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Mark III Rev D – It’s Alive!

Posted 2012.10.21 10.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology

The ISEB-6 Mark III revision D is alive! I put the finishing touches on the soldering this morning. All that’s left now is finalizing the software. And making the actual leather bracer. And mounting the electronics. And building a slick enclosure. And…

Ok there’s a lot more to go yet. But still – look!

Isn’t it kewl?

The only real bother I ran into was the display’s only got 3 bolts instead of 4. It’s still sturdy, the data connections are all soldered solid. The problem was when I routed all the traces, I forgot to leave room on both sides of the board for the hardware. So the top-left corner under the screen has two SMD resistors that would short against the nut, and the bottom of the board has two traces that would be cut if I counter-sunk the hole to accomodate the flat-head bolt. Bummer.

Apart from the problem with that one bolt, everything else went together fairly smoothly. Mostly.

The image below shows it almost ready for the screen – the BMP085 is in place for sensing temperature and air pressure; the ADXL345 is in place for measuring accelleration. I’ve also added a white LED to serve as a flashlight, and with some creative snipping and soldering, I fit the Lillypad Vibration motor in underneath the screen too!

When the whole thing’s done and finished, I’ll be posting everything (code, board layout, BOM, assembly) so anyone can make their own ISEB-6.

Also noteworthy: there are still two available analog inputs (A0 and A1) and three available digital IO ports – B2, C2, and C3. Expansion possibilities!

I positioned C3 near the ICSP port so one could add a SPI peripheral by using C3 as a slave select (the display is already using the default SS pin). C2 is on the sub-board with the buttons, to allow expansion there. The other three available I/O pins, along with the I2C bus and power are available at the top edge of the board for easy expansion.

Chaika II Repair Results

Posted 2011.10.09 15.32 in Hobbies, Photography

A while back I dug up an old broken camera and pulled it apart to fix it. Or kill it. Whatever came first.

Turned out that the fix was fairly simple, and I was momentarily pleased enough to put some film in it and carry it around for a couple days.

The Chaika II is a “half frame” camera, meaning it takes two smaller pictures for every one picture a normal camera takes. Normal 35mm frames are 36mm x 24mm, and a half-frame camera takes 24mm x 18mm frames. So with a 36-exposure roll, you actually get 72 shots!

It’d take me forever to finish a 72-frame roll, but luckily I usually have some half-rolls laying around, from re-spooling 35mm film into different formats (eg. 126 cartridges or 127 rolls.) Or just from getting bored and pulling a half-used roll out of one camera, to finish in another.

Either way, I had about half a roll left of CN-800 film, and into the Chaika it went.

Details: ISO 800 colour negative film, processed a long while in my tired old C-41 chemistry. Exposed using Sunny-16 and guesswork. The Chaika’s shutter seems to be working fine and the speeds are probably accurate. Yay!

Minolta Autopak 700

Posted 2011.09.03 10.34 in Hobbies, Photography

I think one of the reasons I enjoy shooting the 126 format is because I like shooting squares. Rectangular shots are so ubiquitous that the square format on its own is something novel and different. I don’t know if I like it only for its difference, or if it’s truly aesthetically better to my eyes.

Either way, I’m still enjoying the 126 format, and to help enjoy it even more, I recently acquired another camera in this format. Unlike all my other 126 kits, this one allows full manual control of exposure, and even has a perfect focus aid – a coupled rangefinder.

Minolta Autopak 700

Minolta Autopak 700

The Minolta Autopak 700 looks more like Minolta’s Hi-Matic line than it does other 126 cameras. It’s larger and heavier than my other 126 cameras, being made entirely of metal and designed like a ‘real’ camera.

Unfortunately, the camera had some problems when I received it: the front element of the lens was loose and wobbly, the rangefinder was completely non-functional, and the mechanism to wind the film & cock the shutter siezed up after a single crank.

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Posted 2011.07.15 20.47 in Photography

One subject, two films, three cameras, seven shots.

Last weekend I decided to go shoot some film at a local historical site – Bovaird House. Primarily, I wanted to test two cameras to see how they were working. I brought along a third that was almost out of film, figuring to finish that one off too.

When I got there, the thought occured that in addition to testing the cameras, I could also compare them. So for almost every shot, I shot twice, with two different cameras. This was not a scientific test or anything, it was mainly just done for curiosity – the pictures aren’t framed exactly alike, the cameras were very different in some respects, with different film and so on.

Still, the results are interesting, even if they aren’t exactly meaningful.

The first camera was the Olympus XA-3, which was loaded with ProMax 400, an inexpensive black and white film that I substitute for Ilford HP5. This was a new acquisition and was the first roll I’d put in the camera, and was primarily what I was testing. The XA-3 has fully-automatic exposure, and zone-focusing, with a 35mm focal-length lens.

