Welcome!

FAQ

Who are you?

My name is Mark Falcon, I'm an Electrical Engineer and I am the host of the Robotics For Everyone podcast.

What else do you do?

I'm an Engineering/Technology teacher who holds two different teaching licenses and enjoys teaching Robotics.

How long have you been at this?

I worked in industry for over 12 years and 10 plus years in education.

Why does this website exist?

Falconportal.com. was created for more reasons then I can remember. It was originally obtained and developed so our family could have their own professional email extension. Beyond that it provided a place for me to test new technologies, improve come coding skills and interface with like minded people. From there it morphed into a podcast hosting site, and will now be used as a professional interface for me as a Robotics, Engineering and Technology Teacher.

For an engineer this site is kinda plain. How come?

Loaded question. Simple answer, because I currently spend way too much time with Family, Friends, Training and Robotics.

About Me

Early years

I got into electronics early on with the support of my parents by way of a Radio Shack 25-1 Electronic Project Kits. The 25 projects didn't last long so I got a 250-1. Then came the HeathKit "stereo" where you had to assemble, solder and connect everything yourself. I eventually got the thing working with help but quickly realized the hardware on the stereo had issues. The fancy dial used to change the stations was connected via a string to the actual radio tuner potentiometer. Why they didn't just design the thing for direct use is a mystery. When you turned the fancy dial the string would slip and the indicator would slant diagonally dependent upon which direction you turned the dial in. This in turn forced you to pop the cover and manually reset the pointer which meant you were removing everything from the top of the stereo each time this happened. There were other issues related to headphones and venting but it's long since died. If nothing else it proved to me I didn't want to be a person who builds or repairs such things but rather the person designing them.

Education

I attended a vocational high school in their electronics shop. I won't discuss my shop teachers but I will talk about my Related Teacher because he might be one of the best teachers I've ever had; period. He showed me how fast electronics was changing and how things were constantly improving. He was also the person who cemented my desire to become an Engineer. I don't remember which year he gave his speech but I remember it like it was yesterday. He stated quite clearly:

Do not get left behind. Your high school years are only the beginning. Do everything you can to obtain more education. This can mean an Associates, Bachelors, whatever just continue to learn because in this field any hesitation, will see you left behind.

After high school I obtained my associates(think tons of credits but major transfer issues), then ran out of money so off to work I went for 5 years as I saved up while attending night school. Matriculation occurred and three years later I had my Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering.

Industry Experience

My first engineering job with my associates was for a small company that made dielectric material. Good experience but it convinced me that I needed more education. After obtaining my EE degree I went to work for a DOD company where I ended up meeting my future wife and getting engaged before I left for a job in the commercial sector. At the new position I worked in the computer onboard audio dept where I learned about the PC industry and how the company that sounds like airsoft really acted behind the scenes. As a result my admiration for Linux and Open Source grew exponentially but that's a story for another time.

Teaching Experience

I've taught at both the middle and high school grade levels before obtaining my current position. At the high school level I taught Engineering courses such as Circuit Theory, Engineering Design, Programming with Python, Databases, Web Design and of course Robotics. Currently I am one of two Engineering / Technology teachers at Somerset Middle School located in MA. I teach all three grades (6-8) and cover subjects like the Design Process, Drafting, and Programming using Scratch and recently the MicroBIT. But the topic that I enjoy teaching the most is ..you guessed it...Robotics.

Robotics

I honestly don't remember the first time I got my hands on a programmable robot. I think it was the original Lego system but I also remember trying a FisherTechnik set as well. Either way it all made sense to me. The combination of hardware and software working together to make something happen made me feel right at home.

I also feel from an educational bang for your buck perspective, Robotics is the way to go. The amount of learning that occurs from just a simple design with simple coding instructions is beyond vast. You have hardware, 3D design, coding, Physics, electronics, and application of simple machines. But that is not all, then there are the soft skills. Being able to work as a team, learning how to communicate your ideas, helping to debug another persons idea, it is all there.

So it should come as no surprise when I say I truly enjoy teaching Robotics at the middle school level so much so I'm also a Vex IQ team Mentor (along with my Wife), and host the Robotics For Everyone podcast. Simply put the more students I can get involved in Robotics the happier I will be.

Projects

-- Coding --

What you find here is a bunch of tools that I wrote because I needed to solve a problem. Given the open source nature of Python and it's ease of use I used it for teaching and then continued to use it to solve problems. Here are my tools in no particular order. If you find something you like I would be happy to send you the latest version.

Series / Parallel Calculator
Created to help with grading homework and tests much faster. Pick series or parallel, the number of resisters, the voltage source and it will return Current/voltage drops for all resisters, It, and Rt.

Series / Parallel Calculator w/EasyGui
Same as above with pop up windows for data entry.

Random Multiplication Table Test Generator
One of my sons needed to learn his multiplication tables for a timed test. To properly practice he needed a random order of all the combos only shown once. So 5X4 is only shown once and every time you run the program it shows up in a different spot. The program would take only the numbers you want, 1 2 3 4 5 and print out every combo available in a printable format so he could time himself as he answered each question.

5K split pacing calculator
Learning how to run a certain pace is critical to running a PR. This program takes in the 5k time you wish to run, and produces times for each increment of distance from 100yrds up. I.e. 100 @ 30sec, 200 @ 1min.

Text based RPG
For my high school computer science class the students wanted to code a game. So I started with something very easy. The students then kept asking how to do certain things and I kept adding code on top of code as a way to show how it could be done. To be honest it's a complete mess that I hope someday will be re-written from scratch.

-- Writings --

As I figure things out I write them down. Sometimes those things turn into a full fledged document/pdf that I share with other people in order to learn more about a certain topic. Most of these documents evolve as I learn. They cover many different topics and I welcome academic feedback or constructive criticism on all of them.

Calories in Calories out

The Abraham Lincoln solution for Social Networks

Local farming vs factory farms

If I were President

High Carb vs Low Carb...for me

-- Past Site Versions --

2018 - You Have No Idea What I Am Thinking

YHNIWIAT

2017 - The Not So Daily TXT Free Brain Purge

TNSDTFBP

2003 till ?? - blog/site

Old PHP site

Contact Info

Twitter: @MarkRoboEngTech

Email: My first name at this domain

To save you the time. No FB, snaphat, instaham, EmChord, Snype, or anything else. I do have other accounts for trying out new technology but they usually don't last long before I close them.