You’re about ready to get your radio geek on and you get a PortAudio Error -9999 Unanticipated host error, followed by a PortAudio Error -9988 Invalid stream pointer. WTF since everything was working fine on Windows XP/Windows 7/Windows 10. Well, the mighty fine folks at Microsoft decided to tighten up security with applications (“apps” if you’re cool) permissions to access the microphone.
The fix is straight-forward: On Windows 10, you go to settings->privacy->microphone and enable it. If you are privacy concerned like me, you can then go through the “Choose which apps can access your microphone” and turn them all off.
For you new software engineers – this is a great example of a shitty error message. If the message said “Access denied while trying to open your microphone or input device. Please make sure this device is enabled and the access permissions are correct” that would make it much easier to diagnose the issue.
This hack is brilliant: In today’s digital age, a large Instagram audience is considered a valuable currency. I had also heard through the grapevine that I could monetize a large following — or in my desired case — use it to have my meals paid for. So I did just that.
I created an Instagram page that showcased pictures of New York City’s skylines, iconic spots, elegant skyscrapers — you name it. The page has amassed a following of over 25,000 users in the NYC area and it’s still rapidly growing.
I’ve started to get into endurance type riding. I was doing 50+ mile rides on the hybrid bike, but it was time to graduate to a road bike. I bought a new Trek Domane SL8 road bike that has carbon with more carbon and a full Shimano Dura-ace group set. It came with a compact crank (50/34) paired with a 30-11T cassette. Since I am doing some events with 7000+ feet of climbing, I wanted to be able to “call granny” to save my ass when my legs turn to rubber. The largest Dura-ace rear cassette is 30-11T, but you can swap in a Shimano Ultegra R8000 32-11T cassette without any problems. I didn’t have to lengthen the chain or do any other trickery such as using a Roadlink by Wolf Tooth.. The image above shows that the derailleur is not hitting the cassette even when in “big-big.”
Just finished trashing 183 spam comments. The spam techniques were interesting – some used flattery to try to disguise the spam, others were just flat out proud of their spam. I could install comment filtering tools, but that’s work and cost. Time to change the comment settings.
I built this about a year ago. I prototyped a circuit that used an ATTiny85 microcontroller to drive a p-channel (high side) mosfet. The idea was to use the microcontroller to strobe the Clearwater Darla LED accessory lights.
The circuit worked as expected, but that click-click-click-click noise is bad. I thought the functionality of the led “instant-on” was via a 12v signal to the dc-dc circuit in the led light, but it is actually a mechanical relay. Strobing anything mechanical is no bueno.
I completely changed my strategy after this test. A little experimenting and I discovered that the accessory lights are controlled by a PWM signal which controls the light intensity (low to full power).
I built a weather station last year. Even though I sprayed a conformal coating on the PCB to help it resist humidity exposure, the temp/humidity/barometric pressure sensor flaked out from exposure to the elements. While fixing it, I decided to “geek out” a bit and hook the oscilloscope up to decode the i2c bus messages. My notes for reference.
Connect probes, make sure they are setup correctly (10:1, etc.). Then set vertical scale and time-base.
Set the triggering conditions to match the signal encoding
Set the decode conditions to match the signal encoding
Optional – use the event table to capture and export the data
Channel 1 probe to SCL (Clock)
Channel 2 probe to SDA (Data)
Set to 2v/div, 100us
Trigger – i2c, SCL->Channel 1, SDA->Channel 2, When->Start, Sweep->Auto
Decode – i2c, BusStatus->On, SCLK->Channel 1, SDA->Channel 2, SCL Threshold->1.80v, SDAThreshold->1.80v, Format->Hex (whatever is appropriate)
Enable the event table if you want to capture data which allows you to also export the data to a usb drive.
IoT might be an over-hyped trend, but for ~$8 retail I can buy a EPS8266 NodeMCU board that has built-in WIFI. Moore’s Law and accessibility will continue to drive costs down, which means eventually all manufacturers will experiment with IoT products. Why? Because the data that can be captured is extremely valuable and can be monetized. One downside is these SoCs do not have any hardware protections where you can stash secrets, such as a code signing key.
For example, when I created the garage-o-matic to monitor and open/close my garage doors, I started looking at how to secure the firmware beyond a simple password. Ultimately, I would have had to build some additional custom hardware if I wanted to stay in the hobbyist IoT space.
I like the general idea of including some sort of hardware security system, which the Azure Sphere chip is calling “Pluton.” But what is really telling is Microsoft supporting this ecosystem with a Linux distribution. I’ve mentioned this before that Microsoft is becoming a cloud-first company, and this really drives that home. Build whatever you want, using the tooling you want, get even faster time-to-market if you use Visual Studio/Azure boilerplate, and run it on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
The HF Voyager is an autonomous Wave Glider (drone) traveling from Hawaii to California. What’s fascinating is the JRFARC club has included a low power HF radio as part of the payload. The Elecraft KX3 radio only puts out a max of 10 watts (and they’re probably running lower power than that) and I was able to receive the FT8 mode transmission with a simple magnetic loop antenna connected to my Anan 200D HF radio 1600 miles away.
Over a year ago, I decided to make big changes in my life, take some time off, and invest in myself, especially my health. I did a bunch of research and ran “mini-experiments” (aka “hacking” myself) to test out different things: how food affected me, how exercise changed my hunger, types of exercise, etc.
A while back I stumbled across an index card with financial advice by Harold Pollack. It was brilliantly simple as it was effective – very simple advice that is easy to follow and will positively impact your financial well being over time. So in the same spirit I’ve decided to write down simple things I’ve done that have dramatically transformed my health and happiness. There”s no “good” vs. “bad” or “right” vs. “wrong.” These are just some guidelines/suggestions for things to try.
I met up with one of my peeps for lunch the other week. We’re chatting about stuff, then we started talking about coding. We have a nice rivalry – I’m very much about the “art and craft” of software engineering, and he’s all about using the latest/greatest to build stuff. I call B.S. on his shinny new, and he calls B.S. on my old and crusty.
Me: “Dependency Injection used to be your jammy jam. You told me that my code sucked because I called a constructor directly. So what’s your newest hotness?” Continue reading “Wizbangadry”