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This is part 4 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out my previous installment, or go read the series.

At least the soldering job is looking more pro-quality.

At least the soldering job is looking more pro-quality.

There is something deeply motivating about soldering wires to a white board with hundreds of LED pixels while being serenaded by a variety of speed metal whose lead singer is best described as a deeply, deeply angry Cookie Monster. Expletives were shouted in the deafening roar of 300 beats per minute on the base drum; I think some of them were shouted by me, possibly telling someone to get a box of cookies for the damned Muppet. Read the rest of this entry »


This is part 3 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out my previous installment, or go read the series.

A brief update for all of you, in case you were wondering. I’ve been busy with stuff. Blinky stuff.


And yes, the cheap YouTube dubstep is so you don’t hear me saying things like “EFF YEAH”.

This is part 1 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out the series.

I freely admit that I have a soft spot for LED lights. Early in 2014 (during the dark months), my maker space had a light painting event, where people brought all manner of lights and long-exposure cameras to play with light in myriad ways. Never mind that it was storming outside. While the rain fell, we all hung out in the dark and played.

Gorgeous. Super jelly that I didn’t have a hand in building it. Photo Credit – Mike Solari

Then fellow Chimera hacker/maker/hustler Caleb got a project put together for Google making a gigantic cloud made of steel and lightbulbs, lit from within by color LED lightbulbs. Needless to say, I was crushed. Read the rest of this entry »

You’d think it was winter

I’ve come to realize I need to break out a space heater in my workshop in the winter. My knuckles still ache from the cold. And this is Northern California. No wonder I don’t live in New York or Minnesota.

What happens when you eviscerate a 3D printer.

What happens when you eviscerate a 3D printer.

Having just stripped down the printer (i.e. all wires and electronics are pulled, while the motors, extruders, hot end are still in place), it is high time I start figuring out how to rebuild it. A friendly comment from Arthur Wolf of Smoothieboard got me thinking a lot about their electronics package (seeing as I have an affinity for open source hardware and software), which also got me thinking about not only the stepper drivers that we would need, but the power for the heated bed. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh. My. God.

You know that feeling. The feeling when you hold a real tool in your hand for the first time.

It has heft. It feels like a tool. Your mind instantly starts to work out all the projects that you can do with it, because it calls out to be used, to be exploited.

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It’s winter time everyone, and that must mean that it’s time for Randy to break things and perhaps put them back together. Or perhaps not, only time will tell, friends.

Anyhow, from my friends at Chimera Maker Space I was handed a not-exactly-functioning Bits From Bytes BFB3000 3D printer that was, in the words of Executive Director Dana Woodman, “about to be shitcanned” (NOTE: those were probably not his precise words). My mission, if I chose to accept it was to “make it work.”

Of course, I took this to mean I had unlimited budget and resources. And by that, I mean that whatever I felt like spending on it out of my own pocket to get it running was probably what it would take.

But first…

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Silly Questions

Damn you, Intel Galileo! Why must you vex me with your question, so innocuously posed, in bright yellow letters?

NYC Resistor: 30th Anniversary Macintosh

I’ve been storing a Macintosh Classic (which sadly doesn’t function properly any longer) that I picked up as salvage a couple years ago. I definitely want to replace the guts with something more geekly than the 6800-based original Mac hardware. To that end, I wonder: do I tear out the old CRT and replace it with a more modern and recent LCD, or do I try to go the full geek route and go after recreating the display circuit from the original Mac hardware using something like a BeagleBone Black?

I’m confident the first way can be done; however, here’s evidence that leaving the original CRT in place is an option too. Color me intrigued.

I think perhaps that the coolest promise that Galileo represents is that all of the extra goodness you find on the board (built-in Ethernet, USB host, Micro SD, Mini-PCIe slot, etc.) are all made available in the Arduino IDE, but at no pin cost to the Arduino headers itself.

That is, if you tried to implement all of those built-in features using separate shields, you’d have almost nothing left to interface with. So, I’m getting at least one of these.

This is totally on my to-do list, considering I have a gate control to get into my backyard, and hate having the remotes on my visor!



Vehicles with the highest level of trim package sometimes come with the ability to learn garage door opener codes. Less costly offerings lack that feature as well as others bells and whistles, leaving blank plates where fancy buttons would have been. [JiggMcFigg] makes the best of this situation by gutting his garage remote and hiding it behind a button blank.

One thing that raised an eyebrow is the coin cell battery holder you can make out on the size-check image shown to the left. But really, these remotes must drain their batteries at a rate nearly the same as an unused battery so why complicate the hack? A holder was soldered onto the board, and jumper wires were soldered to the push button added to the blank plate. This type of utilitarian button is much more satisfying to use than those fancy-pants silk-screen molded-plastic types anyway!

Of course you…

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