Archive for June, 2010

LED Coffee Clock. Java free!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Expanding on my bad pun titles and love of gadgetry comes the LED Coffee Clock – or IllyClock. Which I think is a horrific name. Alas, the thing is cool. And buildable! Check out the Instructables link. 6 Steps and you are up and running.

I am a fan. I think the twist knob interface is a neat touch and the display is retro enough but still maintains some cool elements with the LED screens. I’d only change the casing – something a little nicer that suits the build. Maybe a cookie jar? Or something with a bit more class.

Seems like a simple project and I am finding more and more of these that are based upon the Arduino chip. Currently I am still battling with my solar cars – I’ve developed a basic solar engine but it has no frame or structure – but the thing works (no wheels either…. hardly a car then).

apt-get install nerd-images;

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I stumbled upon the blog of a fellow called Nathan W Pyle while searching for some new t-shirts on the internet. One of Nathan’s latest images was picked up and featerd on Shirt.Woot – which in my opinion is one of the Internet highlights. Shirts are cheap and shipping is only $5. Downside; you can’t combine multiple shirts in to one order. Urg.

Check out Nathan’s site for more of his work – its worth a quick browse of this main page.


Saturday, June 26th, 2010

The last year or so I’ve been keeping a close eye on sites like Make (which I have a subscription to) and Instructables. Picking up on little projects and bits that catch my attention and imagination. Usually its the simple circuitry that grabs my eye as I’ve always wanted to get in on the fun. I recently picked up some electronics tools and parts and have been fiddling with some circuits on the net to develop a solar car. Not much progress as I’m still learning to solder – but its decent fun. Makershed is a good starting point if you want to pick up some easy projects – like Blubber Blimp.

But lately I’ve been keeping track of some DIY copter projects – there is some cool stuff here and I’d really like to get good enough to attempt one of these. The best part is – if you can get the hardware together (with the free plans) the firmware is all open source.

This Shrediquette TriCopter is probably at the more difficult end of the spectrum – but I like the idea of having a camera equipped Copter that can get decent altitude:

ArduIMU QuadCopter seems a little more on the realistic side – basic use of some IR sensors and a Sonar chip which have a pretty cool outcome – heaps of room for development as well:

Ahhhh well. More things to spend my time and money on! Atleast with these sorts of things there is a tangible outcome.

Now with easier gift buying!

Monday, June 21st, 2010

If you care to look at the left of this page under the heading ‘Pages‘ you will see ‘Book gift list’. This provides direct access to my Amazon Wishlist. Rather selfish of me huh? Initially I wasn’t going to comment on this but the experience has somewhat required it.

The purpose is simple – to provide an easy method for people to get ideas of what I like/want.. with the basic hope to help those looking for something I’m after or interested in. Ordinarily when people ask what I want I don’t have anything in my mind at the time so something random will come to the surface… which usually isn’t an accurate representation of what I want/need. Now its a lot simpler to maintain a list of books I’d like (if you wanted to buy me one….!).

It also comes with the perk of relatives being easily swayed to make purchases. So get buying folks!

Its funny the ease I’ve had in configuring this site…. wordpress does really make all the tools available and easy to use. Everything is delivered in a simple interface. Only three times now have I delved in to somewhat painful areas…

Firstly, I wasn’t happy with the order of the sidebar in a number of the themes I was testing. Sadly the interface doesn’t cater for changing these via a GUI and it presents differently for each theme. Luckily dropping down to the PHP/HTML level isn’t a problem for me and it was a basic task to use the wordpress theme editor to change the sidebar.php files.

Secondly, I wanted to have a easy method of backing up the entire setup (SQL DB and core files). Initially I thought this would require some FU on the terminal of the machine (well within my means) but I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of backup plugin options. I settled on an automated/simplistic plugin which still had some specific user options I could fiddle. 10 mins in all to set up and confirm as working…. including a feature to send me compressed backups via email. Too easy.

Thirdly, and what prompted this entry, was the creation of a link page to my amazon wishlist. There are a number of plugins related to this – almost all of which are no longer maintained/documented – meaning no current support for WordPress releases. Initially I breezed over AVH Amazon as I deemed it having too many features for my simple requirement. As time went on and many a failed attempts with other plugins I returned and installed AVH Amazon. Rather simple to use (though not confirmed as working on WordPress 3.0 – which I have now changed). I hit a few snags and decided I’d try my luck at the user support forums – much to my amazement there was a significant support framework for what is essentially a free plugin. Peter was quick to respond and responds well to users commenting on bugs/potential fixes. I’d recommend AVH Amazon to any WordPress user looking to integrate Amazon functionality on their site.

