Red Echo

May 30, 2010

May 29, 2010

John M. cooks Saturday night dinner at Mul-acres

New stairs at Mul-acres

The slope between the firepit and the storage shed area was starting to look slick and muddy, so we spent a couple hours cutting steps and reinforcing them with logs.

Melanie M. being adorable

May 26, 2010

Three big boxes of parts arrived today: switches, resistors, and battery holders for the path lanterns, which we’ll build at the workshop on June 2nd; a couple of boards onto which I will build the bloom light controllers; and a pair of big plastic bowls which will serve as diffusers for the bloom lights. Not enough here to start actually building yet, but it’s fun watching it come together.

I’ve had a cold for the past couple of days. It’s mild, but I’m going camping this weekend out on John & Holly’s property in eastern Washington, and I’m not enthused about the idea of camping while ill. Oh, well, I’ll just have to rest and drink a lot of tea and hope for the best.

May 22, 2010

The Swinger is a little Python app that time-stretches an existing recording, adding shuffle to its rhythm. With examples: “Money for Nothing” and “Enter Sandman” are particularly awesome with a swing beat.

May 19, 2010

While browsing through Value Village’s collection of wall-warts looking for another 9V power supply, I happened to spot a Palm Portable Keyboard with a $5 sticker. Having randomly run across a description of the interface pins a few days before, I wasted no time snapping it up. It’s a great little unit: a full-size QWERTY layout, plus arrow keys and a handful of special-purpose function keys, and it folds up Transformer-style into its own little 3 1/2″ x 5″ carrying case. Now, what to do with it?

May 17, 2010

I’ve decided to run a little workshop evening for the LED lanterns. I’ll describe the circuit, explain how to extend it for other projects, then show how to assemble the device. We’ll build a few of them; I’m not sure how many we’ll make but I am guessing each person will be able to build a couple. This will be held on June 2nd. Location to be determined based on the number of responses. Let me know if you are interested in attending.

May 15, 2010

Control panel layout for master clock

This is the beginning of the steadyrocker, an automatically resynchronizing MIDI master clock device I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. User interface is crucial for a performance tool like this, so I have been playing with different arrangements of parts trying to get something that feels right.

May 14, 2010

Sunset in West Seattle

May 10, 2010

This is a colorful little lantern I made this evening out of spare parts and a tupperware container. Food-storage containers make great project boxes: they’re cheap, translucent, waterproof, and available in a variety of sizes. I wanted it to put out a warm, cheerful light, so I balanced two blue LEDs with three each in red, yellow, and pink. I’ll make a few more of these; they’ll be path lighting for Barry & Maja’s weekend camping trip / music festival / wedding later this summer.

Instructable: how to assemble your own Arduino-compatible microcontroller board. It’s generally worth it to me to spend an extra $11 on one of Sparkfun’s Arduino Pro boards, but this is a really well laid out tutorial, and maybe I’ll want to build a whole lot of really cheap microcontroller-driven devices some day….

How to make round bacon, using a scary-sounding substance called transglutaminase, aka “meat glue.” With pictures.

May 5, 2010

More percussion circuits: these are nice and simple, and it looks like they will run on 9V, too.

May 4, 2010

96-volt electric motorcycle conversion

Instructable about converting an ’82 Yamaha to run on electric power. 70 mph, 15-20 mile range, six moving parts including wheels.

May 2, 2010

Assembling first walkie-textie prototype

This pile of Sparkfun breakout boards is becoming a two-way messaging device. It will have a miniature QWERTY button pad below the screen (as soon as the buttons arrive!).