November 14, 2016 in the age of EVE Ascension

After a week delay while the United States elected an authoritarian misogynist xenophobe (more on that in another post), CCP games will be releasing one of the most fundamental player-focused changes in EVE Online; free-to-play in the form of Alpha Clones. This is a critical inflection point in the history of the game I first picked up in 2003, as an alternative to Earth and Beyond MMO which was on its downward spiral. Read more

May 10, 2016

Spectrometer Pt 2 - Driving

First things first, we need to figure out how to drive and read the spectrometer. There are two key diagrams to consult - the suggested application and the timing diagram. The application diagram shows several key signals, some of which the meaning isn’t clear at first. After reading through the rest of datasheet, you can generally make out the following pins: Video - the spectrometer is like a 2d camera - it is an image sensor in a line after all. Read more

May 9, 2016

Spectrometer for LED lighting analysis

Hi! You may remember me from other threads like LEDBrick DIY puck and high density stars, plus drivers (now available on and the Apogee sensor PAR interface board. Many moons (months) ago, I dropped some money into a GroupGets buy for a pair of Hamamatsu Micro-spectrometers. They can resolve light intensity between 340-780nm in up to 15nm increments. They are not cheap ($180 on groupgets, qty1), but are a lot cheaper than other commercial pre-packaged light spectrum units that employ an actual spectrometer (and not a coarse approximation using an RGB light sensor). Read more

July 13, 2015

Design Log: LEDBrick - part 2

Nearly 6 months later, and after back-burnering the project multiple times, I’ve made some significant progress on the LEDBrick aquarium light. In the space between blog posts, I’ve: Received a round of metal-core PCBs for the LEDs. Designed an 8 channel driver board based on the L3414, a different sketch from the original planning Machined a single heat sink, and did test mounting of the emitter board. Populated one emitter board. Read more

July 6, 2015

Service Discovery: One, Some, or All

Service Discovery, to use the basic definition, is the mechanism in which services, residing at a non-static address, can be found on a computer network. There are, in a basic nutshell, three types of service discovery, modeled after how they offer their service endpoints to the clients. This set can be reduced to two types in most real world scenarios. Service discovery systems are designed to return endpoints, a list of one or more logical host and/or host:port or even URL lists. Read more

January 31, 2015

Design Log: LEDBrick Aquarium LED Lighting

This design has been on my back-burner for quite awhile, but its time to write it up and continue pressing on. I really like reef aquariums. I currently have a (modest) 90 gallon system, which has livestock dating back to when I started keeping salt-water systems in college (circa 2004). How I managed to actually afford keeping a salt-water system in college is beyond me, but things have progressed nicely. Read more

January 28, 2015

Design Log: NixieView

As part of an effort to share more designs, I’ve decided to start writing a continuing series of blog articles on my hardware design efforts. This first article covers the NixieBoost of a NixieView. Read more

January 20, 2015

HP5314a teardown

I got this unit for free recently, and decided to do a teardown for all fans of various vintages of test equipment. It is functional, but the buttons on the unit are absolutely terrible (hard to push, don’t stay pushed, etc etc). What follows is a picture narrative. The inside gets the “whole lot of nothing” award, presumably for the battery option: Power supply, note the internal voltage range switch:

December 21, 2012

Supermicro IPMI Remote KVM Annoyances

So, you have a Supermicro server somewhere remote. Thats cool, they have a nifty IPMI module (either bridged to the primary interface or on a separate port). One of the features is a remote IP-KVM over what is mostly VNC. Of course, you have a complete distrust of anything embedded, so your IPMI is on a separate LAN/VLAN. You also don’t have a VPN to this IPMI LAN, because thats a lot of work for something that you’ll never use, and everyone just uses ad-hoc SSH tunnels anyway, right? Read more

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