Posted 2010.12.20 21.01 in Hobbies, Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

No posts for about a week here – I’m feeling rather scattered. Hard to believe it’s about 2 months since I got off the cryptospam. The side-effects / withdrawal symptoms have all but left finally, but that still leaves me with just the depression.

I’ve been trying to deal with that by forcing myself to be active, getting back into some of my old hobbies, like electronics. It’s difficult though, trying to get the interest or enthusiasm up. I think it’s a bit like when a kid is forced to do some activity by the parents, you know? Piano lessons or soccer or whatever… the kid doesn’t really want to, but grudgingly goes along with it because they have no choice. I think it’s like that, only I’m playing both roles.

This has led to me being a bit frantic and scattered. What I mean is, I know I’m supposed to be doing something but don’t necessarily want to do whatever I may have started yesterday, so today I try something else. Then there’s shipping delays and stuff so I’ll order some electronics kit, and before it arrives, I’ve gotten interested in six more things — and potentially ordered or bought them too, in the meantime.

Ontop of all this, it’s the stupid-season (season’s greetings) and that brings all sorts of additional baggage and issues. What a time to kick the anti-depressants, right? Always a joy at the x-mas parties, too: “Hi, haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?” “Well, I feel like crap and I’m thinking about hanging myself from that tree over there. How about you?”

So I’ve got a lot of half-built half-finished half-thought-out projects on the go, and if I’m not working or trying to sleep, I’m trying to coax myself to “have fun” with a project. Today I’ve been working on my DIY-Thermostat.

I’ve got the main components assembled, I’ve written the firmware, and assembled the prototype. I have not finished the most exciting part yet, however. Next step is to add the wireless communications module, and then test how the wireless comms work.

Wired comms are working, using a standard serial interface I can query the status, set the temperature up or down, activate hold, activate the regular program, and set the clock.

The DIY-Thermostat has a four-button interface on it, which allows the temperature to be temporarily driven up or down, hold mode, run program, and set the clock. The program heat and cool settings are hardwritten into the firmware. I figure I can get away with this since I know what temp I want and when I want it, so I don’t need to clutter up the software with a mechanism for modifying those values. If I do want to change them later, I can always re-flash the firmware.

After the wireless communications have been installed and thoroughly tested, I’ll move it off the breadboard and build the finished unit, then set it up for some more in-depth testing. When satisfied, I’ll swap out my current thermostat with the DIY one.

There’s no timeline for this – no telling what half-baked project I’ll be using to distract myself from the darkness from one day to the next. I’m also working on my first robot. It’s a kit, though I’ve got various modifications going on. It has two autonomous modes and one remotely-controlled mode, and I’ll be adding more functions as I go.

I’ve also gotten interested in the Otona no Kagaku kits from Gakken. Otona no Kagaku are their Adult Science line, where you buy a “Mook” (magazine/book) that comes with a kit attached. Let me say, I’ve never wanted to be able to read Japanese more than I do when I’m thumbing through the pages of a Gakken Mook.

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