Monday, February 28, 2011

00464 Day 4 Got a light?

So this time I decided that I wanted a portable and temporary light source that involved opening a match box to turn on a light. Just for the hell of it.

Finally I arrived at a silver-foil-and-wire method. Basically, one of the wires coming out of the LED is cut, both ends are stripped and fed out of the underside of the tray and when the box is slid open the two wires come into contact with some aluminum foil, closing the circuit and lighting the LED.
It's only coin cell powered, so it won't last for too long, but it properly works and everything.

I filled the tray with a clear epoxy but added a little colloidal silica to the mix to give it just a little diffusion. The effect is great, but with hindsight, I should have sealed the inside of the box tray, so that the epoxy didn't stain to outside of the box. It's only a small thing, but it kind of gives away that the box has been hacked before you open it.

It's portable, a gadget, home-made and unexpected. What's not to like?


There were two prototypes undertaken.
The first was an arrangement where I filled the box with long thin sticks. I coated the sticks with a combustable paste which then dried. The idea was that when you rubbed the sticks against a roughened surface, they caught fire. The Missus pointed out that this was what people called "having a dog and barking yourself". So I binned that one.
The second was where I put a one watt LED in the box with a PICAXE chip and a photoresistor. Here, when the box was opened, the PICAXE sensed there was an increased level of light and tuned on the LED. This time the Missus pointed out that you would want the light when it was dark and to cut a long story short, I binned that one too.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

00463 Day 3 Map, the game

So then, Map.

I'll be posting about this again, mainly because we've played a few games and it was pretty awesome. All that's really concerning me now is that I've re-invented the wheel and it's indistinguishable from any of the old wheels. In other words, someone else must have thought of this (and in fact, did I see it somewhere before, forget about it and then drag it back through my subconscious as what I perceive to be an original idea?).

Anyhow, this was all the result of wanting a game which used only basic stuff, like paper, pens, coins or dice, or any combination of all four.

I'm figuring that a time-lapse of the game play would be just dandy, from an info-mercial perspective. In the meantime, here's what one of the games ended up looking like:

So, a 2 player game, then.

In a nutshell:
Both players collaborate to make a map with 21 counties. Once the map is made, players move around the board, capturing countries as they do so. Once all the countries have been claimed, the player with the most countries is declared the winner.

You will need:
Two pencils (one in a pinch)
Two small different coins


How it works:
Draw a circle in the middle of the paper. This is he first country.
Toss the coin to decide who goes first.
The first player appends an arc to the circle, making sure that both ends of the arc touch the circle, so that it makes a shape in which a coin will fit. This is the second country.
The second player draws an arc who's ends touch either, both or none of the two existing countries (man, I'm going to have to unconfuse that thing). Again, the new shape should be large enough to contain a a coin and predictably enough, the is the third country.
The players continue to add countries in this manner until each has made ten countries each, making 21 in all.
The only requirement is that, at the time of drawing, a country may share a border with a maximum of four countries.
On drawing their last country, the first player places a 'O' in that country with a pencil and places their coin on top of the 'O'.
Player two then completes their last country, places an 'X' inside it and puts their coin on top of the 'X'.
Players then take turns to move their coin to an adjacent country, marking the new country as their own.
You can move onto a previously marked/claimed country, you just don't get anything out of it and it's kind of a waste of a move.
If you can move on to a country occupied by your opponent's coin, you take their coin and send them off to any country on the board that takes your fancy. You then claim that country as your own by scrubbing out their mark and placing your own.

The basic strategies seem to be, minimise the time you spend on previously claimed countries and try to avoid getting taken. But there's way more to it than that, of course.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

00462 Day 2 Radio Amp Hack

Day 2 dawns and I leap from my bed, mind aflame with a blazing motivation to create.

And now, if I do nothing else in this world, I'll die a happy man knowing that I've brought the RAH to mankind:

Many moons ago I added a 3.5mm (headphone plug sized) socket to my radio and hooked it up to the speaker so that I could listen to my iPod. Heavy was my heart when I realized that the signal from the iPod just wasn't up to driving the radio speaker.


At approx. 11:00 GMT I hooked up an LM386 N-1 power amplifier chip and some other gubbins and soldered it into the radio's DC power socket. Here's the chip and bits:

The amp chip feeds off the power supply that charges the radio's battery, so I might look into a battery upgrade to run the radio as a hand-cranked rechargeable amp and speaker unit. Then I'll probably stick a 1W LED on it and maybe a death ray.

I can now rock out with impunity while preparing noodle soup. Needless to say the inaugural track was "Tribute" by the mighty D.

"Are you angels?"
"Nay! We are but men! ROCK!"

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Friday, February 25, 2011

00461 Day 1 small beginnings

I can already see some disturbing themes emerging. The first is that the first things that emerge from this mess will be small and quick. The second is that I'm going to spend more time thinking up a title for each post. Hey, didn't I hear there were people suffering somewhere? Perspective.

So here's the beginning:

I know, it's just a cartoon.

The Behemoth and the RAH will reveal themselves in the fullness of time. During the meanwhile, they look like this:

Now, if that's all, I'd like to go to bed now.

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00460 Taking in the slack

Is this thing on?

I'm running a test to see exactly how slack I can be.

As you can see we're running at around 3 right now.

Reckon I can get it down to 2 within the week.

1 is the obvious long term goal, but I think we are all aware of the law of diminishing returns in relation to laze.

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00459 iPad test blog

There's been a nadir in blog posting as a result of temporal interruptions in the time-waste continuum.

There's also been a slowly increasing feeling that some sort of creative framework is needed in order to build an imaginative structure from the mind-jam in the jar that is my brain. I'm talking art-toast here.

So now that's all clear, I'll be making something ever day and posting it up.

Categories of stuff includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Putting together
Serial killing (still in the approvals phase)
A re-creation of Genesis (1:125,000 scale)

And because of the slackness pervading my life, I'll be attempting to blog by iPad.

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