Mattie Mountain – May 13

Here is progress at the end of May 13:

Mattie Mountain – May 13

Built a tunnel for parallel tracks exiting the left end of the train yard. Installed risers/inclines for a loop around the back to the other table.

Mattie Mountain – May 11

Catching up with the last two weeks’ progress …

Here is progress at the end of May 11:

Mattie Mountain – May 11

Have layed foam panel for the train yard (front) and a 2% grade around the left and along the back of the table to Mattie Mountain. The yard is 1.5″ above the table surface. Mattie Mountain is a 6″ peak.

Planned Layout

Here is the layout, designed in the AnyRail app, with Atlas N Scale Code 80 track. Each square of the grid is 3″x3″. Mattie Mountain is the area labeled as 6″ high in the upper right.

May 23 Layout

I’m running AnyRail (a Windows app) on Windows 8.1 within a VirtualBox virtual machine hosted on my 2012 MacBook Pro which is running Yosemite 10.10.3. It is rock solid and more than fast enough.

Only within the past week, I noticed that Atlas also has Track Planning Software which includes a 3D mode to better visualize the height, clearances, and scenery of your layout. I have not had a chance to try it yet. But it does run on Windows 8.1 within the same VirtualBox on my MacBook.

New Train Table

Here is the new 2nd Table (on the left) installed next to the original Thomas the Train Table (on the right).

New Train Table Addition

The respective surface areas are 30″x78-5/8″ (left) and 35-1/8″x59-1/2″ (right).

They are built using:

  • 1″x4″ – 8′ common boards
  • 1/2″ 4’x8′ MDF Panels
  • 1″ 2’x2′ Owens Corning Foamular Project Panels

The 1/2″ thick MDF Panels are inserted into a 1/2″ dado running around the side boards. The tables are then covered in Foamular Project Panels, glued down with foam friendly Loctite PL300 Foamboard Adhesive. Foamular is available in single panels large enough to cover the tables, but these 2’x2′ panels are more easily transported home in a sedan.

The new table top was constructed on April 20th, and the legs on April 29th.

Mattie Mountain N Scale Model Railroad

My son Mattie received an boxed set N scale train for Christmas. After setting it up on his train table in place of his wooden Thomas the Train set, he quickly mastered the 4 switches – and wanted more. So we are expanding by 2X, and taking over the sunroom!

He has selected many of his favorite places in Boulder and the foothills to model including CPK and Noodles, and  he wants a turntable.

Here is where we started, minus the Thomas the Train track …

Thomas the Train Table

Future posts will track our progress.

iBeacons Fueling Startup Creation and Innovation

A wave of Startups have been founded in response to Apple’s June 2013 announcement of iBeacons. Why such intense interest in this new technology?

GPS revolutionized outdoor navigation and, along with other Global Navigation Satellite Systems, is now critical infrastructure for the economy. But its reach has not extended reliably indoors. Until recently, there were no accurate, cost-effective solutions for indoor navigation that also showed the potential for widespread deployment and standardization.

Enter iBeacons. While not the end-all solution for precise (centimeters, millimeters) indoor navigation, iBeacons are good enough (meters, decimeters) for a wide range of consumer and commercial uses.

Estimote iBeacon app example
Estimote iBeacon (on wall) and example retail app

iBeacons are small transmitters based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and provide BLE receivers (e.g. smartphones, tablets) proximity detection and approximate (transmitter to receiver) distance based on received signal strength. Based on proximity detection and distance, mobile apps can then initiate an unlimited array of possible notifications and actions to provide location-aware, context-aware information and services.

Because BLE was introduced into some Apple devices as early as 2012 and is now included in most (or all?), there are more than 200,000,000 potential iBeacons transmitters and receivers already in use. Companies are rapidly introducing dedicated iBeacons transmitters with a variety of features and form factors. And equivalent BLE-based technology is available for Android phones as well.

Millions of Consumers + Indoor Navigation → Entrepreneurs recognize an Opportunity when they see it.

Apple’s announcement therefore spawned a large number of new Startups making iBeacons a central part of their business. Venture Capital has quickly followed to grow these new businesses.

I’ve started a list of these Startups, including Venture Capital funding received where available, and included it on my iBeacons Resources page. Updates are welcome.

A Different Perspective …

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

This photo provides a different perspective on one of the world’s most famous rock formations – the backside of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. This viewpoint is found along Mist Trail.

This is one of my favorite personal photos for a desktop background.