Red Echo

February 25, 2011

Computer Name List

Computer Namer is a big list of names people have chosen for their computers, with a little like/dislike popularity scheme. Flip through looking for ideas, or look at the top-10 lists for the best and worst.

Dependency Injection Demystified

This author basically had the same reaction to this idea of “dependency injection” that I did:

When I first heard about dependency injection, I thought, “Dependendiwhatsit?” and promptly forgot about it. When I finally took the time to figure out what people were talking about, I laughed. “That’s all it is?”

February 24, 2011

I spent a little while last night whacking together a simple web site for the new shop. There’s nothing much there yet, but it’s a start:

February 16, 2011

Ava and I have moved into our new home. We did most of the work in one big push on Sunday, with a lot of help from Erin and Shane. It was a solid day of hard labor and I’m still trying to catch up on rest.

Ava has been working hard getting everything sorted out. The bedroom and bathroom are all tidy, and the storage closet is full of neatly arranged shelves and stacks of bins. We have almost no living room furniture and the office is nothing but heaps of books and boxes, but it’s a good start. It feels happy and homey. Ava seems to be just about glowing with contentment.

The shop project is on the edge of success at last. We’ve collected the money, set up a business account, and signed the lease: now we are just waiting for the landlord’s EFT to go through so he can give us the keys. We should be able to start moving in on Saturday.

February 11, 2011

The Maple IDE is a fork of the Arduino IDE, designed to provide a similarly smooth development experience for LeafLabs‘ line of STM32-based development boards. While the Maple IDE can’t program the STM32 Discovery board directly, due to the STM32F100’s lack of a USB port, one user on the LeafLabs discussion forum has figured out how to use the Maple IDE to build programs for the discovery board which can then be uploaded using

February 10, 2011

Here’s a decent little Hello World for the STM32, including makefile.

As a musically inclined nerd in the ’80s, I once tried to play what I called the “Startup Song” on a piano: the sound of the floppy disk drive seeking from place to place as the ol’ Macintosh Plus started up made a distinctive and recognizable melody. This video goes much further: it is Bach’s Toccata in D minor performed on an organ made from four floppy-disk drives. The performer has rigged them up with a microcontroller and a MIDI interface so that the seek sound generates usable musical pitches.

February 8, 2011

Douglass Rushkoff is organizing a conference to be held this October with the aim of getting past the current hierarchical limitations of the Internet and developing something new, something decentralized, something subject to no central authority:

Lately, however, what’s wrong with the net has become quite crystalized for me. It started with the corporate-government banishment of Wikileaks last year, and reached a peak with Egypt shutting off its networks to stave off revolution. The Obama administration seeking the ability to do pretty much the same thing in the US, Facebook’s “sponsored stories,” and the pending loss of net neutrality don’t help, either.

Here on Shareable, and then again in an OpEd for, I suggested we “fork” the Internet – that we accept the fact that the net is built on a fundamentally hierarchical architecture, surrender it to the corporations who run it, and consider building something else for ourselves.

This “Contact” event sounds like it is designed to get together people who are interested in all the various peer-to-peer / mesh networking / open routing / open social-graph projects and see what kind of cross-pollination can come about. I might go to this.

How to build a Mac OS X-hosted GCC cross compiler for AVR or ARM architectures.

February 7, 2011

The landlord has finally finished drawing up the lease paperwork for the new shop space. I still have to go set up a bank account for the LLC and get various other paperwork signed, but it’s very close now. We should all be able to move in this weekend.

At the same time, Ava and I are moving out of Sunrise. We have rented a cute little two-bedroom apartment of our own, located in the same complex as the new shop space. It’s small but nice, with hardwood floors and classic trim. We’ve been living and working in one big room, which sounds nice in a sort of romantic bohemian way but hasn’t actually worked out that well. With the new arrangement, we’ll be able to separate the art mess from the rest of the living area, Ava will have a quiet private place for herself, and I’ll have lots of room to host work parties and tackle big messy projects of my own.

February 1, 2011

Research on the feasibility of ad-hoc 802.11 wireless mesh networks: it’s not encouraging.

We also show that the traffic pattern determines whether an ad hoc network’s per node capacity will scale to large networks. In partic- ular, we show that for total capacity to scale up with network size the average distance between source and destination nodes must remain small as the network grows. Non-local traffic patterns in which this average distance grows with the network size result in a rapid decrease of per node capacity. Thus the question “Are large ad hoc networks feasible?” reduces to a question about the likely locality of communication in such networks.