Madboy #82637

Member Since: September 15, 2009

Country: United States


with 2% tolerance, pi seconds is a nanocentury

  • Wow, that’s kind of sad. This is also why I got the cheap coffee maker with a switch and neon lamp instead of one with a bunch of buttons, not only because the extra $10 was good for buying coffee.

    I was just going through this kind of rant in my head this morning, due to an overpriced screensaver that likes to “crash” to desktop with an unhelpful error message about something wrong with the 3D engine and then sit there… not restarting because as far as Windows knew, it was still running. When I was asked to set it up to run constantly for public display, the first thing I did was say “NOOOooo it’s going to throw error messages on your screen and make your place part of an ongoing bad joke” but they insisted. The next thing I did was to insist on a laptop for power saving considerations, and I found an i3 on eBay that wasn’t entirely presentable, but cheap… it turned out to be an i5 because someone goofed, so that’s neat. Then I installed Tiny7 to avoid all the helpful things that Windows would otherwise try to do or send up on the screen, to have a nice bare minimum of background tasks, and to make reboots predictably and consistently fast. When it was all set up, I disabled the wifi and left the ethernet unplugged, just in case someone was clever and malicious enough to get in, they still wouldn’t be able to deface the “sign”. I hoped, I really expected that I prevented all the Error’d sort of failures. I made a little happy bubble where stuff would Just Work and it wasn’t enough, because the main event, the centerpiece, is a piece of junk.

    After it started “crashing” I installed AutoIt to run in the background, waiting for that message box in order to close it. Eventually the AutoIt scripts grew to include several other messages including the error reporting form which, again, was actually part of the screensaver program and so would block Windows from the core function, preventing screen burn. I also had to schedule the OS to reboot itself every night because occasionally the screensaver would stop animating– it actually freezes without crashing or even throwing an error and the background sound it makes just keeps on cheerfully playing. Clearly, this was not designed or tested to run for more than hours at a time.

    Anyway, I am happy about AutoIt and I had practically gotten over the whole mess when it came up with a new message, just recently after a power failure:

    Your settings file has been corrupted, starting with defaults [ OK ]

    No, it’s not OK. IMO, any screensaver that waits for user input, while not animating and with no timeout, is failing hard. So, in the infinite loop of the primary AutoIt script, I added a line that would overwrite the settings.txt file from a ‘master’ before launching the program. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    <tinfoilhat>Side note, IoT is a plot to make every mundane aspect of daily life susceptible to EMP</tinfoilhat>

  • Ah, sweet– the simple 32MHz discrete setup in this M1 is called Pierce. Thanks for the clue. I could wish it was as easy to find names for things from descriptions as it is to find descriptions from names, but now I don’t even have to hunt. +1 for oscillators because the differential pair sort of reminded me of Royer oscillators as in CCFL inverters.

  • It’s originally called IUID in the AT90USB646/647/1286/1287 datasheet. Normally it would be on pin 4 of the USB connector and pulled low by an OTG adapter so the USB subsystem could go into host mode, but only on the 647 or 1287 parts. I wonder why they didn’t provide a through hole for it since it’s still a digital IO pin… so I stole one. I cut the trace from the reset hole to the reset button and green-wired the pad to that trace so I could use the through-hole. (pic or it didn’t happen)

  • In Computer Class, the pink binary numbers shown on the projector equal ‘Barbie’ in ASCII. So far, that’s about the only thing I’ve seen that could be called accurate. I think I would really enjoy beating the nonsense out of this book in public but just the other day I saw a thing that said “don’t talk about what you hate, that’s boring. talk about what you love and shut up about everything else”. I decided they were right, so while I agree with you, I also agree with some of the detractors here on some points. IMO the lesson here is that this long after the controversial “Math class is tough” line in a talking doll, Barbie still can’t be trusted. I’m a 35yr male, so why do I even remember that? And as for what I love… Girl Genius. Far from educational, but hey– it doesn’t pretend.

  • This is the sort of thing I’d like to have and really like to participate in creating, much like this bucket. Hey, speaking of that– you like making kits, right? Well, right there is a mix of things that can be scrounged and things that have to be precision machined or bought– like the magnets. You could start with those then throw in so many pre-made axles, plenty of epoxy, some printed core templates with adhesive backing, and something like the solar charge controller plans included in their build manual.

    Though to be honest, pedalling interests me more than hydro. I ride a bike and when I got over the silliness of trying to put a decent motor on it using leftovers, I realized a generator would be easier to get working and more beneficial anyway– instead of charging some lithium off the wall in order to go faster or easier, I can charge some lithium off my own middle by getting more exercise.

  • It’s an input: (from “The Bleep Drum is available as a fully built device with a MIDI input. This allows you to trigger the four samples, toggle noise and reverse modes, as well as change the pitch of all four samples with any device that can send MIDI.” So it is a MIDI-controllable sound generator, and the samples are hard-coded into (and alterable by hacking) the firmware, according to

  • Sweet, I’ve been waiting for this. Sweet price tag, too. Thanks, and please don’t ever run out :) When I think of 18650, I think of splitting open useless laptop packs and harvesting those cells which are still moderately useful. They’re almost always this size.

  • Team RoHSey KiSS representin'

  • This will only hurt a lot.

  • Normal-Day-On-Planet-Earth Day, a.k.a. Operation N-DOPED, was a nearly unbearable strain… but at least the inspectors finally left.

No public wish lists :(