Monday, April 25, 2011 is now

I've decided to purchase my own domain, and move my site there. So here it is all the existing articles that are here have been relocated, and you'll see great new content popping up on the new site.

This page should redirect you, if not click the link above!

Hope you enjoy,

-Adam Procter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Engineering Adam is Now

I've decided to purchase my own domain, and move my site there. So here it is all the existing articles that are here have been relocated, and you'll see great new content popping up on the new site.

Hope you enjoy,

-Adam Procter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 10 Reasons That I Am Always Late

First off, let me begin by saying that I hate being late. Like I really hate it, walking into class 20 mins late sucks for so many reasons. The Prof looks at you funny, there aren't any good seats left, and you miss almost half the class. This wouldn't be that bad if it was once in a while, but it's surprisingly often. And the funny thing is, it's almost never actually my fault! There is always something or someone that I can shift the blame to. Is it wrong, maybe, but hey it works.
10. Midterms/finals
I can’t remember how many times I have walked into a midterm or a final after everyone has started writing. Though I think it actually helps my exam marks. I think standing around waiting for the exam worrying if I studied enough is detrimental to my marks. I’d rather just get to the exam and write what I know with a clear mind. The other reason exams make me late is because of the way I study for them... It is normally the night before, till late, while in front of my computer, which means the studying that should have taken me 4 hours takes me about 8 because of the time i've wasted on the internet.
"The Internet"
9. The Internet
Or the Interweb as I like to call it. This is a great invention, but should be turned off from 11 pm to 6 am Sunday to Thursday.. Unless you have a paper to write, in which case you get a special code so you can turn it back on. Though, it would be hard to control this, since the first W in WWW is World... Maybe I just need to learn to pry myself away from the bright glow of my monitor and move off into the darkness to sleep.
8. Netflix
If I am lucky enough to stop browsing the internet, I still have the ever present Netflix. I’ve had Netflix since about a month after it came out in Canada, and have loved it ever since. It has more than paid for itself since. In 3 months I have watched about 237 Movies or TV shows... Now that I have actually tallied them, that’s quite a lot... This means that right now, with the $8 a month it costs, that works out to about 10 cents per show or movie. Try beating that on cheap night at empire theatres! (Tonight by the way.)
7. TV
Netflix is bad for keeping me up and making me late, but when you watch it you get 100% satisfaction with no distraction. And I think it works out to be fairly efficient. However, with Television you get about 2/3 satisfaction and 1/3 distraction. And most of the distraction is portly men with high blood pressure shouting about the deals they can give you on a second hand car in Rochester, NY. Trust me guys, I don’t want what you are selling. The great thing about TV though, is that there is nothing on most of the time, unless you're trying to do an Assignment that is then everything on TV is amazing.
6. Assignments
A good portion of the reason that I am late is because I've been working on an assignment. I'm late after this because I procrastinate with the best of them (in fact, I am using this blog to procrastinate an assignment right now!) So I leave them till the last minute, so they end up taking longer so I am up till 2 am and then I want to maximize my sleep time by hitting the snooze button.
Pure Evil
5. The snooze button
Possibly the worst invention in the history of time, the sleep button is the number five reason that I am always late. Though if truth be known it should probably be higher. The snooze button is the bane of my existence, it causes bad math and excessive rushing. I find myself squinting at the clock and trying to estimate how long it takes to shower/dress/pack/get to school and also how much more sleep I can get. This leads to me having 30 seconds to do all of the tasks listed above, and hence makes me rush but still be late. Mr. Snooze, I do not approve of your invention, especially when my alarm rings on the weekend and I can’t remember how to turn it off and end up hitting snooze 10 times before waking up with a snooze induced headache. Thumbs down, Mr. Snooze... Thumbs down.
4. Steve
Steve... Steve, Steve, Steve. The last few weeks my friend Steve has been lagging. I end up waiting in the morning... Waiting at lunch, waiting at class, waiting waiting waiting. Occasionally he waits for me, though even if I have a massive bias, I’m sure it’s not 50/50. Also, he doesn't have a blog to complain about me yet, so I guess I can say what i want! Hopefully he'll be on time for breakfast tomorrow after he reads this tonight!
Steve Jobs, with the iPad
3. iPad
The Apple iPad is great, I’ve had my first generation iPad since day one. The day I got it, I jumped out of bed and ran down to the Halifax Mac Store to claim mine, and there wasn’t really a line... I was pumped anyway. Some say that buying first gen Apple products is a bad idea, but I say: “I have an iPad... You don’t” to that, since that’s my view it follows right along that I use it quite a bit... It’s just so handy, though sometimes I do briefly miss flash... I’m sure it’s for the best though, right Mr. Jobs?
2. Lack of motivation
Lack of motivation is the worst feeling in the world. And it contributes to a lot of lateness. The two times it strikes hardest are in the morning and at night. The morning is bad, because the lack of motivation (or LOM) means that you just don't get up and end up sleeping more, or dragging your feet to class meaning, you guessed it, late again. The ugly cousin of LOM in the morning is LOM at night. At night it keeps you on the couch watching TV or iPadding when there is homework to be done.. It can even stop you going to bed, this is when LOM is at it's worst... Not even having the motivation to go to bed! Really? Sucky.
1. No Reason
However all these reasons skate around the worst reason for lateness... I am late for practically no reason whatsoever 50% of the time. I simply blame things, I know Andrea will agree. And when there isn't anything obvious to blame, I still manage to find something to blame and make if fit. Like a Solar eclipse or the war in Iraq. Try it next time you're late... You might find it works!

