Friday, 25 November 2011

Then you put it back together..

It's done.. =)

I've completed reassembly of the CopyPro CP2000, with a new mainboard, consisting of a chunk of MDF, with an Arduino, Motor Board, Stripboard & breadboard, and Kryoflux attached to it..

All in the same space of the original..

Friday, 18 November 2011

First, you take it apart...

Well.. my little project to read in my entire Amiga Floppy archive took another step forward, when an Ebay search found a 'CopyPro 2000'.. leading to the purchase of a bunch of related bits & bobs..

So now I'm waiting on a motor controller, some connectors, stripboard, I've been slightly busy attempting to read datasheets..

What is a CopyPro 2000? why is it useful? Read on..

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Arduinos Floppy Drives, and Maples..

Time for some serious geekery documenting =)

This tale starts with my other half getting intrigued by an arduino.. and picking up an Uno, with a whole exploratory box full of parts, and little projects to build. Then shortly after that, getting an arduino nano, and an ethernet module, with the aim of solving our garage door opening problems..

This led to me to start looking at arduinos & MIDI, and lcd's, and thus I ended up with an arduino Mega. Then I got a little sidetracked, and started looking at how to read floppy disks, and things just kinda spiralled from there..

Monday, 11 July 2011

Busy busy busy

Well.. life presses on.. and somehow I find it's almost a month since I posted here last..

I mean.. just how? it's not like I visited another planet, or entered a tech free lifestyle growing corn & making bread.. is it?

Well, here's some of what I've been up to..

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Compressing Postcodes..

The UK has postcodes, which are of a similar purpose to zip codes in the US. You put a postcode, and a house number on an envelope, and in theory that's pretty much all that's needed to get the letter to the destination.

I've never really put much thought into how they were constructed, until I met a stack of data that was indexed using postcodes as the lookup, very handy, but it was causing the data size to exceed a limit which meant I couldn't embed the data into a blog post ;-)

I went hunting, and found a document explaining the structure here. I ran a quick scan over my data, discovering I had 121 postcode areas present in my list, some 129 sub bits of them, and some 4000 or so last bits =) Eg, PO1 3AX, PO being what I'd call an area, 1 being the sub bit, and 3AX being the last bit.

I started playing around a bit and here's what I ended up with...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

on Hosting, and other such things..

I remember walking along the seafront, back in the mid 1990's, trying to explain these things called 'mp3s' to a few non technical friends. Attempting to explain that here's a way to fit an 'acceptable' quality version of an audio track into something that would fit on a couple of floppy disks. How important it was that the size was small enough to be transferable within an 'acceptable' timeframe, and that most people really didn't care for CD-quality (most of them still using cassette tape for Cars, Walkman's etc).

I remember saying this will really change things, that I wasn't sure how the music industry would cope with their content becoming available in the same way software was, with all the positives and negatives that brought with it.

Well.. here we are.. almost 20 years later, and there has been Winamp, Napster, Peer2Peer, Lawsuits, iTunes, YouTube... we're currently in a time where we are able to share information with millions of people, just by making a blog post, like this one.. so I figured I'd try hosting some of my music, and was a little surprised by the process.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Portable recording in stereo ?

I've got this other blog, where I wibble on about musical stuff, and after watching Dr Who the other night, I ended up with a nice enough bit of noise that some people might call it 'music'.

"Excellent!!" I thought.. "I shall share this with the entire world!!!"

Of course, that means somehow getting the noise from the piano, into the intertubes. I'm smart enough to know that my piano is a) digital, and b) has line out jacks. And I know I have a big pile of cables, some of which may even be adequate to use with said jacks.. I've also got a netbook thing, which has some sort of audio built in.

How hard can it be? about an hours worth harder than it should have been! There may have been simpler ways to do this.. but here's the tale of how I ended up sorting it out...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

If Microsoft made cars, you'd need to reboot them..

