Sunday, June 16, 2019

Alexa News: Amazon Announces Alexa Conversations, Experiences Across Skills via Variety

Expect to have longer conversations with your smart speaker soon: Amazon revealed plans at its Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas Wednesday to give its Alexa smart assistant capabilities to carry on longer conversations, and help consumers with services across different providers.

Alexa head scientist Rohit Prasad demonstrated the assistant’s new conversational capabilities, dubbed Alexa Conversations, with a video on stage. The video showed a consumer asking for movies that were playing nearby, settle on a film, find showtimes that matched her schedule, buy the tickets, find a restaurant nearby and reserve a table, all without ever having to break the flow of her conversation with Alexa.

“We imagine a future where you would be able to naturally converse with Alexa,” said Prasad. “This is a big leap for conversational AI.”

Read Amazon Announces Alexa Conversations, Experiences Across Skills via Variety


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Interactive Dandelion via Instructables

This project shows how to make an interactive picture of a dandelion. It starts as a yellow flower with LED's for petals then changes into a white dandelion clock, which can be blown on to make the seeds disperse.

It is based on a beautiful artwork by Qi Jie, whose picture was inspired by a single flower design by Jessie Thompson and Zachory Berta. I made mine on fabric and framed it in a tapestry hoop to go on the wall of the Tech and Textiles makerspace in Devon, England, as an example of a beginners project that combines sewing with Arduino.

Read Interactive Dandelion via Instructables


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, June 10, 2019

DIY Raspberry Pi VPN secure travel router via Geeky Gadgets

I have been doing more traveling than usual lately, so a VPN system might need to become part of my travel kit. This is one way to build my own that I am going to look into. — Douglas

Raspberry Pi enthusiasts or world travellers looking for a secure way to connect to the Internet using a VPNmay be interested in the new Raspberry Pi project published by Ben Stockton over on the Make Use Of website. The project can use either the smaller Raspberry Pi Zero W or the larger Raspberry Pi 3 mini PC depending on your requirements and budget. Ben explains a little more about the inspiration behind the project and why it’s always great to use a VPN while travelling.

Read DIY Raspberry Pi VPN secure travel router via Geeky Gadgets



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Raspberry Pi? via Open Electronics

Few days ago tomshardware.com has published an interesting interview to Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton about the fascinating story behind the most famous SBC for makers.

In this post Eben Upton has revealed 10 things you may not have known about Raspberry Pi, so let me shortly summarise what he told to tomshardware:

  • Raspberry Pi Was Meant to Recruit 1,000 Kids – Raspberry Pi was originally designed to solve a very simple problem: a lack of computer science students. Upton told that Cambridge went from receiving 600 to 250 applications a year for its comp-sci program, and he felt that offering low-cost computers to kids would get them interested in the field.
  • Maker Community Was a Surprise – Though it was originally designed for kids, the Pi has become extremely popular with adult makers. But when Upton and his team first started designing it, they didn’t have this audience in mind.
  • Raspberry Pi 4: Not Until 2020 Don’t expect the Raspberry Pi 4 until 2020.
  • New models will have more RAM, a faster processor and faster I/O.
  • The new chips will be based on a process node that’s larger than 7nm, but no larger than 28nm.
  • It won’t be any larger than the current 3B / 3B+

Read How Much Do You Know About Raspberry Pi? via Open Electronics


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Arduino and Google launch new Arduino Education Science Kit! via Arduino Blog

Looking for a reason, or perhaps a way, to dive into the Arduino world. Check out this new kit from Arduino and Google that allows you to explore science using the Arduino and all that it offers. — Douglas

The Arduino Science Kit Physics Lab, developed in collaboration with Google, is the first official Arduino kit designed for middle school curriculum.

The Arduino Science Kit Physics Lab provides middle schoolers (ages 11 to 14) with a hands-on experience, enabling them to explore forces, motion, and conductivity with their classmates. Students can make their own hypothesis like a real scientist, then check their assumptions, and log data thanks to Google’s Science Journal app — a digital notebook for conducting and documenting science experiments using the unique capabilities of their own devices.

The kit, based on the MKR WiFi 1010, includes a range of sensors to measure light, temperature, motion, and magnetic fields, as well as a set of props and full access to online course content for teachers and students to conduct nine exciting science projects inspired by popular fairground rides like the Gravitron and Pirate Ship.

