Arduino to me.
I'd seen the little board powering various things on the internet, but I didn't know it was Arduino and I didn't really know what that was.
So what is Arduino? It's a little open-source microcontroller board that you can plug into your computer, send a program to it, and make it do things.
You can save your houseplant from dying of thirst, or sew it into some clothing and let people know which way you're headed. Heck, you can even talk to an Android phone with it. Basically, it can do amazing things.
$22 for a Uno R3, the standard board, I was convinced. I was going to order one.
So the Arduino came today, packaged in an adorable little box roughly the size of playing cards. The packaging is pretty nice and it even comes with some stickers. The whole experience is very reminiscent of unboxing Apple products. Lucky for me, this thing is no where near the price of an Apple device.
There are a ton of tutorials on the Ardruino site, including making a light blink (this is essentially the Hello World program for Arduino), using a push button, and more.
As an added bonus, the Arduino takes advantage of C (and C++). I took some C in college and I liked it a lot more than my Java class.
Do I remember any C?
No. Not really. But having taken a few programming classes does mean I understand the structure of a program faster than when I walked into programming cold, years ago in college.
I wonder if I can knit a LilyPad Arduino into a stuffed Dalek. Hmm....
Palmer Park and walked the various trails there. While I do enjoy the pine trees, my favorite bit is still the boardwalk.
pinata cookies I stumbled across earlier this month, but quickly talked myself out of them again. They take 4 hours to chill in the fridge and honestly, I'm a little nervous about trying them.
Instead I started a new batch of home-made vanilla extract.
Gandalf arriving in the Shire.
I don't need all the sets. Honestly, once I get the Shelob set, I'll be satisfied. Unless, of course, they come out with some more awesome sets.
And you know they will.
We headed out to an early showing of Men In Black 3. Since the local (and only) Star Theatre does cheap showings Sunday mornings, we figured this was an excellent opportunity. As you can see, it is usually pretty empty Sunday mornings.
The movie was fine, and not all that different than the others.
After that we came home and I spent the rest of the day feeling progressively worse from a headache. I laid in bed all afternoon and probably "watched" (or rather listened to) 6 hours stuff on Netflix. Chris cooked a very tasty dinner and I ate a gazillion mini-cornbread muffins. And I'm not really a fan of cornbread. After that I started to feel better and I ended up stayed up way too late.
Hooray for the day ending on a positive note.
It is supposed to rain much of the day, off and on. That means not a whole lot of outdoor activities and a whole lot of indoor ones.
There have been a few things lying around that need to be done and today is the day to do them.
And all of them will be awesome nerdy fun.
First on the agenda was installing the new Nest thermostat. It's a wifi-enabled thermostat lets you control it remotely with Android or iOS apps, and connects to the internet and pulls the weather.
It's an interesting device.
Next on the agenda was loading a better ROM on my Android phone. I received a lot of recommendations for cyanogenmod and it's definitely one I'm going to check out eventually, but I'm not quite ready to give up the HTC sense on my phone so I went with a ROM specific to my EvoShift - MikShifted-G.
Flashing a ROM on an Android phone is really easy these days thanks to such a supportive community. The whole thing took maybe half an hour from start (backing up current data) to finish (restoring some backed up app data).
Absinthe 2.0, was the smoothest jailbreak yet. Even easier and smoother than the first greenpois0n jailbreak I did awhile back on my ipod - and that was pretty easy.
Arduino. As you can see, I make an excellent lounging extension.
All in all, it was a great day filled with small nerdy projects.
Tomorrow will be filled with my arguing with my PC as I upgrade it to Windows 7.
The work day was shortened by a few hours.
I had drinks and some tasty food with co-workers.
And took an awesome walk in the nearby park with Chris.
I'd say that's a good way to end a week and kick off a long weekend.
One thing I've been itching to do for awhile is have an SLI setup (scalable link interface - aka linking two video cards together). I purchased a motherboad that supported SLI intentionally when I built the machine a little over two years ago and finally (FINALLY) I'm slapping another card in there.
So why would you use SLI? Well for me it's gaming. I can run a fair number of games at max settings, but two video cards - the load shared between them? Yeah, this is going to be awesome. Plus NVIDIA even has some pre-loaded SLI gaming configurations - if you're so inclined to use them.
So anyway, what you see in the photo is the primary (top) and secondary (bottom) card linked together with an SLI bridge. The bridge allows the two cards to communicate directly with each other.
I'm also excited because this means I could easily have a four monitor setup (not that there aren't other was around that, like Chris uses). I did grab a 3rd monitor and tried to hook it up, but I noticed that a certain orange monster destroyed part of the cable...
BW3 to one of his co-worker's farewell party. I always enjoy seeing his co-workers. They're funny, friendly, and treat you like one of their own, so it's always a pleasant experience seeing the group. They remind me a little like the old Sprint group I used to go out with when I worked there (and even for awhile after I didn't).
