You can do anything you want. All it takes is the courage to try.

This site covers some things I'm interested in. Nothing more, nothing less. If you find it interesting, great. If not, great. You're welcome to stay a while, and feel free to sign up and hang out if you feel like contributing something.

Our beloved Radio Shack

I'm fairly serious when I mention I'm tempted to open my own shop. I walked into Radio Shack today and started digging around their woefully inadequate parts section when one of their staff came up and asked if they could help me find something.

Me: "Yeah, I'm looking for a 16 MHz crystal. Where would I find that?"

Them: "That's the thing that makes those radio scanners work, right? No, we don't carry that old stuff any more."

Me: "..."

They did, however, have green LEDs for a buck fifty each. To put things in perspective, the Jameco price is currently $0.088. Eight point eight pennies. Buy a hundred and you knock off a penny each.

100 green LEDs at Radio Shack: $150
100 green LEDs at Jameco: $7.80 + probably about $5 shipping.


Here we go again...

After looking around at all the shields people are making based on the Decimilia board, I decided it would be best to start over using that as a template. The goal here is to make a board that's compatible with what's out there so it's actually useful instead of being a novelty item. I spent all day trying new layouts and wrestling with traces, and I'm pretty comfortable with the result:

ZIF update

It's all put together, but after quite a bit of troubleshooting it looks like the crystal I used is bad. Of course I don't have another one on hand, so if the local Radio Shack doesn't have one I'll have to order it.

On a side note, It used to be that you could head on down to the local Radio Shack and get what you need. They were even out of a good number of fairly common resistors last time I went. Wish me luck...

Every time this kind of thing happens I get closer to opening my own store.

Update update...

Cheater over at the Arduino forums reminded me that I was being stupid. In all that effort, I spaced out the fact that the ATmega168 has an internal oscillator. After setting the right fuses to tell it to use the internal clock, it works just fine until I get around to replacing the crystal. The only drawback is it won't communicate with the Arduino programming software via USB until it's fixed. Good thing I just got my hands on an AVR programmer.

It's here

The board arrived today, and while I see a problem with the mounting holes being waaaaay too close to the edge, I don't expect to have any other issues. I'll be going over the layout to be sure the surface mount pads are okay and to make sure I have all the parts, then on to assembly. The new tips for my iron won't be in until Thursday so it won't be assembled before the weekend.

In the meantime, here's some eye candy:

ZIFduino prototype


The first time I saw the Arduino, I thought to myself, "where's the ZIF socket version?" It turns out that nobody's taken the time to design a board for it yet. The typical reasoning is the desire to keep the cost to a minimum. That's an excellent point, because a ZIF socket can add 50% to the cost of the assembled board. Well, I've bent the pins on an ATMEGA-168 for the last time, dag nabbit, and I don't care what it costs any more.

I spent several hours getting to know Eagle a bit, grabbed the Freeduino sketch and board files at (they have a through-hole version) and started tweaking. Here are the results:

Review: Grizzy G1023SL Table Saw

When we bought our house three years ago, I finally got the chance to do something I've been wanting to do for more than a decade; set up my own shop. In many a woodworker's opinion the table saw is the central piece of equipment in most shops, and I'm no different. My first task was to find a good one that wouldn't overly tax my funds at the time, but was a reliable and quality piece of machinery. I finally settled on the Grizzly G1023SL.

Hall Table

I'm nearly finished with my first real furniture project. It's a Shaker style hall table I built from plans from

Getting started

First blog entry, just starting to get the site up and running. Still trying to figure out this software, but it's a hell of a lot more promising than other packages I've tried.

If you're wondering about the, um, unusual logo, it's something I made as a joke a couple years ago, and it kind of stuck. It's pretty much my identity on line now, and I use that avatar everywhere. It's my own creation, it's copyrighted, and all rights are reserved.

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