Read Arduino and Google launch new Arduino Education Science Kit! via Arduino Blog


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Get Your Arduino Geek On -- Recently Purchased from Douglas E. Welch Design and Photography

Get Your Arduino Geek On!Recently -- Purchased from Douglas E. Welch Design and Photography

Get Your Arduino Geek On!

Recently Purchased from Douglas E. Welch Design and Photography

50+ Products and Over 100 Designs

iPhone Cases, Tops, Totes, Housewares, and More!

All photos taken by me and originally shared on Instagram at @douglaswelch

Available exclusively from
DouglasEWelch.com/shop/193

See my entire catalog
DouglasEWelch.com/shop/

Find more at @DEWDesignPhoto  

Instagram

Rb logo

Rb 1

Rb 2

Rb 3

 

Rb 4

Paper Cup Mic Is Fun And Functional via hack a day

Any studio operator worth their Protools subscription will have a wide array of microphones to cover any conceivable situation. SM57s to cover guitar cabs, fancy gilded ribbon mics for vocal takes, and a variety of condensers to round out the selection. That’s all well and good for high-fidelity recording, but what if you want to go the other way? [LeoMakes] has just the thing, with his sub-$10 paper cup mic.

The basic concept is that of a dynamic microphone. A paper cup is attached to a taut string, upon which a magnet is affixed. Sound waves hitting the paper cup cause the string, and thus the magnet, to vibrate. The magnet is located within a coil, created from thin insulated wire wrapped around an old solder spool. This induces a current, creating the audio signal.

Read Paper Cup Mic Is Fun And Functional via hack a day


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Plotti Botti: An Internet-Controlled Drawing Robot! via Hackster.io

Seeing the internet interact with the real world is one of my favorite things and this project is right up there with the best of them. With a little Arduino ingenuity, people can control this whiteboard plotter from the comfort of their own home or office. — Douglas

The Plotti Botti is an XY plotter attached to a whiteboard, which can be controlled by anyone via LetsRobot.tv.

When it's online, you can find the Plotti Botti here.

It was made using stepper motors with pulleys, a toothed belt, a Raspberry Pi, the Adafruit Motor HAT, a Pi Camera, a number of 3D-printed parts and googly eyes.

Read The Plotti Botti: An Internet-Controlled Drawing Robot! via Hackster.io



An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Raspberry Pi smart thermostat with data logging via Geeky Gadgets

Here is a Raspberry Pi project that is also some very useful. Check it out! -- Douglas





Smart thermometers are not the cheapest gadgets around but if you have a Raspberry Pi 3 model B mini PC gathering dust or fancy a new project this weekend you might be interested in this Raspberry Pi smart thermostat created by Hackster.io member Attila Tőkés. Equipped with Bluetooth low energy connectivity and created with the NXP Rapid IoT kit the Raspberry Pi smart thermostat also provides data logging enabling you to track your energy usage.
The Smart Thermostat will measure the temperature, relative humidity, air pressure and ambient light, all readings are then broadcast over Bluetooth and the Raspberry Pi provides visualization for the display, data logging systems as well as control the heating system.
Read Raspberry Pi smart thermostat with data logging via Geeky Gadgets

An interesting link found among my daily reading

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Historical Technology Books: A practical course in horology (1944) by Harold Caleb Kelly - 17 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help them survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas

Historical Technology Books: A practical course in horology (1944)  by Harold Caleb Kelly - 17 in a series
 
It is difficult to even imagine what life was like before the invention of the clock and — some might say — the invention of time itself. Life changed dramatically when our days became measured in hours and minutes instead of sunrises to sunsets. Our ability to safely travel the globe relied on accurate time keeping — which wasn’t truly available until the 1800’s. Timekeeping is on the level and scale of other, major, life-changing, technologies like the steam engine, railroad and the external combustion engine.   — Douglas

PREFACE

The art of horology unquestionably ranks among the most wonderful of the mechanical arts. One can only marvel at the diminutive size of the modern wrist watch and the accuracy of the machines by which the duplicate parts are made.

