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It's been a while... (Ramble Warning)

I've been quite busy, recently.

As adulthood fast approaches, more and more responsibilities slowly creep into my life, making it more and more essential that I manage my time well. I think I've done OK, but I think I could do a lot better...

But let me tell you what I've been busy with!

The main thing is The ProtoBot Project. I've been designing an open source, arduino based mini robot. It's small, fun, and costs less than $12 for the materials used to make it. That's not all I've been working on, since I've been working with the 4-H robotics coach to host STEM camps where kids build these- Which means I'm also working on creating guides for those, improving those guides, and improving the robot to make it easier to build. On top of it all, we're presenting the project at the Western Regional Leadership Forum, a conference in San Diego, CA for 4-H Educators and volunteers. It's gonna be a ton of fun, but there's also a lot of preparatio…
Recent posts

Declutter the Space

I’m a person who has a lot of ideas for projects. Something I see at a thrift store will inspire an idea for a project involving that thing- Sometimes it’s a tool I think I need, and all it needs is that one thing, and some of my time.  I’m also a person who already has a lot of projects. When a new one comes along, I have to shove it in among a dusty pile of projects to-do. If it’s really interesting, I start working on it, shoving whatever I was working on into the pile instead. I’m rarely ever not working on some project of sorts. I don’t stop having ideas for cool projects. Pretty soon, I’ve got a pile of projects in the attic of my brain, some of which are overflowing into the livingspace. It starts to get a little hard to focus on one thing. I’ve got no time to do any of them, because I’m too busy trying to get them all done at once.
Project cutter is mentally - And physically. I’ve got stuff saved because I have a project in mind for later, and stuff that I don’t have a projec…

SAA1099 & Arduino - Fireflies - Owl City

I just finished a YouTube video that's been stewing in the back of my mind for quite a while.
It's an Arduino Uno hooked up to a vintage SAA1099 square wave generator chip, playing "Fireflies", by Owl City.

When I first conceived the idea, I wanted to make a bunch of cuts in the video to different angles. However, with the equipment I had at that time, it would have been several days of work, at least. Recently, I bought/made a few tools that made the production of this video much easier than I'd thought it would be. I'm quite pleased with the results.

My crazy "Studio" setup
  What was the equipment? An vintage high quality thrift store tripod (5$), an homemade audio input adapter for my phone (Free), and the craziest lighting setup I've attempted (Also free), and I got some pretty nice video and flawless audio!

  I'm looking forward to making more cool videos in the near future, and maybe eventually I'll even buy something better tha…

Some Creative Commons pictures I took

A hen and chicks plant that is growing in a pot at my house.
A minor hobby of mine is photography. I don't know a whole lot about it, nor do I have any fancy equipment (unfortunately), but I can get my smartphone (A florescent yellow-green Sony Xperia Z1 Compact) to take decent photos. I usually take pictures of flowers, and occasionally I get a decent photo of something else.

  Anyways, I want to share some of my favorites here, under a Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution license. What does that mean? Here's a quick overview from the Creative Commons website.

You are free to: 
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.  No…

Restoring the first ever Educational Electronic Toy

A picture of my "Little Professor", after undergoing restoration.
 The "Little Professor", an educational electronic toy released in 1976, was the first of its kind. Encased in happy yellow plastic, with a smiling mustached face, it certainly looks unique. It kind of looks like a cheesy calculator, designed to interest kindergartners in math, but it's actually a little different. It's a "Reverse Calculator"; instead of giving you answers, it asks you the questions!

 I first saw mine in the calculator bin at a local thrift store. It has an LED bubble display, and I'd seen one somewhere before, so I snatched it up. Upon bringing it home, it worked fine, but it was dirty and didn't look so great. So I decided to give it a "restoration" (a good cleaning).

 After completely disassembling everything, I scrubbed the plastic pieces with a water/baking soda paste. It seems to work well to remove scuffs and marks that accumulate with use.…

I got a car!

This is a Dooling "F" tether car. They were produced by the Dooling Bros company, in around 1946. What are tether cars? Good question! They're model race cars with tiny real engines, that are raced around a circular track, reaching speeds of up to 200mph. It was most popular back in the 1920's to 1950's, and there are still enthusiasts out there today.

The pressed-aluminum front grill. I think this actually serves a purpose, as the engine has to be cooled somehow...
  Last Saturday, my dad and I went up to Astoria to look at a Volkswagen Rabbit that was for sale there. (We did end up buying it.) On the way back, my dad decided to go look at a sailboat he'd seen on Craigslist. It was part of an estate, and since the guy who was there had been working in a barn full of stuff, I asked if I could poke around. I spied this in a box and was intrigued.


 Upon digging it out, I found that it was powered by a tiny little single cylinder engine. Anyways, the guy who …

Restoring a Commodore Minuteman 3 Calculator

It's a good thing it only supports 8 digits... That's all the Pi I know!
  A while back, I was browsing a goodwill and saw something in one bin of electronics that caught my eye. It was a vintage Commodore Minuteman 3 calculator. It had a great looking color scheme, a retro LED Bubble display, and, it was made by Commodore! So of course I bought it, even though it didn't turn on. (It was only about $3)


42 year old NI-CAD batteries are rarely found in working condition...
Upon bringing it home and taking it apart, I discovered what I had suspected was wrong with it. The 42 year old rechargeable NI-CAD batteries had leaked everywhere and were no good. So, I decided to restore the thing.

  After determining if the calculator still functioned when given power (It did!), I did some research until I found out what kind of battery it uses. It's a weird 2/3 AA battery, but it's plenty common on eBay, so I bought four, enough to replace the battery pack in the calculator. Wh…
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.