Friday, January 21, 2011

High Heating Costs Should Fire You Up!

Editor's note: The following post is by Dr. Peter Allen who is a professor of mechanical engineering at Dalhousie University. This article was in the Chronicle Herald on Jan 19, 2011. -Adam Procter.

As we pay our bills for oil and electricity to heat our homes, schools and hospitals, we should be aware that 99 per cent of us are being "ripped off." If you spend $2,000 a year to heat your home with oil or electricity, the bill would be $1,000 if you used natural gas. If it costs $20,000 a year to heat a school using oil, it would be $10,000 using natural gas. If it costs $100,000 to heat a hospital with oil, it would be $50,000 with natural gas.

High heating costs are crippling. An example is the recent bankruptcy of Maritime Steel and Foundries in New Glasgow. A foundry consumes a huge amount of energy for producing metal products. Maritime Steel had no access to natural gas, even though the main gas line passes within miles of New Glasgow, carrying 90 per cent of our gas to New England, where they enjoy inexpensive natural gas while we spend billions on expensive electricity and oil. Pictou County officials pleaded, with no success, with Heritage Gas to distribute gas in Pictou County, as promised years ago.
If Heritage Gas will not honour the promises made to secure the monopoly for natural gas distribution, then the province should take over gas distribution. The governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan provide their citizens with natural gas. We can do it here also.
The proposed budget cuts for Nova Scotia school boards also highlight the appalling heating costs in Nova Scotia, as noted by the chair of the Chignecto-Central regional school board (Jan. 15 article). Our schools spend $15 million every year on heating, 99 per cent of it for expensive electricity and oil. Of 400 schools, hardly a handful are heated with natural gas. The school boards could save $7 million every year by switching to natural gas — if it were available.
Ten years ago, the government promised that all of Nova Scotia would be supplied with natural gas. Sable gas has been flowing for 11 years, but only 2,500 customers are using it, of a potential 400,000. And if you are a homeowner — forget it. The Utility and Review Board and Heritage Gas have declared it "non-economic" to deliver gas to homes.
It is "non-economic" because it does not yield a 13 per cent return on the investment. If Heritage Gas would be satisfied with a 10 per cent return (which is excellent in 2011!) then it would be "economic." Ironically, the owners of Heritage Gas, AltaGas of Calgary, are happy with the 10 per cent return they earn in Alberta.
We pay $1 billion a year for heat in Nova Scotia. This could be reduced by 50 per cent by using natural gas. The government recognizes that heating is a financial burden and rebates the provincial portion of the HST on heating fuel, but then takes it all back by raising the HST to 15 per cent. If the government is concerned about the welfare of Nova Scotians, it should follow through with the goal established in 1997 of providing natural gas to all of Nova Scotia, not just to the large consumers of Halifax.
This is also a matter of health. We are the asthma capital of Canada. Natural gas is a much cleaner fuel than oil or coal-generated electricity. Switching to natural gas will reduce pollution and respiratory illness.
Pessimists will say that supplying natural gas is too expensive. It will cost $1 billion to convert Nova Scotia to natural gas. But then we will save half of that every year, year after year. Years ago, it was expensive to convert from coal in our homes. Our grandparents took on that financial burden so we can enjoy clean (compared with coal) fuel oil. Now is the time to convert from oil to still cleaner natural gas.
Nova Scotia is planning to spend $2 billion to bring Labrador hydroelectricity to this province. This electricity is a small fraction of the energy that could be supplied by natural gas in the province, and will be twice as expensive as natural gas.
Those who ask "Where is the gas going to come from?" should also ask "Where is the coal and oil going to come from?" The gas, coal and oil are going to come from the reserves of gas, coal and oil around the world. The gas reserves just happen to be 200 kilometres offshore.
We become animated about a five-cent increase in gasoline prices. Now it is time to become animated about our natural gas going to New England. There is something that can be done to save Nova Scotians $500 million every year by using natural gas here.
The entire developed world, where natural gas is available, has converted to natural gas from oil, not only for heating buildings, but for heating water for washing, for drying clothes, for baking, cooking and barbecuing. Nova Scotia is the only region where this is not happening.
This is a cause that should get you heated up. We must not sit by and watch $500 million burned needlessly every year in Nova Scotia because of incompetence and greed. Demand access to your natural gas!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Competition Part 2 of ?