Production and improved manufacturing methods have also changed the repairman's approach to horology. Duplicate parts are available, so the horologist is seldom called upon to make a part. However, since the sizes of watches have been reduced, new tools and improved methods are essential to good workmanship. One must develop a greater skill in fitting staffs to small, uncut balance wheels, in adjusting small escapements, and in handling the new, alloyed balance springs.

The purpose of this book is to present the fundamentals of horology, both in theory and practice. Part 1 deals with wheel work and gearing, which involve the work of calculating the number of teeth of missing wheels and pinions and in determining their proper diameters. Principles of escapement design and an analysis of the balance and spring are given considerable space. Part 2 treats repair methods, in which the making of a balance staff and the adjustment of the escapement are given more than the usual space allotted to these subjects. Part 3 is concerned with the adjustments to position, isochronism, and temperature, factors that may be called the finishing touches of the horological profession.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Alexa : Amazon Begins Rolling Out New 'Alexa Guard' Feature to Amazon Echo Devices in U.S. via MacTrast

Amazon announced Tuesday morning that it is rolling out a new feature to all Echo devices in the U.S. Alexa Guard turns your Echo into a security device when no one is home by enabling them to listen for sounds that might indicate danger or an intruder.

Users will need to enable the feature in the Alexa app on their devices, (It’s in the settings menu). If the feature hasn’t rolled out to your device(s) yet, Amazon will offer to inform you when it’s available.

When leaving, users will need to say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to set Alexa Guard to Away mode. The device will then listen for sounds like breaking glass, or smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.

TechCrunch reports that Amazon worked with licensed contractors to break hundreds of different glass windows using different objects in order to create a wide range of different sounds for Alexa to listen for.

Read Amazon Begins Rolling Out New 'Alexa Guard' Feature to Amazon Echo Devices in U.S. via MacTrast


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Freeform Snowflake via Explore all projects

I decided to make this project after seeing a project created by Jiří Praus called the Arduinoflake! I envisioned my version as more of a display that could be setup on a table as a decoration.

The snowflake is driven by an Arduino Nano. There are 12 individually controllable LEDs and 6 pairs of controllable LEDs making a total of 18 individual pwm channels. I have programmed 4 different animations that can be tuned by various parameters including background and foreground brightness and animation speed.

Read Freeform Snowflake via Explore all projects



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

An interesting link found among my daily reading

Friday, May 10, 2019

Grab an Echo Input for $20 and Add Alexa to Any Speaker | News & Opinion via PCMAG

Make any speaker into an Alexa device with this Amazon Echo Input. Basically an Echo without a speaker. Bring your own powered speaker or connect to your hi-fi and start talking to Alexa. -- Douglas


Have a Bluetooth speaker that sounds great but doesn't support smart features? You don't have to get rid of it to embrace Alexa.

Deals BugThe Echo Input can add Alexa to any third-party speaker — and it's on sale for just $19.99 today. Just whip it out at this summer's parties, and boom: You can ask Alexa to replay Beyoncé for the umpteenth time without even touching the Spotify app.

One of Amazon's newer Echo products, the Echo Input connects to an external speaker via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable. It's smaller and even more inconspicuous than the Echo Dot (which is also currently on sale). Ask Alexa to stream Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more; set alarms or timers; or check the weather or traffic.

Read Grab an Echo Input for $20 and Add Alexa to Any Speaker | News & Opinion via PCMAG

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Want To Learn Coding? Check Out These Resources Recommended By Tech Experts via Forbes

Learning about coding doesn’t mean you need or want to become a programmer. It simply enlightens you to the methods used to create the software you use on a daily basis and how it affects you and your work. it also teaches logic, design and critical thinking skills, which can benefit you in everything you do. Dip your toe into coding and see what you might learn there. — Douglas 

Nearly everywhere you look—from business management, to customer engagement, to product development—technology plays a massive role. As such, tech-related skills—and coding in particular—are excellent additions to nearly any professional’s resume.

A variety of books, apps and websites make it easy for even busy professionals to get a start on learning the fundamentals of coding. But which entry-level resources are the most effective? Below, 13 experts from Forbes Technology Council share their recommendations for beginners interested in learning coding.

