I found this video the other day. It is amazing what the latest technology was 77 years ago. It follows the manufacturing of a 1936 automobile from the foundry to driving off the final assembly line.
If you have read any technology news lately, you may have noticed that Google is shutting down its Google Reader Service. The best replacement I have found is a service called Feedly. If you are already a Feedly user, you can add this blog to your Feedly by using the link at the end of this post.
If you have never used Google Reader, it is a RSS feed reader. An RSS reader gathers the latest post from multiple blogs and websites. Instead of having to visit each blog individually to read new posts, you can go to a single site that pulls all your favorite blogs to one location.
As promised above, here is the link to... Add this Blog to Feedly
Yesterday, we launched a new website for a scrapbooking store in our hometown. Scrapbooker's Hideaway is a locally owned scrapbook and craft store in Millington, Michigan. Their website was built on our system for easy updating by the client. Check out their new website here: Scrapbookershideaway.com
I recently generated a basic web app that assists teachers in converting a number wrong to a percentage. This web app as they are called runs in PHP. You simply input the number of possible points on an assignment and hit go. You will then get a list of numbers and percentages. This saves time when the points possible is not a nice round number that is easy to calculate in your head. You can use the app here: Grade Calculator
I have been investigating the BAM method of LED dimming. There are already many microcontroller programs written to control a LED or multiple LEDs with BAM, however I wanted to fully understand the method so I threw together some SPIN code to prove it would work. Click the Read more link for details on the code.
Bit Angle Modulation or BAM for short is a method of driving LEDs and adjusting their brightness easily with a microcontroller. Here is how it works. If you want 255 levels of color you can break this into a 8-bit number. Each one of these bits is then a multiple of 2 longer than the first. The image below may help visualize what is going on. Each bit of the 8-bit number is one of the numbered boxes below. The numbers indicate the portion of the cycle the LED is on. There are 255 portions total which are broken down into groups of 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, & 1. Some examples will assist in explaining how this works. If we wanted 50% brightness or 1/2 of 255 = 128 the LED would be on for the 128 portion of the cycle below. If we want 62% brightness we need a value of 158, or 10011110 in binary. We would then turn the LED on for the 128, 16, 8, 4, and 2 time periods. If we wanted ~12% brightness we could use a value of 30 which would have the LED on for the 16, 8, 4, & 2 time periods. For this to work the cycle must be faster than the human eye and 120Hz is a good range to avoid any flicker. Code to make this all happen will be discussed later.
I am currently working on a project that will control a string (or individual) RGB LEDs. The RGB LEDs I will be using contain separate Red, Green and Blue LEDs in a single housing. Mixing the amounts of current going through these three colors will vary the total color of the LED package. Doing a little research I found out that there are many different ways to control the brightness of RGB LEDs. Here are a few of them: Amplitude Modulation, Pulsed Amplitude Modulation, Phase Angle Modulation, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), Frequency Modulation, and Bit Angle Modulation. I will need to investigate these methods of LED control, but I am currently leaning toward PWM or BAM.
If you are ever looking for a good power source for 12 V or 5 V devices, look no further than an old PC power supply. A few simple modifications are all it takes to get one of these to provide clean 12 V and 5 V power. Most modern PC power supplies do not have real "on-off" switches and require the motherboard to tell the power supply to turn on. You can simulate this by connecting the on-off wire (usually green) to the common (usually black). If your power supply is a standard ATX supply, refer to the pinout to verify the location of these pins. You can then use the 5 V (usually red) and 12 V (usually yellow) power pins to your device. These supplies can also supply -12 V & 3.3 V (usually orange). These are also useful for some electronic devices. If you do attempt to convert your old computer power supply be very careful as there are hazardous voltages inside.
How important is a capital letter? It depends on the context, but in many locations it is very important. Case in point, today I was developing a PHP based application and one little capital letter was breaking the whole system. In PHP and many other programming languages capitalization plays an important role in defining different variables and options. For example "spaceTime" and "spacetime" are not the same as far as the code is concerned. If you set "spaceTime" to one and try to read "spacetime" later, it may not equal one. I guess it makes sense, PHP is a programming language much like any other language in that it is used to communicate. It is communication between human and machine. Sometimes a capital letter provides for a cleaner communication, other times it changes the whole meaning.
This blog covers a multitude of up and coming technology, as well as how to guides, tips and tricks, and other interesting technology related items.