Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thursday, June 16, 2011
So what's the problem?
- I find that I never read books on it. There are so many other cool things to distract you. I'll find myself doing email or flipping through Flipboard, perhaps for an hour, and never getting into my books. I realize that's my fault, but I don't have that issue on a Kindle.
- You can't do recreational programming on it. So I find myself sitting at a desk to do that, which is what I do all day at work. That's just wrong.
- My phone does everything the tablet will do - only on a smaller screen. And the phone goes everywhere I go, but the tablet sits in front of the TV.
- When I travel for work, I won't bring the tablet, because I am already lugging a laptop around. So once again my phone wins.
In the few days since I put down the pad, I find myself reading more, doing more recreational programming and learning, and using my phone to scan email again. It feels like I'm wasting less time. Is it just me?
Saturday, March 05, 2011
My son and I made these neat Claptrap robots from Borderlands using aluminum flashing and other assorted parts. Metal isn't the easiest thing to work with, but using my template we churned out four different claptraps. And, if you mess one up, you can just smash it up some more and use it as a casualty in the robolution!
- Tin snips
- 1" hole drill bit; smaller bits for holes for rivets
- Vise grips for sheetmetal beding
- Rivet tool
- Soldering iron and wet sponge
- Pliers and wire cutters
- Aluminum flashing
- Spray paint (three varieties)
- Wood to make 1.5" square pieces
- Wire coat hangers
- Alligator clips
- Screw-on caps for electrical boxes
- Wheels for furniture, etc. in a suitable size
- Create stencils from my template. (Be sure to download the full-size image.)
- Spray paint the aluminum flashing using the stencils (it helps to sand it first so the paint sticks better).
- Snip out the shape of the claptrap (be sure to leave tabs on the sides to rivet it together!).
- Drill the hole for the "eye".
- Drill as many holes for rivets as possible while it's flat.
- Drill holes for the arms.
- Bend the metal into shape using the metal-bending vice grips.
- Rivet the sides (but not the top).
- Insert and screw on the eye.
- Cut a small block of wood to attach to the bottom.
- Bend the metal on the bottom to hold in the wood. Drill holes in the layout of the wheel's mount, through the metal and into the wood block. This will keep the wheel and bottom structure secure when attached. Be careful when doing this; it's tricky.
- Attach the wheel to the wood block, with the screws passing through holes in the bottom of the metal.
- Bend the coat hanger wire such that it goes through both holes and has a bend to keep the arms from flapping down.
- Rivet the top down.
- Solder alligator clips onto the wire (it helps to sand the coat hanger wire first because most of them having a coating).
Adding the AI required for it to stand on one wheel is an exercise left for the reader.
See my photo set for more pictures of the process!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Today computers are all around us - in our cars, phones, hospital equipment, weather monitoring, flight control, music and video systems, and of course web servers. Many people, like me, program them for a living. As a student, I was amazed to discover that over a century before all our electronic advances produced what we thought was the first computer, Ada Lovelace was programming a mechanical device not unlike a modern computer.
In honor of that achievement I'm putting my paper, The Philosophy of Babbage's Analytical Engine, online. The paper shows how the philosophy of operation of the Analytical Engine is similar to that of a modern computer, and also contains a nice quote from Ada Lovelace - who like Babbage was way ahead of her time. I hope the paper conveys the depth of understanding that would be required to program such a device.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
My out of warranty PS3 won't start up...so time for surgery! Not sure I can make it work, but it's fun to see what's inside. It seems like most of it is a heat sink. I am hoping the fiddling and cleaning will loosen things up enough. Supposedly you can heat the mainboard to fix any loose solder caused by overheating. We'll see how it goes.
I also took apart the Bluray drive enough to get the Little Big Planet disk out, but I neglected to get pictures of that. Some of the connectors are so small you need tweezers to take them off. Delicate work for sure.
Overall it's pretty well built - unfortunately these older models get really, really hot and it causes problems when the dust builds up, which is inevitable.