Nov 20 2015

Re-creating a Byte Magazine Cover as a Photograph

Original Byte cover Photographic version

The cover of the July 1977 issue of Byte magazine showed a train chugging around a printed circuit board (PCB). When I started making PCBs as part of my electronics hobby, I got the idea of re-creating this image as a photograph of a real circuit board with a model train on it. This was a challenging project that involved several different photographic techniques, attention to geometry, model-building, wiring, and more.

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Oct 27 2015

A Kindle Weather Display, the Easy Way


I’m not the first person to turn a Kindle e-reader into a weather display, but I believe I’ve found an easier way to do it.

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Oct 18 2015

A Bicycle Inclinometer and Altimeter

Bike InclinometerIt was so easy to add a inclinometer to my bike using off-the-shelf hardware that I’m almost embarrassed to post about it here.

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Jan 26 2015

Interview with a Scammer

TechSupportI had a refreshingly honest discussion with a “Windows tech support” phone scammer who admitted to me he was a criminal and tried to justify himself.

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Jan 14 2015

Blueprintf – A Bluetooth Serial Monitor

blueprintflogoOne way of debugging microcontroller-based projects is to send messages out the UART serial port. Then, a UART-to-USB interface can feed the messages into your PC for display. But I wanted a small, portable device for viewing serial data without a PC, and I wanted it to use my cell phone or tablet for its display. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 07 2014

Triple-Sensor Mailbox Alert

IncomingMailI built a triple-sensor mailbox alert to tell me when there is mail in my mailbox for me.

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Nov 01 2014

Punch Card Printing Plate Pencil Holder

Punch Card Printing Plate Pencil Holder

40 years ago, everyone hated “IBM cards”. I remember folding, spindling, and mutilating them out of spite. Now, they’re an object of nostalgia. When I got my hands on one of the actual printing plates that was used to print the cards, I had to treat it with the respect and dignity it deserved. So I made it into a pencil holder. And I have some extras so I’m selling them.

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Oct 23 2014

My Brother’s Math Calendar


My brother, a longtime math enthusiast (I’ve even seen him calculate logarithms in his head) has created an interesting math calendar for 2015 and is selling it on Amazon.

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Oct 08 2014

MultiSIM BLUE Review


msb-whyI was excited when I saw that Mouser was coming out with an apparently unlimited PCB CAD program. I’m not excited anymore. Check out my review at my other site, PCBShopper.

Jul 05 2014

A UI Parable: The Smartphone Phaser

Phaser on a smartphoneLast night, I had a dream that I had the latest Starfleet-issue phaser – and it was integrated with my smartphone. The result was truly a nightmare.

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