Friday, June 14, 2013

Kayaking Lysefjord 2013 Update


Lysefjord, Forsand, Norway
For forty two incredible kilometers Lysefjord stretches east from Sandnes Kommune.  The fjord, cut by glaciers, cuts deep into the Norwegian plateau showing off some of the most beautiful sights in Rogaland.  The cliffs near the two-kilometer wide mouth stretch 400 meters from the water and gradually rise to over  900 meters near Lysebotn where the fjord narrows to just half a kilometer.
A very enjoyable and relatively easy sea kayak trip is an excellent way to experience the some of the subtler beauty of the fjord.  The trip can be done in one very long day, but a more reasonable schedule is to plan for two 8 kilometer and one 25 kilometer day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reading Serial Data from an ATtiny85

I just jumped into the world of ATtiny chips using the Tiny Programmer from SparkFun.  It's amazingly easy to use and I whipped up a bunch of blinkin' lights at first, but when it came to reading and using analog data in a program I was totally stumped. I generally have no idea what I'm doing, so figuring out what I've done wrong is a challenge.  Being able to see what's going on and debug the thing would be a huge help. Unfortunately, the Tiny Programmer has no ability to read serial data, so I had to switch to an Arduino for that task.
I found a stack of blogs that demonstrate how to program and read serial data from an ATtiny, but none of them had everything in one place.  Mostly this blog entry exists so I can refer back to it, but perhaps it will help someone else as well.
I borrowed heavily from the following blogs to develop these instructions:
http://hellowoo.com/hardware/serial-monitor-with-attiny85-and-arduino/#comment-76
http://hlt.media.mit.edu/?p=1695

Friday, April 5, 2013

Travels and Trekking in Turkey

Blue Mosque at Dusk
We just got back from our Easter holiday in Turkey with Brian and Susan and it was amazing.  Simply amazing.  Not only is it astoundingly beautiful, but everyone we met was incredibly friendly, helpful and kind.  I don't think I've ever felt so welcome in another country.
Despite being a massive city of 15 million people, residents of Istanbul are not at all jaded with tourists and are downright helpful. Locals helped us find our hotel and even took the time to walk us to appropriate intersections, or to find a friend that spoke better english to help us.  Later in our trip as we headed south the hospitality only increased.  Every city should hope to be as friendly to visitors as Istanbul was to us.
Read on after the break for more delicious details.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Android Based Car Media Player

IMG_20130104_002039_0
Nexus One in car holder
My trusty Nexus One was finally retired from active service after the power button failed (again for the third time) and the headphone jack started to be rather intermittent.  To work around the broken button I installed CyanogenMod 7.2 and breathed a bit of new life into the phone.  But alas, it was time to upgrade to a Galaxy Nexus.
After the N1 sat around on my desk for most of the summer and autumn I decided it was time to make something useful from it.  Since the BlueTooth still works properly I can still use it to connect to the car as a media player.

Ideally the N1 Media Player will live in our car and do the following:
  1. Play Music
  2. Automatically Fetch NPR News Programs
  3. Sync Recently Added Music and Podcasts
  4. Stand Up in the Car -Link to Thingiverse Thing-
Check after the jump for specifics