Saturday, January 9, 2016

Another Software reload

So for those that don't know, last time I went to update my OS things went horribly. I moved my windows partition, and it didn't like it. So I loaded Ubuntu desktop, installed Xfce, and then deleted Unity. This for some reason was very bad. on boot up it would give me errors and rarely would it shut down with out a cpu timeout. Requiring me to hardshutdown almost EVERY TIME. Needless to say this made me unhappy. So while I was on Staycation I took the opportunity to reload software. This time I was determined to do it right... or at least closer to right.

First off I installed Ubuntu server. Next (I don't know why I was surprised) I had to add my wifi and manually bring up my wifi card. It wasn't hard, just took me by surprise. Next I installed Xfce4. Some tinkering and now that works as expected. Then installed just the packages I wanted from synaptic. 

So far so good. It boots up into the shell, and then I start the xfce. Often I'm doing shell work so this doesn't actually bother me. I have another laptop I'm using as a game server, it's likely I'll take time to reload that one the same way. I did however learn the importance of checking for typos when trying to connect manually to the internet at my favorite coffee shop.

So how you do this, on ubuntu is sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces. Then just add

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid RouterName
wpa-psk NetworkPassword

Then you just :wq out of that and sudo ifup -v wlan0. you should be able to  ping google at this point.

when I googled this there was a hot mess of answers mucking about with wpa supplican and such, that's all automagically done in the server. Don't make life harder than it is. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Focalwanna LED Music Spectrum Electronic DIY LED Flash Kit 12*11FFT(with housing)

Picked this up at Amazon, it's a pretty simple kit IF your into soldering SMD. If I were to do this again I'd invest in some solder paste, and use the reflow oven at the local makerspace. All surface mount, which wouldn't be so bad except for all the tiny LEDs in the front. Go slow, remove them from the package one at a time, check polarity solder in one side. Then you can solder in all the other sides when they are all on. That way if you have to remove one it's not a huge ordeal. Instructions came with it. It seems pretty hackable, though most of the heavy lifting is done by two chips on the back. They shorted me a green and a blue LED, and for some reason I don't have output from the speakers. I paired this with an external speaker though and it looked awesome. For the price it's a nice project, and well worth the effort. What an effort it is.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ramsey ts1 kit - Touch Switch

Another awesome kit from Ramsey. Useful too. I'm using this one with a relay to switch a floor lamp that gets used quite a bit, as well as switch on/off the opposite end table lamp. That's right it's a dual switch. It also has the capabilities of doing duty as a momentary push button switch, or as an acutal toggle switch. Bloody brilliant guys. Kit comes with a pamphlet that has all the numbers/parts you need so you can check them off as you go. All through hole components, board is small and goes together really well. I highly recommend this for beginners who are looking to get into electronics, or for old hats who need a quick touch switch solution. Totally hackable since the pamphlet gives a rundown on how the circuit works and everything, Ramsey comes through again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy whatever-the-heck-you-celebrate!

As the year ends people need to blow off steam a bit, and so there are several occasions that all occur around the end of the year. So no matter what you celebrate I hope you enjoy yourself. Unless your an ax murderer in which case... consider therapy.

So I picked up one of these for my desk at work, put it together while on staycation, thought my readers would like to check it out. Vellman has some great kits, this is one of them. Based on a two transistor multivibrator (calm down ladies) this kit blinks LEDs. (whoo hoo) but blinks them on a tree shaped PCB. For the price it really isn't a bad kit to put together for a little bit of festive. I will warn you that there is a +/- pins at the top of the tree, these connect to the input voltage. So if you put a LED there it will try to take the full input power. At 9V that's bad 'k? That's there so you can attatch your power wires there, into a 9v and hang it in the tree (cleverly hiding the 9v battery under a sign that says 'not a 9v battery') Typical Vellman kit with pamphlet explaining the circuit and checkoff as you go parts list. GREAT for beginners. Highly recommended.