Welcome to The Lawrence Net! I would like to take the time to introduce myself and this blog. Since this will be my first attempt at blogging, I expect some growing pains. Bare with me as I become more proficient and creative with subject matter delivery.
Little Lot About Me
I grew up in Pensacola, FL where the beaches are a beautiful white and it only rains when you have out door plans.
As long as I can remember, electronics have been a big part of my life. It all started with a rewired Fisher Price® flashlight that could heat up your hand with its intensity. Of course the bulb didn’t last, however that experience sparked an everlasting interest in the field of electronics and engineering.
The next Christmas, I received a typical 6yr old kids toy, a project board that included 300 circuit diagrams. To clarify, it had springs for connecting hook-up wire, a small 7 segment display and a battery pack. I happened to burn up the battery pack more than once but we won’t get into that. I reached its service life much quicker than anticipated. The springs just wouldn’t hold the wire any longer. Time for me to move on with other things.
Occasionally, random items came into my possession. Broken remote controls, toys, and R/C cars became a resource for their precious circuit cards and sensors. Most things went missing without notice. Some things, not so much. One of the coolest was an electric guitar, complete with buttons for the frets and a paddle for the strings. It made sounds based on how the user manipulated the sensors. This toy taught me two very valuable lessons in the electronics industry.
Don’t tear it apart! + Don’t lose the screws!
Hobby Becomes Obsession
Fast forward to high school where I had more circuit cards and components than I could carry, a desk with burn marks from a soldering iron and some valuable Frankenstein creation in the midst of all the mess. My parents stopped coming into my room. Stepping on circuit cards is much more painful than Legos. This was an exciting time in my life. My projects were gaining more functionality. Imagine a strobe light housed within a flashlight made from an old camera. Better yet, a remotely controlled boat made from a small tote and a toy car capable of carrying a cat. Poor Boots.
My Professional Career
After graduating high school in 2001, I decided to join the U.S. Coast Guard. My cousin took me to the recruiter’s office where I decided the service had plenty of things for me to tear apart. As a Florida boy, I didn’t want to stray too far from the beach. Additionally, being an electronics tech in the Coast Guard would allow me to work with many different electronic systems. I was sold when the recruiter give me a direct path to electronics technician “A” school.
Many Great Opportunities
Each duty station brought new challenges and experiences. The most impactful duty stations allowed me to expand my knowledge through experimentation and creation. One outstanding assignment was being a apart of the Coast Guards depot level repair facility in Baltimore, MD where creation and development thrive.
After realizing my potential, the command decided to assign me any new, previously unsupported, equipment. I was responsible for developing test procedures, sourcing replacement parts, creating technical drawings, and analyzing feasibility of repair. This role allowed me to develop my skills as a hardware and software developer while I constructed test fixtures.
I also created a curriculum based on microcontroller firmware design, “brown bag lunch” style. During our lunch breaks, my fellow technicians learned the basics of programming. Utilizing those skills, the students created various circuits that were responsive to input. Once the course was complete, we loaded each student’s code into autonomous robots. These sumo bots fought in an arena to identify the most efficient code. The winner was awarded one day off of work.
Currently, I am an instructor for a ballistics control RADAR system taught only in Yorktown, VA. Teaching and developing skills of this complexity has proven to be exciting and challenging all at the same time. I chose this duty station in order to give back to the community and be a part of the next generation. While I do enjoy this job, my calling is in development.
What’s This Blog About
I have researched, analyzed, and developed a wide array of solutions that I would like to share. The Lawrence Net Blog topics will include everything from basic electronics to server based home networking. I plan to post detailed descriptions and tutorials. Additionally, I will present solutions to common problems in a home-brew way. Periodically, other topics and categories will come to light ranging from money making side gigs to personal finance. I welcome suggestions and comments as they will stimulate creative thinking, the premise of which this blog is built.