old blog

These are some posts from the old Meat and Networking blog. They're archived here for posterity, for random search traffic that might come rolling by.

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Jekyll, Docker, and Nginx Reverse Proxy for Static Blogs
September 9, 2018

I have no self control, so last week I bough https://www.reenginee.red/. I’m probably going to use it as a home for some sustainable energy/micro-grid/open hardware projects.

In any case, I thought I would use Jekyll to host a fairly unchanging static site. I’d found a theme I really liked, and some projects I’ve seen lately (https://sustywp.com/) have made me more aware of the burden a really heavy site can have on the internet, and on users that don’t have a great connection. (Spoiler: Reenginee.red is currently sitting at about 250kb of transfer, most of that Javascript and CSS, as opposed to the 3mb of the front page of this blog).

Here’s what I started out with:

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Useful Code Snippet: AVR and C++11
June 6, 2013

Despite what a lot of people say about the Arduino crowd and using C++ on a microcontroller, I like it. Sometimes it incurs a performance or code-size overhead, but I’m not often approaching the RAM or Flash limits of an Atmega 328, or especially an Atmega 2560. When appropriate features are used, C++ results in more readable code. Lately, I’ve branched into using templates with some AVR Code. Here’s a super useful snippet for creating a quick ringbuffer:

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Tup: Make Alternative for Embedded Systems
March 3, 2013

I hate Make. With a fiery burning passion, I hate Make. From day one, I found it difficult to understand, difficult to write Makefiles, difficult to modify Makefiles, and difficult to use Makefiles. Over the years, I have built a collection of boilerplate Makefiles that only sort-of worked for a given project, and any time I wanted to do something creative with the build system, it was a challenge to figure out how to force Make to do what I knew damn well how to do via the command line.

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Prusa
March 3, 2013

This past weekend, we had a 3D printing workshop at LVL1. I built a Mendel Prusa i2, along with 9 other folks in the LVL1 community. Sonny Mounicou came up from Memphis, TN, while Jon Oly of SeeMeCNC came down from Goshen, IN to help us build 3D printers. One guy had his printer up and running in a mere 14 hours! I had to get some sleep, so I was a little bit behind that.

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Smart-Prototyping.com Review
March 3, 2013

Recently, Matseng at the Dangerous Prototypes forums posted another source for cheap printed circuit boards and test equipment direct from China: http://www.smart-prototyping.com The site is apparently run by German ex-pats in Shenzhen. Although the site is pretty sparse at the moment, they’ve got a PCB prototyping service and a selection of very cheap test equipment for sale. I placed an order for some PCBs and a Bench Supply on the day the Chinese New Year ended.

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The Shoestring Workshop
February 2, 2013

Jim William's Workbench

There has never been a better time to get into hobby electronics. Unfortunately, the tools required can be daunting for a newbie, and can quickly make the hobby look expensive and unappealing. I’m getting ready to move into a house where I’ll have my own electronics workbench, so I’ve been devoting a lot of attention to budget tools. I’ve got the basics, but since I joined the LVL1 Hackerspace, I’ve really let my tool collection atrophy. In the spirit of sharing, here’s a list of tools needed to get into electronics hobby. These tools are roughly listed in the order of priority, and all of them are list at new prices. You’ll definitely be able to get away with cheaper tools if you’re willing to do a little digging.

A disclaimer: You might not need all of these tools, and this list is not comprehensive! These tools are highly useful for analog and digital circuit design and construction, but if you’re into different areas of the hobby, you’ll need different tools. For example, radio geeks will find antenna analyzers and SWR meters extremely useful! For more inspiration, browse the Electronics Workbench Flickr Group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/elwb

If you know of a better/cheaper source for any of these tools, or you’d like to suggest an addition to the list, please leave a comment! This is as much a learning experience for me as anyone, and we all love learning about new sources for these toys.

Unless mentioned otherwise, I have experience with all the hardware mentioned below (although not necessarily with the suppliers). Super Budget items are things that I would tolerate using if I didn’t have a better alternative, Medium Budget items are probably items that I have bought or would buy, and Standard budget items are tools that I would prefer to use. You can definitely spend more than the standard budget on every item in this list, but this is supposed to be a post about the shoestring workshop, and if you’re spending more than the “Standard” budget, you’re no longer in shoestring territory!

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Nanino Upgrade
February 2, 2013

4 months ago, I read about Johan’s Nanino on Hack-A-Day, and thought it would be a great way to teach some folks how to etch their own circuit boards. Although I’m increasingly shipping PCBs off to China, being able to etch your own boards is a valuable skill to have. I’ve taught workshops on it in the past, and I’ve described the process on this blog. Today, I set out to make a copy of Johan’s Nanino, but was almost immediately frustrated by the inability to manipulate and print the board file in a way that worked well for my process.

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Cheap Prototype PCB Comparison
January 1, 2013

We live in a golden era of the electronics hobby. PCBs are easier to make and cheaper to manufacture than ever before. In some cases, it can even be easier to have PCB made than breadboard a circuit. With the growing proliferation of surface mount components, and ever greater levels of integration, PCBs are more and more appealing for hobbyists. Like most folks in the maker community, I get my PCBs made at one of three places: Seeed Studio, OSH Park, or Batch PCB.

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3D Printing
January 1, 2013

I’m not dead. I switched jobs back in September, and it’s seemed like an impossible task to catch up to everything until now. But I’m working on some cool stuff! For example, I’m building a 3D printer: This is the start to my Rostock 3D printer. I started printing the parts for this way back in October, and I’ve just now gotten to the point where it’s starting to come together.

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LPC1114FN28 with Open Source Tools
September 9, 2012

I’ve been excited about the LPC1114FN28 for a while now (at least, as excited as one could be about a microcontroller). The LPC1114FN28 is a microcontroller from NXP with an ARM Cortex-M0 core in a 28 pin DIP package. With 32k of flash and 4k of RAM, this chip isn’t the biggest or baddest on the block, but at $1.50 in small quantities, it has just about every other uC beat in the performance-per-dollar arena.

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