Member #134773

Member Since: May 19, 2010

Country: United States


I started playing with electronics in the mid-1960s, and with computers shortly after Neil Armstrong took “one small step”. I got a degree in CS in 1980, and started working then as an engineer.

  • With the caveat that I have not done this myself, from what I read, it should be possible to reprogram the SOC on the ESP8266 to do fairly simple tasks (i.e., those that don’t need many I/O pins) without need for another microcontroller. I’d expect it to be more difficult to do than, say, programming an Arduino, but for something like reporting a switch closure (or opening) (for instance, a door or window opening), or maybe talking to an I2C sensor, it could be pretty cost effective. I can also see having something like an Raspberry Pi talking to a whole flock of ESP8266s through a WiFi router, requesting (and interpreting) data from them.

  • I remember having casement windows when I was growing up in the 60s. I imagine I would have driven my mother batty if I’d automated them!

  • One thing that’s conspicuous by it’s absence is the bathroom – I can see a LOT of potential for IoT in this area, like “when’s the last time you brushed your teeth” and “tweet me when the rechargeable toothbrush has been off the charger for more than 10 minutes” (forgot to put it back!), measuring how much water you’re using, etc.

    And methinks it’s obvious that the coffee table offerings should include Make magazine and Nuts and Volts.

  • Hmm… this got me to read the Wikipedia entry on prothrombin time. It mumbles something about Medicare paying for the INR machine for folks with a mechanical heart valve (which I have). I’m not on Medicare, but will investigate seeing if my insurance will cover it. So, Nick, your post may have some unexpected benefits! Thanks!

  • My first comment: If you are actually having panic attacks, one word: Psychiatrist. These folks are MDs, and often know what to look for in the way of causes and/or triggers, and thy have several things in their “bag of tricks” to help you prevent, or at least deal with, the problems.

    Second comment: Although it is VERY doubtful an indicator in your case, there is another blood metric that has to be measured if you’re on certain meds (notably Coumadin [warfarin], which at one time was used as rat poison). That’s commonly referred to as “protime” or “prothrombin time” (aka INR) which measures how fast the blood clots. There are little gadgets available similar to the blood glucose tester to measure INR, but they cost $1200 for the little machine, and the strips run about $8 EACH (and they’re only good for one test!). Worse, they have a “shelf life” of only a few months. (I usually have to go in once a month for the test. It can also be done with hypodermic blood draw, but fortunately there’s a “clinic” locally that uses the “one drop” machine. If the strips were a buck a piece I might spring for the machine and check myself a few times a week. BTW, the little machine takes maybe 90 seconds to get a result – the blood draw method can take several hours or more, so virtually every ER has the machine, but we all know how much they charge!) A large part of the reason that glucose monitoring machines/strips are so cheap is that there are, unfortunately, a LOT of people who need them and need to use them multiple times a day, so there’s a lot of competition between manufacturers/suppliers.

  • If you look around, you can find “extension cables” for the cigar lighter. In my experience, most electric pumps for air mattresses have a cord of 10 or 12 feet. The extension cables are another 10 or 12 feet each, so one or two can get you a fair distance from the car. (Just make sure that the extension cables are heavy gauge, as you don’t want much resistance there.) Being an amateur radio operator, I have a radio “go box”, in which I’ve included several 10ga DC extensions (I use Anderson Powerpole connectors on all DC stuff). Included in my collection are both a cigar lighter plug and socket. The “go box” comes along whenever the air mattress does, and I’ve never had to use all of the cables I have to get from the car to either the air mattress or the Ham radio.

  • Regarding the radio, a nice thing about FM is listening to NPR. I’ve got both my car radio and my girlfriend’s car radio tuned to the local NPR station. She, however, is “allergic” to having a radio turned on. I spent the last few weeks with her (she lives on the east coast, and I live in the Southwest). Had this post come a month sooner, I’d’ve been tempted to build the radio shown in the video. (Yeah, I probably should have stopped into BigLots or Dollar General and bought a cheap pocket FM radio, but that doesn’t satisfy my urge to build something…)

    BTW, I remember when car radios only had AM…

  • Casey’s finally found a use for his jet engine: powering his laptop computer!

  • Yeah, but bubble wrap had a good long run…

  • I’m just a little surprised that the Intel-to-Pi adapter is the older 26 pin header rather than the current 40 pin header (for the Pi B+ and Pi 2 B, not to mention the Pi A+).

No public wish lists :(