Don’t forget the start of this post though! Feel free to buy me a book (Judas Unchained would be nice as Pandoras Star was great).

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Many of you are probably rather similar to me and have no idea who Scott Pilgrim is. But don’t worry – this post comes with free education! Thats right. Education. Right here. Right now. Free.

Essentially – ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is a comic book series that has recently inspired a movie adaptation. If you are looking for more info – you are more than welcome to read that wiki page. But you don’t need to know much more.

Another comic adaptation you say? Yes, I do say. Watch this trailer…. no seriously watch it. Yes. I know. Its slow. But shit gets real about 25 seconds in.

I know. I agree. Pretty cool huh? I’m glad we both enjoyed that so much. Yes, I am also looking forward to its August 13 release. I’ll wait here while you go watch that trailer again.

Where was I? Thats right – there was another point to this. Imagine me – minding my own business. Prowling the internet like the coolest kid alive (thats right. Coolest. Prowling. That is what cool kids do) when I come across a game trailer. A game trailer you say? Yes, I do say! For this movie/comic adaptation? Yes! Aren’t we taking the questions too far? No.

So then this clip blew my fragile fucking little mind:

And hell yes I needed to swear. I kid you not. I am that excited by the look/feel of this game. That takes me straight back to duking it out in Double Dragon with my brother. Or that other game – that looks alsmost identicle to this game clip… but you know – it wasn’t a real game… just some multi-player flash thing with a heap of weapons that I can’t remember the name of. Yea, that one. So there it is. E3 2010 is on right now and the most exciting thing I have found relating to games is a retro turn back beat’em up platformer.

such a nerd.

update: there is a pretty decent site built around the movie – check it out. And yes? What you say? Another trailer that I haven’t embedded here! I KNOWS!

Oh who am I kidding – here I will embed it (and yes the SFX and sound track are decent):

LFS – first update!

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Does it count as an update if you haven’t done anything?

Turns out I needed a host system to build/configure the LFS machine. Turns out I had a linux host (Ubuntu Edgy) but the hardware is pretty ancient now 128M RAM – 700Mhz Celeron processor! Not good for this sort of thing. I couldn’t even update to the latest kernel and applications used to build the LFS machine.

I attempted an update to Lucid via CD but the combination of the ancient CD-ROM, slow RAM and HD kinda but an end to that.

So progress?

Gibson recommends!

Friday, June 4th, 2010

If you aren’t aware who William Gibson is – then this won’t mean much to you. What does he mean to me? Gibson was one of the first SciFi authors I read and kicked off a good stint of SciFi reading….

Neuromancer, Burning Chrome, Mona Lisa Overdrive… and so on. I haven’t really enjoyed his latest – Spook Country, Pattern Recognition – I felt they shifted away from the ‘cyberpunk’ genre and didn’t really hit me with enough SciFi. If you haven’t read any of these get reading Burning Chrome.

Gibson has written up a quick list of books he recommends and its a pretty interesting list. I haven’t read any of them so its given me a few additions to the pending list.

Currently devouring another Peter F Hamilton – Pandora’s Star – which I think has all but cemented him as my favourite author!

My child will be a nerd – BUT THE COOLEST NERD!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Champion of the nerds? Where does that mean he/she will stand on the normal social ladder? Do wedgies still apply to someone considered nerd king – or ‘nerd herder’? Do people even give wedgies anymore? Did people EVER give wedgies?

I’m drifting off topic here. Essentially, I’ve resided to the fact that as an adult there are some clothes/accessories I simply cannot wear or own. Such is life. Instead of sulk – I shall push these items on to my child! Force them to endure the adoration from a gazillion women.

What item could make my child king of the underclass? (or over class depending on how you see the world!)


Thats right. I kid you not. A Ghostbusters backback. And yes, before you ask, the gun section does detach and is full of ectoplasm goodness.

Would it be too much to find some shoes shaped like Ghostbusters ghost traps? Probably yes.