I was poking around the internet looking at various ways people made smooth-fading LED circuits and I came across the site of a guy who did something pretty creative that made me smile. Before I got too far, I wanted to mention that I saw a ton of plans involving fading LED intensity utilizing 555 timer ICs, but for my purposes an in-line (series) capacitor before the LED should do fine. Here’s the site which documents the project. Basically it’s a skull with red LED eyes which glow in response to hard drive activity. The capacitor makes the eyes fade in and out smoothly, as opposed to the jerky on/off flashing of standard hard drive activity LEDs. Video of the project result (.6MB XVID AVI) shows the effect. Very clever!

Additional Resources

I know this type of thing has probably been done countless times, but I’d like to provide my contribution to the world of Google Maps Anomalies. At the coordinates of 28.486942,-81.727869 I located an airplane flying over a lake in central Florida. The thing that impressed me was that the blades of the plane appear to be standing still. How fast was this image taken? This plane is moving well over a hundred miles an hour, but it’s crystal clear. You can almost make out the pilot too. How cool is that? If you want to try to see this plane yourself, go to google maps and just search for the coordinates I provided. Good luck!

Additional Resources

After several years of persistent writing on this website I was forced (by my undergraduate university’s difficult course loads) to stop adding to this blog – something I consider to be one of the most significant projects I’ve ever worked on, with brain-to-text recordings of my thoughts spanning almost a decade of time. After a few years of suspended writing, Google went from loving me (sending me thousands of pageviews daily) to forgetting about me (nothing. silence. nada.). Now that my thesis requirements have been completed, I’m trying to re-energize my writing in an attempt to document the projects I work on which, without this website, would likely be forever forgotten even by me. It appears that the burst of new writing has regained Google’s attention. Google for terms such as “data smoothing in python” and it favors my site. Google is slowly, but surely, re-indexing my pages and assigning them values of relevance which are approaching (but still a tiny fraction of) what they were before my hiatus. Here’s a chart from google’s analytics demonstrating an estimation of IP visits per day (visitors) and their locations. Do I have fans in South Africa? I didn’t know they had computers in South Africa! (I’m sorry if you are that person in South Africa, and were offended by that statement)

Additional Resources

I was poking around my digital camera’s SD card this morning and I stumbled upon a video I made a few weeks ago showing a little comparison between a rubber duck and a homemade 2m jpole antenna. Let me make a few things clear. When I built the jpole, I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I was doing. I’m not an antenna expert, I’m not a radio expert, I just get bored sometimes. The antenna has not been properly tuned. Yet, it works leagues better than my standard antennas. Even though its resonance properties leave much to be desired (untuned, remember?) I think its success has to do with its location. It’s on the balcony of my apartment, 3 stories in the air, and facing across Orlando (where most of the 2-meter repeaters are). The video itself isn’t that significant, but I wanted to post it so it doesn’t get forgotten.

Additional Resources

Two hours after getting home from work I’m already basking in the newfound carefreeness thanks to the successful completion of my thesis defense (and graduation requirements). Yesterday I went to skycract, early this morning I posted a schematic diagram of a basic circuit concept for a radio/microphone interface box with tone generating functions, and this afternoon I finished its assembly. It’s hacked together, I know, but it’s a PROTOTYPE and is for functional use only. What does it do? It’s complicated, and I described it in the previous entry. It’s basically just an exercise in microchip programming! Here are some photos…

Here’s that internal photo I promised I’d get posted yesterday…

Here’s the little setup with the main control unit and a DC to DC regulated power supply / serial microchip programmer I made.

Here’s the main control box. Notice the “2-way lighted switches” which I described in the previous entry (I posted the schematic). I found that proper grounding (floating pin prevention) was critical to their proper function. I’m still new to these chips, so I’m learning, but I’m making progress!

Getting a little artsy with my photographs now… this is the core of the device. It’s a picaxe 14m!

This is a ~? to 5v regulated power supply I built. The headphone adapter is for easy connection to the serial port. It has a power switch and a program/run switch (allowing use of pin 13, serial out) while still “connected” to the PC.

I wanted to toss this picture out there. I’ve slightly improved the connection between my radio’s coax cable to the ghettorigged jpole antenna I made.

I’m able to get relatively AMAZING results from this very unimpressive hack job, but it’s probably not likely to do much to my assembly skills (and lack of tuning), and more likely due to the fact that I have a beautiful unobstructed view of middle/southern Orlando from the 3rd story of my apartment balcony! I could probably wire up a rubber duck on a stick and get impressive results with that view! I’ll miss my reception when I move.

I just realized I didn’t post an image of the inside (complex wiring) of the device. Maybe later.