So I’m sure anyone who’s ever tried to make their own arduino shield has been infuriated by the odd pin spacing on the Arduino Uno. Especially if you try and do it with matrix/stripboard. I figured it’d be easy enough and I could just bend the pins on each shield to make it fit, but after about an hour trying to do this I realised it was a silly idea. There’s also the fact that shields block the reset button and all the LEDs (unless you look at a funny angle).
Introducing the Sensible Shield – it’s basically just a chunk of stripboard with thru-headers and the pins bent to fit, but on /this/ board the headers are in Sensible places. So by stacking this in between the Arduino and other homemade shields, the other shields can have Sensible pin spacing. There’re the other added bonus that a cleverly placed secondary reset button means it’s accessible with other shields on, and the lack of any components whatsoever means all clearance issues are basically eliminated. So from now on making shields is quick (No need to etch/buy PCBs), cheap (You just need a small chunk of stripboard and some standard pin headers, no need to buy the proper long bendable ones, so a shield can be made for under a quid easily).
Pictures at http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dwt27/arduino/sensible_shield and http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dwt27/arduino/xy_shield (the latter is another simple shield with a dual 8bit SPI DAC and a couple of pots, used for controlling an XY oscilloscope and doing various things with the display, including an analog clock and pong clone).
It seems the tradition has become that I only update this when changing distro or operating system. Unfortunately this has not happened in a while (I’m still very happy with opensuse and the occasional boot into vista), so I’m just ranting.
Firstly, an amusement – my laptop, like many spangly new ones, has an accelerometer to save the harddisk if I drop it. Funky linux drivers allow harnessing this as a joystick for amusement. Mplayer, for some godforsaken reason decided to implement joystick controls (Admittedly probably quite good with a gamepad). The end result – knocking or tilting my laptop controls mplayer. This could be amazing if it worked well (Taps to change tracks and pause, etc.) but the end result is that if I give my laptop the slightest tap it randomly skips through the current track, and as mplayer uses the joystick controls as a modifier, it often completely ceases responding to keyboard commands (Yes, I use mplayer rather than gmplayer or vlc or whatever. Yes, I love the commandline. Etc.) At some point I will get around to somehow destroying/disabling the kernel driver that talks to the accelerometer (I can’t figure out how to turn off the joystick in mplayer, and kernel hacking is far less daunting than the mplayer man page), but until then I thought I would share this amusement with the rest of the world.
In other news, I am being made very happy by geeky references, tea and cooking, somewhat less happy by Cambridge exams, and far less poor by Sainsbury’s rather cheap easy-cook rice (Although I am still baffled by the fact that a one kilo bag costs *more* per mass of rice than a half-kilo bag. Is it only me who expects a discount for buying more?)
Tata! The Mysterious El Cilliano
Edit: sudo modprobe -r hp_accel
So… A few updates are in order, I believe:
I’m now running opensuse, at least part time (Vista was having issues where the harddisk would chunk out for several minutes at a time. No idea)
I am, at least for a month, back in the countryside with the cows and the donkeys and the sheep poo.
I’ve started watching the X-files. Although somewhat cringeworthy, it’s not at all bad. In addition, me starting watching the X-files this easter holiday is my excuse-in-advance for failing my Tripos exams in about 2 months.
(To be honest, it’s always awkward when you show somebody “Look, I has a blog, I’s on google” but the last post was months ago.)
And so now I’m going to go and do some shopping and make a cake, thus further putting off structural mechanics. Have a nice day.
A while back, I decided it would be a good idea to dual boot my laptop with gentoo and vista. All went fairly well, never used linux much, because rebooting’s a pain.
I was bored a minute ago, and wondered if I could make the same linux install work in a virtualbox VM. A bit of fiddling and a google, and I had it booting. Added one network driver and the install now works flawlessly in both VM and natively. Cool beans
I am pondering a way to make it automatically boot / timeout into linux when being booted inside the VM, whereas it defaults to vista natively. I really doubt GRUB can detect virtualbox.
My current plan is to make a CD or floppy image which will boot the linux partition, and put that as the boot device for the VM in virtualbox. I’m thinking this would work, and I bet I can do it, but it seems a bit ugly.
Anybody else have an elegant hack? Anybody else ever done what I’m doing? It seems like a pretty useful thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before.
