I play football, me by Wayne Rooney

On my way to work this morning I noticed a large advert for Wayne Rooney's autobiography. Here we go again another wet behind the ears celebrity thinking they know it all and cashing in. How old is he? 20? what does he know about life? I can hear it now, all 20 year old autobiographers say the same thing "I may be young but I've already lived a life time" No you haven't! in your cockish young ignorance you just think you have.

I enjoy reading biographies if the person has actually lived a full life. Gone through the ups and downs of relationships, work, children, grandchildren, hardships and highs. What has Wayne Rooney got to talk about? What's he done? Played some great football, been in the tabloids and paid of Colleen's credit card bill. Hardly a page turner.

Mother ******* eBay sniping turds

I hate eBay. Nearly every auction I bid for is sniped at the last minute.
(for the uninitiated:- sniping is using a computer program to purchase an item within the closing seconds)

My last three auctions in a row were sniped with just a couple of seconds to spare.

eBay started as a bidding war as a way to give an authentic auction feel. It seems to degenerate into a war of who has the lowest latency connection.

Surely it's in the best interest of eBay to stop these snipers, and bring back good old fashioned auctioning skills. If an auction was allowed to run it's natural course instead of being a short battle at the end, eBay would make more from realistic bidding.

Love, you stink!

I hate smelly people. They offend me to the core of my being. BO bozos are bad enough but the worst of this 'aromatic' bunch are the over perfumed pollyannas.

Take the girl who sat next to me on the bus this morning - fake tanned to the eyeballs, hair so blonde it was almost see through and she smelt like she'd slept in a vat of Chanel No 5. It was like being slapped in the face with 400 bunches of flowers. Why People Why!?! Stop offending my nasal passges like this!

I'm not saying that the smell of body odour is preferable but at least these stinkers just didn't wash, these perfume abusers smell like that on purpose! Surely it can't be attractive to the opposite sex? I certainly don't find it attractive on men. I like to smell aftershave on my boyfriend when I'm nuzzled right into his neck. I don't want to be on the other side of the room and feel like someone's chucked a bucket of Eau de Bloke over my head.

Stupid Hair Products

No wonder supermodels and trendiques are dim. They spend so much time faffing with their appearance that logically they must spend a lot of time around beauty products. I recently bought a new brand of conditioner which claimed to be for "Brunettes and Red Hair". This annoyed me, not only is it bad english it is also Gingist. The brown haired of us get a mention as a type of person on the bottle where as only the ginger populances' hair is mentioned. Are gingers not people!?!? I'm not saying it should say "for Brunettes and Gingers" but it could say for "Brunettes and Red Heads" or even "Red Hair and Brown Hair" put the gingers first! they have a hard enough time as it is without being spoken down to by a bottle of conditioner.

Robofuzz Ideas

Product Overview
The products listed below are all electronic interfaces of one kind or another. The model of the business in to sell these products in a prepackaged way.

The products themselves will all conform to a set size. Each module (a sensor for smallest) will be of so many "blocks" one block is 2.5x2.5cm. The boards will be designed to fit together neatly, and allow stacking.

Each of the blocks will connect together using a common bus type. This will allow easy software control, and simple programming. The devices will all use a common pin layout for full compatibility.

Backplane bus board

RoboFUZZ motherboard.

6X Full size bus connectors

3X OpenServo mini driver socket

1X Programming header
2X I2C Sockets (2 discrete busses, i.e not shared)
1X Power Connector

DIP Sockets
The DIP pins control the voltage levels going to the smaller OpenServo connectors. it it switchable from external regulated supply, or the battery supply.

DIP Configuration:
1+2 3+4 5+6 1st pin +12v second pin +batt


PCB Both sides

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RoboFUZZ power bus board

Power driver board for roboFUZZ robotic arm

This regulator board takes 12V+ source and regulates it to 2x5V outputs.

The two 5V outputs are smoothed, and isolated to make sure the high current side doesn't interfere with the MCU.

The standard +5V source (source 1) can supply up to 5A peak. This is enough for the MCU circuitry of the application.

The second output is a 20A peak output, although the board would fry at near 15A. This can be used to power the motors on the application.

The board also has an I2C interfaces controller chip. This controller monitors the current usage, and also checks the temperature of the large power transistors.

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Robofuzz Servo driver v0.21

Version 0.21 of the Robofuzz driver board.

From the v0.01 description:
These larger motors are powered by an L6203 MOSFET H-Bridge. The whole operation is controlled by an OpenServo MCU with a couple of software alterations for the LED's and h-bridge enable. There is also another A/D line used for H-Bridge current sense as well as a current sense chip.

There are 5 connectors on the left of the schematic, these are all linked together providing a I2C tap. The wiring configuration is the same as the OpenServo. There is even a small openservo edge connector on the board.

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Robot Servo Controller

Here are schematics and a PCB for the driver of the large servos on my Robot Arm.

These larger motors are powered by an L6203 MOSFET H-Bridge. The whole operation is controlled by an OpenServo MCU with a couple of software alterations for the LED's and h-bridge enable. There is also another A/D line used for H-Bridge current sense as well as a current sense chip.

There are 5 connectors on the left of the schematic, these are all linked together providing a I2C tap. The wiring configuration is the same as the OpenServo. There is even a small openservo edge connector on the board.

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I2C voltage level converter

I have created a schematic and PCB to solve the problem of different host device I2C voltages.

Here is the original reference material used to create the PCB

This will allow a 3.3v host I2C to communicate with 5v slave device, and vice versa.
This implementation is tolerant up to 12v I2C bus, resistor values may have to be changed to compensate.