Read Want To Learn Coding? Check Out These Resources Recommended By Tech Experts via Forbes


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, May 06, 2019

R3-14 Personal Robot Assistant via The MagPi Magazine



R3-14 stands for ‘Raspberry Pi’ (geddit?), and the R3-14 Personal Robot Assistant is the debut Pi project of Year 12 student Sanjeet Chatterjee. Seeking to create something original, he settled on a robot personal assistant which would have a physical presence in the room, with interaction being an important feature.
“In the beginning, I did not have a concrete plan,” says Sanjeet, “but slowly built up the features, whilst brainstorming different designs and ideas, before finally putting everything together, after having a clear vision of the final product.”
He’s certainly packed in a lot of features. As well as acting as a smart speaker, using Google Assistant to respond to spoken queries, R3-14 has an impressive range of capabilities. Siri voice commands can be used to turn lights and home appliances on and off via 433MHz transmitters/receivers; a web app provides remote control of the robot’s motorised head and its on-board camera; while a face-tracking feature enables the head to automatically follow the user while responding with various messages.
Read R3-14 Personal Robot Assistant via The MagPi Magazine


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Historical Technology Books: The Fall 1984 DAK Catalog - 16 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help them survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas


Historical Technology Books: The Fall 1984 DAK Catalog - 16 in a series

My son and I were watching some retro video and it brought to mind 300 baud modems and the speed at which they played out the text to the screen -- slower than you can read it. (Yikes!) This got me poking around on Archive.org where I found this catalog, very prolific at the time, where I bought my very first modem for my Apple //c.  — Douglas



JOIN THE INFORMATION REVOLUTION RISK

FREE Calculate your net worth. Check a user's group to see what's new for your com- puter. Check the Hollywood Hotline. Look through Computer Program- ming. Go shopping in the Electronic Mall. Or, see whatthe weather's like in Dallas. Try The Modem Phone in your own home or office with your own computer risk free. If you aren't 100% satisfied, simply return the modem in it's original box within 30 days for a refund. Here's howtoorderyour Unitech 300 Baud Modem Phone, complete with 10 Number Memory Dialing, SpeakerPhone and Pulse/Tone Switching. Plus, you'll get sample indexes of infor- mation on data bases, including a dis- count on The Source. You'll get informa- tion on bulletin boards, including the address to buy a superbookon'Hooking In' to data bases, complete with a list of 400 Electronic Bulletin Board numbers. It's all yours, risk free with your credit card when you call toll free, or send your check for DAK's incredible introductory hook-in price of just$99 plus$5 for pos- tage and handling. Order No. 41 10. CA res add tax. You'll need just three things to turn your computer into a communications marvel. 1 ) You'll need our special cable. 2) You'll need a serial interface card if your computer doesn't have one builtin. 3) You'll need a modem program. It can be ours or anyone's. You'll really love DAK's Modem Pro- gram. It lets you send and receive files and upload and download files to and from disk. Below, you'll find everything you'll need for some popular computers. For your Apple. (Or Franklin) Your special connecting cable is just $8 ($1 P&H) Order No. 4111. We have Prac- tical Peripherals' Serial Interface for just $79 ($2 P&H) Order No. 41 12. And we have a Modem Program on disk for just $10 ($1 P&H) Order No. 4113. For your IBM PC. (Or Clone) Your special connecting cable is just $8 ($1 P&H) Order No. 41 14. We have Practi- cal Peripherals' Serial Interface for just $79 ($2 P&H) Order No. 41 1 5. And we have a Modem Program on disk for just $10 ($1 P&H) Order No. 4116. For your Commodore. (Both Vic 20 and64) Yourspecial connecting cable is just$12($1 P&H) Order No. 41 17. And, the great news is that you don't need an interface. The Modem program is avail- able for just $10 ($1 P&H). Use Order No. 41 1 8 for disk, or Order No. 41 1 9 for cassette. ForTRS80. Yourspecial connecting cable is just $12 ($1 P&H) Order No. 41 20. For the Color Computer you don't need an interface. For the Black and White Computer Interface, you'll have to see Radio Shack. You'll also need a stan- dard Modem Program as well. SPECIAL SUPER BONUS We've made a large cash purchase of CompuServe Starter Kits. You get a full manual, a detailed description of the service. And, look at this. You'll get 5 free hours of online information. It's a $39 value. If s yours for just $24 ($2 P&H) Order No. 4121. Everything you need, including phone number, secret passcode and instruc- tions, is included. You'll be on line im- mediately. Note: The CompuServe Kit is covered by our standard 30 day risk free trial. But, if you return ityou will be billed $6 per hour only for the time you used. It is said that knowledge is king. With the information you can acquire through the all new Modem Phone, you'll have informational power of 10 kings. And you'll have a full range of entertainment thrown in as an extra bonus.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Playful Pressure Sensitive Pads (for Digital Playgrounds - and More) via Instructables

