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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.

Four Supercoffees and No Food

Posted 2009.12.20 15.18 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

Before I was just unfocused, or focusing on the wrong things. But after four Supercoffees and no food, now I am well and truly blurry.

Like some caffein can energize you, give you a little boost, a little extra oomph. But four Supercoffees worth of caffein just leads to a state of tense buzzing.

I did get three more chores done, so my yesterday-list is up to 5 out of 11 tasks completed. I haven’t started on today’s list though.

Oh and I redid the Random Words thingy so it’s really actually random now. It’s still in alphabetical order  – I didn’t want the same words appearing in a random sequence. That’s silly. I wanted random words, appearing alphabetically. And I got what I wanted.

Except that in doing so, I may have taken the concept of a ‘tag cloud’ and, you know, slightly broken it?

Doesn’t matter. Random is as random does. Stephanie is as caffein buzzzzzzzzzz.

 

Random Observations

Posted 2009.11.18 9.26 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather, Work

I was listening to the news this morning on the way in to the office. Mostly it was the usual stuff – blah blah blah traffic blah blah weather blah blah economy blah. But there were two stories that caught my attention and made me think a bit.

First up, it seems that the pressure is on to be green and eco-friendly even after we’ve expired. Planting dead people in the ground isn’t very good, for one thing it renders large expanses of land unusable (*) plus as they decay, all the toxins and poisons that they absorbed over their lives leaches back into the environment and can potentially enter the water-table and surrounding ecosystem.

Cremation is chosen by roughly 50% of all Canadians, but this doesn’t solve the problem, it merely takes all the toxins and poisons out at once and sends it up the chimney to enter the environment immediately – plus, the process uses a large amount of energy (both fossil fuels and electricity).

So there is now a company that has pioneered and is offering a ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ alternative. They will liquify the dearly departed, and then pour them into the municipal water treatment system to be purified and re-enter the environment that way.

Still, the thing that hit me was there is an enormous difference between “Let us scatter our loved one’s ashes…” and “Lets all gather round the toilet and flush the dead guy.”

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