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To do for the Simple Z80 project... [Feb. 28th, 2014|12:07 pm]

For some reason I'm just not able to stop playing Skyrim long enough to do the following:

  1. Figure out what to do with the clock portion of the UART

  2. Finish schematic, mainly adding no-connects to various unused pins that can be left floating, tying to appropriate power rail

  3. Assign package types to all parts

  4. Run netlister and generator .brd file

  5. Layout PCB

  6. Generate artwork and drill files

  7. Inspect all that

  8. Upload it to OSHpark

  9. Order

  10. Wait a few days

  11. Throw components at board

  12. Solder everything to board

  13. Write a post reminding myself what needs to be done on the programming side of this project that looks awfully similar to this post.

  14. Eat a Choco Taco

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Time to mount some surfaces or something [Dec. 16th, 2013|03:31 pm]
2013-12-16 11.07.25I took PADS from start to finish during the trial but never bothered to do the same with OrCAD, even though I actually paid money for OrCAD.  Before I commit to soldering a difficult-to-replace 486 cpu to an expensive to manufacture pcb I figured it would be wise to do a few warm up projects.  I really wanted to dig into my surface mount resistor assortment, so went for the binary weighted resistor network 8 bit dac, to be used as a covox speech thing.  It is conveniently sized to fit in a DB25 shell, for obvious reasons.  It's not like that SMD resistor assortment was going to use itself.

I'm sure someone will ask, "Dude, why did you spend all that money on OrCAD when X is cheaper or Y is open source? because reasonsCollapse )OrCAD hits every single mark.  It's really no different than buying a nice dSLR for your photography hobby, when the low end point and shoot was available.

In related news, I also have a new oscilloscope.  The Rigol DS1104Z I ordered from Tequipment arrived Friday and I spent the weekend throwing things at my breadboards.  It's simply amazing compared to my analog scopes or the HP 54111D.  Then again, it is about 30 years newer than all of those.  Seriously.  Four channels, 100MHz, 1GS/s, 12M point memory standard, intensity graded display, 30,000 wfms/s, and under $750.
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I made a thing [Dec. 13th, 2013|01:33 am]
My new oscilloscope arrives tomorrow.  Needed something to throw at it, so I built an oscillator out of the various components I have sitting around.  Based on the old scope that works half the time, I succeeded.  Then I moved it from the breadboard to a piece of proto board, and screwed it up big time.  Unfortunately I didn't test it before I clipped all the leads.  I rewired it to the point that it sort of works, but the critical capacitor isn't really able to stretch where it needs to be and is sort of half-way surface mounted on a single sided board... on the side without copper...

Also, for some reason I thought it was a bright idea to solder in the 74HCT04 to the board rather than a socket.  Granted, there isn't much price difference between the socket and 7404, but still.  Pennies add up.
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Harry Potter and the, uh, I haven't actually read any of it [Sep. 13th, 2013|02:44 pm]
I decided to remedy that and purchased the ebook bundle.  Pottermore has all seven books available in DRM-free EPUB format, and it can be linked to one's Amazon account for Kindle users.
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Everyone should experience Iron Maiden live [Sep. 11th, 2013|11:57 pm]
Rob and I made it to to COTA, which is the home of the Austin360 amphitheater, a solid hour and a half before the show.  The line seemed long, but it was no more than 250 or so in front of us.  After the gates opened, we made it through rather quickly, and went to the entrance for the GA pit, and then found out we needed to get a wristband at this non-obvious tent.  This worked out for the best, as we ended up on the right side, and a much shorter line.  Except they were not ready to let anyone into the pit or any seating area, so we stood in line for a bit longer.  Eventually, we made it in.  We were about six feet from the stage, towards the right side.  This is exactly where I wanted to be, not for Maiden, but for Megadeth.  Chris Broderick is a joy to watch and that's his primary position.  Also, it's the ideal place for the end of the set when guitar picks, drumsticks and wristbands are tossed out.

Fred and Willie Gee, the guitar techs for Megadeth, made their appearance doing final checks, posting the set lists and such.  Someone in the audience asked Willie for a drink and he actually delivered.  That is one of the many reasons Megadeth's guitar techs have fans.

The show started on time, to the minute.  Megadeth was in top form, better than the Atlanta show in 2010.  David Ellefson is now properly reintegrated into the band.  In 2010, he had returned to Megadeth about five weeks before the show, and it showed.  Chris Broderick's stage presence has lost all hint of timidity.  He sweats confidence and beams with enthusiasm.  Sadly, he was on the opposite side of the stage for the solo during Tornado of Souls.  At least we had Dave Mustaine chugging away on the backing rhythm part in front of us.  Shawn was doing the thing that all metal drummers do... keeping the beat solid and true parked on his riser.  The only negative thing I can say about the performance is that it was too short.  It was right at 45 minutes, with 43 minutes of music.

I hate to admit it, but I don't regularly listen to Iron Maiden.  I know the wrong lyrics to the hooks of a few of their more popular songs, and that's it.  I definitely need to remedy that.

