four years later fixing the same clock
Wednesday, January 16 2013
location: rural Hurley township, Ulster County, New York
Susan the Translator used to live Upstate near her, but of late has been working as an associate professor at Columbia University. She has a quasi-analog clock made from an old PIC microcontroller, TTL logic chips, and a bunch of LEDs dating to the late 1990s at the earliest (I know this because some of them produce blue light). The clock is was built from a kit in a rather haphazard, semi-incompetent way, so it's subject to breakdowns when, for example, one or more of its many wires exceed their strain tolerance. The clock first broke some time before February, 2009, and in all of Manhattan, no electronics repairman could be found to even venture to look at it. So Susan dropped it off with me, and I soon had it working again. After a few moves, it has broken again, so today it arrived via UPS (delivered by the affable UPS guy who is always expressing interest in my solar projects). It only took me a few minutes to determine that its power supply, a clunky old transformer-based 12 volt DC wall wart, had died. I have great fondness for Susan's clock and was delighted that once again I had saved it from the scrapheap of history.
Throughout the afternoon I worked on installing Windows 7 on a Core-2-Duo-based box that I had been trying to get working as a Hackintosh (though I'd never managed to successfully install version 10.7 — Lion — so I'd given up). Badger, Gretchen's main computer, is built around an Atom motherboard and has been preforming poorly of late. I thought it might be nice to set her up with something more powerful. I'd taken delivery of a 120 Gigabyte solid state drive (SSD), which was where I installed the operating system. The idea is to eventually move Badger's old hard drive into the Core 2 Duo box to coexist with the SSD, creating a much faster version of the computer Gretchen is already used to.
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