Author Archive


This morning the new part of  Eldon Square opened. From the short time I spent there, I’ve came to two conclusions. One, the selection of stores is good (New Apple store ftw). Two, while the event organisation itself was good from what I saw, the big let down was the safety marshals/security. While such an event does require such security, I’m of the opinion that it helps if they talk to each other. At one point shortly after the opening, the genius decision was made to allow people from the queue into the new area,  mean while as soon as some of these people got half way into the area, another marshal decided to send them back. Now, bearing in mind there was potentially 1000+ people there, how is it sensible to to be directing crowds at each other in an already busy space?

Anyway, enough of that minor rant and onto another one in the form of a very short letter.

Dear shipping companies,

While I appreciate that you normally get my packages to me on time (all be it when I’m not there), I do think it would help if I knew when this time was going to be. I mean come on, I have a “tracking” number (or atleast thats what the seller claimed it was) so why on earth do all of you reject it? I know for a fact the sender uses only the major couriers, so whats the deal? Fix it plzkthxbai.

Stats! Everyone loves some stats once in a while. I’m sure all you non existent readers will know this isn’t exactly the most popular blog out there (and I’ll stick with that until someone proves me wrong) so heres one or two unexpected places that have showed up:

  • Moscow
  • Padova
  • Buckeburg

Till next time, sleep tight etc etc


In case you missed it, the new Arduino IDE (0018) is out. Get it here as usual!


A much delayed post here (Mostly thanks to current unnamed projects ;)), but after a minor prompt from the folks over at Maplins, heres a few images of a couple of minor projects and maybe a sneak preview of another.

I2C Breakout board

EAGLE File image for the hopefully soon to be PCB version.

Of course, there is always the spinoff of the altoids tin extractor. Also featured is a mini part built 74HC595 adapter and button, the chip and perf board both from maplin.

A rather interesting shot of the 595 in action in the early testing stages.

Of course, there is always a sneak preview of upcoming projects. Half these parts came from Maplin, the rest from a few other places.

Still not enough for you?

How about this just to be sure!

Till next time, don’t burn your fingers 😉


10 February 2010 09:00 ,
Blogger mikeynma said…

Glad we prompted you to update! Keep it updated and let us know when you have finished any!


10 February 2010 09:24 ,
Blogger JohnT said…
I shall do!
For the most part, they are close to done, a prototype of the I2C board was finished and working (and then promptly lost under a stack of packages and other parts). The rest I expect to have done rather soon!

Thanks for the comment, it may actually be the first on here which is a nice surprise!

Round Up

After a change of system, some blog posts were lost, as many as possible have been recovered and follow:


After a short delay (only about a month to be exact), the new project is getting under way. “Module A” has been started and is in a usable state, even if it is not quite there yet in terms of final functionality.
Initial teething issues that caused major problems (Really easy to work one something when you can’t get to it…) have been sorted but are expected to be repeated one day in the future when changes are made.

More less cryptic updates on that some day in the future.

posted by JohnT @ 16:40


Yes, after a rather interesting and some what joyous day at the first UK Makers Faire ( / ) I have decided to delve into the world of embedded systems.
To be more specific, open source hardware, Arduino style.
What shenanigans ensue when it arrives is a mystery. I will however keep you posted.


Very little has gone on recently. There has been an addition to the available demonstrations. The newest allows the user to convert the data exported from the Firefox Signatures Extension to the file format required for imports by the Firefox Clippings extension. The idea for that comes from Little-vampire.
The other lesser spotted changes to the demonstrations will eventually form the basis for an old and hopefully soon to be revived project. That is of course if the plans all come together.

No doubt more later.

Good night and good luck etc etc.Labels: , , , , , ,

Windows 7? Again

My new official opinion of windows 7 is that you shouldn’t go near it with a stick. Aside from the GUI issues (i.e. Its stolen from Mac OSX and a few Linux distros), it’s horribly slow, tries to do too much from one place (load a game it gives you a window showing the same list you just choose from, load a window froma shortcut it gives you a file browser window again…).
The main factor that has put me off so far is the BSoD. Yes it has it, no its not pretty. Yes its easy to get. While closing a game (out of sheer disgust I might add at the installations inability to state you need better graphics for the default software) it bluescreened. I mean come on! I CLOSED something, nothing hard. To make it worse, when it rebooted itself (because naturally, thats what you want to do with something like this…whatever it is) it gave a nice minimised error that pretty much stopped you even using the shortcuts on the menu until you looked at it.

