Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Home Network.

So, my house is slowly becoming mine.  This place is pretty good.  But.. yaknow.. a geek like me needs some hardware to back himself up. 

Since this is "my" house, and I get to do what I want.  I decided I needed a decent home network.  I'm not going to go crazy like some of my friends, and former coworkers who have full on ISP grade networks in their house.  Which while impressive, and drool worthy, just aren't what I need. 

Here's what I've arranged for myself.  I have a good Wi-Fi router, a 5 port Gigabit Switch, a PogoPlug, (for now) a 1.5Tb drive, and a 20meg internet connection courtesy of Comcast. 

The D-Link DIR-632 has a built in 8 port 10/100 hub on top of the WAN interface.  Which is nice.  And I could have forgone the Gigabit switch.  But there's something silly about having a media sharing network in your house and not getting as much bandwidth as you can.

Cutting to the chase, a couple years ago I read about this wonderful little device, called the Pogoplug.  A bit of incredible bit of industrial design that's backed up with a moderately powerfully linux computer and a nice little cloud offering by Pogoplug.  Obviously, visit them when you can. 

As an aside.  I think this is where I first learned about them.  Gizmodo Article about the PogoPlug

Since I am paying for my own power now, I figured going low power would be to my advantage.  And while running a server is cool... running a cool server is cooler.  (Sorta reminds me of Zod..   That reminds me, I need to do an article about my webserver.) The PogoPlug was going to be just that.  I bought it with the idea that it would be ready, straight out of the box to do my bidding.  Sadly, it doesn't do everything I hoped.   Heck my $15 Chinese network enabled USB device did more.  But, this is an open device, so.. I can make things happen. 

From the PogoPlug website, you can get yourself a login to your pogoplug.  Root access!  Got that, you get root ssh access!  So, I followed this tutorial on how to install other packages:  Which was a good start.  Now my big goal was to be able to mount drives directly on windows boxes. 

Step, the next, was to install samba.  Oh look, a tutorial on installing samba! 

And right out of the box, it worked.  Well.. "right out of modding box." 

I think I like it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The latest addition to the Paintgun Stable

Well, there we go.  I bought something smart parts.  This is the Epiphany.  It's a factory upgraded Ion.  So far I like it.

What makes it different from an Ion?

First, it runs at a higher pressure, so there's less dropoff, and higher efficiency.  From the factory they came with spacers to fill the valve chamber to keep the pressure up at lower velocities.  Sadly, the PO didn't give me those with this gun.

Speaking of air delivery, the factory ASA is an on/off one. 

Third, the body is a magnesium alloy, as is the reg cover.  The blue bits are all rubber.  It's quite a classy setup.

The gun also comes with a freak barrel, including a .693 spacer.  That's quite a bit over an ION. 

And finally it comes with the ultralight bolt.  So the gun basically doesn't kick. 

It needs a new board, a cocker threaded breech, and a QEV.  So far I'm happy with it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

When you're bored and in traffic....

I drove the full hour from work to Living Legends wearing this.  I got some quite funny looks from other drivers. 

That night were the free pump games sponsored by CCM.  I played "back player" with a pump gun.  Not just "a pump gun."  But a stock class pump gun.

After three games I had 90 rounds left, and half my air.

Oh... and while we're at it.  Here's my phantom.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moving, forward, if not actually in.

This is an empty storage unit.  It used to contain approximately one two bedroom apartments worth of stuff. We need to thank my sister for suprvising the crew that did the moving.  Thank you!

As of today, my house actually is saving me money.  The cost of this storage unit is 1/4 of the mortgage payment.  The only thing left here is to clean it out, and sign the papers saying "we don't need this anymore."  It's all now in the garage, and I can move it in as I please.

Also on the house side of things.  The electrical work is done.  That means my garage has lights.  The switches in the house all work right.  And all the light fixtures work.  Say the least, I am pleased. 

On the not so bright side, I"m slowly discovering that the FHA 203k home inspection was massively incomplete.  In this case it's: SUPRISE, your heater will kill you. 

Really Old Paint

So... digging through the storage unit, I found a box with paint in it.  This is paint left over from when I was playing tourny ball.  Something tells me that means this paint might be six years old. 

I am quite sure draxxus doesn't exist anymore.  The paint isn't exactly round.  And the processing oil seems to have sucked the red dye out of the shells, so there was a wet red oil on everything.  None of the paint was broken though!  So, unlike the other bag of paint I found in the storage unit, I decided I could save this. 