I spent several hours vacuuming the various rooms. I evenly finally put an end to a plague of small white syrofoam balls that had been plaguing us for months and months. Every time we thought we'd cleaned up the last of them, we'd unearth something in the Tardis-like closet and BAM, there'd be a fresh batch ready to static cling to whatever got near them.
But we're done. Done. DONE. This has been the longest move I've ever done in my life - using up the nearly two months between getting the house and our lease being up.
Now begins the slow unpacking an integration of all the various boxes clogging seemingly every available space.
When we do finally separate things into "keep" and "sell" piles, we're going to have one hell of a garage sale.
I was instantly hungry and confused - who leaves fudge unwrapped on someone's desk?
I peered closer and realized it was not delicious maple walnut fudge, but a thick chunk of home-made soap, flecks of oatmeal floating in it.
Home-made soap is still awesome.
I now have two co-workers who make the own soap. That's kinda awesome.
Anyway, when I arrived the above sign was posted to the door. It's difficult to see because of the glare (I should have stood in front of the sign) but the gist of it is that they are closing on May 28th. That's MONDAY!
I immediately snapped a photo and sent it to Lori, my pita partner, to let her know they were leaving. Our plan of still having the occasional pita downtown is crushed. We'll have to meet up on the random weekend to eat at one of their other locations.
Free Comic Book Day this year we were kind of busy. We tried to hit some comic book stores in Lansing while we were in town to see Avengers with Adam and Comfort, but the ones listed online were closed and the ones a little further out were closed.
Anyway, I found a place in Chicago that had the free comics for "sale" on their website (for free!) and would ship to you. So I ordered The Guild, Serenity, and most importantly, the Archaia book featuring Mouse Guard. It's a hard cover!
So the books arrived today. I'm excited to read them - right after we finish up at the apartment tonight.
We picked up a ladder and a few other things for the house. Now we can climb things!
Unfortunately we didn't get everything out of the apartment, but almost everything. Now we just have a few car loads and a ton of cleaning to do.
While we did a ton of moving on Monday, there are still some things left in the apartment. Mostly there are boxes that have been stored in the depths of a closet I've never seen the interior of. You know what was in there?
A dot matrix printer.
Paper for said dot matrix printer.
A a few other relics from the 80s and 90s.
It was actually kind of awesome seeing the printer. It made me think of the crazy greeting cards and other things we kids used to print out on my parent's Apple II/Apple IIe. I think we used The Print Shop.
In the evening I grilled some tasty burgers and sausages, which made the whole day worth it.
Now to start in on unboxing and resting for more moving tomorrow! We're so close to being done I can almost taste it.
Normally I have lunch on Fridays at The Pita House (the have a location on Monroe that is not listed on their website) with Lori. But alas, Lori took an awesome new job that is no longer downtown, so it will be harder to do our weekly meetup for pitas.Brick Road Pizza. So today, instead of a pita partner, I had a pizza partner.
promoting a theater chain.
So since we both had the day off today we decided it was time to move them. The house is clean and organized, so what better time to toss some extra stuff into the mix and mess it up again.
longboxes or shortboxes (roughly 1/2 the size of a longbox) of comics.
Guild Wars 2 beta stress test. Since it's only for part of the day, I spent a chunk of the afternoon playing in the stress test while Chris loaded up the van for the second trip.
The game is beautiful, no doubt about it. And kudos to the weather effects, complete with lightning strikes. I mean, look at that screenshot.
I created a new character and I have to say, the Human elementalist outfit is rather skimpy. I'm used to female characters bouncing around in barely anything but standing in the middle of the rainstorm like that just struck me as very odd. The Charr ranger and Norn Engineer I created during the last beta event were much more reasonably dressed.
And honestly, the outfit in this setting doesn't bother me nearly as much. But would I rather the character be outfitted like those on Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor? Yes. Absolutely.
Chris assembled the grill yesterday so I got to skewering marinated meats and veggies to cook for today's get together.
Let it be known that the Yummy Honey Chicken Kebab recipe was indeed a tasty success. I should have made more of them so I could enjoy tons of delicious leftovers.
fruit salsa and brownies.
It was a lovely day and you couldn't have asked for better weather.
Friday night I met an old co-worker Shelly, her friend Tammy, and some of Tammy's friends for dinner and drinks at the Beltline Bar.
It was nice to have lunch and dinner with friends at two tasty restaurants.
As a little kid I used to think it was fun to play with these machines.
Little kids have weird ideas.
Plus this book is really fantastic (Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss)
We managed to fill a 14' truck with just bookshelves on one load and still didn't have them all in there.
We have a lot of bookshelves...
Couch to 5K routine, which is one less work day and might be a little easier on me.
The Avengers) with awesome people (The Uniques).
The move was very good and company was excellent. Plus we popped into Sushi Blue (which appears to be an old Taco Bell building) for a tasty after-movie dinner.
All in all an excellent Saturday!