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This feed is dedicated to all the mental flotsam and jetsam that I find on the web and pursue in my off hours. It's a view into the head of a geek blogger with more interests than time. I hope you find something interesting.

Last Build Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:24:29 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2006, Mark VandeWettering

Some new addition to the brainwagon labs…

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:24:29 +0000

Okay, I bet that hardly anyone comes to this blog anymore.  I’ve been slack, and there hasn’t been any reason other than the simple fact that I haven’t felt motivated to invest the time and energy to talk about any of my projects.  But that doesn’t mean that I have completely halted all attempts at […]

pinMode v. digitalWrite: what’s with this use (abuse?) of internal pullups?

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 20:18:17 +0000

This post is the kind of round about post you get first thing in the morning.   I’ll get to the title question at the end. This morning, I was interested in doing a tiny bit of tinkering. I had found one of these 4 digit 7 segment LED displays while digging around for something […]

How making an ISS clock turns into researching an optimization problem involving spherical Voronoi diagrams…

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:31:43 +0000

A few years ago, I got seriously interested in amateur radio and satellites. I would often haul out a small Yagi antenna and my trusty Kenwood TH-D7A and try to talk to other hams by bouncing signals off the various satellites which acted as amateur radio repeaters. During that time, I wrote a Python version […]

Musing about a 2 dimensional delta robot…

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:02:28 +0000

First of all, if anyone is still swinging by this blog, yes, I’m still alive. While I haven’t exactly been prolific in my leisure activities, they haven’t stopped entirely. I worked on some simple embedded development for the 1K code challenge, which you can see on my page, and which hopefully I’ll write […]

Simple tests using the WeMos D1 R2…

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:00:29 +0000

I didn’t have a ton of time to tinker when I got home, but I did play a tiny bit more with the WeMos D1 R2. I got it mounted on an old breadboard that I had previously used for Arduino experiments, and then tried reflashing it with new, fresh NodeMCU firmware that I built […]

New WeMos D1 R2 boards have arrived…

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:44:47 +0000

I just got a trio of WeMos D1 R2 boards from Banggood this morning. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with them yet, other than power one of them on and check it for basic function, but I thought I’d give a brief review. For those of you who maybe haven’t been tracking […]

A new theory of dorodango…

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 15:50:53 +0000

Okay, I’ve done two, with nearly identical outcomes: a fine network of relatively shallow cracks in the “capsule”, the thin layer of fine particles which encapsulate the core. I’ve been rereading various accounts on how other people make dorodango, and have noticed a couple of differences which I think I am going to test. I […]

Dorodango cracks again…

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 06:11:06 +0000

Sigh. My second attempt has also cracked, although it is beginning to look pretty shiny.

Ordered some ESP8266 boards in an Arduino form factor…

Sat, 20 Aug 2016 15:47:54 +0000

The ESP8266 is an amazing little processor: cheap and capable and (most interestingly) WiFi enabled. I have some of the older “nodemcu” boards that I got for about $7 each, but there are newer alternatives that include up to 4M of flash memory, and a variety of interesting form factors. I noticed that WeMos was […]

FFMPEG overlay needs “repeatlast” argument…

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 20:38:57 +0000

I use ffmpeg to add some information overlays to the videos that I often upload to YouTube. I’ve documented these before, but I had a problem that arose from time to time that I never figured out: occasionally my encodes would seemingly just go on forever, and never terminate. I discovered today that this was […]

No! My precious dorodango!

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 03:57:32 +0000

Eek! I was getting a bit impatient with my dorodango, so I decided to leave it out in the open air when I went to work today so I could let it dry out a bit. I returned to it having dry cracks! Note to anyone attempting this: don’t be impatient. Let it dry out […]

Dorodango: Having (or rather making) a ball with just mud

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 21:03:08 +0000

On Sunday, I started a new project which on the face of it, seems like an enormous waste of time, but if you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that wasting time is pretty much the bread and butter of my online presence, so here we go. I’ve started work […]

Hooded Oriole at my hummingbird feeder…

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 16:09:05 +0000

Last year, I bodged together a motion detecting camera to photograph hummingbirds at my hummingbird feeder. But it was always a temporary hack. We had some difficulty with the ants that discovered the feeder, and we discontinued the experiment. I had a post that I could hang some feeders from, and decided to fill a […]

J1a system on a Lattice ICESTICK40

Thu, 23 Jun 2016 06:03:27 +0000

Long time readers of this blog might remember that I received a Gameduino board designed by James Bowman. I used it to construct ANGST, an Arduino and Gameduino satellite tracking project. James did all the heavy lifting: the Gameduino uses a Xilinx FPGA to implement an Arduino shield that can generate graphics and sounds. To […]

My Fizz Buzz solutions…

Thu, 26 May 2016 17:40:35 +0000

Joel Grus blogged about a job interview where he was asked about the ridiculous Fizz Buzz question that apparently some companies use to weed out complete frauds from their job interview process. The task is to create a program which prints the numbers from 1 to 100, but where all numbers which are a multiple […]