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:
   penis-related medications
Tuesday, November 10 2015
I realized today that I'd been hooking up a RC (resistor-capacitor) network to the wrong pin of the EM92547B FSK chip in my caller ID circuit. The sample circuit diagram I'd been using as a reference had the pins on the chip in what appeared to be numerical order, but they'd transposed two of the pins, meaning the RC circuit had been attached to a dead pin (one labeled NC for "no connection") instead of the RING_TIME pin. It's possible this had been responsible for all the vexing unreliability of the circuit. It's hard to be on the lookout for a problem like that; the diagram appeared to be one way, so it was easy, as I built out the circuit, to allow the spatial-relationships part my brain to be the guide instead of the number-reading part. They are, after all, very different parts of the brain, and once one kicks in, it's hard to switch. I imagine that I'm not the only person to have trouble with the EM92547B just because of this poorly-designed diagram.
Successfully attaching a microcontroller to a phone line fills my mind with ideas of all sorts of things I might want to be able do from that microcontroller. One idea I'd recently had was to check the phone line to see if it was off-hook or not. Some research showed me that the on-hook voltage would be about 45 volts, and off-hook would be down around 35 volts. Initially I'd thought I would have to somehow measure the voltage differential between tip and ring. But today I tried just measuring the voltage differential between tip and ground. Since the absolute value of the voltage would be so large, I would have to divide it with a resistor network, pull it up to +5 volts, and limit its voltage swings with a zener diode. My first tests of the circuit gave me a large range of values that seemed to cycle, suggesting the current I was working with was actually alternating. A ten microfarad capacitor was all it needed to produce consistent values that could be measured and reliably determine the phone's hook state. [This all seemed great, but the next day I would notice there was now a lot of 60 Hz hum on the phone line, meaning I would have to figure out a different way to do this on-hook test. The observer was polluting the observed. Unfortunately, I would only discover this hum after Gretchen finished giving a phone interview to a Miami radio station over that same phone line.]

Note: this circuit contaminates the phone line with a slight 60 Hz hum.

This afternoon, there was a very light sprinkle of rain just beginning when I set out with my firewood salvaging gear to gather dry Chestnut Oak a couple hundred feet southeast of the Stick Trail's Chamomile crossing. I came home with 104 pounds, which I split up and brought directly into the house, where it joined 2.5 pounds of paper and cardboard in the stream of measured cellulosic material. It was good I gathered it when I did, because the sprinkles soon became rain, soaking everything in the forest. I still haven't had to tap into any of the wood in the woodshed; all the firewood burned in the woodstove so far this season has been gathered on a "just in time" basis.

This evening, Gretchen and I drove through the rain over to Susan & David's house, and the four of us carpooled from there over to the China Rose, where we had our usual soups & entrées. I over did it with the chili oil in my soup and almost had to leave the table to have a proper coughing fit.
Later, back at Susan & David's place, the four of us watched the two episodes of Strangers With Candy in which Jerri Blank joins a cult and is repeatedly exposed to "I'm Going to Sit at the Welcome Table." Then we watched about 45 minutes of tonight's Republican debate shit show. This was the one where nobody had an answer for the question about why we should trust Republicans to run things when job growth is demonstrably better under Democratic presidents. It would have been better to be drinking something deeply alcoholic during this event, but evidently I was the only one to whom this idea occurred, and I didn't want to be the one to bring it up when visiting someone else's house.

Later, back at our house, I was in my laboratory by myself inhaling vaporized pot, drinking booze, and reading various web articles analyzing the debate when I happened to notice something disturbing. A web page on had been completely replaced with a page from an online store offering to sell me cialis and other penis-related medications. At first I feared someone had hacked into the server hosting my site, but that didn't appear to be the case. The replaced page (which, offensively enough, was the obituary I'd written for my dead father) was undefiled there. Eventually I discovered that some software I'd recently installed had secretly installed something called Youtubeadblock, which randomly intercepts web requests to locally serve penis pill advertisements in place of pages I wanted to reach out on the internet. Adding to the creepiness of Youtubeadblock, it occasionally animated static images in otherwise-unchanged pages, turning them into ads for yet more pages filled with penis pills. I couldn't find any files in the file system responsible for doing these things, and there was nothing to uninstall in the Programs control panel or in Chrome's Extensions (though I found something in Firefox's). To get rid of this shit, I had to use Regedit to search for the string "youtubead," delete everything I found, and then reboot.

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