Competition update (See part 1 here)Well, I have officially lost my lead.. Not by much, but right now I'm down by 5. Currently Andrea has 204 (490-286) and I have 199... The good news is, I've passed Dad's blog, he only has 192. But I am optimistic. I'm in it for the long run. Hopefully some of the mass posting wind will leave Andrea's sails, you never know! So I've made the following poll to see who thinks I'll break 1000 hits first, and who thinks Andrea will get to 1000 before me.. I trust everyone on this page will make the right decision... Right?
We'll see how it goes. Andrea seems to have had some luck with the poll she made yesterday, getting over 100 hits today. Though her blog did have a photo-blog of her cookie escapade.. How can I compete with that, really? But I’m sure it'll all come out in the wash. 
Cycling weather is coming soon!! For a short time at least. Like 2 days. This Wednesday and Thursday are looking to be above 0C, so hopefully I'll get out on the bike and have something new and interesting to blog about! I only have class till 10 on Thursday, so I might even be able to get out during the daytime! I'll try and remember to pack the right tube this time, unlike 2 weeks ago! Meanwhile, I have to catch up on some homework that 

I have been procrastinating on. So why don’t you check out some of the following great blogs:

Top 7 Worst Cars and Why

This is a list of the top 7 worst cars in my eyes, and why I don’t like them. It is by no means fair or complete, but I think it is accurate, even prophetic... Well, accurate at least.. 
7) PT cruiser
The PT Cruiser

One of the first ugly cars that comes to my mind is the PT cruiser. Now I’m sure it’s not a bad car mechanically, but it is just plain ugly. From the grill that looks like a cheesy grin, to the wheel arches that add about a foot to the width of the car, it’s just ugly... Most of the ugliness comes from the fact that it is trying to copy a car from the 40’s and failing miserably. The car just misses the point. Also I can’t get the image of Jesse James converting that PT cruiser to a wood chipper out of my mind, if they all did that maybe they wouldn’t be on this list.
6) Ford Ka

Ford Ka (actual size)
When Mum and Dad (see his blog here) moved to the UK, Mum got a Ka. I’m not sure why, but it was probably one of the worst decisions in history. The car is about 27” wide and not that much longer. To make things worse it has four seats and no trunk. I have had the misfortune of having to ride in the back a few times and, no joke, it took me about 2 minutes to get out. Along with the obvious space issues, the engine has about as much oomph as a hedgehog riding a tricycle.
Nissan Cube... What a window!

