Apr 03 2014

Finding the Cheapest PCB Manufacturer


I’ve built a website, PCBShopper.com, that lets you quickly and easily compare prices from several different printed circuit board manufacturers.

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Nov 24 2013

Hacking a Heating Pad


My wife and I have a heating pad on our bed. In the winter, we turn it on an hour before we go to bed. When we get into bed, we leave it on until we warm up. But if we fall asleep before we turn it down, we’ll wake up a couple of hours later, overheated. Clearly, we need a technological solution.

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Nov 06 2013

Heathkit Hack #3: Improving the ET-3300 Breadboard

I use a Heathkit ET-3300 powered breadboard for my prototyping. But setting it up has always been a chore in itself. I need to run wires from the power supplies to the power buses, which is messy (though admittedly not nearly as messy as the rest of the circuit will be) and often add voltage regulators, since the Heathkit’s power supplies of +12V, -12V and +5V are more appropriate to the 1970s than the 2010s. So I made a power distribution board that addresses these problems.

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Oct 29 2013

Heathkit Hack #2: Hacking a Heathkit Clock

One of my most precious possessions is a Heathkit clock I assembled as a kid. But it has some shortcomings: it loses the time and alarm setting if the power is interrupted, and adjusting it for Daylight Saving Time is a pain. So I decided to retrofit it with a GPS receiver to get the correct time.

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Sep 01 2013

Vintage Mainframe Hard Disk Clock

Clock with HubMany people are turning old hard disks into clocks. They disassemble old disk drives and put a clock mechanism behind the mirrored disc platter. They’re using 3½” disks, so they end up with itty bitty little clocks. I wanted something big enough to hang on the wall and retro enough to satisfy my nostalgia for the computers of my youth.

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May 26 2013

Why Star Trek Into Darkness Sucked

IntoDarknessDislikeThe latest Star Trek movie wasn’t as monumentally stupid as the last one, but it was still pretty bad.

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Dec 15 2012

Cooking the Perfect Steak

A sous vide cooker allows you to cook a perfect steak every time. You can buy one in the stores, but I wanted to make my own.
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Aug 03 2012

Extinguishing Charcoal

I barbeque exclusively with charcoal. I used to have a Weber kettle grill, but we wanted something bigger and got a Blue Rhino Uniflame grill. It’s nice, but when you’re done grilling and close all the vents, it doesn’t smother the coals. There are just too many holes and gaps in the shell.

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Apr 17 2012

My Brother’s New Business

My brother Steve got tired of working in the computer business, so he opened an indoor playground with a difference – this one’s for babies and toddlers.

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Apr 08 2012

The Black Knight Development Platform

Cutting the Black Knight board

I wanted to switch to a microcontroller that I could program in C++, prototype with on a breadboard, had every peripheral I would ever need (including USB), would cost less than $10, and would keep working even after I hacked it to pieces. The result is the Black Knight board.

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