ARGUS TV Channel Logos for the UK

 

I found most of these logos on http://www.freeview.co.uk but a few were from Google, which I can’t credit…

They should be practically complete (as of 29/07/2013), barring the adult channels and also G.O.L.D as I couldn’t figure out how to name it so that it would appear in ARGUS’s EPG, although the image is in the folder if you know how to rename it. Note that these are all the channels I can pick up in my area (Sandy transmitter).

There are also a couple of images you may want to update e.g. BT Sport.

Installation Instructions

The zip file contains the “LogosCache” folder that can be found in “C:\ProgramData\ARGUS TV”. To use it you simply need to extract it over and replace the existing one, although backup any logos you may already have cached (although these should still be saved in the “Channel Logos” folder).

NOTE: The “Program Data” folder is normally a hidden folder that you can reach by typing “%programdata%\ARGUS TV” into the address bar.

Download

LogosCache.zip

Hopefully this will save you a bit of time next time you come to reinstall ARGUS!

Paying With Bitcoins Using Windows Phone 8 (And QR Codes)

If you’ve been looking for a way to pay using bitcoins on your Windows Phone you are probably already aware of the difficulties involved.

Firstly, there is no official app out there and nor is there likely to be one due to the enormous size of the blockchain (~8GB at time of writing), something which doesn’t play nice with the memory and data limitations of a phone. This means that you would have to rely on a trusted 3rd party to host the blockchain for you and submit transactions through them (a good example is Blockchain.info).

There are a few unofficial apps but I wouldn’t want to trust them with my money. That being said I’ll mention Miguel Rochefort’s Blockchain App, that is currently limited to simply viewing transactions but is something to keep an eye on.

The best way I have found for making transactions is to use Blockchain.info‘s website from your Windows Phone. It mostly plays nice with a small screen but I have noticed the import/export tab missing, so if you’re looking to add a Watch Only address, for example, you will have to add it on a PC beforehand.

Now brings us to the second problem. Unfortunately you can’t scan QR codes through Internet Explorer (which prevents the use of the camera)… which ordinarily means you have to undertake the soul-crushing task of manually typing in the recipient’s bitcoin address, but not so! You simply need to use another app to let you scan the code and copy the address.

The simplest approach is to press the search button of your Windows Phone and hit the vision icon at the bottom which, will let you scan a QR code. Once scanned it appears as a message onscreen; simply tap it to view the code and by holding your finger on it you have the option to copy it. Then, it is simply a case of pressing your back button to return to Blockchain.info’s website and pasting in the code.

Hopefully Blockchain.info will provide support for Windows Phone in the future like they already do for Android and iOS.

EDIT: It is worth mentioning that while probably not a concern, if some people are particularly privacy concious you may want to consider disabling the Search Settings so that Microsoft cannot use your images to improve their search results.

Antichamber Review

http://www.antichamber-game.com/

This game is somewhere between Lost, physics and an IQ test.

There’s no dying, no dialogue and no real story to speak of (if this is what you’re after try The Cave). But despite this there is an ending.

You start with very little other than an overview of the controls and an empty map but the game is still very intuitive. Throughout, you will discover “words of wisdom” that give subtle clues as to how to approach the current puzzle, and mistakes rarely leave you high-and-dry but allow you to learn or lead you into another puzzle.

This is stunningly well designed, with each puzzle simply a continuation to the next. Even where you can’t yet complete a puzzle you are simply steered to one you can, all while exploring interconnected rooms and corridors… although in what dimension they are connected isn’t quite clear. What is clear is where you should be aiming next. Areas and rooms have numbers or colours or something which distinguishes them, removing the often frustrating experience of simply guessing what needs to happen next. Don’t misunderstand me though, the puzzles are challenging but the dynamics are simple.

The graphics are very simple too, despite using the Unreal Engine, but considering the fluidity of the level design, makes for an unobtrusive and seem-less experience, that doesn’t distract. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than boring. The bold images are directly linked to skills you learn and give cues to past solutions.

Overall the game took me 7 hours to complete, with extra puzzles still available that give you an insight into the developers minds. It is elegant, challenging and fun; frustration free (mostly) and dare I say it – opens the mind.

4.5/5

Available for PC on Steam.

Owl earphone wrap.. with beak!

A quick project I built yesterday, based loosely around these two designs that inspired me. I think I have the edge with the beak though.. no pun intended.

The design could use a bit of tweaking, for example, the round side edges allow the cable to slide off and wrapping the cable vertically instead blocks access to the beak. There is a hybrid solution though which you can see in the pictures.

2012-09-23 16.40.18

2012-09-23 16.39.30

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DigiPos 12″ Touchscreen 26WAY D-Sub Pinout

Just found this lurking in drafts. It’s been a long-time since I wired this monitor up and am not able to check the pinout, right now, other than from a bit of paper I’ve found that I made notes on. Assuming the notes are correct, the monitor and touchscreen both worked for me, so here goes:

DigiPos 26WAY connector VGA Touchscreen (RS-232)
1 Tx
2 Rx
3 RED
4 GREEN
5 BLUE
6
7
8
9
10
11
12 RED_RTN
13 GREEN_RTN
14 BLUE_RTN
15
16
17
18
19
20 RTS
21
22 ID1/SDA
23 HSYNC
24 VSYNC
25 ID0/RES
26 CTS

Why is the Replicator 2 from Makerbot Industries closed-source?

When I first heard about this I was down-hearted. I’ve followed Makerbot Industries from the beginning and seeing Bre Pettis (one founder of Makerbot) and his enthusiasm towards open-source always made me excited about the maker community – and what is starting to recognised as a revolution. But why closed-source, now?

