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S1axter's Tech Log of Crazy Stuff s1axter

Circuits, electronics, hacks, software, firmware and anything else cool


Post image UPDATE: This was originally not posted on main but firewire thinks it should be, let me know is all custom written code. It's been custom for five years and believe me, I feel like I've done 5 years of development on it. Recently I've thought about running GI using Wordpress. This would take a lot of the burden off developing a robust, flexible blog management system and leave more time for building stuff and posting cool things. While I kinda want to switch over to wordpress I kinda feel like it is selling out.

The pros are Wordpress has a TON more features than GI has right now. Like categories, multiple user management, CORRECT CSS, standards valid, optimized for search engines, mod_rewrite for permalinks, RSS and ATOM feeds, dynamic sitemaps, very little code needed, etc, etc. Also, I'm not a graphical guy and Wordpress has some cool/professional styles.

However I fear using a third-party app is going to lock me in and not allow me to do some of the cool stuff I would like to have on the site.

I'm not sure, kinda on the fence here. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

$2 multi-touch PC interface

Post image This el-cheap-o multi-tiouch interface was posted today on HackedGadgets. It uses a plastic bag, blue dye and a web cam. The web cam is used to differentiate between normal blue color and the bright spots created when the top of the bag is deflected. This deflection is translate that to an X-Y coordinate on the screen.

It looks like the setup has to be used in bright sun light so the pressure on the bag will create a bright spot. Some LEDs on the edge of the bag might work, give it a try!

Very cool and interesting way to get a multi-touch interface for a PC.

Touchscreen iPod

Post image I checked Gismodo's live coverage of Apple's "The beat goes on" press conference a few times this morning. Looks like Apple now has a touchscreen iPod. I think this is more like an neutered iPhone since it looks and works like an iPhone minus the calling features. Now I don't have an iPod (I don't like iTunes) but this iPod is really cool since not only do you have music and video, but you can browse the web with the built in Wifi and Safari (just like the iPhone, lol). Not too bad, now if they only had an expansion slot and the ability to connect up to A2DP headphones (maybe in the future) I would REALLY want one.

The pic on the right is from the press conference taken by the guys at Gismodo.

FPGA embedded development

Post image ran an article yesterday on building an embedded PowerPC embedded system using a Xilinx Vertex-4 FPGA development board. Sven Andersson is an ASIC designer who has a website dedicated to developing this FPGA based system. There are currently 42 parts in the on going development all laid out as a tutorial. If you are interested in FPGA and embedded applications I would take a look.


Original article:

3D Oscilloscope demo

Post image I didn't believe this the first time I saw it! Posted on Make today it's a video of some cool effects you can do with an oscilloscope, sound card and some cool programing. The audio is not what makes the figures but some slick coding.

From the Make post:

The oscilloscope is connected to PC soundcard and is in X/Y-mode, with right channel connected to X and left to Y input. Download its waveform from here to see it on your oscilloscope!

Very impressive!

Intel Itanium Desk

Post image What would yo do with hundreds of discarded CPUs? Why not make a nice looking desk top?

That's exactly what Matt Tovey did what a ton of Intel Itanium processors. The desk top has over 400 chips all polished up and placed under a layer of protective glass. Damn it would be cool to have this desk!

Matt's original site is down so check out the cache URL

Original Article:
Slashgear (my original source)

PIC assembly

Post image I've been playing with some assembly lately making some cool functions for a dev board I have. Not going to let the cat out of the bag too much but this is going towards a review of said dev board soon!

After I get the dev board review up I want to expand the site a little bit and open up registration and blogs it up to anyone who wants one. It's a bit of a gutsy move but I think people out there might want to post their stuff and show it off. It will take a while since a lot of the backend stuff is going to need to be updated to handle some new ideas I have.

I would like some feedback on who out there is interested in getting a blog here on GI or even just a personal page with some small file hosting (images and code mostly). Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Talking PIC based clock

Post image Quick video post.

This is a fun little project using a PIC 16F877A and a SP0256-017 speech chip chip. It's a clock that speaks the time in binary as well as show it on the display pulled from a microwave. Good use of scrounged parts.

Sorry, no other info on the circuit or code :-/

PIC project site

Post image Tonight I booted up MPLAB and started messing around with some assembly for my collection of PICs. While looking for some interesting ways to deal with character arrays I found this site:

It has a bunch of PIC projects dealing with LCDs, RS232 comm and even AT keyboard interfaces. Lots of code to look at if you are just starting PIC programming.

DIY PCB design tutorials

Post image After the pcb printer etch a few weeks ago I went looking for a good tutorial on PCB design. When you are working with a homebrew solution it's a little difficult to know how big a signal trace should be verses a power trace etc. I found some good resources around the net and realized i never posted them on GI!

This first tutorial is rather in-depth and covers a lot of stuff including industrial PCB making processes.

This Instructable is about using Eagle PCB with the printer toner transfer method. It even has a config file for trace, via and clearance values.

And for those wise in the ways of printer toner PCBs, try using a key to make double sided boards!

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