Feb. 9th, 2010 10:30 pm

I've wanted an HP-16C for a very long time. I should have used some of my lawn mowing money to buy one when I first discovered them, but I didn't. Then HP quit making them and no one has made a calculator like it again. Sure, all of the features exist on other calculators but they're buried deep in menus. The HP-16C has the hexadecimal numbers, shift, rotate, logical operations and many other functions I use during my day on they keys.

Sure, I can find them on eBay and other auction sites, but I've never had good luck there. But what about building a clone? I can certainly write the software and I feel confident working out most of the electronics. The display, keyboard and case are the biggest hurdles but they aren't insurmountable.

Hmmm... Before I get too deep perhaps I should find someone I can bounce ideas around to make sure I'm not about to jump off the deep end.

I mentioned projects I wanted to build in my last post. I thought I would make a list of the projects I have been planning so I can start to prioritize them and gather all my notes in one place. In no particular order they are:

I watched the first video from Citizen Engineer and wanted to build the SIM reader project. My kit arrived today but I am missing a few things to make life easier. So I ordered Ladyada's Electronics Toolkit which contains the parts and tools I need to finish the project. Another step in the plan to be a gageteer and build my own radios and devices.

Not that I'm planning on doing anything that will increase the ambient heat in my home anytime soon.... Sheesh.

I don't know what this page says but it looks like they're selling an orrey kit! I want it!

I had a an idea at lunch today. I told [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast and we've been going back and forth expanding and expounding. We've come up with one fun project. I'm very excited about it. The best part? You get to play along too if you want.

Sorry, you'll just have to wait in suspense until we finalize the plan. There will be an announcement when we are ready.
I now have 90, nine times 10, lasers in my possession! Phear me! Twenty five are set for a project, twenty four have been sold to friends. That leaves forty one that are waiting to be used... Suggestions?

Last night I was talking with [livejournal.com profile] raingirllori and mentioned that I wanted to find myths and legends about Winter and all of the books I find seem to be organized by culture. I forget her exact response but it was along the lines of me producing a series of books for each season with the appropriate myths and legends. Dammit! Now the idea won’t let go of me. So, my question to you, dear readers, is do you know if there are any books like this already?

I haven’t had much time to think about exactly what I would want to cover in these books so I welcome any questions and discussion. Even if these books never get made I am always looking for resources and references to myths, legends and folk tales.

Our first Arts & Crafts Night was a success. [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen make Chicken Soup. [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast finished a necklace. [livejournal.com profile] omg_teh_funnay sat around being a smart ass. I baked biscuits and read some supporting material for some projects I want to work on in the coming months. A low-key night but as the first one I am going to call it a success.

Preparing for posting for National Preparedness Month has reignited my interest in amateur radio. The thing that keeps knocking me off track is that I get wound up with living in an apartment so I don't have a place to install antennas or put together a large amateur radio station. So I keep reminding myself of how much fun I do have when I play and that any activity is better than no activity. There are lots of things I can do with the radio equipment I do have. So I have a list of projects that I can do now and another list of projects that I will do in the future.

The future list is waiting on saving up a bit of money to buy new gear with HF capabilities. Because there isn't much room in the apartment for radios my plan is to put together a rig that could be used while backpacking. Then I'll take that to different areas in the area and operate from islands, mountain tops, parks and whatever. I also need to learn Morse Code so that I can use some real small portable units.

Another thing I need to keep reminding myself is that "mike fright" is a common affliction of radio operators. That is a fear of pushing the button and actually talking to people over the radio. Tonight I overcame that fear and pushed the button to join some folks on the Nine O'Clock Net. I was given a nice welcome and no one pointed out the few mistakes I made. I'll have to keep chatting with these folks and get over that fear.

So the first big project on my list is getting one of the radios installed in Zero. I sit in traffic often enough, why not use some of that gear to talk to people while driving around? I have the radio, I just need an antenna, some coax and the kit to mount the radio in a different location from the control head. Oh, and finding someone with some tools and a bit of skill with installing radios in cars. ;)

A few days ago [livejournal.com profile] tithonium was wondering about the computer hardware used to land people on the moon during the Apollo missions. Well this isn't a complete answer but someone has recreated the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) which was used in the Apollo's Command Module (CM) and Landing Module (LM). Even better he has provided plans and documentation so you can build your own. So here's exact information about some of the computers used to get to the moon.

I’ve created a Google Code project to host my projects and code so that those who are interested can play with them. Enjoy!

Mint Cans

Dec. 31st, 2007 01:53 pm

I have a need for metal mint cans, like the Altoids cans, in any size or shape. If you enjoy the mints I would take the empty cans off of your hands. There are lots of things I would make with them.

I found a nice writeup of some amateur radio operators down in Oregon helping out during the flooding. Having participated in simulated emergency reponses I know that the article doesn't give us the full sense of how much work was required to keep communications going. I was exhausted at the end of the SET which was scheduled for an afternoon and didn't have to deal with the stress and chaos of a real emergency. So I say thanks to those who helped out!

Jeff Davis, KE9V, also blogged about this story. I wanted to mention his post because he brought up the point that the public service agencies have spent millions in upgrading their communications systems. Yet we still read about "amateur" operators who can deploy and communicate during an emergency when the "professionals" have lost their ability to communicate.

As you might know I've struggled a bit with how to be an active amateur radio operator while living in an apartment. I think I might have found a project that will make it easier. I want to build an ARES Boom Box. One box with radio, batteries, power supplies and charger. Plug it into the wall and you can operate while it charges the batteries. Pull the plug and carry it to an operation location and you're back on the air after a quick antenna setup. I have the radio which is the most expensive single part. Once I put together the final list of components I'll know how big of a box I need to put it all together.

