tw's blog

First circuit blocks created

Clara has always enjoyed playing with electronic components and breadboards. But putting them together to make an actual circuit is still a bit tough for her at 3, even with lots of coaching - getting the leads into exactly the right hole takes a bit more fine motor coordination than she’s got. So, I was inspired by an article in MAKE magazine* to make her some chunky blocks with screw-eye terminals that she can wire together using alligator clip leads. We’ll see how it goes!
http://innova-consulting.es/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron=1513278047.7706680297851562500000 read more...

Solstice 2007

PrayBot 2007 photo

For the Summer Solstice this year, I refined last year’s PrayBot project by making it more efficient and robust, and again had it running in our city center at noon. The weather cooperated, and so did the gadget, and the people were great. Success! read more...

PIC-based solar engine (PICSE) 2007

My PrayBot project last year needed a “solar engine,” and the quickest thing I could come up with was based on a PIC instead of the more usual BEAM-style solutions. This year I wanted something more efficient. But it still ended up with a PIC, and it’s much more efficient than any of the BEAM designs I’ve tried. read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #2: Is it turned on?

While troubleshooting, another embarrassing discovery is that the thing in question isn’t working because you didn’t turn it on. This rule could come first, as in some sense it’s more basic than Rule #1, but for the simple AC-powered appliance, you have to plug it in before you can turn it on, so I list it second.

Again, there are lots more useful ways to think about whether you’ve turned something on. For instance: read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #1: Is it plugged in?

The first in my series of troubleshooting rules:

A surprising number of day-to-day problems are solved when you realize that the thing just isn’t plugged in. Oops.

The obvious sense of “plugged in” is “plugged into the mains supply” - the AC wall outlet.

But there are many other useful senses to look for: read more...

Clara's Remote

One day a few months ago, my three-year-old daughter Clara and I were sitting in the living room watching a movie. We needed to pause it for some reason. I was working on teaching her to use the remote, so she tried it. But there were so many buttons on our two remotes, she always had a hard time finding the right one. And when she did find it, there were some books on the table in the way, so the infrared signal didn’t get through. After I explained that, she picked it up and pointed it at the TV, from inches away. But the DVD player is near the floor, and the TV’s higher up, so the receiver still couldn’t see. On the next try, the door to the TV hutch, which we have to prop open, got closed, so the signal STILL couldn’t get through. Who knows whether she was still pressing the right button at this point.

So I said, “Hey… Would you like me to make you your own special remote control, that would have just the buttons you need, and that you wouldn’t have to point anywhere?” She said yes. read more...

A mini-game: The Search

I wanted to learn a bit about RPG Maker XP, a role-playing game creation toolkit that my apprentice, Jake, is using for a project. So I made this little game with one puzzle and some combat. http://mustangcipowebaruhaz.hu/?sisd=forex-grafici&f15=e5 read more...

DimBot dimming well

DimBot’s phase control is working well now, so our bedroom lights fade up over a period of ten minutes. Still got some glitches, but it wakes us up slowly as desired. And it’s… good! http://www.ecoshelta.com/?kampys=binary-option-trading-with-our-money&10b=99 read more...

ET-3400 project notes

Some technical notes on wiring up an EEPROM to the ET-3400, for those interested. read more...

Another obsolete problem solved!

I have successfully added non-volatile memory - something like a thumb drive - to a 30-year-old computer that had no permanent storage. Basically, the only person who cares is my 9-year-old self. But he’s dancing with glee!
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