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Wednesday at OlyMEGA

As always I'm at/staffing the OlyMEGA makespace today. (I try to be there every Wed. From noon till 4pm)

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Chocolate geode

An Amazon shipping mishap led to my receiving a nearly completely melted bag of chocolate chips lead to this neat "geode" for my rock collection :p

Z80 is in the box

Found a few of these videomedia serial I/O boxes recently... Neat thing is, as far as I can tell its a nice little z80 computer pretending to be a peripheral. I dont know that I'll ever take the time to dump the rom and poke around in it, but it seems like someone should...

Comix on non-linux

I've been in love with "Comix" the cbz/cbr reader for linux for quite a while and have been wishing there was a windows port since I run that os on some machines (don't get started with me about that, I'm not an OS facist; Linux, MSDOS, OS X, ProDOS, and Atari DOS 2.x all have features I like and some I don't.. thats why I use whatever fits best at the time) I finally got around to looking at the source code for comix and hey, it's in Python!   you dont even need to port it,  if you have python 2.7 installed you just need to install the Python Image Lib and GTK for python. Then un-tar the Comix source archive open the src folder and run comix.py

It'll probably run a bit better if you tweak the code for a non POSIX environment, but that can wait.. it works fine for now.

Inanimate Carbon rods!

found a nice source for carbon electrodes and borosilicate glass tubing recently... hopefully in the new year I'll be able to post some crazy DIY lightbulb stuff here :)


Argon ; Best noble gas ever?

Argon -my new baby.  20 cubic feet of argon in a 20lb tank:) ~ let the crazy experiments begin. I'm mostly hoping to make some light-bulbs with this, but I'll probably do some canning with it, and at some point I want to sail a little aluminum foil boat across an argon sea.

Arc-light... sorta

 Had a DIYjam-session with a friend the other day, he worked on a gassifier, i mostly just fiddled with stuff, but got inspired near the end of the session, and assembled a simple arc-light. using pencil leads as electrodes and a light bulb to limit current. 

 While not ground breaking as a project, it certainly was fun/rewarding to make a light so bright you couldnt look at it without eye protection :P   I used h4 pencil lead for my electrodes , having first burned off the wax/glue in 'em with a lighter (though i must not have done a very good job of it, because a whole lot more burned off during the first arc test )  next time i think i'll try using HB lead and I'll bake it in a toaster oven for a bit before using it..

RAW pictures with an Olympus C700UZ

 ok, I admit its horribly behind the times, but i still use a 2.1 megapixel digital camera. Mainly because It's 12x optical zoom has yet to be surpassed in any digital camera I could afford. And now that I've figured out how to squeeze RAW images out of it, I'll probably be using it for a few more years yet.

 To make a C700UZ take RAW photos you need software like Cam2Com or Camera Controller (the trial version should work fine).

  Follow the Directions here to switch the camera to PC control mode.

  Then use C2C or Camera Controller to get the camera's Info (or settings) and change its name from  "OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" to "DIAG RAW". 
  Now Your C700UZ will save two files every time you shoot the first will be a normal jpeg and the second will be the raw ccd data (though it'll also be named .jpg)

  You'll need  a copy of Nef2RAW from here , to convert the raw ccd data to a .nef file (Nikon's raw format). If you're like me you'll need to add the line ;
 2920448, 0, 1616, 1204, 0, 2424, 12, 1, C700UZ
to Raw2Nef's ini file before it will recognize files from a the C700UZ, but once you add that it works fine (it took alot of educated guesswork to figure out what settings to tell raw2nef to use :P )

   So have fun making HDR photos with your C700, I know I'm going to !

old VCR bits

 I took apart an old quasar VCR the other day,  I was after its IR transceiver, but i found a treasure-trove of awesomeness!

Some really cool stepper motors were hiding in there, the one in the read-write head was particularly impressive...  anyone looking for a stepper motor to make into a generator should look into using a vcr head (in my opinion anyway) you could even mill the aluminum read head part into a pully shape fairly easily.

also included were a BUNCH of little plastic gears and one nice molded aluminum gear. You could probably build an entire analog clock with only the crud i found in this VCR, and if i where a just a bit less lazy I'd try to prove it :P

here's a pic of all the crazy gears, I'll try to remember to take pictures of the other neat bits i found in it when i get back to my workshop.

Asus PC-DL SATA issues

my linux machine is a dual Xeon box with an Asus PC-DL logic board, in general i have no complaints, but i recently switched to a SATA harddrive  and well, it hasnt gone well.  It would get corrupted every two to three days, and i'd have to bootoff a cd and run fsck to fix it, usually losing recent files and prefrences along the way.    After alot of googling, cable reseating, and BIOS setting checking (and swearing) I've come to the conclusion that the onboard sata controller on the PD-DL just doesnt work with recent linux kernels. Luckily PCI sata controllers are fairly inexpensive these days and i was able to find a 2 port jobber from Kingwin that made life wonderful again. 

  A fringe benifit of this little adventure was i stumbled across the Kingwin KF-1000 SATA drive rack. I love the thing!  it's trayless, so you dont have to fuss with adding rails or other gunk to your hard-drives  just stick the drive in the hole and close the door :)  if you swap drives as often as i do, it's a real time-saver!