In Praise of Pebble

I recently got a pebble watch which I enjoy very much, though maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. Recap: Pebble is an e-paper based watch with customizable faces and some communication with your phone over BLE. You can download watch faces and apps from the community on their app store. The app store works nicely but quality apps are few and far between, perhaps because of the limitations on communicating with the phone or just the difficulty level of programmingI hear the actual programmers groaning but it’s the truth - you have to write apps in straight C!

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014

Ice Maker Repair for a GE Profile Refrigerator

If you’ve got one of these GE Profile refrigerators from a few years ago (this one was installed around 2004, model PSS26MSRD) and the ice maker isn’t making ice, there are a few simple steps you can go through to troubleshoot. Ice maker parts Power light Swing arm Power/control plug issues with the icemaker itself First, pull out the ice bin and eyeball the ice maker device behind it. See if the switch is turned on and the green light is lit.

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Thu, Mar 7, 2013

Post-Fab Construction

Here’s what I don’t understand about modern house construction; despite modern computation and robotics, we still rely on humans to measure and cut things piece-by-piece in order to build a house. Prefab has negative connotations for being used to create cookie cutter houses that have no individuality but it’s a self-imposed limitation, especially considering that planning is already computerized. I think we can do better. Given a few laser measurements of a land plot, we could easily use these as a baseline for architect plans which are already computerized in most cases.

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Sat, Feb 16, 2013

Return of Blog, Holidays Edition

Good day, blog friends! Not counting Muniverse (and I don’t, it was waiting to be published for a while), it has been quite a time since I last wrote a thing. Here’s some stuff that doesn’t warrant its own post: Brad and I finally finished a remote garage door opener based on an Arduino and WiFly. See the incredible frustration documented on G+ here and here. A few more tweaks and the whole thing will be on github.

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Sat, Dec 22, 2012

Personal Hovercrafts NOW

I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t want to drive to work on their personal hovercraft. It seems completely possible and this same group has released a number of videos showing their progress making the thing, so probably not a hoax. It seems like this is one area where Hollywood has really understood how these things will behave according to the laws of physics. You’ll be surprised at the intuitiveness of how the hoverbike behaves when turning and stopping.

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Fri, Aug 24, 2012

SSD + Thunderbolt = Speed

I’ve been eyeballing external Thunderbolt enclosures ever since I started running my iMac startup disk off a separate SSD. It was sitting in an old USB 2.0 enclosure but not only did it take up a precious USB slot but because SSD read/write speeds can out perform USB 2.0 transfer speeds it also wasn’t reaching its true potential, a turn of phrase I’m all too familiar with from high school. I had opened up my mid-2011 iMac a while back to see how hard it was to implant the SSD into space that I knew was reserved for such a thing.

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Mon, Aug 20, 2012

The IntelliMouse

Ah, the IntelliMouse! It was simply the best mouse at the time, and I used one for a long time despite those being some of my prime Microsoft-hating years. It doesn’t matter what people think of you when you create something so much better than the competition.

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Wed, Jul 18, 2012

Build a Tiny Printer

There’s something about this tiny, open source printer that makes me think about non-digital communication in a positive way, which is a somewhat rare occurrence. Something about the way it’s designed and how nicely the print quality is… and the simplicity of it all. Also, when I said “open source” I really meant it. You build the printer. via @atduskgreg

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Thu, Apr 12, 2012

Headless Mac Mini with Ubuntu

It’s time for another episode (yet again) of A Technical Guide to a Niche Topic! This episode is sponsored by my insistence that personal research not be lost to the void. Last weekend I spent an inordinate amount of time getting Ubuntu running without a monitor on a mac mini so I figure I’d write up my findings. FYI, this is a 2009 Core Duo Mac Mini. It’s not the newer unibody design though I expect many of the details still apply.

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012

these chromebooks

Let’s get back to nerdiness. And by nerdiness I mean freshly unwrapped hardware reviews for some new technology. Chromebooks, my friend. I have been using a classy (not Apple classy, but classy) Samsung 5 Chromebook since earlier this week and I’m going to tell you about it. Before we begin to wax philosophical about the purpose of a Chromebook, let’s take a moment to understand the hardware. A very bright 12.1” screen with a very, very blue tinted LED backlight.

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Fri, Jun 10, 2011