September 02, 2011

$25 PC - Delicious Raspberry Pi

Taking the cost of computing down to the cost of a textbook is the plan for the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  This is not just an educational tool for developing countries like what the OLPC project is doing, it is a platform for discovery and experimentation in the developed world as well.   Think of it this way: Do you want little Johnny taking apart the home computer that houses your tax returns which you never backup?  Or would you rather plunk down $25 for a computer that he can experiment with that can integrate with old CRT TV's that you were going to recycle anyways?  Oh, and it can run Linux, which is awesome.

(Picture from Raspberry Pi Blog)




June 25, 2010

Electronics Class

When I was in High School, we were lucky enough to have the ability to take two years of Electronics as electives.  I think they have some sort of robotics program or something now, but back in the day it was pretty basic.  You learned the basic skills like soldering, etching circuit boards and learning how to use a multimeter and oscilloscope.  Often times we received donated equipment and components from local high-tech firms like Measurex, HP and Apple.  Beyond that, there were several life lessons that were not intended.


(Photo Courtesy of Ravi Gaddipati on Flickr)

I learned several key things from my classmates that still ring true today:

  • Shorting a line cord does not always blow the breaker.  Non-functioning breaker = BAD. 
  • If you fabricate an enclosure out of sheet metal and the circuit board runs on 110VAC, there is a reason to use nylon spacers between the base of the board and your case.  (Or you receive a quick lesson in impromtu arc welding)
  • It is not a good idea to discharge a 1/4 farad capacitor using human skin as a conductor.
  • Use as much safety equipment as you can, because often times the safety interlocks become broken or are disabled over the years.  (You know about this one Jerry)
  • As long as the paralysis doesn't last more than one period, everything is cool.
  • Sometimes teachers just don't want to remember how to pronounce your name, because it causes them endless amusement. 

October 03, 2008


In late August, Byonics started selling the fully assembled SMT version of the TinyTrak4 APRS tracker.  I put in an order last week and received it on Friday.  Since I was using a TinyTrak3Plus previously this was an easy swap.  I have been messing with this over the past few weeks and have had a great amount of success.  I am finding that the smartbeaconing is working a bit differently (less beacons on the same track with the same settings as the TT3+), but overall it is a drop in replacement. I'm looking forward to the addition of the digipeater to the tracker in the coming months.  Here is a track of my morning commute across the Bay Bridge using the TinyTrak4 connected to a Duleo GPS  and a Kenwood G707A installed in my truck.



July 08, 2007

The installation of a TinyTrack3Plus

The installation of a TinyTrack3Plus in my primary vehicle.

July 04, 2007

MicroTrak300 Test - Oregon Trip 2007

MicroTrak300 test along highway 5 on our trip to Oregon over the 4th of July weekend.

March 18, 2007

Building and running the Byonics MicroTrak300

Building and running the Byonics MicroTrak300 APRS Tracker

January 16, 2006

Tupper Track(tm)

The original Tupper Track page.