Building your own physical parts for your electronic projects is part of the fun. Even better, these pressure pads can be used in many different projects so it is great skill to acquire for future learning. Dig in! — Douglas

This is an Instructable to show you how to make a pressure-sensitive pad - which can be used to create digital toys or games. It can be used as a large scale force sensitive resistor, and although playful, it could be used for more serious projects to explore smaller user-interfaces of all kind which require a light touch from the hand, to the force of a body sitting down, to a stop from your feet! It could create anything from a burglar alarm to a dancing game! The tech: Velostat and Metal Foil are combined to make a thin pad which changes resistance upon pressure. What you do with it is up to you!

Read Playful Pressure Sensitive Pads (for Digital Playgrounds - and More) via Instructables


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Historical Technology Books: Commodore C64 Manual: Commodore 64 Users Guide (1982) - 15 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas

Historical Technology Books: Commodore C64 Manual: Commodore 64 Users Guide (1982) - 15 in a series
 
My son has been getting deeply into retro computers and gaming consoles lately, so I have been revisiting the systems which I used early in my career with computers. I was an Apple II user, but even then I still spent some time on friends Commodore 64s and 128s over the years. Flipping through this manual was truly like traveling back through time to a simpler technological time. — Douglas

INTRODUCTION

Congratulations, on your purchase of one of the best computers in the world. You are row the proud owner of the COMMODORE 64. Com- modore is known as The Friendly Computer company, and port of being friendly is giving you easy to read, easy to use and easy to understand instruction manuals. The COMMODORE 64 USER'S GUIDE is designed tn give you all the information you need to properly set up your equipment, ge" acquainted with opercring the COMMODORE 64, and give you a simple, fun start a- learning to make your own programs.

For those of you who don't want to bother learning how to program, we've put all the information you need to use Commodore programs o' other prepackaged programs and/or game cartridges (third party software) right up front. This means you don't have to hunt throjgh -he entire boo< to get started.

Now let's look at some of the exciting features that are just waitirg for you inside your COMMODORE 64, First, when it comes to graphics you've cot the mosl advanced picture maker in the microcomputer in- dustry. We call it SPRITE GRAPHICS, and it allows you to design your own pictures in 4 different colors, just like the ones you see on arcade type video games. Not only that, the SPRITE EDITOR let's you animate as many as 8 different picture levels at one time. The SPRITE EDITOR will soon be available as a software program that you con load directly into your COMMODORE 64. You can move your creations anywhere on the screen, oven pass one image in front of nr behind another. Your COM- MODORE 64 even provides automatic collision detection which instruct; the computer to take the action you want when the sprites hit each other.

Next, the COMMODORE 64 has built-in music and sound effects that rival many well known music synthesizers. Tl-ig part of your computer gives you 3 independent voices, each with a full 9 octave "piano-type" range. In addition you get 4 different waveforms (sawtooth, triangle, variable pulse, ond noise), a programmable ADSR (attack, decay, sus- tain, release) envelope generator and a programmable high, low, and bandpass filter for the voices, and variable resonance and volume con- trols. If you want your music to play back with professional sourd re-

UNPACKING AND CONNECTING THE COMMODORE 64

The following step-by-step instructions show you how to connect the Commodore 64 to your television set, sound syslem, or monitor and make sure everything is working properly.

Before attaching anything to the computer, check the contents of the Commodore 64 container. Besides this manual, you should find the fol- lowing items:

1 . Commodore 64

2. Power supply (black box with an AC plug and supply cord)

3. Video coble

4. TV Switchbox (small silver box with short antenna leads).

If any items are missing check back with your dealer mmed ately for a replacement.

First, let's take a look ot the arrangement of the various connections on The compute' and how each functions.

