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.

  • The gator:soil got a guide that proclaimed it was retired, and the other two got the same resuilt as the microphone...

  • I just looked at the gator:microphone page, and when I clicked on the "Hookup Guide" box I got a 404 (admittedly, a cute web page, but not what I was expecting...)

  • I happened to think that I should also mention this: If you're at all interested in Amateur Radio, there's a "national (and Canadian) event" coming up June 22-23 called "Field Day". (Briefly, we set up radios, often in public places such as parks or National Forests, and see how many other Hams we can contact in a specified 24-hour period.) Most clubs that participate eagerly welcome visitors. To find one in your area, the ARRL website has an area specifically about field day that includes a "locator". It's about the only time in the year that I actually get on the air and talk to other Hams, though I've been licensed for about 28 years.

  • One of the best resources for getting your license is the ARRL website. "ARRL" stands for "Amateur Radio Relay League" -- they're the "national" ham radio club. Their website can help you find classes to prep for the license exam, books to study if you don't want to do a class, and find an exam session once you're ready.

    Also, a good "source" for getting equipment inexpensively is a "hamfest" -- basically an Amateur Radio swap meet. Many hamfests have exam sessions, they always have people "tail gating" -- selling used equipment, and some attract commercial vendors. The ARRL website can help you find ones in your area.

  • Bummer...

    I certainly hope that the "Maker Faires" will continue in some form. They are critical to the future, by inspiring aspiring Makers who will develop the seeds of the (currently non-existant) technologies that will form the basis for the entire world economy in the second half of the current century.

    As an example, where would we be if Robert Goddard and Werner Von Braun wouldn't have been "Makers" roughly a century ago? No satellite communications, no GPS! Likely, we would not have home computers (let alone things like Arduinos and Raspberry Pis) because we wouldn't have had the critical need to miniturize electronics driven by the Apollo project.

  • Closest I ever came to actually serving on a jury was a couple of decades ago. Each person got a number, and I had a number around 70, and they got enough around 67. They said that the trial would last about a month, and it got lots of news coverage, and actually lasted about 3 months! (I think I could have gotten out of it because I have significant knowledge of DNA -- having studied my genetic bone ailment.)

    Anyway, thanks for the video, and by interesting coincidence, YouTube offered me something else I found interesting (on the Amateur Radio "FT8" mode), and then I watched another one after it! Both of which were valuable, and I wouldn't have seen them without yours, so thanks! ;-)

  • You're right that video conferencing with a projector is not just a gimmick. Last week I was in a room with a hookup with about 4 people here in Phoenix, one in Chicago, and one in Pennsylvania, where we were working on updating the group's Bylaws. The guy in Chicago had the document open in a word processor, and we could all see the document and changes he was making.

    I remember one time, about 30 years ago, when I ended up sitting next to the fax machine and we faxed a document back and forth several times with scribbled remarks on it. The video conference works a LOT better!

  • It's a neat project! However, I need to remind you that the starter motor is a HUGE inductor, and can generate tremendous spikes into the cars electrical system, especially at the moment is turned off. (I've heard the numbers of 70 to 80 volts, mesaured well away from the starter.). Any electronics that will be connected to the [so-called] 12V system during starting needs to be designed to handle this. (It's a major reason why "modern" cars turn off things like radios when the key is in the "start" position.)

    Also, from many years of dealing with two-way radios (including, but not limited to "ham" radios) in vehicles, it's best to put "fast acting" fuses on BOTH the positive and ground sides of the electronics. I've had to repair radios that were damaged by insufficient grounding of the starter motor and power finding a "ground path" that included the electronics.

    Off on another tangent, I really liked my 1981 VW DIesel pickup. One interesting tidbit was that there was a solenoid that drew, as I recall, 20mA, and when you moved the key from "run" to "off", turning off the power to that solenoid cut off fuel to the engine, causing it to stop running. Although I never got around to implementing it, I awlays thought it presented a good opportunity for a "security kill switch".

  • Thanks for the tutorial! Don't have time at the moment to read it in detail at the moment, (got back from a nearly 3 week "road trip" in the wee hours this morning) but did have time to glance through it, and also glance at the Home Assistant website, and was very pleased to find that they have support for both my old X-10 stuff and my iPhone (iOS), as well as DIY stuff (and LOTS of "off-the-shelf" stuff).

  • I think that a great addition (hint, hint) would be a board that has something like the ATtiny85 found on, for instance, the 12-button keypad, that we could use for "non-standard" things, like maybe a 4x4 16-button keypad, or talking to a 2x16 LCD display (my experience is OLEDs aren't readable in full sunlight, so not good, for instance, for a "gadget" to be used on your riding lawnmower). I, for one, don't mind using a soldering iron, but like the idea of being able to string together most of the stuff for a "proof-of-concept" without having to do a LOT of soldering.

No public wish lists :(