Showing posts from June, 2008

More Arduino Ideas

More ideas on what to make:
Make a bark stopper, like this one.Make a tennisballshooter.Make a binary clock.

Arduino Ideas

I've been wanting to play with electronics, for years. Somewhat spur of the moment I decided to purchase a bunch of stuff in order to do that. I've been collecting old junk (dead printers etc.) and now is my chance to to use all that.

Here are some of the project ideas I've collected:
First this is probably Hello world.
Make an egg timer.Make adrumo drum pad.Have arduino play some drums, like in this robot band.Make a custom stoplight for when the build breaks.
Datalog something (light, temperature, humidity, footswitch).
Log the height of water in the water storage bin at the farm.Make a simple two wheeled robot that can be controlled from the computer.
Make a simple intercom.
Make a 2d table that draws or cuts something (CNC machine).Make a tiny Flickr frame.A Cylon or knight rider effectPersistance of Vision POV either hand-held or spinning.Take a photo based on motion in-front of the camera, may have to hack an old digital camera.Take a photo of a lightning flash.Make a two…

Bought some Microcontrollers

For years I've been toying with the idea of playing more with electronics, specifically with microcontrollers, to build things like robots. I figure it's the perfect blend of my strengths (programming) with something different for me (electronics). In the past they were pretty expensive and underpowered, but thanks to Moore's Law they can be had for pretty cheap and they can do a lot in one tiny package.
I've ordered two Arduino Diecimila USB devices from SparkFun. These things come with the Atmel AVR ATmega168 with 16K RAM and runs at about 1 MIPS which, in comparison, is about the same speed as my first computer, the Atari 1040ST. Each of these cost $35.00 assembled (the chip itself is $5.00) and can be run off of a 9 volt battery.
When I looked at these things in the past the most popular ones for hobbyists ran BASIC which I though was stupid and expensive ($125 vs $35). As a programmer I'd much rather program in C or maybe Forth, besides, programming isn&…

Playing with long exposures at night

Today was Valantines day (Dias dos Namorados). I painted this with a laser pointer and a 10 second exposure.

Victor's a ghost!
This was another attempt, I had to do this indoors because the building next door has too much light.


This came out nicely and was pretty easy to do, thanks Meet the Gimp.

Two Great Podcasts

I've been watching two great podcasts (or technically vodcasts) about two programs I'd like to use more often, Gimp and Inkscape.
I've been watching these with Miro which is a useful tool to get and watch podcasts. Miro used to be called Democracy and used to crash all the time in Linux, but this version is much more stable. My only complaint is that you can't multi-task: watch videos while browsing other content from within Miro.

One podcast I've been watching for a while is called Meet the Gimp. Ever since I've started watching this podcast I've been enthusiastic about cleaning up and improving my own digital photographs. Now I know how to efficiently cleanup my photos and I go and do it much more often.
For example Episode 42 shows how to to quickly improved the color of a photo that looked rather dull and also how to use the healing tool to remove some birds that are just in the way.
Or Episode 46 which uses two photographs (both taken without a tripod) …

My Aquarium

When we built the home-office I decided that I also wanted to have a built in aquarium. I set it up so that it's visible from both our bedroom and from within the home office:

I knew this was a little risky. Most aquariums are up against a wall and you can only see in from once side. Being able to see from both sides makes it a little more difficult to setup the plants and rocks so that it looks nice from both sides.
Also, the aquarium gets twice as much light and has the risk of becoming green with algae. This normally doesn't happen very often, but it appears that this time of year it does:

My aquarium is filled with Cichlid type fish which are quite hardy and long lived and more intelligent as well. I didn't want a salt water aquarium, which would have been prettier, but much more expensive to setup and buy all the fish. I bought a large 95 gallons (360 liters) which can allow the fish to grow quite large.
My second risky decision was to have a planted aquarium. Normall…