Monday, January 13, 2014

New year, same direction

"Like a raft or ruderless boat" was the title of my first post(and as of now not my only post) for the year. I had intended to talk about my general lack of interest in reaching any goals(or setting any for that matter) for 2013 and my plans for 2014 but my rustyness of blogging got that thrown offtrack rather quickly.

Let me start off by stating that I have always had my bar set very low(by my observed societal standards). This does not bother me, in fact I am quite happy that I have achieved everything(from my younger years) that I had set out to and that those goals never did change, I am quite set in my ways. I had reached the top of Maslow's pyramid so what next? The modus operandi was just child rearing and that I did.

Throughout the year other than my usual reading on the natural sciences(and technical manuals according to my father) my thirst for information broadened to religion, philosophy and culture. My view on life has been changed but things remain the same. This is not a bad thing.

So what do I have planned for this year? The only thing that comes to mind is to enjoy my surroundings more. This was always on the list so I guess no change.

Look, its 2014 me :-). I really can't tell when last I've published a photo of me on facebook.. much less this blog but this weekend on the theme of enjoying my surroundings more I drove a surprising short distance and did a short hike to find some of the most refreshing waters I have been in a long time.

The water registered 22.7C not really cold but by my Jamaican standards, it was like it came fresh from the refrigerator! I sat in the water and little fish came to nibble on me, it was a bit disturbing at first but they did no harm that I could detect so I let them be. I chatted to a few of locals that passed by and they were very friendly, I will definitely be making time this year to find time to relax here and to find more spots like this.

Like my watch? I recently got it from a friend as a token of appreciation for helping out in a potentially deadly situation that happened about a year ago. It is an interesting back story that I should write about but that would have to be another post.

Does anyone follow me on tumblr? I have a nicer unobstructed view of a different waterfall along the same hike route. I will probably post a video there too :)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Like a raft or rudderless boat

I haven't been a very good blogger over the past few years and it is unlikely that I will improve over the years to come. In fact I have had internal turmoil throughout 2013 as to whether or not to post a final entry informing those who may stumble upon this lonely site or to delete the whole site all together. I may have stated this before but it is simply because I am in a different state of mind from when I started blogging in 2006 or I could even go as far as to say I am a whole different person :-p. Sorry for the nerd joke, I hope someone got it but anyway lets come off this topic.

A while back I blogged about getting a clone of the original Arduino board and it was just as quickly banished to collecting dust on my desk as I grew board of some of the limitations(both hardware and software) I found with it. So I moved from the AVR camp and moved to PIC. If you are unfamiliar in the MCU world this is the equivalent to the following analogies:

  • Moving from Intel to AMD
  • Moving from Nvidia to ATI
  • Moving from IOS to Android
  • Moving from a Toyota Supra to Nissan Skyline
  • Moving from a Mitzubishi Evolution to Subaru Impreza
  • Moving from a frozen yogurt preference to icecream
or vice-versa depending on which camp you sit in. The PIC 12f683, 8pin dip MCUs pictured below, forced me to learn assembly. This is a very time intensive hobby so I didn't get a chance to fully utilize all of its peripherals in my projects before I grew tired of tediously moving registers around, loading w, working only with 8bit registers, not having hardware multiply/divide operations and the manual memory management so I bought some more advanced PIC MCUs that could handle the C programming language.
Apparently I bought low voltage chips that required a special programmer, I tried using a pikit3 and didn't have much success. I didn't really try that hard but I moved on, I realized that Arduinos were dirt cheap if you bought them in the mini flavors as pictured above. The programmer in the photo is some generic serial type one and it doesn't work with the usb to rs232 cables so I need a real serial port to use it. Since we are on the topic of this photo lets take some time to admire my work of making a 4 braid ttl uart cable for communicating with these breadboard platforms lol

Hopefully the MCU aspect of my electronics hobby doesn't fall to its usual fate of collecting dust on my desk or draw somewhere for 2014, I am waiting for the delivery of a few other items that should make for some useful projects: 2.4GHz wireless transceivers, RTCs, temperature sensors, microphones, accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Sorry to start off the year with such a geeky post, hopefully my next post is this year and soon(I only did one post last year) will be about new years resolutions or lack of any for me. So what are your resolutions for this year?