SIDE PANEL CONNECTIONS

1. Power Socket. The free end of the cable from the power supply is attached here to supply power to the Commodore 64.

2. Power Switch. Turns on power 'o the Commodore 64.

3. Game Ports. Each game connector can accept a joystick or game controller paddle, white the lightpen can only be plugged into the game port closest to the front of your computer.

REAR CONNECTIONS

4. Cartridge Slot. The rectangular slot to the left accepts program or game cartridges.

5. Channel Selector. Use this switch to select which TV channel the computer's picture will be displayed on.

6. TV Connector, This connector supplies both the picture and sound to

your television set.

7. Audio & Video Output. This connector supplies direct audio, which can be connected to a high quality sound system, and a "compos- ite" video signal, which can be fed into a television "monitor."

8. Serial Port. You can anach a printer or single disk drive directly to the Commodore 64 through this connector.

 

 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Friday, April 26, 2019

I used facial recognition technology on birds via The Next Web

Way cool! I have several similar projects I would love to move forward, so I am reading deeply to see what they have accomplished.


As a birder, I had heard that if you paid careful attention to the head feathers on the downy woodpeckers that visited your bird feeders, you could begin to recognize individual birds. This intrigued me. I even went so far as to try sketching birds at my own feeders and had found this to be true, up to a point.
In the meantime, in my day job as a computer scientist, I knew that other researchers had used machine learning techniques to recognize individual faces in digital images with a high degree of accuracy.
These projects got me thinking about ways to combine my hobby with my day job. Would it be possible to apply those techniques to identify individual birds?
Read I used facial recognition technology on birds via The Next Web


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Raspberry Pi smart garden monitor via Geeky Gadgets

I am always looking for ways to automate sections of my garden, especially for watering. While this is for indoor plants, it has some great info that can be applied outdoors, too. — Douglas

A new project has been published to the Hackster.io website providing a complete tutorial on how to build your very own Raspberry Pi smart garden complete with an Arduino connection to help monitor sensors and relay your plants environment and moisture content.

Created using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B together with an Arduino Uno and Genuino development Board the project is capable of monitoring temperature, humidity, light levels and soil moisture. it is also equipped with an automated system that can water the plant if the soil is too dry and switches on a light when the environment is too dark for the plant. “This maintains an ideal and consistent soil condition for the plant, and makes it convenient for those who tend to forget to water their plants regularly. Also, the plant can continuously photosynthesise even when there is no sunlight.”

Read Raspberry Pi smart garden monitor via Geeky Gadgets


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, April 15, 2019

Stringent, the $15 Wall Plotter via Arduino Project Hub

An amazingly detailed story about this Arduino project including multiple generations of the device and what they learned with each iteration. — Douglas

High accuracy wall plotting at minimal cost, enrich all the whiteboards around you with surprising artwork! 
Background 
I don't quite remember when it started, but I think around 1999 or so. Me and a friend that was into everything robotics and electronics was discussing building a robot for drawing on whiteboards. Of course we never had time to do anything serious back then, the ecosystem for hobbyist micro controllers was not what it is today. 
In 2002 my friend showed me the awesome work of Jürg Lehni and Uli Franke - Hektor. I was very pleased to see something similar to what we had been dreaming to build actually be constructed and shared with the world! I was at peace. 
Some time later I remember showing the Hektor project website to someone presenting how fantastic I thought it was. This time though I started looking more at the details realising it lacked one property I had initially envisioned a wall plotter to have. I wanted it to be self-contained, everything in one unit with just wires connecting it to the wall. If I recall it correctly, I looked into stepper motor weights at this point realising that my idea was not going to fly. 
Time passed and things happened in the space of hobbyist robotics. It was 2014 and I had been using Arduinos and RC-servos for various camera control projects, I had access to 3D-printing and actually some spare time (!?!). After stumbling over the dirt cheap 28BYJ-48 stepper motor I knew exactly what I was going to build:
The cheapest possible minimalistic wall plotter.
Read Stringent, the $15 Wall Plotter via Arduino Project Hub


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library
An interesting link found among my daily reading

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources via Raspberry Pi

Scratch is a graphic programming language that can be used to teach kids or adults about programming. It is great to see this impressive resource still growing after all these years. — Douglas

Scratch 3 is here

We love Scratch — it’s the perfect starting point for young people who want to try coding, and we’re offering a huge variety of free Scratch project guides for all interests and coding abilities.

