My employer came to me with a little project. The office projector stopped working properly after someone touched the pins of the VGA video cable, and presumably released ESD energy into the projector. The picture’s colours were all tinted and washed out!
Note that the bottom monitor is displaying the same colour pattern
as the projector. Grey is completely missing!
He asked me if I’d like to take a look at it. My answer, as would be expected, was “of course!”
It isn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. Today I had a client e-mail me in some panic, as her USB memory drive had stopped working. It was plugged into the computer, and someone walked into it, bending the connector.
Breaking the 64MB, chinese-made promotional USB key was not the disaster – it was losing the files on it.
I’ve had luck before re-soldering damaged USB key connectors, so I got my tools together and gave it a shot.
This year marked the second annual Ottawa Pinball and Gameroom Show (I tend to call it the Pinball Expo). On Friday, September 7th, 2012, over 50 pinball machines were installed at the Hilton Garden Inn by the Ottawa Airport, and by Saturday, there were around 60+ tables. The show spanned from September 8th to the 9th.
As per last year, I made a video of the show, but I was much more ambitious this year. I ended up creating something more documentary styled, incorporating multiple interviews, to find out the more personal side of pinball. The video is indeed a bit un-conventional, but I am pleased with it.
QR codes are starting to take over in marketing. Businesses see potential in a small, unobtrusive combination of squares, unreadable by humans. There is a factor of curiosity, not knowing what message is contained within the QR code, that might compel people to scan them.
But I don’t think it works.
I have yet to scan a QR code I’ve seen in public. Why? I’m just not interested. A lot of us have become used to ignoring ads on websites and TV, and posters and newspaper ads get similar treatment.
So, if the code has all this wasted potential, what else can you do with them? Why not make it unique?
Indeed, Pi day (3/14, March 14th) is upon us once more. Last year I had the fortune of being the first person to recite many digits of Pi at our college’s celebrations, and this year I have worked on remembering additional decimal places.
Practice your Pi here! (Refresh if it didn’t load.)
My uncle was kind enough to lend me his faithful but underused Roland D-20. For the last 4 years. The less feature-packed sibling of the D-50, the D-20 is still a very powerful keyboard. It is a “multi timbral linear synthesizer multi track sequencer”, according to the imprint on it’s face. I have used this keyboard in the studio and on stage, and despite being manufactured in 1988, it still sounds and performs as new.
Alas, it has not been used intensely for a long time, and dust had begun to accumulate. Today I felt the D-20 belonged on my desk, and once I’d moved it from the stand, I began to clean the keys. However, a bit of water trickled down in between the keys, and I was not going to turn it on for risk of there still being water down there. So I took it apart, and began a 3 hour journey to clean the D-20, from the inside out.
For every project I post on here where I obtain the results I was looking for, chances are there are two other projects I’ve tried that didn’t quite work out. Such is the nature of tinkering and hacking for fun.
Just because it ended in failure (and occasionally, catastrophic failure), it doesn’t mean I’ve wasted my time – here are some lessons I’ve learnt from failure over time.
Today marks the end of my co-op at the David Florida Laboratories. The experience was nothing less than incredible. I was so fortunate to work alongside professionals with decades of experience in the RF qualification field, people who were so very helpful and willing to share their knowledge with me. It is going to be hard leaving this.
However, I’ve learnt so much about a field I knew so little of going in. I spent 2 hours one night reading some chapters marked in my professor’s RF textbook, and explored some Wikipedia pages – that was the extent of my training. Over the course of the summer, I was exposed to tools I will likely never personally own, and that will be hard to come by even in school: spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, high power RF amplifiers, e-field probes. It was incredible.
Here is a picture of me at my test station, in front of a 1kW amplifier, the probe monitor, the signal generator and the test software. I’ve greyed out anything I’m not allowed to share:
Yeah, I know, it sucks. I wish I could, too.
Here is my video of the first ever Ottawa Pinball Expo! We brought three machines to the show, and I am pleased to say I played every free-play machine there! It was great fun, and I can’t wait for next year!
Filmed, edited and soundtrack composed by myself.
As it was my birthday Friday, I invited the Electronics Kids over for a night of pinball. I thought it would be cool to do a timelapse of the entire night, to see if there were any patterns in what machines people played and what areas people hung out in.
In the end, I discovered that it really depends on the people you have over. Last time the MAME cabinet was the main attraction, but this time it got almost no use. Hurricane remains the most popular machine (odd, it isn’t even in my top 3 favorites).