Its horrible I say, horrible!

In addition, the only good change may be the logo, but even then it looks like someone ran it through some photoshop filters and left it like that.Labels:

Windows 7?

So I am busy trying the Windows 7 Beta and what can I say? Its like Mandriva One 2009 in places.
Opinions so far:

  • Not such a fan, some things are too badly laid out.

Better review/comments coming soon

Travel is…


Planning something vague and totally unnecessary just as an exercise, but have no server capable of supporting the backend it requires. Problems problems…

More later on that.Labels:

Decent days and nights?

“Rejoice!” said the giant sheep as it unveiled the new blog area and the updated contents of the main site.
Or at least, that is what may have happened had this been on BBC 3.
Fear not though, for the above is indeed true if you ignore the giant sheep and it’s statement.Labels:


So after a conversation with that mystery person (Actually just Zoey), I decided to make the list of links and associated musics available to all in a blog like post.  Apologies if some of you already know of them. I’ll post more when I think of them.

Books! Guides! Catalogues! More!

So being inspired by the Make Toolbox features (Make Toolbox: Maker sartorial, part 2 and similar) and a couple of other things (Like the usual hunt for gifts), I started wondering what was considered the essential books, guides, catalogues and other technical material were for tinkerers, hobbyists (and whoever else is interested). We all know about the Pocket Ref (Amazon: Thomas J. Glover) and of course the material mentioned in the Make blog entries on the subject (here, here and here), but what what else is there?

This is where you come in, please leave any suggestions in a comment (Bonus points if any UK catalogues appear aside from the major ones e.g. Farnell, Digikey, Maplin).

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Long time, no blog, as usual.

Aside from the regular work based fun, the redesign and gluing together of DM goes on. In the past couple of days, a decision was made to implement some sort of ad system to see what effect that has, most likely none. Work on various other functions has also gone on with one or two bits in a stage resembling complete.

More later.


Ok, so recently I’ve been going through my bookmarks (mainly as an attempt to take my mind off various things…) and found a couple I had saved as ideas for projects. One of which required the use of JSON. Now, it may be popular it seems, but seriously, where are all the tutorials? Certainly not online thats for sure, atleast for what I was looking for anyway. To remedy this, I decided to piece together the few bits of code I could to give a basic example. This may be obvious to many, but when you are new to something and need a quick example, its a start. The following example is based on the code for a site API and as such needed to be altered to handle anything else. Enjoy.In this particular example, the source for the JSON itself is the tinyurl API.

$URL = "";
$APIURL = "".$URL;
$ch = curl_init($APIURL);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
$jsonData = curl_exec($ch);
$data = json_decode($jsonData, true);
echo "Original: " . $URL . "
echo "New: " . $data['tinyurl'] . "\n";

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Strange Red Box

After a rather short wait (Ha! Take that estimates of 2-6 weeks!), a strange red box arrived today from the folks at Spark Fun. In this strange box, aside from one or two less useful goodies, was a LCD. Why you ask, simple, movement, flashing lights etc is all good for a microcontroller like the ever useful Arduino but once in a while, getting an actual value or text from it is great.

As I’ve now been sufficiently distracted while writing this, I’ll just end with an image or two, just because I can. Ideas of projects welcome. Enjoy.


^ indeed.

A so far lesser spotted post, but full of useless information all the same.
Since the last episode, things has been going far too fast. Currently there is around one week of mayhem left. In the meantime, days (and indeed nights in some cases) are filled with a touch of sleep, lots of tea and much work. Projects include the usual work, more 328 stuff (and the associated risk of electrocuting myself), very slow work on the mystery project, and some work on previous projects. Not all fun, and to be honest, quick sickening (Refering to finding ways to integrate with a remote MS-E server without any access or help from the client…).

More pages may soon appear on the main site (which itself may get a make over, maybe), including some information on parts suppliers that I have found useful. For most it may not be of any help, but for others it may be.

Until the next time, keep an eye on the skies and enjoy.

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