Paper towels work wonders.  If a ball "just" broke in a bag, you can roll paint around in a towel too to get the paint off of it.  As long as you're quick, the paint will be ok.  In this case, I'm years late to be quick about it.  But all I want is paint to shoot in the back yard to figure out why my promaster is chopping paint!  That said, it chopped some of this, along with the stuff from Living Legends.

The paint looked pretty good after cleaning the stained oil off of it.  The paint isn't even the lumpiest stuff I've shot.  (that award goes to some brass eagle stuff from the first celebrity paintball event.  That stuff was like shooting dice)

Ten minutes of effort, and sixteen paper towels later I'm left with this:

The stuff that was in the bag previously, I wouldn't have fed through my worst hopper.  This stuff, is just fine.  I shot about 300 rounds today.

Somehow, I still have roughly half of case on hand.  All RPS now. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cheap EFI for steady, or near steady state engines. (Read: Airplanes)

Something else to think about.  EFI is a beautiful thing.  And that page suggests a method to keep an engine running if the EFI dies.  I like it.  I think it would be better than trying to run some sort of ghetto rigged carb, and would provide individual cylinder leaning.

Mmmm fuel economy, and power.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thinking About Propellers

So I keep thinking about propellers. 

Propellers are pretty wrong. (your average one, that is.)  This article goes into it with good depth. 

Tonight I broke out the spreadsheet and started trying to replicate the math.  In large part because Paul Lipps died, and his son is now working on drones, instead of the recreational aviation market. 

So starting with the most obvious, I started with this statement: Your available lift goes up with the square of speed.  And wing lift is also a linear relationship to area. 

I calculated the speed of the propeller at every 2" along the radius.  But that's only good for when you're not going anywhere.  As your forward speed goes up, you're adding to the perceived airspeed of the propeller blades.  This has some really funny effects on blade chord. 

With a 64" propeller, and an 8" hub, you'd need a 64 times more chord to provide equal lift! But as airspeed goes up, that ratio drops off rapidly.  The slower the prop speed, the faster that ratio drops.  At 100mph, and 3000rpm, that ratio drops to 22 times.  (for giggles, at 400mph, it's only 3:1, but the tip speeds are at a freaky 697mph)

While typing this I figured out that I am forgetting something.  Swept area.  All of the math I have done (or, in this case, OpenOffice Calc has done..) only tells me how to produce the same lift across the blade.  This would produce a lift profile like that of a constant chord wing. 

I need to think about how to compensate for that, if it's even worth compensating for.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I did my first welds tonight.  I can now use the metal squirt gun!  I ran about 10" of beads tonight.  More comes later.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Buying a house.

Buying a house is hard.  Very hard.  The people involved don't reliably tell you what you need, they don't reliably respond.  And they love to spring things on you at the last minute. 

I'm debating writing the story of my buying a house.  But I think it would come out rather nasty and mean. 

So...  I now own a house.  :-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fat and slow. And here's my guage.

Oh Strava, how you pain me.  This time last year I was putting out 123 watts.  This year?  110.  Ow.

This is my "climbing" loop.  It includes two overpasses.  It's pretty painfull.

I have a time trail loop I'll post later.  Which just so happens to include another strava segment.  That I was not slowest on!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Cubists Interpretation of the Blinky LED - 4x4x4 LED cube

A few weeks ago, Loclhst suggested he wanted to make a LED cube.  After a little research, I came upon this instructable:  

Localhst and I finally managed to scrounge some time up, and we met at PumpingStation:One for a bit of a hack session.  We made some jigs, and started soldering.  

This is James using my jig to make his own LED cube:

Here's a little bit of Loclhsts handywork.  He's really picking up this soldering thing.

Here are two of my LED layers.  It was about this time that I figured out that I'd need to have some method for bending over the LED legs.

And here's all the LEDs built up into a "cube".  It's more like a big parallelogram.  But who's counting.  ... and get that protractor away from my CUBE.

The legs that stick out the side are the ground pins.  Those let us address each layer seperately.
 Nothing like building a wiring harness at 12:30 at night.  And doing it neatly.  And cleanly.  There's heatshrink tubing and everything!

This was testing the first layer.  You can actually see the arduino board in this shot.  Once it's fully hooked up, there's 20 IO pins in use.

Lets play find the Duemenilove!  It's in there.. I swear!