The previous iterations of the product have been open to the community, and improved by it. All the previous designs are already online and I can’t see there is too much that the community couldn’t work out for themselves, so why waste everybody’s time?

Making the Replicator 2 closed-source isn’t like a patent. It doesn’t stop clones. Therefore, I hope this is temporary (as they will later be releasing an ‘experimenter’ version) in an effort to stay ahead of the crowd and release the designs in good course.

That being said the new Makerbot looks stunning and offers great improvements over the previous version.

[EDIT: Bre has since released a post to help clarify some ‘misinformation’, stating that they ‘are working that out’ regarding the projects open or closed source nature. He also stresses that he intends to continue to support the open-source movement.]

[EDIT 2: Another post by Bre aims to fully explain the decisions involved and quotes several opinions from open-source folk who make a lot of sense.]

Clever Little Box Easy-Install VGA Cable

A while back I bought some old touch screen monitors, used on tills, but the connector was a 26-pin d-sub that needed to be split into VGA, serial and ps/2 connections (if you were wondering the ps/2 connection is for the optional magnetic strip reader). Anyway, this cable lets me use the monitor part…

DSCF1301

First impressions of this cable were “wow, that’s a lot of cable” and to be honest 10m is rather more than I needed but it saved me from making one up myself and at less cost, considering the cheapest 12-core wire I could find on Farnell is £1.65 per metre where as this cable works out at £1.46 per metre.

The quality is excellent and feels pretty durable with its thickly moulded plug and heat-shrunk joints which, is rather a nice touch, I feel. The flex is also very flexible (as you can see below) whilst still reassuring you that its innards are safe, say, from a particularly vicious edge-of-desk or a ensnared panic-stricken colleague.

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Makerbot Industries: Building and Leading a Technological Enterprise

This is an essay I wrote for uni (23rd March 2011). I seem to remember it receiving a good mark and it kinda fits with the blog. Haven’t read through it or updated it though so – you know – take it easy.

I’m not apologising for NOT linking the references, either. It would’ve taken aaaages. Bite me.

Makerbot Industries is based in Brooklyn, New York and was founded by Bre Pettis, Zach Smith and Adam Mayer in January 2009. (1) Inspired by the RepRap project, they design and build desktop-sized affordable 3D printers, known as Makerbots, allowing customers to print physical objects from ABS plastic.

“Right now, you can download books and movies. Someday you’re going to be able to download things.” – Bre Pettis (2)

Bre Pettis is “passionate about invention, innovation and all things DIY” (2) and has founded a Brooklyn based hackerspace called NYC Resistor (2007) and co-founded Makerbot Industries (2009) and Thingiverse.com (2008) which allow users to share digital designs, often suitable for reproduction on a Makerbot. He is also an international speaker at several conferences and has, in-the-past, worked as a school teacher, artist and puppeteer as well as producing many tutorial videos for Make Magazine and Etsy.com. (3)

Zach “Hoeken” Smith and Adam Mayer are both members of NYC Resistor. Zach has previously founded the RepRap Research Foundation (RRRF) (2007), a non-profit corporation that provides a support base and a cheap source of RepRap parts for researchers interested in the project. (4)

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Quick and dirty socket

Needed a socket, only had wood and staples.

Method:

  1. drill two holes
  2. hammer in staples
  3. solder wires
  4. wrap staples around pins

Results:

Figure 1: Preparing to test

DSCF1215

Figure 2: Success!
DSCF1216

Done.

[EDIT: Of course, remember not to glue the portable bit to the non-portable bit: in my case the PSU to the socket. PROFESSIONALS DON’T SCREAM]

Steps your mother didn’t teach you..

I tried to keep the electronics, for the mill, nice and simple as I would be building these driver boards on stripboard. Try it sometime. I ASSURE you it’s fun.

Originally, the electronics were for a wave drive configuration (only ever one phase on) but at some point I realised that I could use the same hardware for a full-step drive configuration (two phases always on), with some clever tricks, while still having just the two inputs: step and direction. This has the effect of doubling the torque which lets me run at double the speed without skipping steps. Thumbs up!

DSCF1214

The image above shows the three driver boards and an Arduino running grbl for control. Each driver board has three ICs: an up/down counter [4510], a quad 2-input NAND (in a XOR configuration) [4093/4011] and a current driver [ULN2003A]. And below the schematic of the system.

DSCF1228

You might see from the image that the Arduino outputs STEP and DIRECTION (as dictated by grbl) but we have four inputs to control on the stepper motor. Therefore a couple of tricks are used:

The first trick is garnered from Ian Harries page on stepper motor controllers and notes that two of the inputs (A and B) are always the inverse of the input opposite (C and D), allowing us to effectively cut our inputs by half. The two inverters can be seen to the right of the image above.

The second trick uses a 2-bit counter and a XOR gate to convert STEP and DIRECTION into these two remaining input patterns. The first input pattern is easy enough as it merely follows the 2nd bit of the counter (A1), however, the second input (B) is out of phase with the first. In order to repeat this sequence out of phase it is simply a case of XORing the first input (A) with the 1st bit of the counter (A0).

Step A1 A0 A B C=(¬A) D=(¬B) (A0 XOR A)=B
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
2 1 0 1 1 0 0 1
3 1 1 1 0 0 1 0

I haven’t included the mapping of the pins here as my configuration is slightly wrong in that the counter resets too early, providing an incorrect duty cycle for some of the steps. Also you’re not limited to the chips I’ve mentioned.

If any clarification is needed, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to demist either your cloudy mind or my foggy writing.

Happy stepping 🙂