Work has a nice new policy called "unscheduled telework" which becomes an option when the weather gets iffy. Yesterday was my first opportunity to take advantage of it, and I jumped. The iffy weather in question was about 5 mm of freezing rain, ending just in time for the morning commute. Being from the northeast, I've developed two very simple rules for driving in icy conditions.
1. Don't panic about losing control and hitting something. It's not like you'll see that black ice coming anyway, so why worry about. Just don't be going any faster than you want to be going when you do find yourself playing chicken with a tree (the tree always wins).
2. Whenever possible, bypass rule number one, and don't go out if you don't absolutely have to.
Although I've found that rule 1 works well for me, it gets defeated when you're commuting with a few hundred thousand other drivers who don't know about it, so I was staying home. Mrs. 'Struction and PetiePete were still heading off to work, as they have only a 2 mile commute.
Before leaving, PP was very interested in exploring our new winter wonderland. Crunching up the ice-crusts became an all consuming activity. Before long, he became obsessed with "melting all the ice."
"All what ice," I asked?
"You know. ALL of it." He spread his arms as if to encompass the greater metropolitan area. "Let's get the hose."
I was able to convince him that "ALL" was a little ambitious, but we could take some in and watch it melt. That got him back inside, but introduced a new problem. The ice wasn't melting fast enough. He had to go to preschool, and he was going to miss the melting, which was about to trigger a meltdown of a different kind.
Dada's latest geekery to the rescue. I was just playing with CHDK, an open-source, firmware upgrade for Canon Powershot cameras. It allows to you access the features that Canon just arbitrarily decides you don't need or deserve (like RAW support). It also has a scripting language, and several scripts are already available. These include an intervalometer script; perfect for doing time-lapse photography. I promised PP that I would set up the camera and he could see the whole melting when he got home.
So I set up the Powershot A590 to take a picture every 2 seconds and left it trained on the ice while I went about my work. It also gave me a chance to see just how many images you could take on a set of fully charged Powergenix batteries (see my previous post). The answer is something over 3000, which impressed me no end.
Here is the result. Too bad I turned off the lights toward the end.