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The Randomizer

Posted 2011.03.24 21.43 in Computers/Internet/Technology

After 3 months of on-and-off working on my thermostat project, it seems kind of funny to pop this one out in a couple hours in a single evening.

My second from-scratch Arduino-based project, is more or less an electronic version of the ‘Magic 8-Ball‘. Press one of the buttons and the screen fills up with random characters or numbers as it ‘randomizes’  itself, then after you release the button it presents the result on its LCD screen.

It has around 20 8-Ball-ish responses, though they’ve been edited to fit on the screen, modified a little to fit the format of The Randomizer speaking in the third person. For no good reason whatsoever.

Eagle-eyed obsessive readers (I know who you are) will recognize the enclosure and button board are from the 0.1 version of the thermostat. Having 4 buttons (the little one is just a reset button) and the 8-Ball only using one of them, I quickly came up with a use for the other three.

Forgive my nerdiness… when pressed, buttons 2, 3, and 4 will produce the result of rolling percentile, 1d20 and 1d10 dice instead of an 8-Ball phrase.

While on the subject of geekiness, for some extra geek points (and battery savings) the LCD screen’s backlight only comes on when in use, then after 30 seconds of disuse the backlight switches off.

Each of the 4 buttons goes to a digital pin, and there’s still some additional pins available so it could be expanded further. Though even with only the four existing buttons, it could be expanded by reading multiple buttons at once.

The Randomizer runs on 4 AA batteries, which will probably last for 2 or 3 kilo-whiles. You can build one of your very own; all you need is an Arduino, an LCD, a couple buttons and a box.

Here’s the source code, for your enjoyment and tinkering pleasure.

Tripple Nerdgasm

Posted 2010.08.07 19.03 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Two heads might be better than one – but three heads are way better than two!

Today, I converted my dual-head iMac into a triple-head iMac – one computer, three screens! And they’re all digital!

None of that shabby analog VGA stuff around here, no-sir-ee! The iMac screen is a Digital LCD, then to the right I have a 19″ 4:3 screen that’s running DVI, and up top I have a 19″ 16:9 HD-TV hooked up with HDMI.

I got the TV so I could watch the World Cup, and what with the football over for another 3 years 10 months, I wasn’t sure what to do with the TV. Then I realized hey, I could hook it to my iMac! Now I can play media up there, and it’s on one of those articulated arm things so I can swing it around and aim it at the living room.

Yeah, I’m in geek heaven here. Every additional screen you put on your computer is like eleventeen hundred geek bonus-points.

Time For A Geek Rant

Posted 2010.05.03 11.32 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I’m just going to come out and say it. This new Dr. Who is not impressing me. Yeah, not only am I geeky enough to watch the series, but I’m geeky enough to comment on it here on teh interwebz. (Caution: spoilerz ahead.)

I’ve only seen three episodes so far; the one where he first appears, the one with the space whale, and the one with the daleks. I’ve also seen the endless promotional clips they’re running on Space of course. (Why do they  have a clip of him aiminig a gun?! The doctor doesn’t like guns, doesn’t use guns. When the last doctor took up a gun in his last episode, it was supposed to be a big huge thing, to show just how desperate things had become. And even then, he didn’t  actually shoot anyone, he shot a machine.)

The first ep wasn’t too bad, the new doctor was a bit flakey but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he had just regenerated and that’s supposed to leave him messed up for a while. (Back in the old days, he had to have like a week or two of bedrest after a regeneration.) I liked the new companion, Amy Pond, and the writers seemed to be setting up some interesting arc stuff for the season – i.e. the cracks in the wall and the bad guy telling the doctor that the cracks are appearing all over, on their own. There was some suspense, the whole unseen-monster-ish kind of thing. On the other hand there were some stupid cheap-laughs kind of things, like the internet wanker having to help save the world with all the world leaders. Still, like I said, new doctor, first ep, so cut it some slack.

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Hardcore Electronics Porn

Posted 2010.02.11 8.27 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Mmmmm…. electronic jiggery-pokery… circuit boards… hacks… blinking lights…

(Found this sexy picture over at HackMii.)