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From an XML geek, a reader, a writer, a connector, a man of the people (says keep hope alive)

Last Build Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:31:37 +0000


Power Supply build: part 2: component selection

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:31:37 +0000

In the previous posting, I went over requirements for a DIY power supply build. Now on to the fun part–shopping! Case I wanted something fairly compact, but still nice looking. I ended up going with Jameco ABS Heavy-Duty Instrument Case. It’s a good quality build. In metric, it’s 200mm across, and 64mm tall, which is […]

Power Supply build Part 1: requirements

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 04:07:39 +0000

Building a power supply is a rite of passage for electronics experimenters. I grew up in an age where all power supplies, even “wall warts,” had heavy iron transformers. In the last decade or two, better power transistors have become available, making possible switching power supplies, which are much lighter. (Think of your laptop power […]

Electricity Neutrality

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 06:12:24 +0000

Your shiny new iToaster complains when you plug it in: “This appliance has not been approved. Insert $0.25 to continue.” Net Neutrality explained.

Items appearing in an Amazon search for Bench Grinder

Sat, 13 May 2017 15:52:59 +0000

Shall we speak for a moment about Amazon’s epic metadata problem? On, search for “Bench Grinder”–a query with clear intent if there ever was one. Search by price low to high. Here are some items that appear in the results before a single piece of hardware you’d reasonably call a bench grinder… Water & […]

Build an electronics lab for under $200

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:27:13 +0000

Modern technology has exceeded my wildest dreams as a teenager struggling to build an electronics lab. With an order, one can have an entire electronics lab for next to nothing. As a teen, I paid a guy $100 for a used oscilloscope that took two adults to lift. These days, you can get a solid […]

Overcoming Anxiety

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:00:38 +0000

I’ve got a new book coming out. Check out some of the details in this short article. Overcoming Anxiety Join my mailing list for a free mini-course and be the first to hear about publication!

LED cube: The Ultimate Assembly Guide

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:20:07 +0000

Here’s the manual I wish had been included with the 8x8x8 LED cube kit I picked up on Amazon. Technically there’s already a manual available if you know where to look, but it’s poorly translated and difficult to follow in places. There’s several very similar kits out there, but the LED assembly process is the same, as […]

Signal generator

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 23:24:18 +0000

Another blast from the past, from the same era. This was a general-purpose gadget: a 5V power supply, plus bouncelsss switch, plus a variable frequency TTL square wave generator. This was one of my experiments with making my own circuit boards, starting with copper cladded boards, drawing on the circuit paths with an inert ink, then […]

Frequency Counter

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 01:59:48 +0000

A blast from the past! While going through old stuff, I found this device, which I designed and assembled maybe 25 years ago. I never used it. I think it didn’t work on the first try, and I got distracted by other shiny things. Story of my life. I thoughtfully left my future self a […]

Two free courses that improved my life

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 21:18:59 +0000

Check out this post at its new home on Writing Through The Fog.

Quantified bronchitis

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:37:09 +0000

Lots of people are using Fitbit to get into better shape. But I haven’t heard of anyone using trackers to better measure what happens when you get sick. As it turns out, I’ve had a nasty case of bronchitis over the last week. This is the sickest I’ve been in a while, and I find […]

Antennas and photons

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 05:40:47 +0000

In the previous article I described how antennae work in terms of EM waves. But EM isn’t exactly a wave. Quantum aspects require modeling as particles. Photons. But I can’t really figure out how a photon traveling through space gets converted into an electron current in a wire. There are some cases where treating EM as […]

The antenna project

Mon, 09 May 2016 03:52:27 +0000

A layman’s description of how antennas work, plus some related experiments. Physics is strange when you think about it. I’ve been working with electronics since I was about five. (Not an exaggeration. I “fixed” one of my two-battery-requiring cars with one good battery and some wire.) I sailed through high school electronics, and went on […]

Unsafe Java

Fri, 06 May 2016 05:26:36 +0000

Pop quiz. Why is the following Java 8 code unsafe? UPDATE: this code is fine, see comments. Still good to think about, though. Entity e = new Entity(); e.setName("my new entity"); persistanceLayer.put(e); To provide some context, Entity is a POJO representing something we want to store in a database. And persistanceLayer is an instance of a […]

The physics of the impossibly tiny

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 04:09:20 +0000

According to Newtonian gravitation, the attraction between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Einstein refined this somewhat, but as long as there aren’t crazy speeds or non-flattish spacetime involved, Newton’s formulation is accurate. As far as we know. I read this […]