Good Memories: Battlebots 5.0

Battlebots just got brought up over on Hackaday, and I couldn’t help but remember the 2002 season, where I attended as a competitor.


My silly little wedge bot.


The evil 13HP puck spinner that destroyed it!

Those were some good times, even if my silly wedge bot got utterly destroyed by the evil neon green puck of doom.

Unfortunately, I just discovered that one of the builders of Moebius (can’t recall if he was the only one) passed away a couple of years ago.  I recall him as having been a really nice guy.

RIP Buzz Dawson.

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How To Make Linux VNC Servers Show Up In Finder

Someone saw my older post on Avahi, and wondered how to make it work with VNC and Apple’s Screen Sharing in OSX.  I was too lazy to figure it out myself, but Steve Purcell over at sanity, inc. figured it out a while back.

Here you go:


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AVR For PIC People, Part 1: The Basics

If you followed TuneConsole, you know I’m a PIC guy.  Unfortunately for me, Microchip hasn’t kept up with the times:  their toolchain feels like late ’80s Borland tools, and that’s a very generous comparison.  Turbo C was never this bug-ridden, and was far more modern to boot.

Microchip also isn’t very open-source friendly, as evidenced by their non-redistributable USB stack.  The combination of these issues is a powerful motivator to check out their competition in the form of Atmel’s AVR series.  Open-source friendly with a gcc-based toolchain?

Yeah, that’s pretty attractive to someone like me.

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Posted in AVR, Hardware Hacking | 2 Comments

Centering A Dialog Under A Status Item In Cocoa

So you have an NSStatusItem, and you want it to pop a dialog for whatever reason, perhaps a settings window.  Where should that dialog be positioned?  If you’re not placing it centered on the main screen, you probably want it under the status item itself. How does one get it there?

The basic answer is surprisingly simple.

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Posted in Cocoa, Mac Hacking | 3 Comments

Radiance: Stupid Developer Tricks

As some of you likely know now, I’ve been working on Radiance 2.0, which will hopefully be a significant improvement.  The current application is a hack at best; I wrote it for me rather than for the masses.  I’m working on polishing it up.

Part of that is Sparkle integration for automatic updates, and that led to my Stupid Developer Trick of the week.

During development, I absently tossed a radiance directory on to host product updates.  I wasn’t really thinking, and (for some dumb reason) expected WordPress to just handle it, which it didn’t (duh!).  It overrode the usual Radiance page in WordPress (of course), and a few of you therefore had access to a very, very early build of the next iteration of Radiance.

If you have build 301, I suggest you ditch it; the UI is incomplete and extremely buggy.  It’s also missing half the features that the final version will have, and the auto-update code isn’t finished yet either, so it probably won’t work when 2.0 arrives.  In short, please use 1.2; you’ll be much happier with it in the end.

It’ll be a while before 2.0 is ready since I’m only working on it in my spare time – but stay tuned.


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The Macdweller Part Storage System

Proper storage of electronic parts is a pain in the neck, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Every serious hacker has to deal with this at some point, and the solutions are all over the map, ranging from a cardboard box to complex custom shelving units.  If you haven’t dealt with this, you probably don’t do much hardware hacking.

Since Hackaday published a request the other day for people to send in their methods, I thought I’d share mine.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

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Posted in Hardware Hacking | 10 Comments

Locking And Unlocking Files From Terminal

Ever needed to change finder’s lock bit on a file from the command line?  Well, it isn’t really a finder thing.  To wit:

# Lock a file
$ chflags uchg /my/favorite/file

# Unlock a file
$ chflags nouchg /my/favorite/file

I would say this is useful given that the OS likes to automatically lock inactive files, but that feature was apparently stripped from Mountain Lion.  Too bad, really; I actually kinda liked it (though I’m apparently the only one!).


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Radiance 1.2: Now Supporting Mountain Lion

So I finally got around to updating Radiance for Mountain Lion, which was more difficult than it sounds.

The old version used the undocumented O3Manager API to control display brightness, but Apple removed it in 10.8.  External displays can’t be controlled via the IODisplay API; instead, you need USB HID.  The current implementation matches a display to a HID device by serial number; we’ll see how that works out.

If you’re interested in doing something similar in your own application, you can grab the new MDDisplayManager object from this page.

Posted in Mac Hacking, Mountain Lion Hacks, Radiance | Leave a comment

Review: Gold Phoenix PCB

The Breakout Fin is here!

Since the boards were coming from China, I expected it to take a lot longer to get them – if nothing else, due to customs and shipping delays.  Apparently, I was wrong.

They arrived on Tuesday…

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Posted in Hardware Hacking | 3 Comments

The Double-Sided Breakout Fin

Arduino has its shields.  Raspberry Pi apparently now has Pi Plates.  BeagleBone has capes.

I’ve now decided that my toys shall be called Fins!  Hah!

But I digress.

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Posted in Hardware Hacking | 1 Comment