Who am I kidding?

I really do like learning.  I’m reading “Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets” and “Getting Started with Arduino.”

April 26, 2011 | Comments Closed

What would you do?

I watched a show the other day that featured a bunch of rich people.  It showed them showing off all the stuff they were spending money on – sports teams, boats, etc.

If I suddenly came into a pile of cash, I’d move to the middle of no where and have a big damn library and a small workshop for making cool stuff.

Perception Filter

Yesterday I had a coworker tell me I’d like the TV show Bones.  I was told I reminded them of one of the main characters – smart, arrogant, and completely lacking people skills.

I think it’s a compliment?

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And I just finished watching the Doctor Who premier.

It was really good.

2:00AM and it has begun…

There’s a Doctor Who marathon leading up to the premier of season 6.

Right now the episode “The Waters of Mars” is on.  This is a particularly magnificent episode – if for nothing else than for the last ten minutes or so.  If you haven’t seen the episode, turn back now and stop reading.

The reason this bit is so great is that the Doctor, who normally tries very hard to stay out of the way of established history, declares himself not merely a survivor, but a winner1 and a lord of time with the mandate and right to rewrite history.

  1. Think of David Tenant with a serious Charlie Sheen moment []
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Aren’t you glad you never return my e-mails?

A real conversation:

  • Friend: “how the fuck am I going to model a knight and a horse though?”
  • Me: “Psssh.  That’s like two lines in OpenSCAD”


April 21, 2011 | Comments Closed

Young whippersnapper!

Get off my lawn!

Cyrozap suggested a Kinect could help a ‘bot someone stepping on the lawn.  I don’t think it would be extraordinary to build something that would aim and operate a hose.  Bonus points if I could get it to look like either (A) a scary sentry robot or (B) a big Santa Claus.  Ideally, it would offer a warning, “Hey you kids!  Get off my lawn!”  And then a warning shot, just a wide spray – not intended to actually soak anyone.  Then, if that doesn’t work – a directed spray.

And, then, well, there’s always the nuclear option.  The ‘bot could turn on the sprinklers.

April 17, 2011 | Comments Closed

Open questions for anyone familiar with Arduinos

And, I’ve got several.  I’m not entirely sure what I’d end up using an Arduino for – perhaps making tiny silly robots.  However, there are so many choices and not a really good way to differentiate among them.

  1. Chips
    1. There appear to be several.  From my friend Google, I understand that the “ATmega328” is significantly better than a “ATmega168” in terms of double the flash memory, RAM, and baud rate.  But, I also see “ATmega328P.”  What’s the “P”?  Is it important?  Does it mean pre-programmed?
  2. Power
    1. I’d like to be able to run whatever Arduino variant I end up with from a variety of power sources.  It’s my understanding that a preassembled Ardunio has that capability – accepting between 5V that could be supplied from USB to 9V from a typical 9V battery to a 9-11V AC power adapter.  If I build a MintDuino, will it only run from a 9V?  Would it run from USB if I use an FTDI cable or an FTDI Friend?
    2. Wait, I may have answered my own question – I’m guessing that a Breadboard Voltage Regulator Kit would be needed to run a MintDuino from a variety of power sources.  Is this the case?
  3. USB
    1. I have an FTDI cable from my Cupcake CNC, so I think I could use that with any kind of board that doesn’t have a USB port.  Having fiddled with an FTDI cable a bit now, I don’t have any preference whether my board has a USB or FTDI interface.  Is there any reason I should?
  4. Programming
    1. Are all of the *Dunio variants identical to program?  I seem to recall reading that the NetDuino is “.NET”  I’m not sure what that means, but I’d prefer to use something that utilizes the Processing environment – if for no reason other than I could use what very very very little processing I was exposed to when fiddling with my Cupcake’s temperature tables a million years ago.
  5. What should I start with?  Please assume I know nothing about electronics, Arduinos, electricity, computers, programming, or things that rhyme with “minternet.”
    1. It’s hard for me not to like the MintDuino package.  A small breadboard, a little tin, some parts, no soldering.  The Mintronics Survival Pack seems interesting too – again a little tin. 12  Is the “Survival Pack” useful?  Useless?  Kinda useful?  It looks like it has a small breadboard, some LED’s, wires, 9V battery clip and wires, etc.  As I understand Arduinos3 , they can accept a variety of voltages.  Will a MintDuino do the same?  It looks like I’ll need an FTDI cable, which I have from my Cupcake, so I’m not overly concerned about this limitation.
    2. Should I go with a fully assembled Ardunio like the Uno, a breadbord kit, or a kit that I solder together?  I’m leaning towards a breadboard to start for simplicity’s sake.
    3. Should I go with a Sanguino, Ardweeny, Arduino Mini, Arduino Pro Mini, Ardunio Mega 2560, TinyDuino SB, Sippino 328, FreeDuino, DC Boarduino, NetDuino, NetDuino Plus, NetDuino Mini, Ardunio Nano, or RBBB?  If so, why?!  Can you understand my choice paralysis here?
  1. I like tins. []
  2. Then again, I’ve got a robot that can make me plastic tins, so they’ve become less fascinating to me. []
  3. Which isn’t much []

The darker side of copyright

I know it’s cute to have your word processing program auto-correct “(c)” into “©” … but why? 1  It is FAR more common for me to see “©” in correspondence when someone means “(c)” than for me to see “(c)” when someone means “©.”  In fact, “©” when you mean “(c)” looks stupid and “(c)” when you mean “©” actually makes sense to me.  Then again, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just write the word “copyright” instead of trying to find the symbol “©.”

In any case, given how infrequently the “©” symbol is used in common parlance, why would anyone ship software to include this auto-correct?  If it were really that common, we’d have a key for it on the keyboard.

  1. Original title for this post:  “This post has been brought to you by the letter ‘C” []