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That’s Crazy Talk

Posted 2012.04.25 8.31 in Pointless Blather

It’s been spider-weather lately. That whole spring showers thing – the 8-legged beasties are thawing out and waking up, then the rain drives them indoors.

I don’t approve of spiders. The creepiness of a creature is directly proportional to the number of legs it has. Extra eyes and wearing its skeleton on the wrong side are just additional strikes.

So lately I have like a dozen spiders roaming my livingroom ceiling. Quite brazenly too, they aren’t waiting till dark to scurry about. They’re strutting around like they own the place.

I’m not Ok with this, but I’m not running around trying to squash them either.¬†For one thing, the ceiling is 9ft high so they’re hard to reach.

I’ve been worried that they’ll move into my bedroom. That’s where I draw the line. I can’t sleep while there’s spiders prancing around on the ceiling above me. I was just thinking this morning, how glad I am that they haven’t come into the bedroom yet.

Then that other part of my mind speaks up. The crazy part.

What if they are already in the bedroom and you just can’t see them yet?
Invisible spiders is a stupid idea.
Not invisible, but like, they don’t show up in normal light. Maybe they’re only noticable under a different kind of light?
You mean like a blacklight? Like how some scorpions are florescent? Spiders are related to scorpions.
Exactly. Get your blacklight and shine it around the bedroom, especialy the ceilings and corners.
Oh gods no, what if the ceiling is covered in invisible florescent spiders?!

And just like that, my normal rational line of thinking has been ursurped by the little crazy, and now I’m paranoid about blacklights in the bedroom incase I suddenly discover it’s full of invisible pseudo-scorpions.

64 Pixels of RGB Fun!

Posted 2011.06.03 8.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Taking some time off from my MCP project while waiting for some more components to arrive, last night I put together a Meggy Jr. from Evil Mad Scientist Labs.

The Meggy Jr. is an open-source handheld video game platform. The ‘screen’ is an 8×8 matrix of RGB LEDs. Despite such a ‘low-rez screen’ there’s actually quite a few games out there that are very playable.

It comes with “Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes” pre-programmed on the uC and over a dozen more examples are included in the free development libraries, which work with the Arduino IDE.

 

Progress

Posted 2011.01.22 21.16 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather

It’s slow, and I hope I’m not jinxing myself by saying it, but I think there’s some progress.

The ethernet port seems to be working(*). The temperature variances are annoying but I think I’ve found ways to live with it. Last night I added all the buttons and switches. All that remains now is to build the circuit board that will house the power regulator and the interface to the HVAC lines.

I had been worried about how it will all look – especially with the Chronodot RTC/temp sensor being not only external, but standing off about an inch. I was worried also about mounting buttons and switches. Would I do a good job? Would they look ok? Would it look like a 3rd grade science fair reject?

In a moment of zen, I found a peaceful answer to all these concerns. My thermostat is going to look a little bit like mad science. People are going to be wary when they see it. People are going to be afraid to touch it. And that is the way it is meant to be.

The grey wire coming out the bottom is the ethernet cable. The blue board & black cable on the left side is temporary, it is the USB/serial connection that I’m using for debugging, and temporarily providing power to run the thermostat. Down below to the right of the ethernet port, is where I’ll be building the power & HVAC interface circuitry.

* There is one ongoing sporadic problem with the ethernet port. Sometimes after a power loss, it hangs on initialization. I suspect I know what the problem is, and how to remedy it. For now, it just means occasionally having to hit a reset button after power-up.

I’ll include some pics of the guts in my next update post.

Happy Winter Solstace!

Posted 2009.12.21 9.49 in Pointless Blather, Spiritual

Happy solstace, joyous Yule, and all that.

Winter is now upon us, and although the days will start getting longer, they will continue to grow colder, for reasons I’ve never fully grasped.

Seriously, it’s like the seasons are 45 degrees out of phase with the tilt of the Earth’s axis in relation to the position of the planet’s orbit. Today is the day that the sun’s rays have the most air to go through before hitting those of us on the northern hemisphere. Today’s the day that there’s the least sunlight on the northern hemisphere. Why is it that the coldest day’s don’t hit till February?

Half the time it’s still winter-cold and snowy when the vernal equinox comes round in March! That’s not right – by then the days and nights are the same length, and the sun’s energy is much less oblique and more perpendicular, so there’s way less atmosphere – yet the real warm days don’t hit till after the summer solstace!

It just doesn’t make sense. Like I said – the seasons are 45 degrees out of phase with the whole scientific-explanation thingy.

More good stuff from James Burke

Posted 2006.07.04 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

The KnowledgeWeb Project

The Day The Universe Changed

Posted 2006.07.03 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

If you ever get the chance, I strongly recommend you watch this 1985 TV series by science historian James Burke.

The series explores the philosophical concept that the Universe only really exists to you as you perceive it. So if you change your perception of the Universe, you are in fact changing the Universe itself.

Burke proves his point by examining various important discoveries and advances throughout the 10-episode series, highlighting how each scientific milestone brought about a fundamental change in the way western civilization perceived their world.

It is a fascinating series. Each episode is very interesting and enjoyable on its own, presenting a lot of information on a certain major discovery or advance. On the whole, however, the series really shines. It helps to illustrate how important our perception, and our preconceived ideas are, in how we view and react to the Universe around us.