Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   brothy soup and vegetarian sushi
Friday, April 24 2015
Today was overcast and even colder than yesterday. Temperatures fell throughout the day, dropping below 40 Fahrenheit at around 7:00pm. Gretchen and I got up late and spent most of the day in front of the woodstove.
At some point I went up to the laboratory, took 120 milligram recreational dose of pseudoephedrine, and used the resulting energy to add some completely gratuitous UI candy to an admin tool for the Lightroom webapp I've been building for the past year and a half.
The plan for the evening was to attend a bonfire at the Kingston residence of a new couple we'd only met once. But the weather was so cold and clammy that Gretchen decided to cancel. That put me in a predicament: I'd been expecting to drink alcohol later, and that was why I'd taken the pseudoephedrine. According to my personal alcohol rules, I wouldn't be able to drink at all unless we went out tonight. But without drinking alcohol at some point, I'd be too overstimulated to get to sleep. My only recourse (and this is why I love my current alcohol rules) was to make art. So I began painting a cat-headed human as a doodle in acrylic paint on a small (5 inch by 5 inch) canvas. I use the term "doodle" because it came entirely out of my head; I didn't base it on a photograph or any sort of real-world model. Nearly all the painting I've done in the past twelve years has been based on photographs, though lately I've been using the leftover paint on my brushes to paint free-form acrylic doodles on various surfaces in the laboratory (mostly boxes and containers), with unexpectedly good results (a similar process, by the way, was how my Punch Buggy Green came to be covered with paintings). The painting was coming along nicely when Susan (who is also a painter and has been cranking through a series of small oil paintings of animal-headed creatures posing in row boats while wearing 19th Century costumery) called Gretchen inviting us out for dinner. Though we'd already sort of eaten already, what the hell & why not, so they came and picked us up on their way to Momiji, the Japanese restaurant in Stone Ridge. The thing about brothy soup and vegetarian sushi is that you have to be pretty stuffed not to be able to eat it.
Back at our house, we watched the fourth episode of the first season of Strangers With Candy, one that made light-hearted fun of retardation, treating it like communism or witchcraft: something that can only be rooted out by spies and subterfuge.

On top of the other things I did today, I made some real progress getting a wireless AmbientWeather temperature probe receiver working on an ATtiny85 (one of those little eight-pin Atmel microcontrollers that can be programmed in the Arduino IDE). The difficulty when working with these tiny integrated circuits is that they don't have serial ports, and the method for programming them is not via a bootloader. This makes them difficult to debug. You can't simply upload new code and then watch (in the same environment) for what comes back from a serial connection, tweak the code & reupload. They can, however, be made to work with the SoftwareSerial library, though that requires the use of two pins. Fortunately, though, to get a working AmbientWeather temperature probe receiver, all you need is a single digital pin to connect to the radio receiver board and then whatever sends the processed data out (in this case, I want to use I2C). That comes to only three digital pins, and, since ATtiny85 has five digital pins to work with, I had just enough to also create a SoftwareSerial connection. Due to the complexities and idiosyncracies of the Arduino IDE, it was best to monitor that serial port using a completely different computer; in this case I used my Compaq 2510p laptop. Initially I couldn't get the AmbientWeather receiver code working at all, and eventually decided this was because the ATtiny85 was only running at 1MHz. Perhaps it needed to run faster to process the incoming pulses (a real Arduino, for which this code was originally written, runs at 16 MHz). After poking around in the Arduino IDE, I found that it was possible to run the ATtiny85 at 8MHz without any external clock. This required a little futzing around; one has to set the fuses right to get this to work, and in the Arduino IDE this is handled by the Burn Bootloader function (though a bootloader is not actually being burnt). At that speed, the AmbientWeather receiver code worked, though there was a tendency for the ATtiny85 to auto-reset every five minutes or so. The reason I want this code running on an ATtiny85 is so that I can include the AmbientWeather receiver in my wind-measuring barometric array (WMBA) while allowing the main Atmega328 to concentrate entirely on barometric data gathering and processing (depending on how this ends up working, it could be somewhat complicated).
Offhand invention of the day: a plastic strap (made from electrical tape) containing two rare-earth magnets. I used it to hold down cables and keep them from dragging little circuit boards off my desk. The magnets hold fast to the steel slide hardware on either side of the two sliding surfaces that make up the "windowing" workspace of my real-world desktop.

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