Bad customer support

I had to reinstall our answering machine software recently and had mis-placed the registration key which would unlock features I’d paid for long ago. Features such as being able to record messages longer than 15 seconds. Bleh.

Hoping that the authoring company would help me out, I wrote them asking for the key based on the registration confirmation email I did have.

Instead of helping out an existing customer they decided to try to basically extort more money out of me.

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Holocontroller II

The next iteration of the HoloController is just about ready for use.

The on-board software is finally (no, really) ready to be wired up in the lab and I expect to do that tomorrow sometime.

The prototype controller is shown below with LEDs in place of connections to the relay board. I’ll likely leave those in as I’m wiring the two together so that I can clearly see that both ends are working. The lit LED below is a temporary status light that shows me the software on the Arduino is running.


The resistors are all 10K pull down resistors for input from the several switches that I’ve got on my workbench for turning laser and shutter power on/off. The 10K pot serves as a stand-in for the light sensor that sits above the table and is used to verify that the shutter opened as expected. Two voltage regulators provide 9v and 5v for various applications. I’ll be expanding their circuits soon to add diode protection and capacitor smoothing. An external board has TIP20’s for controlling the 1W LED status lights out in the hallway. At the moment they just blink or are steady-on but with the Arduino I can make them fade and add sound back back to the experience with an external piezo speaker. I miss having an R2D2 in the hallway like I did with the Lego RCX controller I started out with.

I’ve got one digital and one analog pin open so sometime soon I expect I’ll be expanding the system with more monitoring and someday with a touch screen or something similar.

The Arduino software is capable of driving the lab all by itself but since it doesn’t have a UI, I still need to use the PC to provide an easy to use input interface.

I’ve updated the HoloController software with an Arduino driver that simply sends port commands like the K8000 driver did and otherwise still controls the lab and exposures. Soon I’ll modify the PC software so the Arduino handles all the work which means the interface will move to an all-serial command set that can be more easily ported to other languages. The protocols are all written and tested now.

Woot! for Arduino!

A view of the table is available over here.

Technorati : arduino, automation, hologram, holography, lab : , , , ,

Using OneNote to make holograms

OneNote has been written about ad-infinitum as a tool for note taking in meetings and classes, as a general information repository and as a collaboration tool but I’d like to introduce you to another use that I’m putting OneNote to.

Making holograms.

Or more specifically, documenting both the process I go through when creating a hologram and the results from that process in the form of notes and pictures.

As most of you will probably know, OneNote is a great repository for all sorts of information. It has allowed me to combine a number of sources into one place so that when needed, I can easily refer back to previous results when I’m making a new hologram.

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Cartagena Art 1


Here’s a picture done by a young boy in Cartagena with my tablet PC.

While I was having lunch in a cafe near the hotel he came over to see what I was doing and since my food had just arrived I turned the tablet toward him and handed him the stylus.

He didn’t Know any English and my Spanish is horrible but I managed to show him how to use art Rage and off he went.

Fujitsu T4215 mini review

Image courtesy Fujitsu

To cut to the end, this laptop is an excellent piece of work. It doesn’t have all the flash that some other laptops have. It’s not as good looking as the HP TX1120 but where it lacks in flash it more than makes up for with solid behavior as a tablet PC.

I won’t reproduce the specs because you can find those with a simple Google search. Instead, I’ll list the things I like about the laptop and a few of the things that I don’t, in no particular order.

Continue reading Fujitsu T4215 mini review