Scratch 3 introduces a brand-new look and feel. The most obvious change is that the stage is now on the right-hand side; there are new paint and sound editing tools; new types of code blocks; and the blocks are now larger and easier to read.

Read Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources via Raspberry Pi



An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Pocket Sized Arduino Calculator Makes a Great First Project via Hackaday

This is a fairly complicated project but so much to learn here - -from soldering to perfboard, to button placement, to Arduino programming and beyond. If you or your students are looking for something a bit more complicated than the typical Arduino weather station, this could be just the thing! — Douglas

We’ve all got calculators on our phones, in our web browsers, and even in the home “assistant” that’s listening in on your conversations all day on the off chance you blurt out a math question is can solve for you. The most hardcore among us might even still have a real calculator kicking around. So in that light, building your own DIY calculator might not seem too exciting. But we can’t deny this Arduino calculator project by [Danko Bertović] would look good sitting on the bench.

In the video after the break, [Danko] walks us through the creation of the calculator, from placing all the through-hole components to writing the code that pulls it all together. Special attention is given to explaining the wiring, making this is a good project for those just getting started on their digital hacking journey. It also helps that the whole thing is put together on perfboard with jumper wires; no PCB fabrication required for this one.

Read Pocket Sized Arduino Calculator Makes a Great First Project via Hackaday


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Reading The Game: Walden via NPR.org

USC’s Game Innovation Lab created a new twist on video games based on Thoreau’s Walden. Find the story of their journey in the article below. — Douglas

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.

That's the writer Henry David Thoreau — not my favorite line from his memoir Walden, but perhaps the most apt for what we're doing here, which is talking about the meeting point of past and future.

Read Reading The Game: Walden via NPR.org


Find more of Thoreau's Books and Thoreau information for Free at Archive.org

 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, April 01, 2019

Pi Zero Gives Amateur Astronomer Affordable Control Of Telescope via Hackaday

Raspberry Pi computers are getting so small you can include them inside of existing equipment and expand them with a large number of new abilities. This particular project looks so clean that you can’t even tell the RasPi was added at all. — Douglas

Like many other hobbies, astronomy can be pursued on many levels, with equipment costs ranging from the affordable to the – well, astronomical. Thankfully, there are lots of entry-level telescopes on the market, some that even come with mounts that automatically find and track heavenly bodies. Finding a feature is as easy as aligning to a few known stars and looking up the object in the database embedded in the remote.

Few of the affordable mounts are WiFi-accessible, though, which is a gap [Dane Gardner]’s Raspberry Pi interface for Celestron telescopes aims to fill. For the price of a $10 Pi Zero W and a little know-how, [Dane] was able to gain full control over his ‘scope. His instrument is a Celestron NexStar, a Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector with a 150-mm aperture, has a motorized altitude-azimuth mount. The handheld remote had enough room for him to add the Zero, powering it from the mount’s battery pack. The handset has an RS-232 serial port built-in, but with the level differences [Dane] just connected the Pi directly to the handset before the UART. Running INDI, a cross-platform astronomical instrument control library, he now has total control of the scope, and he can use open source astronomy software rather than the limited database within the handset. As a neat side trick, the telescope can now be controlled with a Bluetooth gamepad.

Read Pi Zero Gives Amateur Astronomer Affordable Control Of Telescope via Hackaday


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Monday, March 25, 2019

Home Automation Using RemoteMe & Arduino Remote LITE App. via Instructables.com

I have a variety of commercial home automation devices here at the house, but I have been thinking more and more of creating my own, too. This project is one way to go! — Douglas

In this project I will be sharing with you all, how to use RemoteMe & Arduino Remote Lite app to control relays. which can be used in multiple projects like home automation, etc. Using this you don't have to be in the house to control the relay as it can be done over the internet from any where around the world.

I will try to explain this in details still trying to keep it simple so this might be a long post.

If you have no experience with RemoteMe check out Control Devices Over Internet. and Simple Weather Station posts to get an idea.

With that been said, Lets jump right into it.