5) Nissan Cube
The first time I saw this car was in a Nissan dealership in New Glasgow, NS. I did a double take and had a look around the car to see if there was a sign explaining the joke... There was no sign. One of the worst things about the car is the asymmetry in the rear windows. The worst thing about the asymmetry is that it isn’t even a continuous window, the D-bar is just painted black to make it look like it is. The only purpose is to make the car ‘unique,’ well it is and it is also ugly as sin.

4) Chrysler Intrepid
I may be slightly biased against the Intrepid, however it’s my blog and I hate the intrepid, but not enough to get it higher up the list. The first reason for my view goes back a couple of years to when me and Andrea (see her blog here) were driving through Port Hawkesbury with her friends. For some reason they had decided to shout “INTREPID!!!” at every Intrepid in town. And oh boy! You wouldn’t believe how many there were. I think my ears bled a little. The second point against the intrepid is the bubble shape of the windows and roof. It looks like the Jetson’s car with some paint on top. It also has a rear window that is close to the size of Texas, which I think is a bit much.
3) Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Now we come to the top three. The Prius is a car that there has been a lot of hype about in the last few years as being uber fuel efficient and all hybridy. But it has its flaws. First that back window, it’s as though they designed it and didn’t look out the back to check that they could see. That’s just poor planning. Then comes the fuel efficiency, Top Gear did a test between the Prius and a BMW M3 to see which was more efficient round the track with the Prius going top speed and the M3 keeping up. The BMW was 2 MPG better than the Prius... Strange, eh? Then comes another interesting point, the production of the Prius pollutes so much that over it’s lifetime it is actually more environmentally friendly to buy and operate a Range Rover. Weak.
Prius back window. Why?
Pontiac Aztek
2) Pontiac Aztec
The Aztec is the ugliest car I can think of. It is just bad. It was probably designed by a group of preschoolers trying to draw a Hippo. Again, the car designers have let us down in the rear, the window at the back is split by a spoiler. Why do they keep doing that? And is it a coincidence that two cars with split windows made it into the top three? No... Probably not.  
1) Range Rover
I would actually love to have a Range Rover, not as much as some sports cars, but still I’d love to own one. My problem with them is that people in Range Rovers hate people on bikes... And since a lot of the country roads in Norfolk are single lane, this leads to a game of chicken that can be pretty hairy at times. Though the main reason for the Range Rover making it to the top of the list is that they are awesome and I am jealous.
The Winner, The Range Rover

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Competition Part 1 of?

I'm a competitive guy... Like super-competitive. I’ve competed in real life and in computer games. I’ve competed in speed walking races (I won), drinking competitions (we all won), remembering digits of pi (101, I still remember them), spontaneous and random bike races, and basically anything else that even has a hint of competition about it. Like if I’m walking down the street and someone else is on the other side... Somehow it turns into a race, and you’d be surprised to find that even though it sounds stupid, I don’t win all of the time!
Needless to say, I take almost any challenge and give it my all. So when my girlfriend (Andrea, aka Neerol) said she was a graphic designer and hence was legendary at creating websites and getting hits I took her up on the challenge. Which means for the next 1 month, we are in direct competition for hits. 
I’m not saying I’m going to pull out all the stops and ruthlessly trawl for hits, or sit at my computer and hit refresh till my page has 5 zeroes behind a 1. I do have my limits, after all. But I will promote my site to the extent that is reasonable and not resort to ruthless multiple-twitter posts as my opponent did yesterday:
I am however using twitter to add one post per post or OPPP as I propose it should now be called. Andrea prefers to ruthlessly exploit twitter for a few cheap hits. To each his own, I suppose. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, none that I won’t share here after the competition is over, though I can’t risk losing any advantage I might have this early in the race. She is a graphic designer after all, and has taken courses on this stuff, while the only resource I have is google... And Bing, but really, who uses that?
Well here goes, the days are ticking and the hits are... Well they are ticking too. I’ll be posting regular updates on how the competition is going, because this is going to be the competition to watch, forget Superbowl XLV or the 2012 olympics, it’s all right here!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My First Puncture

