5 Dec 2014

Doctor Who review: Death In Heaven

So we've come to the finale of Series 8, and Peter Capaldi's first season as the Doctor. And overall I'd say he's been very good even in the face a of a few weak scripts.

Unfortunately he won't be able to save this incoherent mess of a finale.  There are just so many thinks not to like about Death in Heaven.

Spoilers ahead! You've been warned...

12 Nov 2014

Raspberry Pi A+ released. And it'll only cost you a $20.

That's right, yesterday Raspberry Pi unveiled the new Model A+ and it looks pretty cool, and ridiculously inexpensive.

29 Oct 2014

Resistance is Futile! Borg Halloween Costume

A project that started 3 months ago is finally finished!  After last year's successful Weeping Angel costume, my oldest daughter turned her attention to our other favourite show: Star Trek!  After a viewing of the classic episode Best of Both Worlds she already figured 2014's costume: the fearsome and relentless Borg.

The wheels started turning right away of how to pull it off and make it look great.  I experimented with a few 555 timers and some LEDs and that was pretty cool.  But then I discovered NeoPixels and deeper and deeper I went. The whole thing evolved into something more elaborate that involved Arduino based microcontrollers, namely a Gemma and a Trinket.  We both put a lot of work into it, but great results we had at the end.  Read on for the finished product!

23 Oct 2014

Halloween Costume Sneak Peek

A sneak peek at my daughter's Halloween costume. The 2014 edition is a major production.

Resistance is futile.
Nearly done.  A full look to follow.

17 Oct 2014

Weeping Angel Halloween Costume

Halloween isn't far away so I'm sharing some photos and info about last years' edition of my daughter's costume.

Being the big fans of Doctor Who that we are, my daughter asked last year to be one of the shows' most infamous and terrifying villains: The Weeping Angels.  For uninitiated, they were introduced during the Series 3 episode "Blink", which became an instant classic. When observed they are nothing more than stone statues. But if you look away, or even blink, they become very much alive.

It turned out really nice so I'm sharing some info on how we put it together.

9 Oct 2014

Using a Trinket with a turntable? Okay.

So I received one of these at the office to install:

That's right, vinyl! Back? Never gone. Our '80s era Technics (or rather the PSUs and pre-amps) are showing their age and we wanted to bring something current. The Stanton ST.150 Turntable is a nice one too. Really powerful motor, heavy base, tons of features.

 It's getting lots of love from professional DJs, but in the radio broadcast world there are two problems. One, the outputs are either consumer level unbalanced out or SPIDF digital. I avoid line level converters wherever I can and on the digital side it's AES/EBU.  This is easy enough to fix with a SPDIF to AES adaptor.

The other, bigger problem is it has no remote logic, which is something we really need to start and stop the turntable from a button press on the console.

So I'm going to void some warranties and add some basic start/stop logic using a Adafruit's awesome and tiny Trinket microcontroller.

Ok. Let's do it.

Ok, I'm finally going to start posting things, instead of letting this blog languish. I've knocked out all the old inane crap and I'm starting over with with NEW inane crap! Stay tuned.