Intro to Physical Computing Fall, 2003 Jeff Feddersen
The picture on the left is a 'Kismet'-style greeterBot being used at King's College in London.
The article in Nature
I bought one of those multi-color IR sensors that is supposed to be able to not only detect light, but detect specific wavelengths. Danged if I can figure out how it works. It has four glass plates on the front and two sets of three wires in the back. I can't find any specs anywhere. The wires are sort of like those of a stepper motor, where each set of three has one wire that seems to control the other two, but this is a sensor, not an output. I don't know, I can't get any kind of reading out of it. I bought two, and they're exactly the same, so I don't think I got a dud.
I don't have an Uncle Sam, but I do have an Uncle Tom.
I got to see a segway up close over the weekend, although I wasn't permitted to ride it.
The technology is pretty amazing and the interface is surprisingly simple: lean forward to accelerate, lean back to decelerate.
One button turns it on or off, and one handle controls steering. That's it.
Last week I ordered a whole mess o' motors and they came yesterday, yipee! (I mean, ahem, whooptee-doo. Gotta maintain my aloof, cynical persona - wouldn't want you to think I was actually earnest about anything)
I encourage everyone to visit the Liberty Science Center. It's a 6-minute ferry ride from Manhattan (or about a half-hour if you go by Path and NJT light rail). So many of the exhibits are the sorts of things we build in class, it occured to me that 'Museum Exhibit Designer' may be a future career for some of us. The Hoberman Sphere is cool. We should have discussed it in our Spatial Design class.
The pager motors arrived as well. They're fast! They still have the eccentrics on the axles, so they have that wayward motion... no not wayward. Misdirected? No. Lacking guidance?
There's a new music store on 14th street, between 5th and 6th, called Manhattan Guitars or something like that. The service is pretty bad, but it's many times more huger than any music store I've ever seen inside or outside of New York. So if you need a $5 midi cable and don't feel like schlepping up to 48th street (where most of Manhatan's music stores are located) it's worth checking out.
I bought a humidity sensor, too. For real. It's small, about 1.3 * 10-4 football fields by 6.9 * 10-5 football fields, or about 2.7µVolkswagen Beetles.
Two pressure-sensors, also with data sheet. These output varying voltage rather than resistance. That's kind of interesting.
It has voltage in, voltage out, ground, and signal. I'm not sure why it needs voltage out and ground, unless ground is optional.
Heard Bob 'Ethernet' Metcalfe's talk tonight. He started out somewhat patronizing, I thought, calling us 'artsy' in a pejoritive way.
I think he was surprised to hear so many questions that referenced VoIP, IPv6, etc.
The photo transistors work really well. They're like the photo resistors, but these are transistors, where the base is the photo-sensitive NPN-doped silicon. They seem quite sensitive, but have a lot of range, just like that slattern.
WhyNot.net is a good site, courtesy M. Ferrule
Last on the list is a stepper motor driver and some 555 timer chips. I thought I might do some oscillation/music stuff with the timers, but they'll probably just sit around until next semester.
In the past week there have been two fires at the intersection below my apartment. Both were trash fires at around 3:00am, so I'm guessing someone flicked his cigarette in the garbage.
(is it still sexist to use gendered pronouns to refer to unknown people when the comment is critical?)
Luckily, there's a fire station literally around the corner. I called 911 to report it, and the lady on the other end sounded bored.
That was the second time I've ever called 911. The first time was when I saw someone get shot through his car window on the West Side Highway.
I think it was an undercover policeman who did the shooting, so I guess it's okay - I guess.
The reason I think it was NYPD ("New York's Finest") is that the shooter guy (caucasian) had two associates who jumped out of the van at the same time, a white woman and a black man - and I don't know of any criminal organizations that operate with that kind of racial and gender diversity.
Here's the diagram I'll use for the work this week.
You know who's a great guy? I mean, a real prince among men - a champion, not a charlatan; less a mountebank and more a master; neither scalawag, scamp, nor scoundrel, neither rapscallion, rascal, nor reprobate - someone who could never be a miscreant or knave, but always a paladin, an ideal, an idol, an ace.
Yesterday, I had the very first martini that I actually enjoyed. There are supposedly 30 new vodka brands put out on the market each year now in the liquor industry's version of the dot-com boom. One brand, ciroc, is technically a highly-distilled/filtered French brandy, but it makes a fine martini.
I moved the TV into the bedroom, when I had people staying over, but haven't moved it back, which is stupid because now I turn it on when I'm tired of working.
The other night there was a movie on, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" which is one of the lamer titles I've seen.
It would have been cooler if it had been called, "Fender" or "Beyond the Attic Stairs" or "Star Wars".
The movie was slightly less stupid than I had anticipated, although I came to realize how terrible some child actors are.
But the gadgetry was cool. Anything that has that kind of Rube Goldberg-style stuff is A-OK.
Rick Moranis is no Wallace, but at least he's gone beyond his Strange Brew days. I think I saw Doug McKenzie in an ad for UPS.
I like CHI. And Chai's pretty good, too. χ I don't feel one way or the other about. I don't like the idea of chi, but if it were real I guess I would like it. And CSI: My Bathroom, well, that's better left unmentioned. Oops, too late.
I was talking with Ana about classes next semester, and whether she would take any more courses that involved programming. She seemed a little envious that I haven't had the difficulties with coding that she had, but I just explained that when you care about it, it's no longer work, it's fun. When you don't care about it, it's no longer fun and it becomes work.
Here's the final version of the diagram.
The word "indescribable" is a paradox, in that it describes something as having no description, which is a description...
A few months ago Google AdSense was the best thing to happen to Web advertising. It's making me about $3/day on my site, but when I see them on other sites now they seem like the online equivalent of ab-buster ads on TV.
From Slashot.org: "I4U has news about a new transportation concept, called The Hallucigenia 01, which is a working 1/5 scale vehicle prototype, designed by Japanese design firm Leading Edge Design. PC Watch (Japanese) has photos and movies. Its 8 wheels are independent robotic arms controlled by their own satellite CPUs, interconnected to the main CPU by an internal LAN."
Those 49¢ motors I bought are shitty. They have no bearings, so just holding them at a skewed angle is enough to cause the axle to rub against the casing and force it to stop spinning.
What would happen if you took the door off of a microwave oven then turned it on?
It's a good thing I don't have one otherwise I would try it.
After discussing the robot idea with Jean-Marc, he suggested the idea depicted on the right, to have a fluid, circular creature that has the ability to deform itself when presented with a small aperature, a sphincter, if you will.
In junior high school (now called 'Middle School'. Why is that? Is it not politically correct to say 'juniior'?) each year right before winter break, the math class would be shown 'Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land'. I never wanted to play pool more than I did just after seeing that.