The second camera was the Minox 35GT, which was loaded with a store-brand colour film, also ISO 400. I’ve run some rolls through the Minox before but had not used it in some time and wanted to have another go with it. The 35GT has aperture-priority automatic exposure, and distance-guess focusing with a 35mm focal-length lens. I tend to set the aperture for “sunny-16” and the focus either at the hyperfocal distance for wide shots, or for closer shots I try to ensure enough depth-of-field to compensate for my bad guessing at distances.

The final camera was a store-brand single-use / disposable, loaded with ISO 400 colour film. I’d recently re-discovered this camera as it had been forgotten in the glove-box of my car, and consequently spent 2 winters and 1 summer in there. There were a few shots left on it, so I figured I’d use it up and see if it was any good. The disposable has a single fixed aperture and speed – probably f/11 and 1/125 or thereabouts. It has a wider lens than the other two, roughly around a 28mm focal length.

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Posted 2010.12.23 9.43 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Last night I got the bluetooth wireless module hooked up and tested it out. It works! My prototype thermostat can be wirelessly queried and controlled!

The bluetooth module is the little red thing at the left edge of the breadboard. It talks serial to the microcontroller and talks wireless to the computer. As far as the computer is concerned, it’s just a standard tty serial port. It’s fairly seamless!

In the above screenshot you can see some debugging info that comes over every 15 seconds, plus I sent the ‘run program’ command (rp) and the DIY Thermostat responded accordingly!

Geeky techy stuff below the fold.

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No Surprise

Posted 2010.01.13 20.08 in Pointless Blather, Uncategorized

So I was feeling a little more out-of-place than usual, a little more wierd, less normal, and somehow that got my mind thinking about Aspergers again.

There’s lots of different online tests and quizzes, and I’ve taken many of them over the past few years. I found one that seemed particularily good today, which was quite long and evaluated a number of different things, with some questions measuring for Aspie traits and some measuring NT (neuro-typical) traits, and others being either irrelevant or set to gauge authenticity / honesty of the subject.

In the end, it gives you two scores – how you rate as an Aspie, and how you rate as an NT.

My outcome (as seen in the above screen-grab) really comes as no surprise. The graph takes a bit to figure out, but essentially they measure six areas on a 1 to 10 scale, for both Aspie and NT response. High scores on the Aspie side and low scores on the NT side… yeah.

Oh and incase it isn’t obvious, the scores don’t indicate if you are good or bad in a particular area, only how much or how little your responses in the given area correlate to either NT or Aspie baselines. Eg. the ‘talent’ and ‘compulsion’ headings don’t mean I’m massively talented or massively compulsive, only that the way I express my talents and/or compulsions are very Aspie and very non-normal. Conversely, my ‘low scores’ in both sides of perception don’t mean I’m imperceptive, just that the way I perceive things is neither normal or terribly Aspie.

As an aside, I don’t understand why they chose to colour the graph with blue on the NT side blending over to red on the Aspie side. Maybe it’s a rainbow symbolism, but it makes me feel like there is a subconsious weighing or ranking, that one side is better or worse than the other. I think they should have used a circular gradiation instead of linear, to differentiate that low scores are in the middle and high scores at the edges, regardless of which side of the graph they fall on.

Of course, like any of these quizzes / tests, there’s always room for error or incompleteness, and misunderstandings. Like they asked if when I’m concentrating or thinking, do I tap my ears or push on my eyes. No I don’t. That’s wierd. I do rub my lips and pinch my nose though. That’s perfectly normal (isn’t it?) and they didn’t ask that. There were questions about what other people think, like do they think I’m wierd, do they think this, do they think that? I had to leave a lot of those blank because how do I know what people are thinking? Unless they specifically tell me – and some do specifically say I’m wierd.

Every now and then I think about getting an official diagnosis, but then I wonder if it’s really necessary. Would it be expensive? Would it help or hurt? I take exception to the wording that I’ve seen used in some of these things – the idea that Aspies are suffering, impaired, and need to be treated. I guess some might, but I don’t feel like I need to be ‘cured’ of who I am, or ‘treated’ for being different.

That keeps putting me off – I don’t want an official diagnosis if they’re just going to start treating me like I’m ill and need to be fixed.

Hanimex Rangefinder

Posted 2009.09.30 22.58 in Hobbies, Photography

So I ran a test-roll through the Hanimex today. I took it partially apart last night and figured out that without a battery, it was probably running the shutter at full speed. Full speed is probably 1/300 sec based on the Hanimex ZF35 which looks very similar. So knowing (or guessing) that the shutter speed was 1/300 I calculated the aperture based on the Sunny-16 rule, and went from there.

The results were not bad – the lens seems fairly sharp and I’m pleased with the results. I’ll have to get a battery for it and see how it reacts in its normal mode, aka aperture priority. It has a CdS “electric eye” and can allegedly adjust the shutter speed based on the available light and selected aperture. I’d have been happier if it was fully manual, i.e. if it had a shutter-speed selector rather than a film speed selector. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderfully small and lightweight 70s rangefinder and seems to have a fairly decent lens!