Wednesday, June 25, 2008


And now off to oregon, godforsaken desert/mountain/volcano/coastline/rainforest that it is. Be back roughly the 6th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I been trying to build an op-amp oscillator , but I just can't get it to work.
It's a cool little thing, but I might have burned out a transistor cause I didn't use a heatsink to keep it cool. Gorram.
I've started explaining my geekery with links. Very easy HTML.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Okay, people!

I want anyone who notices this to comment. only 1 coment per person.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I've spent most of the day doing electronics stuff. First I made a theremin, a funny little 'instrument' that makes strange beps and tones and buzzes based on the amount of light falling on it.
Then a crystal checker, which allowed me to check if a bunch of my parts, and i can now see just how many of the little buggers I have:
32.768 kHz
38 kHz
2.4576 MHz
3.579545 MHz
3.58 MHz
4 MHz (3)
10.7 MHz
12 MHz
13.5 MHz
14.3 MHz
14.31818 MHz
16 MHz
16.33 MHz
24.576 MHz
Then I built 2 circuits trying to test a nonfunctional 20 MHz oscillator, and then I drew 2 circuit diagrams.
Wow, I am a geek.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, this sucks.

Well, the doctor sent me to have a x-ray and......
Suspected avulsion fracture of the dorsal carpal.
Well, well, well. What do we have here?
Suspected - it's not definitely a fracture. My bone might just be a wee bit curved naturally.
Avulsion fracture - the tendon pulled away a bit of bone. No cast (yay), just rest ice, and maybe another x-ray if it stays swollen.
Dorsal carpal - one of the little wrist bones, on the back. Means that I can't move my wrist in any direction very much. I don't know which bone. probably one of the two below the lunate.
You have no idea how hard it is to do paraentheses with one hand, even one as big as mine.
I can't wait to see what green thinks of this.
adios, amoebas. (sorry, gary larson)

Ow. ow. ow. ow. ow.

Ouch. Yo fue un idioto ayer. I was riding my scooter on a flat section of road and I see a puddle ahead and a decide to jump it. I hit it at about 15 or 20 mph. it's 8 feet wide, I get 7 feet. The back wheel drags in some muck and I lose control. The wheels go left and I go right with the handle bars. I hit the deck still going 10 or 15. I roll nicely over my right shoulder, but I bang my wrist HARD. Then i gotta walk a quarter mile uphill to get home.
The Score:
road rash 3
sprained wrist 1
me zippo
And, of course, my regularly scheduled checkup is today, so the good dr esposito (no, not related to espo) gets to see the full extent of my idiocy. ow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Monday, Monday"

Sorry, just thinking of that funny Dirty Jobs commercial.
Finally got that program working. Scoring was fixed easily; levels took a bit longer.
Takes only 1.4 kilobytes!

Anyone know where you can get a hits counter?

More later, peeps.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hi Again

1: I've almost got the program to work. I fixed the firing problem - hitting enter paused the program, so now 2nd fires. I fixed the aliens-shooting-back-at-you problem - I had used Y as the variable, which kept resetting it to 0. changing the variable to H solved. I still gotta fix the scoring and the level change feature.
2: This is a chart of the Cosmic Microwave Background from XKCD. Awesome and funny.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

$%*!@! Programming

grrr. I've spent 4 hours trying to program space invaders on my calculator. 400+ lines of code. 25 subroutines. And it doesn't work. I can move my spacecraft and shoot, but the scoring doesn't work well, the aliens don't drop bombs, and sometimes the game pauses when I shoot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Destroying a Scanner

Almost any piece of electronic equipment makes a good take-apart. A scanner does suprisingly well. The low down:

  • Main circuit board: Double sided :-( A few passive components, two transistors, and a number of connecters are about all you get. Several good ICs, but they are almost impossible to desolder.
  • Peripheral boards: Here's where the fun is. A side board has the single-line color CCD sensor - glass case, 22 pins. Another board, just 1.2 x 1.6 inches, turns out to be a HV supply board, with a small 12" fluorescent tube attached. Woo-hoo! I estimate around 300V at almost no current - a shock feels like a pinprick.
  • Power supply: 15V wall wart. A few power transistor, 1W resistors, toroids, etc. Several caps and resistors were fried in a power surge.
  • Mechanics: a weird stepper motor, a belt drive, and a 16" by 3/8" rod.
  • Optics: A ~ 12x16" sheet of glass, several barely curved mirrors, and a small lens assembly that makes a good ~10x close-up magnifier.
  • Safety: don't chip the glass sheet. Splinters hurt. The glue attaching it is kinda strong. Also, don't shock yourself with HV. It hurts too. Don't blow up electrolytics with the HV.

Rating: 4 components, 3 mechanical / optical, 3 safety. 4 overall.


Welcome to the Amateur Geek, my low-profile repository of everything and anything I feel like! This includes electronics, chemistry, math, and occasionally even biology. Always entertaining, always intelligent, mostly safe, and lacking enough high explosives.