very soon, so I’m gonna once again try to commit and make more posts!

The last post was all the way back in July last year, and alot has happened since then:

  • Currently on the home straight at university, with my final year project thesis under way - I will graduate in July. My thesis is based on a wideband radio receiver implemented in a software defined radio -SDR architecture. I plan to post more on this in a separate blog post soon.
  • My health is A+ at the moment. I finished up the Ducan diet after 4 months on it and got down to about 87kg from 104kg – fantastic diet I highly recommend it. I am still going to the gym quite regularly and weight 84kg at the moment – I concentrate mainly on cardio (mainly running) and muscle definition in my upper body. I’ve also been experimenting with health supplements protein powders etc, and wow what a difference they make.
  • I’ve built a new PC tower which I’ll make a blog post about - hadn’t made my own pc for years but had no hassles it has only gotten easier.
  • Oh and I played cricket full time again since my leg op and we just won our grand final yesterday!! End of season trip is next week which is going to be great fun – canyoning.

Through the week or even later today I’ll put up more posts about recent projects etc hopefully this time I dont get lazy!

 

 

 

Sickness :(

Ok so perhaps I have still been fairly lazy with updates, I really hate writing, but I’m an Engineer so that should be understandable.

I have had a fairly good break so far, but at the end of last week, I got the dreaded tonsillitis. :(

Now this isn’t anything out of the ordinary for me, I will most likely claim the world record for the amount of times one man gets tonsillitis as it seems to be the ONLY sickness I get, or it is coupled with something else.

I don’t know why this is, Ive been told by a throat surgeon when i was 18 that it isn’t that uncommon and I may just grow out of it, which is what I’ve hoped/hoping will happen. But I was also told by an osteopath (yes I know crazy voodoo magic) that it’s because I have bad drainage in my neck. At the time of my osteopathic treatment, I didnt seem to get tonsillitis that much so perhaps she was right? But then again This case is the first case I’ve had all year so my odds havn’t been too bad. Still, it sucks. :(

Oh well, I’m on the mend now and hopefully will be in good shape for this coming weekend, where I am going to head up to Sydney with my mates for a 21st birthday weekender for my mate.

Till next time, cheerio!

 

 

 

Exams Finished!

Well I’ve kinda deserted this place for the last few weeks, I just haven’t found the time to write a blog due to finishing up uni with exam study and assignments. But all is over, and I think I went quite well!

I now have just over a month off, and don’t have to do any work placement!! Next semester I start the final leg of my undergraduate life, and will be endeavoring on my final year project (or thesis as other Uni’s call it). In the break I plan to continue my fitness craze (which has been goin VERY well for the last month and a half) and think about my poject choices.

Hopefully I will get time to blog more and I’m thinking of just posting funny interent pic/vids etc that I find just so I can keep a cool record.

I plan to take this blog into full swing once next semester starts, and document my project (which hopefully scores me kudos points with my adviser :D )

so stay tuned!!

 

The Dukan Diet/Weight Training

Ok so for the last 3 weeks, I have been following the Dukan diet along with the rest of my family. So far I have lost 6 kg and I feel fantastic! The diet is somewhat of a french diet, being formulated by a french man (Dukan) and having alot of basis on french cuisine (e.g. Quark, Creme Freche etc..). The underlying basis of weight loss (from what I understand) is by not eating carbohydrates and thus not having a ‘standard’ human intact of three main supplements (fats,protein and carbs), so I eat alot of meat, dairy and low carb veges which aint all too bad!

To supplement this I have been training 5 days a week to try get some muscle definition back and also my fitness (I used to be very fit when I was 18) and I feel myself getting stronger and fitter everyday!

My plan is to have reached a steady weight by summer which I think is very achievable and I’m highly motivated to do so. I probably should mention I lost around 30 kg when I was 17 just from going to the gym a few times a week, bodyboarding like a true teenage lidder, and just waching what I eat, but not necessarily dieting.

So I know its possible and plan to do so!! The reason I put on weight over the last 2 years was due to a fairly nasty wakeboarding accident I had in April 2009, which had left me unable to do anything without a high chance of knee dislocation (this included walking down steps) and thus high pain. I shall leave the story for another post one day, but basically the op was done last June and I am now just leaving the rehabilition stage i.e. can run etc so this is why I have started this regime!

Stay tuned!

 

Wowa, busy week!

Argh!, It’s Friday and I havn’t done a blog all week :( . Its Wk12 at uni (the last week) and I have been finalising reports/assignments/projects. This semester has been pretty good, and I’m sitting well to pass all 5 courses. Now that I’m a little freed up I will post something on the weekend, perhaps related to my current, muscle gain/weight loss regime and my progress so far.

But it will have to be coupled in with exam study, since all my exams lie on consectutive days in the first week :( . I’ve booked 5 nights away in Melbourne though, once they are done so should be fun!

 

Stay tuned! :D

 

Band, Album and Cover!

Well I thought this was fun so I’m gonna post it here for the sake of it, or just cause I simply can:

1 – Go to wikipedia and hit random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 – Go to quotationspage.com and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” the 3rd picture is your album cover.

My Results:

Band Name:

Lone Star College Tomball

Album:

Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.

(yeh, so I might of taken the whole quote here, but it’s more awesome :D )

Album Cover:

IMG_3805

Yep so in my mind I”m thinking we will play Indie music with perhaps some Hardcore influence. I Hate to say it but the themes sound like they will be pretty grey and emo-like  ahwells. :D

 

Arduino Robot Arm Interface

So firstly I’d like to document a previous project I worked on at Uni. For a group-project oriented course I took last year, I built and programmed a UMI RT-100 Robot controller using a simple microcontroller (ATmega328) and the Arduino boot loader and software suite to write code to it.

The UMI RT-100 is an antique from the 80′s, just a simple 6-axis robot arm with its own simple integrated controller that takes orders through an RS232 serial connection.

The robots controller keeps count of its position and when initialized you can either send it an exact count to move to or move it by saying “go” and then poll it for its count. These counts are easily transposed to represent angles/distance, depending on the axis

The idea was to move the arm and having the ability to see the correct angles of the axes, and have the ability to record a position for later playback in a sequence. This was achieve and utilized both a PS2 Controller and an LCD display for the user to interface it with.

The control module was first prototyped on a bread board but later the components were placed on a custom printed circuit board and placed in a case.

I documented the project on youtube to an extent and am very proud of the results obtained not to mention all the fun I had with it. I hope to do something just as enjoyable for my final year project, which I am soon to choose. The following video is a demo that was filmed on presentation day:


 

 

 

First Post!

Hi there,

Thanks to my good friend who owns and runs www.heroicmultimedia.com, I have been fortunately able to setup my own website!!

I plan to post lets say… 3 times a week? This week I plan to post a summary of my past Robot project and a little about the current Diet I have been on.

Stayed tuned!!