drink's blog

Ambilight Clones, Windows, and Arduino

Long, long ago, when I first heard of Philips Ambilight, I thought it was one of the coolest silly things I'd ever heard of. Today, much later, I finally have gotten around to rolling my own Ambilight clone using an Arduino Nano and WS2812B strips. I did not have to write any code, because other people have already done it for me. Figuring out which people had done what properly took me the better part of a day, so I will now share my knowledge with you here. This should be a cross-platform (Win/Lin/Mac) solution, but I have only tested on Windows.

W126 vs. D2: What it's like driving the A8 vs. the 300SD

For quite some years now, my main mode of transportation has been a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD, a base model-plus-sunroof 3 liter turbo diesel. This represented the budget version of the Mercedes flagship sedan, if you will, but still cost as much as a small house. I am finally moving up to something slightly newer, a 1997 Audi A8 Quattro. Like the Mercedes, when it was new, its price was similar to that of a small home. There are other similarities and differences, and only recently have I had the opportunity to make any kind of comparison.

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Audi 32V V8 Head Job in the A8

Quite some while ago, I bought an Audi A8 Quattro for what seemed like a good price. It was not a bad price, it just wasn't a good price after all. It's been a learning experience, which is automotive slang for I should have spent more money. I haven't become an expert by any means, but I've got a good overview of the vehicle, especially the engine. This is partly because I used Google to translate VAG1 SSP2 105, 161, and 162, which are "V8-Motor", "Audi A8", and "ABS 5 ... Audi A8" respectively, and partly because I've replaced both head gaskets. The following text is adapted from some text I wrote in response to an email question, which came in response to a post on QuattroWorld A8 forum. I thought it might be of interest to others thinking about doing a head job on the 32 valve Audi V8 Motor.

Fixed-Wing Drone on the Cheap

Some little while ago, I picked up an e-Flite Apprentice, a fairly common foam "trainer" model airplane which is normally sold "ready to fly" with everything but the battery and charger. It was part of a lot of stuff that I picked up for ten dollars, and came without the radio. First I repaired it and mounted a HobbyKing HK-T6A v2 radio, but I quickly decided that it should be more than just a plane.

Drone On

Well, I finally built me a drone so's I could fit in with all the cool kids. What follows is a short description of my experience with helpful links for someone else who would like to build a substantially similar quad. I built basically the cheapest quadcopter you could use for anything more than just crashing into stuff, a SK450 whose parts were primarily sourced from eBay — and usually with the very cheapest parts.

Keep that command running - keeprunning

I wanted to keep some programs running, which is to say restart them if they crashed, but I also wanted them to be able to exit normally. The platform is Linux, the problem is compiz, the solution is a very small shell script. Surely the internets will let me know if there is something grossly wrong with it. This script is not meant for long-running daemons, there are plenty of tools for that already.

Garbage Computers are Great!

For all my life, most of my computers have been hand-me-downs or upgrades. I've built a handful of PCs from scratch, but even most of the ones I built with new processors and motherboards had some hand-me-down parts. But it seems like recently a threshold was crossed where the computers available to just anyone (and not someone who knows "someone") for basically nothing began to be pretty good.

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