Music Player v2

I’ve been thinking about the little music player I made a while back – the idea was a specific RFID tag triggers a specific album or track to play on an mp3 program.

It worked, as a proof-of-concept, but I never built it out into a practical daily-use system.

My new thought is to break it into two pieces – a tag reader component, and a DAC music player. They would both connect to the same local WiFi network and communicate using web APIs.

Breaking it into two components allows each to focus on a specific task – one as strictly a tag reader (and track controls) and one to focus on playing mp3 files to an audio receiver. The tag reader portion can be small, battery-powered, and therefore portable.

The tag reader portion will be a low-power Arduino chip connected over I2C to an RFID board. The Arduino will also need WiFi, perhaps an Adafruit Feather system.

The player portion will be a Raspberry Pi, possibly with a DAC board for higher-quality audio output. It will run a dedicated headless audio solution such as RuneAudio or Volumio. Music will be stored on SD card or possibly HD, depending on size of library. I could also possibly connect it to the music server I have set up on the network as a source.

Feedback loop failure

When I get things done, I feel good. When I don’t get things done, I feel bad. This is a feedback loop with both positive and negative reenforcement.

So why do I hardly ever seem to get things done?

I spent most of the weekend sitting on the couch or staring stupidly of piles of stuff that needs to get done, but taking no action.

Toy idea

Due to a past… shall we say, “extreme like” of Penguin Caffeinated Mints, I have more or less a bazillion empty metal tins, which I figured would make good project boxes for little ideas.

On the way to work I had an idea:

Take a tin, glue a strong magnet to the inside of the cover. Close the tin. Grab a handful of small steel hex nuts, and voilà – a magnetic stacking executive desk toy (fun for kids, too!

The tin could also be a storage box for the hex nuts if there weren’t too many.

SmartAce Designs

I’ve been meaning to do some tshirt and bumper sticker designs for a while.

I had some ideas sketched out a while back, and a couple weeks ago, sketched out some more with Sarah and Colleen.

This morning I finally got around to doing it, got a CafePress store set up, came up with the name and logo really quickly (the name is decent, the logo needs work) and did the first bumper sticker and tshirt.

I figure if I can do one or two designs a day, I can get most of the sketches turned into products pretty quickly.

Here’s the initial store, with only 2 items in it:

More to come.

Bathroom Gremlins?

So Sarah and I went to Maine to visit my mom this weekend, when I got back, the shower curtain was down.

Ok, kinda weird, but it’s only held in by pressure, and maybe somehow a change in temp or humidity cause the shower walls to bow or something, and the rod fell.

I shrugged it off and put the rod back up.

This morning, the drain was completely clogged, and a shower resulted in a full tub of water.
Now usually, the drain is a little slow sometimes, but this is full-on clogged. Water not moving *at all*.

I tried a plunger, it did nothing.

So I poured in a bottle of drain cleaner, we’ll see if that has any effect at all. I’m not sure if it will just become diluted in the full tub of water.

Rabbit Ears Redux

I’ve decided to try getting HDTV over-the-air with an antenna.

I should be able to hook a decent antenna to my Tivo to record HDTV shows… between that and content websites like, in theory I could ditch the $100/month cable bill. Granted, I’d miss some premium channels like HBO and Cartoon Network, but might be able to get some of that through alternate means.

So step one was ordering an antenna… it’s kind of confusing, but I went with one that’s mentioned a lot in a positive light on forums, the Channel Master 4228 rooftop antenna.

It looks really huge in that photo, but is in fact about 3′ x 3.5′.

The real adventure will be installing it on the roof.

I’m still a bit confused if this antenna will suffice, or if I will need a second one for VHF reception, but I figure the only way to find out is just to jump in and try it.

It’s in the cards

Playing Eye of Judgement rekindled my interest in card games… not to my college level of forgoing sleep to play cards games all night, but definitely got me thinking about them again.

I’ve started working on a card game of my own design, kind of like the classic Mille Bornes with a medical twist.
When I have it more fleshed out I’ll need to playtest and refine it.

Who knows, if it turns out decently, maybe I’ll even have it printed commercially.

The Self-Improvement of Salvatore Ross

Things have been going well, lately I’ve been strangely focused and *gasp* doing things I set out to do.
The year’s only just begun, and here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

* Lowered my sugar intake to under 50g per day
* Eliminated caffeine from my diet
* Stopped using “snooze” on my alarm
* Changed the time I get up from 8:00am to 6:30am
* Going to yoga class once a week
* Going to the gym for an hour every other day
* Scanning and filing paper as it arrives
* Registered with national junk mail blocking
* Consolidated two computers down to one (ok, I’m still working on this one, but I’ll be done this weekend)
* Replaced my cellphone with one that is reliable (my Razr had bad battery life and a habit of turning itself off)
* Scanned hundreds of slides for my mom (though I still need to mail her the CD)

What’s next?


* Scan bazillions of photos, slides and negatives from Papa’s house
* Sort/scan/toss 10+ years of paper (I have boxes and boxes just full of paper)
* General cleanup, give away or sell stuff I don’t need
* Produce at least one creative project a week
* Learn to play keyboard
* Learn to program Cocoa (and possibly iPhone when SDK comes out)
* Fix the damn MAME machine
And many more…

Early to bed, Early to rise

I read a really good series of articles:

How to be an early riser (part 1)
How to be an early riser (part 2)
How to get up when your alarm goes off

Inspired by them, I set my alarm for 7am. When it goes off, I immediately get up, shave, and hop into the shower.
I take a longer shower than usual to help wake me up, so around 7:30 I am shaved, showered, dried, and dressed.

This gives me about an hour until Adam comes downstairs and we leave at 8:30.

Before, I would hit snooze on my alarm over and over, and get up around 8 or 8:15, hurriedly get ready, and barely have time to feed Trouble before heading out.

Now I’ve got an extra hour in the morning, which I’ve been using to do small projects.

Two days ago, I organized some papers.
Yesterday, I dusted off my inkjet printer, cleaned the print heads, and set up the drivers on my Mac.
This morning, I found DVD case covers online for Wii Sports and Link’s Crossbow Training and printed them out (Wii Sports and Link’s Crossbow come in cardboard sleeves instead of proper cases, I ordered some blank cases to put them in).

Having an hour in the morning is nice, I can relax, have some tea, read email, and do a small project.