Montana Lightening Photo

I don’t think there’s a contest, but here’s my entry.

ooh zap!” ~ Joseph Swanson – 2022

Cellphones are pretty amazing.. that pic was taken through glass via Google Night Sight. The camera operator basically just has to aim at an area and keep the device still for a minute or so. Crazy storm, crazy technology. I would say something like ‘the future is here, but the skies are angry’, but that that would sound very stupid.

I don’t know.. the picture might look pretty awesome on a canvas. It would, without any doubt, look fucking awesome on a sleeveless shirt if I crop out the neighbors’ houses.

Samsung Galaxy S III

I haven’t had the best phone on the market in my posession since the LG flip-phone era. Until this afterlunch…

samy galy

Samsung Galaxy S III.

I’ll post plenty about this good-looking thing. This stock ROM is solid, but I’m fighting the urge to dump JB on this sucker and go all out. Stay tuned.

Project Demo

One step closer…

ioio garage time
the olde clamp test

This thing screams with wall wart power. Watch…

Now comes the hard part…choosing a decent battery and mounting the circuit board savely on the chasis. I have found a few good candidates, but they are a little bulky for my application. Still looking…

The UI should be fairly straight forward. Just need a few more garage sessions, and I’ll be good to go.

The cordless Dremel was a super purchase FWIW. One of the best tools I’ve used.

Rattle Can Makeover

Impatiently awaiting my Dremel from Amazon, I made an executive decision that Clocky’s bright orange motif had to go. Clocky already had some big rims; sort of like my SS. Sort of too like my Yukon. Hmm…black and chrome…sort of a no-brainer.

Step 1: teardown / spray paint

tear down

Step 2: Re-assemble

bringin sexy black
sum of parts

Much better. Hoping to have the little guy rotary-drilled and souped-up before too long. Check back in soon.

IOIO Project Revamp

A while back, I put together a project that added remote control via an Android. I broke out the leads to the DC motors that were existent, and left the structure largely intact…resulting in a monster of a build.

ioio remote
here we go again

I would like to clean the build up a bit, but to do so will need to go with a different approach. I am looking into gutting the existing components entirely, and implementing continuous drive servos as my powertrain. This will likely get messy.

Servo motors will add big gains in the power consumption realm, and provide added control. I am not looking for speed, so I think this option might work out well. Stay tuned…

Woot Customer Support

Mr. Beer. That name again is Mr. Beer

I bit on the Mr. Beer home-brewing kit last woot-off. Much to my dismay, the kit arrived in a giant brown cardboard box, with a sizable puncture would in the side. Opening it verified the damage:

mr beer
that's my name

The brewing container was smashed inward, and the plastic was too thick to pop back into shape.

I tried contacting FedEx, as the damage was definitely done in shipping. As it turns out, after creating an account with FedEx | submitting a claim ticket | waiting | waiting, FedEx has you contact the sender when the item is shipped via “Smartpost.” Whatever that entails. Not very helpful…just a reply email sending me back at woot.

I was sort of pissy, and ended up forwarding the email from Fedex to the primary woot returns email. Details are as follow:

I’m very sorry about that. We’ll get a replacement sent to you and have our crack team of commandos that make the Expendables look like babies go after them. No need to return the damaged one to us.


——————- Original Message ——————-
Sent: 02/01/2012
To: RMA; RMA Woot;
Subject: damaged shipment from woot (MRS), case # W-1030992-R925

Passing the buck…

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: SPCustomerSupport
Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: damaged shipment from woot (MRS)
To: Joseph Swanson

Good Morning,

Thank you for your recent inquiry. We have received your request, however when
packages are lost or damaged, only the party directly paying the shipping charges to
FedEx SmartPost may file a claim. Please contact the Shipper with your information so
they may file a claim.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you,
FedEx SmartPost Customer Support

—– Original Message —–
From: Joseph Swanson
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:02 pm
Subject: damaged shipment from woot

> In regards to Smartpost tracking #02927009713120839115…
> I received a package from today (1/31) that was damaged by
> something en route to my front stairs, likely a forklift tine.
> I recognize that mistakes are made, accidents happen, etc., but it so
> happens that the damaged item is a Mr. Beer home-brew kit. The (assumed
> forklift) did quite a number on the brewing vessel in particular, and
> the
> plastic used is not well-suited for popping back into shape. The reduced
> volume caused by the damage render the vat unable to accommodate a full
> batch of beer, which is the end goal. It turns out that our baby daughter
> is angrier that first assumed…half batches may not cut it.
> Kind regards,
> J. Swanson

Awesome support, Woot. FedEx should take note. FedEx should also teach their forklift drivers how to drive forklifts, but that is another topic entirely.

You will continue to receive my business…well done. I owe you a (Mr.) beer.

Project Progress: H-Bridge

I thought I could get away with utilizing the onboard 6V from my cannibalized motion platform…aka the orange thing…in order to power both the DC motors and my IOIO. My bluetooth connection was cutting out…indicating that I needed to introduce a separate power source for the board and for the motors.

My workaround didn’t pan out…time to rethink the build. Guess what I have on my desk:

ioio motor shield

Adafruit Motor Shield for the Arduino. Two good looking H-Bridges staring at me….that’ll do. I never thought I would find myself treating my Arduino gear as a scrapheap, but the day has come.

The H-Bridge will allow me to cross over (think of a capitol H) and provide bi-directional motion from the hardware level. 3.3V digital outputs…no more open drain needed (bonus.)

h bridge pins
h bridge pins

Anyhow, I ended up putting together a little test board…socket, some male pins, and eventually some wires for a more secure connection. Sucking some serious soldering fumes…

test board modified
custom mod

It looks sloppy, but here is the hardware in its entirety:

the setup
+1 great holder

Here is a quick video of my testing. I fired up my IOIOSeek program, which has two simple digital outputs triggered via buttons…

Early success? Yep. Except for the early part…this has been more work than I had assumed. More EE work…hoping the UI and hardware containment goes smoothly. Tune back in.

Spotify on Linux

Hey nerds. Guess what? Spotify on Linux.

Super easy too…fire up a terminal [ctrl-alt-t]

Step one:
cd /etc/apt
Step two:
sudo vim sources.list
Step three:
add “deb stable non-free” to the file

spotify for linux
sudo vim

Step four:
sudo apt-get update

spotify linux ubuntu

Step five:
sudo apt-get install spotify-client-qt

spotify on ubuntu
can I kick it

That is that. It is not a supported version, but I doubt anyone installing via aptitude will really care about that item.

Side thought: How sad is it that my favorite album came out in 1993? Old balls.

Bluetooth Servo Control

Taking it up another notch…servo control via bluetooth

Watch the video to see the Andoid / IOIO / servo in action:

I’ll get app updated on the Android Market and on GitHub this weekend. Happy Friday.

MSU Satellite Spoiler

Ten years and a few months ago, I became a licensed HAM operator…

HAM Radio License
I'm going HAM

That means, without any doubt, that the satellite that MSU stuck in orbit last week has indeed been a long time coming.

I’m running up to campus for the mission statement and a possible down-link tomorrow afternoon…stay tuned for this one. We have entered full-on geek mode.