 Like most of us, I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid. On and off mostly, then I really got into cycling when I got my Hummer collapsable mountain bike in May 2005:
 I spent the whole summer riding over hill and glen in the back of beyond in Cape Breton, NS, Canada with my Dad, Dave Procter (Visit his blog here at The Pub Cyclist.) Then the next year I still went riding, but not as much... The next even less... Then only occasionally in 2008, until early 2009 when I really got into cycling again. 
I couldn’t get enough of it, I watched cycling movies, races, I read blogs, articles and magazines, and most of all I went cycling as much as I could. However, my (then old) mountain bike was getting tiresome, I wanted the thrill of the road... OK I wanted to look a like Lance Armstrong cresting the top of the Alpe d’Huez, but hey, who doesn’t? 
So I started looking for the perfect road bike. I finally set my eyes on the Cervelo S1, however I then saw the price tag and, well my Dad talked me out of it... Eventually. So with some money from creating a website during the summer, I was able to buy a 2008 Specialized Allez Sport. 

Then the summer really began.
It was heaven, I’d never been in so much comfort and discomfort at the same time. It was so smooth on the road, yet the riding position was unfamiliar, and a little sore at first. But oh, the speed, I felt like I was on fire falling out the sky after been shot out of a canon. That feeling kept my riding all through the winter on my trainer both at home in the fall of 2009 at Gerard, and in the winter when I was at home on a work term. Incidentally I apologize to anyone that I woke up/kept up/annoyed from the noise caused by using my CycleOps trainer... I’m not the biggest fan of riding in the snow through the city to get to cold snowy roads outside of the city... Again, my apologies. 
So I came out of the winter into the thaw of spring with amazing form, OK well decent form... As I was going to school in Halifax that summer, I rode as much as my schedule would permit. I probably put 1500 km on the Allez from the end of September till July when my bike got sent to the UK with the rest of my family’s stuff, but that’ll be a matter for another post. 
I was left bike-less, and my Hummer could only satisfy my need for speed so much.. So I started looking for a bike again, my mind drifted back to the Cervelo... However I had just come from a semester at school, and tuition isn’t cheap, so I adjusted my sights again settling on a 2010 Giant Defy 2 (see review here). However, while good, I missed my Allez, or Allie as I like to call her. So with my being back on a work term working 10+ hours a day, and my longing to be back on my Allez, my ride frequency went down again. 
My rides went down to once a week outside... Then once a week inside, then every two weeks.. Then once in November... Then I went over to the UK for Christmas and of course had to go out riding with Dad, but had been training much more than me and just about literally rode circles around me.
The first time we went out, I had a pretty hard time breathing about 30 mins in, and my legs hurt... A lot. I wasn’t on Allie because the roads were icy. But that didn’t matter, since I hadn’t been on a bike in about a month. I was cooked when the ride ended, but I felt great, emotionally of course, because physically I felt like I had been chewed up and spat out by the ravenous bug blatter beast of Traal.
I took a good week to recover from the ride, and didn’t really eat much better. Though it was Christmas and I was home, so I didn’t care that much.. 
We finally went out on our road bikes, riding up the canal near Dad’s house. It was heaven again, I remembered now why I had loved the Allez so much. That is of course, until the point of this story reared it’s ugly head.
My back tire had a puncture, so I pulled over and bravely told Dad to go on without me (we were on an out and back, so maybe it wasn’t THAT brave). Then I set to change my rear flat. It was then that I found the fatal flaw in the saddle bag I’d been carrying around for the last year as my repair kit. The tires on my Allez took a long stem tube, and I only had a short stemmed tube in my bag. However, after trying that tube I tried the tube that Dad had given me to carry for him, it was the same. It fit, I just couldn’t get the pump on enough to get a decent pressure... So Dad came back and ridiculed me for trying to change a flat for 40 minutes, then used his CO2 cartridge to inflate it up in about 0 seconds.
And of course with my no puncture record broken.. I got a front puncture the next day... Oh well, It was an experience... 
I also learnt three valuable lessons:
  1. Change tubes and tires on a fairly regular basis... Especially if they are showing visible wear.
  2. Make sure you have the right tubes before you are on a road next to a canal in Norfolk.
  3. Buy many CO2 cartridges.


My name is Adam Procter, I'm a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I was born in Scotland in 1989, and since then have lived in England, Germany, Finland, Mississippi, and Canada. I'm planning on using this blog as somewhere to vent my frustrations, let out my ideas, and just share fun things.