Except in this case, it would appear that the 'Microsoft' might be 'Mercedes'. Discovered that the car didn't want to talk to me this morning, it decided I, the key-holder, was a non-entity. No amount of button pressing would awaken the car from its nightly slumber, and the second key fared no better.

Odd, unlikely both keys would go flat, especially since the nice people at the Merc service desk take such pride in ensuring they swap out those CR2032s for us on a regular basis ;-) Tried the key for the other car, 'Chrirrup!' .. Ok, it's not radio interference..

Somewhere around here I guess I should have stopped thinking like I was debugging code, but as we'll see, that wouldn't have been such a bad idea ...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

T-Balancer BigNG .. return of the dusty controller.

No, this isn't a post about Thomas the Tank Engine.. this is a post about a USB programmable 4 channel Fan Controller, I know, I know.. but don't worry, Thomas is safe & having a rest.

This is a tale instead of what happens when you go hunting through a cupboard, and discover a bit of tech you had laying around, and think 'hey, I could probably use that to power the fans in the storage server', it probably happens to you every day... No? Well, you've missed out on all the fun then of discovering how to hook up drivers to your aging widget of choice, for your not so aging operating system..

Here's my tale of random pluggery =)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Drive Failures Anonymous

"Hi.. my names Samsung, and I'm a drive failure.."
"Hi.. my names Western Digital and I'm a drive failure..."

"Welcome guys, why don't you tell us a bit about yourselves, if you feel like sharing.. everyone here has been through what you have, haven't we people?"

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Network Server has a bad Night.

Ever had one of those days where things seemed like they were just sailing along.. your mental todo list full with little things like 'fix why the media pc is confused over which channels are high def', and 'think about adding more storage to the home server' .. and then you wake up to discover a little red house in your systray ?

If you know what I'm talking about, you'll have an inkling of where this is going. If you're wondering what a little red house is doing in my systray, then we should probably start there...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Shiny unexpectedness!

Ok, I probably should read the manuals from time to time.. but it's just so much more fun not to ;-) After all is a device really all that usable if you have to keep referring to a virtual bit of paper helpfully shipped on a cdrom along with the lump of electronics & plastic that arrived here on a boat from china?

But I digress.. today I got round to picking up a mini-hdmi to hdmi adapter to enable me to connect the Panasonic Lumix TZ10 to a tv via HDMI rather than composite video. At least then I wont feel like Im staring at 40 inches of smeary blurryness when I'm viewing them via family tv's etc.

Plugged it all together, and up came a nice 1080i user interface, did the normal 'sit far too close to the large screen due to being tethered to it by the video cable so you can use the camera controls to move to the next picture' when I noticed 2 extra controls listed at the bottom of the UI. 'Red' & 'Green'. Odd, the only red button on the camera is the record button, and there's nothing green on it at all.

Slowly it dawned on me that there were Red and Green buttons on the TV remote.. surely this camera wasnt thinking.. it was.. omg.. I mean I know HDMI can carry control as well as A/V, and about HDMI-CEC etc, I just didnt expect to see it, in a camera.

So now I can sit on the sofa like a normal couch potato & control the slideshow from there with the TV remote.. Nice.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Media PC - Past.

Part One.. where I discuss the insanity of trying to use your pc to record stuff ;-)

Started looking at this media pc thing quite a long while back, way back in the days of  133mhz Pentium CPU's, when PCI/ISA was the most common motherboard. Back then, I wondered how much space it would take if I recorded an episode of Star Trek Next Generation, using a WinTV PCI. Given that thing did basically no compression, the answer was "lots", and "lots" in a time when hard disks were only just pushing past the 1gb capacity.

I can haz tech bl0g.

This is my little blog.. where I'll attempt to talk through some of the tech projects I've got carried away with, past & future.

Lego Mindstorms
HTPC/Home Networking
Here's where I'll talk about HTPCs, Home data storage, Lego Mindstorms, Home networking, PC Hardware, coding, and General Geekery.

For this first post, I'll hover around a little & wibble about the latest addition to the media pc.