Localhst didn't finish his.  But he did make a 12v regulated power supply for a soldering ventilation solution.  Ideapdish also gave me the parts to build a box to put my led cube in.  I'm excited to assemble it and get this into a displayable condition!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Making math sane - PrototypeMachining to save the day.

PrototypeMachining went ahead and started pulling apart the eccentric symbols and letters used for electronics math.  He's put real words, and layed them out like you were taught to write equations in math class.  This, is seriously useful stuff.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making in. Breaking in. Making a sheet metal brake.

Tonight, with the help of Steve Finkelman, I built a 12" sheet metal brake. 

It's made of 3/16" thick 1.5" angle iron.  The two base bits, are 14" and the folding blade is 12" wide.  The whole project was made of one 48" long peice of angle iron.

The hinges are gate hinges, and were chosen because they fold flat. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More samsung caps. Dell monitor repair

Well I found a dead monitor at work.  I cracked it open and found three dead caps.  I replaced them, and viola, working monitor.  Now... I need to ask if I can keep it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A minty boost.

A few months back, I brought some friends to a Mitch Altman soldering class.  He brought kits, and while my friends were doing theirs, I decided I'd make something. 

Thank you ladyada.  Well, her company provided the kits.  And here's the kit I built Minty Boost. I assembled my minty boost into an altoids tin.  There's room for a spare set of cells in there too.

How fast can an arduino switch?

Using blink, set with 0 delay, my o-scope registered 62khz. 

Now I have done a little programming with PIC.  And if it takes 4 clocks to run each command, a 16mhz PIC should be able to output 2mhz.  I was told AVR can do most things in two clocks, so it should be able to pump out 8mhz!

And we're getting 62khz.  It says something about the arduino overhead, and the compiler.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shifing a bit. Lots of bits.

Well since I am out of instrument type op amps, I went ahead and dug out my shift registers.  I got it working.. after finding out you need to power all the power lines. 

Here's the instructable I refrenced when I ordered the shift registers:

I'm going to need to give this another swing soon.  

Testing sensors.

Well I bought some pressure sensors.  In hopes of building my own altimeter.  When motorola says 5-25mv output, they aren't kidding.  The mpx2010 has an output that seems perfectly tuned to feed an opamp.  Time to learn opamps.

Here's a link to the datasheet: MPX2010

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fixing a samsung tv. Blown something or other.

At my work we have som tvs for status of the network.  Friday, when my coworker was turning one on, there was a loud pop.  And then the tv didn't work. 
Well, these tvs tend to blow caps, and that's what I assumed the problem was.   well, it was something polyester filled....  time to order a replacement.

Replacing that cap did bring the TV back to life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Small time failures: the nano upgrade that didn't.

Well, the tires are tiny, and really tight.  So, I decided they aren't staying.  They are also heavier than I hoped.  The saddle is much nicer than the vader saddle. 

The new seatpost and spacer look good.  I think I like the yellow saddle. 

More mercier nano bits.

You'd think a nano would take smaller parts... but these tires are a full 406mm bcd.

They say folding, but they aren't.  They're for folding bikes, but have wire beads.  Bummer...

Playing with digital glue: using an arduino as a really expensive voltmeter.

Last Thursday I met up with Loclhst to show him how to use analog sensors with his arduino. 

The process started with testing the photoresistor and thermistor on the bench with a voltmeter.  We then set them up in a voltage divider, and fed 5v across them.  That got us a voltage output we could send to the arduino. 

Then we hooked up the voltage dividers to the arduino, and we got real values. 

Then dan wanted to get his display working.   After we discovered I had a wire crossed, the display worked fine.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

Taking a flying lesson

Saturday I put the first 1.1 hours in my pilots log. It was in a late model Cessna 172 SP.

I had a lot of fun. The CFI was impressed with my ability to maintain altitude and follow course corrections. He said I kept the wings level, and that I was paying attention to the space outside the cabin very well.

The flight was fairly short. The weather wasn't all that cooperative. I got a call around 7am indicating that the flight might be off. I persisted, and the morning haze mostly burned off.

We flew with 6 mile visibility. I found out that it's legal to fly VFR with 2 miles. That's a little disturbing. I did very well until we got into the haze layer while returning to the airfield. I ended up putting the nose down a few degrees instead of maintaining altitude.

I didn't get to land. I am at a complete loss as to steering the plane. I "can" do it, but I weave pretty badly.

I will be going back. :-)