Blinking LEDs with a 556 timer chip (beyond the basics)

This is not a how-to. I am learning in broad daylight how to do this. ¬†You are welcome to watch. Not sure how this will go but using Upverter to design this simple circuit seemed like one way to go about it. The goal is to use a 556 timer and a limited number of additional parts. Learning electronics and the tool both at the same time may be a mistake – I am aiming for a wonderful mistake ūüôā

Stock Bot to Arduino

The original StockBot was built on the Netduino platform. ¬†I’ve been working on the code for the Arduino platform and have now¬†assembled¬†working code. ¬†I can’t claim it is stable yet but it’s doing the job for now.

I am using the Ethernet Arduino.  As I explore a number of things all the time, I have also made a shield for the Arduino to see if this project could become a kit for others to build.  A little stuck on a source for Numitron tubes so I am trying to make the board generic enough to take a tube or a normal led display (still puzzling that through).

Let me clean up the code – I’ll take a hard look at it over the next month. ¬†Maybe after the skis hit the slopes in¬†Whistler¬†I’ll have something to post and walk¬†everyone¬†through. Early December if you don’t ski or board.

What’s StockBot – here’s the beginning post

Here are the prototype boards I had made.  They have a nasty bug but I learned something (and could fix it so all is good).

Project North Pole – “doe a dear”

So far all I have is a wish list on Sparkfun that will someday reflect the entire bundle of parts I plan to use. ¬†The object is to control 8 strings (or more) of lights as a simple display for the front yard around December or Late October (with the right music). ¬†I’ll need at least a year from now I imagine before I get anything running.


Your passwords sux!

I have facebooked that LastPass is the tool everyone needs to be using. ¬†I am not always clear as to why I select the tools that deserve your attention. ¬†Every week I get some news and security tidbits from the below podcasts. ¬†What I love about this particular source of information is that Steve Gibson provides ALL the details, dives deep and leaves no stones¬†unturned. ¬†I know this is the second post in a row about Steve’s stuff – but I really did get a Facebook message from a cousin today asking why he should trust LastPass with his passwords.

The short answer is that LastPass does not get your passwords (not exactly).  All that is sent to them is your encrypted stuff.

Most if not all of the password decryption runs in your browser Рbut it may look like it is on their site.  I am no longer 100% clear on this but myself I will have to re-listen to the first podcast below.

Lastpass and why you can trust it:
Text Audio

Lastpass and why you should use it:
Text Audio

There are some password recovery items the paranoid should look into and disable (but think, know, trust, what you are doing when you do so).

Always Swim Up

Knowledge is the reset button

This post is about how knowledge and research can change your life. ¬†A while back I made a simple internal pact with myself. ¬†If I hit 200 LB I’ll just stop eating. ¬†Funny thing is, that worked for three or more years. ¬†I should mention there was a prior limit set at 195 LB. ¬†Before that, I was not really watching. ¬†Weight gain was depressing and all, but not getting in the way as far as I could tell (my doctor had been saying otherwise, but it fell on deaf ears). ¬†When I started to mull over setting the limit to 205 LB I had to put my mental foot down and say no. ¬†At that point, it came to starve a few extra hours a week to force the 200 LB limit into remaining valid. ¬†That was probably going to be the rest of my days – fighting the 200 LB limit. ¬†In fact, I had already resigned to it.

Diets for me are transient. ¬†I’ll start on one once in awhile. ¬†Never with true intent. ¬†Never with passion. ¬†Never with any successes. ¬†Sure a few pounds at the start – yippie!

The 200 LB limit sat at the back of my brain taking up undeserved space while injecting the fear of getting set higher and higher over time.  I did not want another diet, I did not want to exercise a ton, I wanted to make sustainable healthy changes that put my weight on a downward slope, however slight, just point it down.

Then I learned something. ¬†In one hour. ¬†I was lead down the simple path of well-presented information to the knowledge that reset the way I look at everything. ¬†I’ve recently “let my weight drop” and put it on that downward slope. ¬†What a crazy sentence. It seems to imply I have control over the angle of the slope. ¬†I do. ¬†Today, for instance, I woke up to a 175 LB me. Nice!

What worked for me was simply adding quality knowledge about the human body to my brain. What is a protein, a fat, a carb, a sugar, a ketone?  What of these do I eat or process?  Knowing more about these; what simple changes can I make to effect the changes I have long desired?

It is difficult to find something that’s posted in/on the Internet without agenda.  I’ll try not to lie.  I want you to go out and learn how to learn.  How to filter the noise.  How to know when you don’t know.  I am not teaching these things, they are milestones on your way to finding the reset buttons in your life.