Iron Maiden blasted onto the stage at 9pm.  This is not an exaggeration.  Iron Maiden isn't a show.  Iron Maiden is a Show.  There were pyrotechnics, giant balls of flame, animatronics, distinct backdrops for each song, frequent costume changes for Bruce Dickinson, and more.  Janick Gers tended to stay on our side of the stage, as he prefers to be plugged in, rather than jumping around with a wireless set.  We had a great view when Bruce wrapped him in the Union Jack as he shredded away.

I would have thought that 45 minutes into the set, those old guys in their mid-fifties would tire, slowdown, and sort of loiter on stage.  It turns out the first half of the show is just a warm up.  Apparently they made some sort of demonic pact that allows them to thrive off the energy of the kids in the audience who were a third of their age.

If you were to take a hyperactive six-year-old and inject her with a mix of cocaine, meth, and pure sugar, the child would still have less than one percent of the energy of Bruce Dickinson.  This man that should be thinking about retiring to some beach side town will run from one end of the stage to the other, jumping over monitors, climbing the riser, and returning to stage center in a single song, all without missing a beat.  His microphone could cut out, and he would still be able to destroy your ears with his operatic wail.

To see this show I purchased a round trip flight for Austin and two tickets to the show at $100 a pop.  It was worth every penny.  If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't bring more friends to the show.  Seeing Iron Maiden live is something every single person should experience at least once.  I can't wait until the next tour!
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ZOMFG! I'm flying to Austin to see IRON MAIDEN tomorrow. [Sep. 8th, 2013|04:03 pm]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

After work I hop on a flight to Austin.  Tuesday, Megadeth and IRON MAIDEN.  Wednesday, eat food then fly home.
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What we talk about when we talk about pockets [Apr. 30th, 2013|02:41 pm]
Originally posted by kylecassidy at What we talk about when we talk about pockets
This post is about pockets, feminism, design, autonomy and common sense. Please feel free to repost or link to it if you know people who'd benefit from the discussion.

A few weeks ago trillian_stars and I were out somewhere and she asked "Oooh, can I get a cup of coffee?" and I thought "why are you asking me? You don't need permission." But what I discovered was that her clothes had no pockets, so she had no money with her.

Mens clothes have pockets. My swimsuits have pockets. All of them do, and it's not unusual, because, what if you're swimming in the ocean and you find a fist full of pirate booty in the surf? You need somewhere to put it. Men are used to carrying stuff in their pockets, you put money there, you put car keys there. With money and car keys come power and independence. You can buy stuff, you can leave. The idea of some women's clothes not having pockets is baffling, but it's worse than that -- it's patriarchal because it makes the assumption that women will either carry a handbag, or they'll rely on men around them for money and keys and such things. (I noticed this also when Neil & Amanda were figuring out where her stuff had to go because she had no pockets.) Where do women carry tampons? Amanda wondered, In their boyfriend's pockets, Neil concluded.

I then noticed that none of trillian_stars' running clothes had pockets. Any pockets. Which is (as they always say on "Parking Wars") ridikulus. Who leaves the house with nothing? (It's not a rhetorical question, I actually can't think of anybody).

We fixed some of this by getting this runners wrist wallet from Poutfits on Etsy -- it holds money, ID, keys ... the sort of stuff you'd need. Plus you can wipe your nose on it. It solves the running-wear problem, but not the bigger problem.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

The bigger problem is that people who design women's fashions are still designing pants and jackets that have no pockets. In fact, this jacket we got last December has ... no pockets. It's not a question of lines or shape, it's a question of autonomy.

Clickenzee to Embiggen

So I'm asking my friends who design women's clothes to consider putting pockets in them, they can be small, they can be out of the way, they can be inside the garment, but space enough to put ID, and cash and bus tokens. And maybe a phone. (And if you can design a surreptitious tampon stash, I'm sure Neil & Amanda & a lot of other people would appreciate it as well.)

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(no subject) [Apr. 25th, 2013|10:37 pm]
Etched my first board tonight. It was a complete failure. Not sure if the Sharpie ratshack includes with their "etch your own circuit board!" kit is special, or if modern Sharpies use a different formula, or I didn't lay down enough ink, but I suspect I'm probably to blame.  That being said, I did get some traces that weren't completely etched away.

And a quick bit of searching gives some things to try.
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Domino removed, back to Zimbra [Apr. 7th, 2013|12:43 am]
And now that I found a nice CalDAV and CardDAV sync mechanism for Android, I have Exchange-like awesomeness with none of the headaches, other than running Zimbra...
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Adventures with Team Bad Idea: Lotus Domino [Apr. 2nd, 2013|04:08 pm]
I'm working to kill off my Domino server this week. I never really thought it would be a good idea to run Lotus Domino/Notes for my personal mail setup, so of course I had to give it a try. To say there were quirks would be an understatement. The web-based interface to email will bomb out in odd ways, especially when using chrome. Various configuration options dealing with TCP/IP have graphics that are straight out of 1995, when The Internet! was the Way of the Future! Getting SSL working on the beast was a major adventure. I attempted to do a little minor development on the platform, but most of the tutorials were out of date. Developing web applications in RPG IV is more fun.

And remember kids, Lotus Domino & Notes are a NoSQL document store. NoSQL: The way of the 1980s and 1990s.
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