Mini Project

New mini project up today. Following a request on Twitter from a researcher looking for a search application, I was curious and started writing my own. A few hours research (Mostly rebuilding git after a machine rebuild) and a basic design and program is ready to go. Although it has a few issues and some missing features, the tool takes a query from the command line and returns the 15 newest results. These are then outputted to a CSV file for later use. To take care of the heavy lifting, the Twitter4j library is used.

Want to try it or contribute it? Have a look at the repository.

Site Maintenance & Updates

Site Maintenance

On July 16 2011 from 9PM (Local time), the site will be unavailable while the server is upgraded to something new and shiny! This is expected to be done by 6AM. If you need to get in touch during this period please use the alternative methods or send an email and hope it survives!


Over the past few days a few updates have been made to the site. This is mostly just content in remote corners of the site. If you know about the areas you will know about the changes. Expect further updates in the coming weeks.


Important news first, Newcastle Science Fest and Maker Faire UK have been announced! Find out more about the Maker Faire at the site

In music news, System of a Down have announced they are getting back together. I’m very excited about this. Not often a great band gets back together. Cannot wait to hear what their time working on solo projects does to the overall sound.

In other music news, the head liners for 2011’s Evolution festival have been announced and include Iggy and The Stooges. Yes, you heard right, Iggy and the Stooges. I for one didn’t see this coming and are in two minds about it. On one hand it could be a brilliant show and as loud as the Stooges should be, but on the other it could just be dull as they all start to feel their age and don’t have the energy to do anything like you would expect. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Then again, at £35 per ticket, maybe not.

In tech news, I must admit something. I got a tiny bit bored and may have started creating another CMS. Not sure why, it just felt necessary at the time…
This particular one is being based on the MVC concept and will also include a brand new authentication system to go with it. Parts may be made open source, but to be honest, getting it working is the priority right now.

Short update over, all is well, how about you?

Arduino Information

Once upon a time there was a page of links relating to Arduino and general electronics, since then it has evolved into something slightly more. There is no space for general links, information about tools, tutorials, projects and maybe even some resources for the above!

If there is something you think should be added or changed, say so here!

Arduino Guide

Blogs! Science! Science Blogs!

So after this weekends MakerFaireUK and the associated Virtual Treasure Hunt, a few blogs and sites have shown up that are worthy checking out:

Any other sites you think should be on there? Comment and they may be added!

Highlights of the MakerFaire include: all of it.

In the event of breakage…

Don’t panic.

You can always throw some parts from Sparkfun at the problem. True fact!

While designing and building a project I have been working with I2C, a lovely protocol, works wonders. If only I can say the same about the LCD. While the other components on this months favourite bus are working wonders, the LCD is not. Even after several  months the cause of the issue is still not known. The current guess is magic  mixed with a bad address and a broken part. This in itself is not such an issue until the manufacturer is mentioned.

Normally I won’t mention manufacturers for anything other than to praise them, but on this case I’ll make a minor exception. After having enough of trying to solve the problem, Data-Modul were contacted and the response was honestly shocking. The first email was just plain ignored, not even so much as an automated response. The second email did get a response, although it did not help. Sure a relevant PDF was attached, but nothing else was despite what they claimed. Thinking it was a simple mistake, a reply was sent. This was around 2 weeks ago and there is still no reply. I can understand a lack of a response if say the emails were highly offensive, but no. This was a nice product support query that could lead to further sales (Thats if the product ever goes any where, but that is a story for another time) yet there is nothing. Highly disappointing.

Mean while back in to the main point. After the failure of the LCD, guess who should come to the rescue? Thats right a part from the lovely Sparkfun which I had handy. Just goes to show that once in a while small companies with custom built adapters are better than large corporations.

Gits, projects

We’ve all seen the blogs and news articles and have no doubt been told about open source projects by some other means, but how many of you have felt you didn’t quite have the skill to contribute to one?

Partly due to a series of amazing issues (thanks to a couple of libraries, and time), I have scrapped some existing code for a project and started it again, this time with an open source twist. The idea itself is very basic, a java MPG calculator. If you are an experienced java programmer you may feel this could take no time at all to do, and you could be right. Less experienced programmers however may not think this. For this reason, I am making the project open to provide people with the chance to work on a simple tool and to get very basic experience of version control (in this case git is being used).

Want to contribute or know someone who might? Get in touch here or via the project repository at


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

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