Today [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast signed the papers for her own apartment which will be available on Monday. So she'll be moving out next week into her own slice of the "American" dream. On one hand I'm going to miss having her close at hand. On the other our place is cramped with three people so having more breathing room will be nice. It's not like she's flying off to the wilds of southern California or another country... ;)

[livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen has decided to keep her desk downstairs which means I'll have the upstairs room mostly to myself. I've been thinking of what to do with the space and here are some of the things under consideration:

  • Move the games and puzzles under the stairs so they are easily accessible when we are ready to host some friends.
  • File all the boxes of papers into the filing cabinets.
  • Move a lot of non-clothing stuff in the bedroom closets into the office closet to give [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen more room.
  • Setup the old PS2 with the dance pad and the alternate input on my monitor for some DDR goodness.
  • Dig out some radio gear and setup a small 2-meter station.
  • Rearrange the books on the shelves to sort the books by category.
  • Create a small crafting/project space and organize all my projects.

Basically I want to make a space where I can spend some time working on my existing projects and hobbies instead of going out buying new ones. One key thing I want to maintain is the ability for the room to be used for guests. It would be great if people could come for a visit and we didn't have to stick them on the floor in the corner.

I'll need a name for this area. I'm thinking about the [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast Memorial Research Lab. CMRL for short. ;)

I have had a general feeling of… I’m not sure what word to use. I’m not unhappy and in some areas of my life things are outstanding. There’s just this feeling of “more” that I could accomplish. Having spent the last few nights without sleep I’ve had a bit of time to think about goals and how I spend my time.

I spend too much time playing games like WoW and EVE. The problem isn’t playing games, but that MMORPGs like that don’t end so they keep stealing time I could use for more productive things. I can play console games and give up a week or two as a break between projects. And the DS is always good for those times when I’m waiting around and don’t have enough time to unpack the laptop.

Television doesn’t take too much time because I split the time with other tasks. I catch up on some reading or work on the laptop while watching. With the Tivo I can push off watching if I have more important tasks. The number of shows I watch will probably drop as they are not keeping my interest.

With the time I’ve regained my plan is to:

  1. Complete my first Perl module, Math::Interval, and upload it to CPAN. The API is set and the tests pass. I just need to write more documentation.
  2. Learn about writing XS modules for Perl to expose the floating-point functions in <fenv.h>. In particular Math::Interval could benefit from fesetround() and fegetround(). I’m sure some other modules could use it too.
  3. Update Math::Interval to use the floating-point module. The tricky part of this will be creating tests that correctly deal with the inexact nature of IEEE 784 floating-point math.
  4. Write up a talk, article or paper on what I learned about writing Perl modules and dealing with that inexact nature of IEEE 784 floating-point math.

After that my longer range plans include getting some quality time with Parrot and Perl 6.

hollyking: (ahead full)

I need to build something with my hands. I’ve had this craving for a while but I’ve never done anything with it. My few pitiful attempts early on were horrible disasters. Heck, I didn’t even take a shop class in high school.

In a fit of boredom while waiting for others to fix things so I could start working I started looking around at websites about steam engines. I came across a few pages with plans to build a working steam engine from parts you make by hand.

Now I’ve got a craving to learn some woodworking, metalworking and other related skills. Luckily I’ve learned enough wisdom to know that I just can’t dive in and expect to succeed. So I’ve started planning what skills, supplies and equipment I need. The next step is to start finding some classes to get the basics down.

Eventually I’ll have to find a lathe, drill press and a few other large tools to use. There’s a business idea for you. A rental workshop. You pay $X/hour to use the space, tools and supplies. I wonder if there would be enough desire to make a go of it.

Why can’t I have won the damn lottery already so I would have a nice house with a decent garage to keep all this stuff? ;)

In my spare time I’ve been working on a mash-up between LiveJournal interests and Flickr tags. Given a username my program pulls their list of interests from LJ and then asks Flickr for 5 images that use that interest as a tag.

The last piece fell into place this morning and I’ve been able create a few test pages on my local machine. It is very slow when I run it against a new user, which pulls the interest data from LJ. There’s obviously some bottleneck in how I add/update interests in the database.

I also need to create a scalable limit for the number of images returned. With the current default of 5 I get 715 images but someone like [livejournal.com profile] qt3_14159 only gets 5 images back. I’m thinking of something like 300 divided by the number of interests. Maybe less if Flickr starts complaining.

Anyway, here’s a sample pass on my interests. Should I keep going?

Many images in here... )

I've been fighting this huge high-visibility project at work for the last three months. The original code was written by another developer who went on vacation in July and I was assigned to cover for him. When he came back he was assigned to another task and I was the only developer working on this project. Our drop-dead ship date was July 28. So every day I've been stopped by VPs and quizzed about the progress of the project. Everyone in the company knows that this project is our corporate #1 priority. Even though it's technically a pilot project failure is not an option.

I'm happy to announce that I did it. I nailed that sucker to the wall and didn't stop hitting it until it was screaming for mercy. I wish I could talk about my solution but it's tied to too much internal processing and plans for me to divulge anything. Ah well. I know what I did and how sweet it is.

I had an idea for a project today but I'm having trouble coming up with a name. So I thought I would open it up to all you wonderful, intelligent, creative people out there. In short the site is a place where you can create a list of books that you would like to read. See I have a huge list of books I want to read that's written down in many different locations. My idea was to make one place I could use to track my list.

I don't want to limit the name by involving books in the title because my plan is to extend the site to include movies and music. So, what would you want to call such a beast?

[Poll #762935]




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