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Pogoplug V4 Redux: Pogoplug Office

Once upon a time, a Marvell developed a product called the Sheevaplug to drum up interest for their "Kirkwood" ARM-compatible CPU line. This was a complete linux system hidden in a wall wart, whose design they gave away as a reference. This led to a number of Sheevaplug-based devices hitting the market, including the PogoPlug, a line of cheap NAS devices which are all based on the Sheevaplug design with various single-core Marvell CPUs. They are now discontinuing not only that line but also the service for the same, so the devices are cheaper than ever before right now, and this is a great time to pick one up — I got one for $13.

VW/Audi Concert (etc.) Arduino CD Changer Emulator

My long-time faithful automotive companion, the 1982 300SD, is on its way out as a 1998 A8 Quattro comes in. It's just old enough (and low-spec enough) to have come with an ordinary radio instead of a LCD navigation unit. Unlike the 1997 which became the parts car when I got this car, the CD changer at least speaks an ordinary and boring protocol and it can be emulated away for those who would like a line input instead.

The Bus Must Die

I grew up a poor white boy-child in Santa Cruz, which means that there were three ways in which I was privileged, and only one of them was location. Growing up with a single mother with no car when surrounded by the affluent and mobile meant that those were the only ways in which I was privileged. Any place I did not reach via operation of my Chevrolegs had to be visited via the shame train, also known as "The Bus". And riding the bus incurs a stiff penalty.

Audi Project Progress

Some while back, I bought a 1997 Audi A8 Quattro with a bunch of problems for a little too much money, let's just not talk about how much. Not a lot, but still too much. I've worked through most of them problems, but then had an electrical issue that sent me back to looking for a front-end harness. Long story short, I wound up buying a parts car for $300 and then driving it home in limp mode over the Hopland Grade, like a boss. And since it's nicer than my car, I'm just going ahead and swapping the long-ago-warranty-replaced transmission which I've had fitted with the Transgo main pressure valve fix into the newer, nicer, lower-mileage car. And yesterday, I actually managed to extract the motor and trans from the 1997.

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Making Assassins Creed: Unity Play OK

Assassins Creed is a really nifty psuedohistorical series of parcourt assassination games, and Assassins Creed: Unity is one of the recent entries in the series — which was included in a Humble Bundle of most of the titles. This post is not a news flash. It is a summary I'm writing because I don't want to have to track this information down again, distilled from a couple of pages I found googling.

Hackery Pokery

Today I used Kapton (okay, Koptan) tape for one of its common purposes for the first time, I used it to stop insulation melting and disappearing while I was tinning leads. I got the leads out of an old parallel cable, and they probably weren't meant to be soldered at all. Old computer cables are bar none the cheapest source of highly multi-colored, small-gauge finely-stranded wire I know of. If you pick them up from thrift store warehouses or flea markets you can get them for less than a dollar, and get yourself a meter of 20+ different colors of wire.

SK450 - it's Dead Cat Time

About this time last year, I built myself a SK450 quadcopter to cheaply familiarize myself with the hobby and gain a fun new toy. That project came off very well, and I was pleased with the results for the money spent. This time, I'm upgrading that copter into a "dead cat" configuration, using some new parts and some old ones — but mostly new.

Wooden Gantry Crane

When I was offered a $300 1998 A8 Quattro parts car (for my 1997) I leapt at the chance. By the time I got it home, though, I thought better of my plan to swap the electrical harness from that car to my car, and decided that I would swap the transmission from the old car into the "parts" car because it was in such better shape. But this presented a problem — how do I pull the engine and transmission out of one car, and put it into the next, given my lack of a perfectly flat and level place to work? The answer as I see it is to build an A-Frame or a gantry.

Arduino Fan Temp Speed Control

I decided that I would like to have a programmable temperature-based fan speed controller for a fume extractor I am building from scrap parts, and the logical thing to do seemed to be to use an Arduino Nano as modern fans use a 5 volt PWM signal to control their speed, and also report back their speed with another 5 volt signal. They are also wicked cheap if you are willing to use clones.

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