The Business

April 5, 2009 Comments off
This is by far the best ever.

This is by far the best thing ever. It is "The Business".

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Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Arduino Action

December 20, 2008 Comments off

Hi there. Today I finally got some time to sit down with my Arduino Duemilanove (and motor control shield) and have a good play. Firstly I hooked up the Duemilanove board and played with a few examples (mostly just flashing LED 13 a few different ways. I did want it to flash the beat to “Everybody Dance Now” but didn’t want to spend that much time!) then got onto the task of building the motor shield.

Thankfully the motor shield works perfectly. I was able to control the steering of my robo-car with a servo connected and able to drive the car forwards and backwards using a standard DC motor connected to one of the motor controller inputs.

After that, I dove into writing  a small test program or “sketch” in Arduino language to read the ultrasonic rangefinder I am placing on the front of the car. After an hour of tweaking I seemed to have succeeded.  The sketch I wrote reads the analog pin, averages the last three readings to keep the distance a little more stable, then converts the voltage reading into a cm value. The Arduino then pipes the results out the USB serial port. The setup and output can be seen below. If anyone is interested in the code, drop me a line.

Next step, interfacing the motor shield with RoboRealm! Should be easy.

Categories: Arduino, Robot

Hacking the Apple TV

December 10, 2008 Comments off

Just a quick post here. Mythbuntu on an Apple TV is awesome. I am amazed at just how well it runs. I guess it isn’t really that far fetched as the old 701 Eee would play back most things fine. HD channels look great too.

Having a little trouble with the IR receiver in it currently (I’m not too keen on having to recompile LIRC just to get it going). So for the time being I have a USB keyboard attached to it. 25 days since I set it up initially and so far, no lockups, video artifacts or issues of any kind. Really makes such a nice Myth frontend for only $329.

Hacking the Apple TV

Hacking the Apple TV

Categories: Hacking

HOWTO: Build a Parallel Port Interface Card

May 17, 2008 Comments off

So I have a hankering to get my computers to interact more with their environment (not in a Terminator kind of way, honest). I ordered a nice USB input/output interface today which should arrive next week. Being hugely impatient, I browsed the local DSE store and found a (soon to be extinct) parallel port interface card (more info here).

This bad boy has 10 analogue inputs, 2 analogue outputs and 8 digital outputs; quite a bit of jazz for $20. The only downside is the sample software is written in QBASIC (and included only in printout form!). After a little Googling I found a company who had written some nice basic C++ functions to read the inputs and write the outputs.

See the blank PCB and the finished product below (And no, the kit did not come with that nice little tidy box. I like to prepare by separating all major components out, resistors, capacitors, transistors/regulators, IC’s, connectors and other miscellaneous mechanical components then install them in that order. 🙂 )

Categories: How To

Extreme Folding (@Home)

May 7, 2008 Comments off

Had the opportunity to stress test a new server today. Pretty average specs apart from the dual quad-core Xeon’s. Booted up Ubuntu off a live cd so I would not disturb the Server 2k3 on there and downloaded the FAH v6 client.

Only problem though was I could not get it to run in SMP mode because I was running a 32-bit Ubuntu. No problems, I will just boot the 64-bit version. After booting the AMD64 cd, fah6 would not load; just giving an error from bash “file or folder cannot be found”. I had a quick play around but it seemed to be an issue with the 32-bit compatibility libraries (I file’d the executable and it said it was a 32-bit elf). Running out of time I simply made 8 directories and ran 8 copies of the program, changing the machine id for each instance

Check out the screenshot of the 8 terminal’s open running F@H and 8 cores running flat stick!

Edit: As you can see, that screenshot was taken just after the machine was booted. Once all the cores engaged and were left humming uninterrupted the load average sat at a nice 8.01.

Categories: General