The connectors on either end are edge connectors, but to minimise bus capacitance, I recommend soldering the cables.
The best results come when the adapter is connected close to the host end of the chain.

Construction is either single, or double sided. Single sided is achieved using 3 links as in the diagram below. For Double sided, just etch the link too.

It could be noted that this could be reduced in size with the substitution of SMT resistors for the full size through hole type I chose for convenience.

The MOS-FET used is an NDS351AN, which loosely fits the specification in the application note. A suitable SOT-3 substitution may be made.

Pins are laid out according to I2C specification regarding the adjacent placement of SDA and SCL lines.

Constructed board. Made by hand in a hurry.

Here is the schematic

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People will believe anything

warning... almost certain crackpottery ahead

Today, whist doing my normal web browsing rounds I came across this little gem...

Water Fueled car

This instantly piqued my interest, and even before watching the clip, I was reaching for my tin foil hat.
Now... let me point out that I am no physicist, have no real claim to know anything about this stuff, and also welcome constructive criticism over any assertions or assumptions I make.

Aside form the fact I don't know where to start with this, I firstly doubt the claim of 100miles on 8 ounces of water, for reasons I will go into.

Servo Modification

This is a short guide to getting more from a basic servo.

OpenServo Modification:
Change from a standard servo to a digital servo.

Servo Battery Modification:
Servos are full of empty space. This is a guide to cramming a 7.2v Nicad into a servo.

More to follow when the camera works.

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Hexapod robot arm

I have been experimenting with making my Robot Arm mobile. The first incarnation of this was to give it wheels. Whle this worked fairly well, it had problems with carpet and stairs.

My next idea is completely mad, and if I pull it off will be very spectacular. I am putting the robot arm on 28 hexapod legs. This is going to mean i will need to use nearly 50 servos to carry the weight, and distribute the load.

The first attempt caused near fatal breakage in the servos. I severly underestimaetd the weight distribution needed to support the arm when it is fully outstretched. I anly used 20 servos, and although this was good while the arm was in it's parked position, it was not nearly good enough for carrying the weight when the arm is in use.

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Self cleaning kitchen

Lets admit it guys and girls... we don't really enjoy cleaning the kitchen. It's dirty, smelly, and make your hands wrinkle up.

I think I have the ultimate solution, and I thought of it while I was in the car wash.
Those Car wash machines have three giant rollers, one for each side of the car, which spin at high velocity and clean the bird crap away. It got me thinking... why can't I do that on my kitchen surfaces. The idea was formed.

You clear everything away from you work surfaces. Press a button and sit back. A roller will come from the top of a cupboard, and start spinning. It will roll gently across all of the worksurfaces cleaning as it goes.

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What happened to KDE4?

KDE4, the long awaited sequel to the KDE3.x series of desktop is due in the fall of 2006... or so we were told.

I am a long time user of the KDE series of desktop, watching it's evolution from the 2.x days. I often keep an eye of future developements in the KDE world, as it directly affects me.

I clearly remember the announcements last year, we were told that KDE4 will be better... it'll take us to the next level in desktop design. From that point we saw numerous "screenshots" that were just mockups, all of which looked very promising. The KDE4 buzz was upon me. I followed as many of the minor developments as possible, hoping for the day when KDE4 was ready.

Openservo board v2.0b

Openservo v2.0 Eagle PCB Designs

This is the site for the "Official*" OpenServo boards, as well as the tracker for unofficial boards.
There have been some modifiaction to the servo board, leading to a new V2.1 design.
These pcb's will appear here shortly

* official meaning version of board that is exactly the same as the project main ExpressPCB format.

No guarantees these boards will work. go to Openservo.com

NEW:- Official Eagle board in CVS

Here are the first designs for the openservo 2.0 driver board using the Atmega8/168
There is also a design with a 2x4 pin header, to make programming easier.

Official Openservo v2.0

These are the eagle designs for the OpenServo 2.0. Design reinterpreted for Eagle, and for European parts availability.

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Openservo API

Here is the documentation for the C openservo library wrapper.

There are numerous bugs, and corrections that have been made since this initial release. Expect version 0.3 soon!

** REMOVED WIN32 SUPPORT FOR NOW ** This code is being rewritten for better win32 abstraction.

Download Openservo Library here

The openservo wrapper consists of many layers of abstraction, making prtability
very easy.

All functions return >0 for success, and &lt0 for error.
The read functions all take a pointer to the data. You must initialise the

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Openservo Library API preliminary

openservo_lib.h - description
begin : Jan 17 2006
email : barry.carter@gmail.com
revision : 17 v0.063

* *
* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify *

Openservo European parts list

Order codes from Farnell.

Partial list only. This is only sufficient to build an unofficial Openservo board

Code Min Qty Desc
9846395 1 FET P
9845410 1 FET N
8156379 1 SI4500BDY NP FET
8734275 4 Diode
3847871 1 IC Current
3160634 1 LM3480 100ma
3605620 1 5v Regulator XC62FP5002MR 500ma *** dont buy this junk!

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Working for the cash machine

I visited a cash machine recently and was completely shocked to see the one thing I hate the most...
adverts. This time in the form of movie trailers.

I know what you're thinking "You stinking bafoon, there have always been adverts on the machines.", and yes, although I may be a bafoon, I know that the machines have always showed them. Where I take particular offense was the manner of the advert.

Normally you approach the machine, it's showing a small static slideshow of how great the bank is, and how low their interest rates are. This is fine. I have no problem there. The banks use the opportunity to tell you how great they are. Nothing obtrusive, no need to take offense.


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