I just got a captcha on slashdot, for “Repealing”, to which I don’t have a clue as to the meaning. I then had an idea: Combine captchas (Have I spelt that right?) and a word a day calendar. If you get the word right, it tells you what it means.
So, there I was, happily enjoying my shiiny new vista laptop.
Well, not so much. I’m starting to remember why I dislike windows – I’ve had the odd BSOD (About 3-4 so far, though, not too bad). But worse than that are the random slowdowns that I have now traced back to something to do with the SATA / harddisks. But I don’t actually have a clue what it is, or how to find out. Oh, and bootup takes *ages*
I had an odd moment earlier. I wanted to watch some things on 4OD, and was poking around it’s website. My heart sank when I read about how I just had to download and install a small application. Zero chance of a linux version, and wine probably wouldn’t work…… Wait…….oh. I still have similar moments regularly.
Finally, I have discovered god in the form of two programs. WinFF – Why did nobody tell me about this little piece of heaven? And windows movie maker – the *only* flaw I can point out in it is the lack of a “reverse” video effect. Apart from that, it is truly perfect for me cutting together clips of friends pratting about to funny music.
(PS: To any people with any interest in tuxcast who might read this, it is not actually dead… There hasn’t been any active development because it does everything I want it to and that it is designed to pretty much perfectly on all the systems I’ve thrown it at. If it is failing miserably at a particular distro/arch, or doesn’t do something it’s designed to, give me a poke, I’ll probably be able to find time to fix it. I just don’t have time for slogging away at mostly useless “Ooh shiny” features which I, nor anybody else, will ever use. So long as tuxcast keeps doing what it’s designed to do, I’m not going to prod it, but I’d rather it didn’t die completely (I.e. not work on any reasonably new setup). If anybody wants to help out, that’s also welcome, bearing in mind that what many people might see as a limitation, I consider a feature (Lack of GUI, for example). And bugfixes are especially welcome).
Tata for now.
(Brief update, I *probably* won’t be able to make this year’s lugradio live as it is in term time of both the unis I have applied to. So, if I do turn up, you know I utterly screwed up the modules I have in a few days, and nobody wanted to take me out of pity. I will be welcoming a minimum wage job as a cable monkey )
Well, this is an unexpected turn of events. My last post detailed how I wasn’t so keen on gentoo anymore and my next main OS would probably be ubuntu.
Well, things have changed.
I’ve just got a shiny new amazing laptop, which came, to my disgust, preloaded with vista. But I’ve actually been quite liking it. I’ve not had /that/ much of a problem with a lot of the things people seem to moan about – No crashing/sluggishness (Although I haven’t had it for long. Fingers crossed). The only things I can complain about are moving a lot of stuff around for no real reason (And that probably just takes some getting used to) and the resorce hogging (I seem to have 2 gigs of RAM in use 24/7. But that’s ok, ’cause I have another 2 gigs spare ).
So for now, I am actually quite happy with vista. I expect I’ll try some sort of linux on here at some point, but right now I’ve really not got much inclination to. And I consider it a good thing that I’m happy to use windows when it seems the best thing for the job – I’m not going to mindlessly reject it on principles and suffer with something worse for the sake of it.
*sigh*. I thought it might come to this, sooner or later.
I am starting to have a lot less time around me than I would like, and my computer habits are changing. I’m finally starting to spend more time doing things with the computer than to it. I’m starting to long to be able to apt-get install things, rather than fix configuration files and wait for it to compile.
In short, I think next time I get around to reinstalling for some reason, I’m going with ubuntu (I would change over sooner, but that’s *far* too much work right now…)
(And before all you people, the ones who laughed at me for using gentoo, say “Ha-ha”, I *was* right all along. I never said you should use gentoo, nor that I always would, I just felt it was fun and appropriate at the time. And heck, knowing me, I will still run it on my tinkering box for when I do get some free time).
Well, several melted microchips, a burnt finger, a bunch of messing about with a multimeter and a lot of googling later, I have a question…
Why did nobody tell me that you need a resistor on the base on a transistor to prevent rather large amounts of current flowing.
Oh well, I guess I’ve learned something for next time – PICs don’t like having 200mA or so pulled through their pins.