Read Home Automation Using RemoteMe & Arduino Remote LITE App. via Instructables.com


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Amazon Echo Input Just Dropped to $20 via Tom's Guide


 

Today's Amazon deal offers a cheap and easy way to add voice control to your non-Alexa speakers.  
For a limited time, Amazon has its Echo Input on sale for $19.99. That's $15 off and the lowest price we've seen for this device.
The Echo Input connects to any speaker via its 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth. Once connected and set up via the Alexa app (Android and iOS), you can ask Alexa to play a song, read the news, or stream from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, or more.
Designwise, the Echo Input is a little larger than the Google Chromecast and is barely noticeable among your stereo setup. It features four built-in microphones with action and mute buttons to control them.


Read Amazon Echo Input Just Dropped to $20 via Tom's Guide



An interesting link found among my daily reading

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

YouTubers Are Going to Go Nuts for the New DJI Osmo Pocket via WIRED

Special use cameras just keep getting better and better. I admit, the Osmo Pocket has me thinking of ways I could use it for the various events we capture. Hmmmm, surely there must be a business reason I can grab one of these, right? — Douglas

BACK IN 2015, drone-maker DJI began putting some of its image-stabilization technology into hand-held camera gimbals. The first, called the Osmo, was well-received among the prosumer crowd, because it let users capture unshaky video on either a smartphone or on the device itself. Since then, DJI has released a series of updates to the Osmo, including the smartphone-supporting Osmo Mobile.

Now DJI is putting out its most pocketable Osmo ever—suitably named the Osmo Pocket. It’s DJI’s smallest three-axis gimbal so far, measuring slightly over four inches tall. It has a tiny color touchscreen, so you can see and control your video capture directly from the device, or you can attach your smartphone via USB-C or Lightning and use your phone as a viewfinder. And since the Pocket has the same camera sensor as the Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, and Mavic 2 Zoomdrones, it captures 12-megapixel still images and 4K video at up to 60 frames per second.

Read YouTubers Are Going to Go Nuts for the New DJI Osmo Pocket via WIRED



An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Hands-on with Hyperkin's NES light gun for LCDs and Raspberry Pi DIY SNES kit via Neowin

My son has recently gotten deeply interested in retro gaming and now I see articles like this everywhere. A great use for a Raspberry Pi, enabling old technology to work with new. -- Douglas

Before CES, Hyperkin announced its latest devices for 2019, with the Hyper Blaster HD and RetroN DIY for SNES being the two stand out products. Although we are still a ways off from the retail release, we got some hands-on time with both units.

The Hyper Blaster HD is probably what most folks are excited about. After all, it solves the huge problem of the original NES Zapper from Nintendo: its incompatibility with modern displays. As you can see from the images, the Hyper Blaster HD comes in bright neon orange with gray accents, similar to Nintendo's original Zapper.

Read Hands-on with Hyperkin's NES light gun for LCDs and Raspberry Pi DIY SNES kit via Neowin



An interesting link found among my daily reading

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Historical Technology Books: Computer Gaming World Issue 1.1 (Volume 1, Number 1) (1981) - 14 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas

Historical Technology Books: Computer Gaming World Issue 1.1 (Volume 1, Number 1) (1981) - 14 in a series
 
Another collection of technology magazines from the early days of computing! — Douglas
 
 

From the Editor...

 

In recent months I have been encouraged time and again when I see the tremendous interest out there for a magazine on computer gaming. Many people have expressed the view that the time for a magazine on computer gaming is OVERDUE. Hopefully we have corrected that problem.

 

CGW is designed to meet your needs as a computer gamer. Each issue will evaluate computer games, give advice on strategy and tactics, announce new products, and provide a forum for you, the reader, to become active in the rapid nationwide development of the computer gaming hobby.

 

We hope to have a “Letters to the Editor” column beginning with the second or third issue. Please write us and express your thoughts on the articles presented in these pages, and/or your thoughts about the hobby in general. It is my hope that CGW will become a forum for an intelligent dialog between gamers, designers, manufacturers and retailers.

 

The coming explosion in use of personal computers has just begun, we at COMPUTER GAMING WORLD are excited about being a part of it, and are glad that you have joined with us.

Identifier Computer_Gaming_World_Issue_1.1
Identifier-ark ark:/13960/t7wm6h95x
Ocr ABBYY FineReader 11.0
Pages 41
Scanner Internet Archive Python library 1.4.0
 
* Click these links for more books and magazine in that date or subject area

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library