All I can share is what got me excited about learning to learn and to carve through the noise to find the pure notes of relevant research.

I listen to a security-related podcast every week. ¬†By Steve Gibson. ¬†Called ‚ÄúSecurity Now‚ÄĚ. ¬†If you are in IT or a geek like me you‚Äôll find it wonderful. ¬†Regardless, what happened out of the blue one day was; Steve did a health-related podcast about vitamin D. ¬†Why? ¬†I didn‚Äôt care, I got to listen to a very capable explainer explain all about vitamin D. ¬†He consistently applies significant time and energy to each topic he presents on the podcast, this health episode was no different. ¬†He even presented data he had collected from his own blood tests and experiments in sunbathing to collect vitamin D.

Fast forward a bit in time and there was another unexpected health-related podcast Рthis time Steve had been experimenting on himself as it pertained to diet.  As like any security related podcast he taught you the basics and built upon them (over two podcasts this time).  By the end, I knew I had started my next chapter in life.  I have since played the podcasts a few more times, bought and read two of the books Steve recommended, initiated simple changes in my daily food types, and lost 25 LB since May this year (4 months).  I have also since learned (as yet another chapter of life unfolds) that without quality data and research you are courting a mundane and manipulated life.

Question everything.  Question this blog post.  Research and return.  Question more.



Arduino IDE and Google Drive

Under the¬†heading¬†of “mental notes”:

The Arduino IDE has a setting for your sketch directory.  I have recently created a directory on my Google Drive and pointed the IDE to that directory.  Also in the Arduino directory, I have created /libraries (lower case, plural) and put there the class files and libraries I download.

Now on any MAC (or PC) I can edit, compile and test code and no longer need to haul around a USB drive with projects.  More importantly, I no longer have version splatter across the different machines РI am always working with the current versions.

To get the google drive as a native element of your MAC (or PC) you will need to download and install the Google Drive application.

New proposed TLD .pinkbunny

A new top-level domain (TLD) is being proposed to ¬†B’ecause’ I CAN as a safe¬†alternative to existing domain namespace. ¬†The “.pinkbunny” domain will¬†be aimed at those organizations requiring a high level of trust and¬†security of their websites, such as kids with pink bunnies, those who may have lost a pink bunny and other critical infrastructure sites that deal with pink bunnies.
The proposal is that organizations successfully registering a site¬†within the “.pinkbunny” domain space would need to undergo a thorough¬†background check and also adhere to a number of strict security¬†requirements such as photographic proof of said pink bunny and regular visits to the vet¬†for checkups to ensure no virus infections. ¬†Any sites not adhering to the security¬†policies would be disconnected. ¬†B(ecause) I CAN is currently reviewing¬†submissions for new TLDs and is expected to publish its results over the¬†coming weeks.

ThinkUp App has your back(up).

I have always¬†believed¬†in my notion that we live on the crest of (various) information waves. ¬†Anything that will save us from living¬†within a single distracted minute is a good thing. ¬†ThinkUp can backup the¬†social¬†network data that’s flowing backward off the waves and out of site as you surf towards the infinite shore. ¬†ThinkUp¬†analyzes¬†all the data it collects. ¬†ThinkUp gives you insights and information previously the domain of the social¬†networks¬†and not shared with you.

ThinkUp is (today) still a bit more geek-oriented than “click and go” user-friendly. ¬†For someone that cares about¬†their¬†data (analysis) and has an Amazon AWS account – very simple to install, run, and setup as the documentation is some of the best and most directly useful that I have ever read. ¬†AWS Get Started @ ThinkUp.

For me the best page to read was this one¬†about the¬†inspiration(s) for ThinkUP. ¬†I had no idea that even 3/4 of those companies/services existed. ¬†I found it a quick guide to the current ‘state of the web’ for the core ideas ThinkUp has formed around. ¬†I am glad to say I stand with ThinkUp as “the one” of these many I may be able to contribute to in the future.

Cut with LASER, TechShop an inventor’s gym

Stock bot needed a case.  Something blue and new.  I had a heck of a time learning 3D tools but a meetup friend helped me over the hump of simple box design.  Here is a picture of the resulting box for the Arduino Stock Bot project as it is so far.  Quite happy with the first ever attempt Рfits like a glove.


Lots of LEDS – now I get it!

This is the page that allowed me my “Eureka” moment on how to drive a large number of outputs from a very few number of pins. ¬†If you ever wished you could have 10 or a 100 more output pins – the¬†shift¬†register chips are ones to consider. ¬†I won’t blabber on just follow the link watch the video and you know where to start if it can be applied to your own effort.