My Summer Vacation

Last week I spent my Summer vacation in the Sequoia national forrest. I went to diabetes camp; family camp. My youngest daughter was diagnosed about three years ago, it was quite a life altering event.

In my youth I went to a camp called Camp Odyssey. It was somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains near a lake called Ice House Lake. I can never remembered exactly where it was, but I went for three years in a row. It was so much fun.

This year my wife informs me that we are going to diebetes camp. The drive to Bear Skin Meadows was going to be about five hours. I knew about regular camp, but I had no idea what to expect in this situation. The idea of Family Camp seemed kind of weird. But it turned out to be another life altering event.

At camp we were about thirty families spread out over a couple of acres. We were grouped to about four or five families per deck. The sleeping arrangements were 40 x 40 foot decks with a small covered area for storage. We slept under the stars. Thankfully, there was no rain. In fact the weather was perfect the whole week.

The schedule was very planned, but not ridged. Usually after breakfast the parents would separate from their children (both diabetic and non-diabetic). The parents would go for an 90 minute education class and the kids had a rotating schedule of swimming, sports and games, archery, crafts, and drama. Then a communal snack, then more education for the parents and another event for the children. Then lunch was served, then free time where parents could do one of the above activities with their children, or go off camp. Later would be another snack and then dinner.

On some nights the children would be taken back to the decks by their counselors and other staff would stay with the parents and we could talk in the dining hall.
Parents come with their children to family diabetes camp because there is no way we would ever think of leaving our children in the charge of strangers. Usually friends and family have to go thru a twenty to thirty minute teaching lesson before we will leave our diabetic child with them. And forget about sleep overs. But at Bear Skin Meadows the first night everyone is gathered around the stage and the counselors are introduced and the children in their group are called down. And then they go off. For me this caused a little bit of panic. Who are these teenagers and young adults taking my diabetic child? The camp director tells everyone that 90% of the counselors have diabetes and they are all trained in emergency procedures, they all have “low bags” that include blood glucose checking kits and candy. After a week of this schedule and being around the staff and counselors I can attest that this is true. I have never before been around a group of young adults that have my implicit trust.

I’ve found a place where, for a week each summer, I don’t have to worry about my daughter’s diabetes.

My Next Project

I recently wrote up how my next programming project is going to behave. The program will be called Imager. It’ll be used for scanning old floppy disks and tapes.
First I am going to acquire a PCI Catweasel card so I can write this software for my Mac.
When you first open the software you’ll be presented with a blank window. From the file menu you’ll choose “Read from Catweasel” from a menu and you’ll be presented with a dialog for which tracks and sides you want to read. You’ll confirm the dialog and it will read in the data and present it to you without any post processing. I am talking flux transistions. They will be presented as a wave form for each track/side.
It’s very difficult for a human to understand flux transistions, so you’ll need to add a “signal to block” data converter. You’ll choose a IBM3410/MFM “signal to block” converter. This will collapse the flux transistion pane and insert a new pane below it that shows all of the disk blocks found. The IBM3410 format contains two kinds of blocks: ID blocks and data blocks.
Now add a new WD1779x “Block to Block” converted pane to inturpet the ID and data blocks and combine them into named sectors.
Now you’ll be able to add another “Block to Block” converter. This one will be called “Microsoft DECB allocation unit”. This converter knows how to take sectors and combine them to granules. So you get a list of named granules that you can inspect. It will also alert you if there are incomplete granules since it knows how many sectors are in each granule.
Now for another pane. A “Block to Block” converter called “DECB Files”. This one will know how to read the directory track and granules to find all of the allocated files. It will present you with their name, the ganules they reside on, and the length and any other meta data included on the directory track. You be presented with any error conditions like missing/damaged granules.
That about does it for a DECB disk. But I can further imagine writing format converters for files. If there is a picture on a DECB disk in some obscure format, it’ll be possible to write an image converter so you can see the image in another pane.
Also imagine a cassette tape “signal to block” converter. Imagine being able to decode one track as FM and the other tracks as MFM to get around crude copy-protection implenentations. Imagine a whole stack of OS-9 “Block to Block” converters to verify the contents of those disks. Imagine being able to write your own “Signal to Block” and “Block to Block” converters in a scripting language so you can make the program even more powerful. And finally image every pane being editable, and when edits are made they propagate back up thru the stack all the way to the flux transistion pane. Now you’ll be able to correct errors.
Imagine every pane able to export it’s data so a file can be saved to a native file. Or the sectors can be dumped so the disk image can be used in an emulator.
I have a lot of expectations for this program.