Planet Geek!

A man out of society. Lost in his own world.

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My Vacation in Crawford Notch

Back on Mt Willard, beautiful weather!
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Around mid-November of this year, my boss pulled me aside and said “Son… I’m kickin you outta here.” Okay, he really didn’t say that, but he did let me know if I didn’t take some vacation time by the end of the year, he was going to be cranky. Since my company only rolls over 2… Read More

Soylent – 10 days in.

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On September 1st, I started what I was calling “my great experiment“. Altering my diet in a significant way to make me more aware of what I was eating, how I was eating, and where my food came from was a huge step for me. So now it’s a week and a half later, how… Read More

Soylent – The great experiment begins

2014-09-01 11.23.30
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6-8 months ago I participated in a kickstarter for Soylent – an artificial food mix that is compact, nutritionally complete and storeable. I received my 2 weeks of food on Friday. The cup in this picture contains an entire meal – all the nutrients a body needs to function well. There are people who have… Read More

How not to compliment a photographer

Zach at arisia
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Not too long ago an acquaintance of mine asked if I would do them a favor and come  photograph their event.  No problem, I enjoy shooting, and any chance to work is an opportunity to improve my skill.   I went to the event, spent a few hours taking pictures, and had a great interaction… Read More

Today, I tried to read a book.

Books books books
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I tried. I really did try. The book is “The Republic of Thieves” by Scott Lynch, third in the Gentlemen Bastards series. A neighbor had a copy here, and he loaned it to me. I’ve been reading books on my phone for years now. This is the first time I only had a physical copy… Read More

Arduino Code for driving the Staff LEDS

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A couple people have asked me to post the code I use in the Staff.  I’ve uploaded it to Github, and I’ll try and keep copies active there. I’ll give you a fair warning, the code ain’t pretty  It works wonderfully, but it was “Hack it until it works, doesn’t crash, and does what I… Read More

The Technomancer at Arisia!

The Technomancer!
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This past weekend I packed up and headed to Arisia to work, play, socialize, and, finally put all the costume elements together and become… THE TECHNOMANCER. This was the final unveiling of the entire costume the magic staff was created to drive. I’d been adding parts and components for weeks, waiting for others to come… Read More

CONGO is going GPL.

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(This announcement is also being posted on Over the last 12 years I’ve been working hard to develop CONGO into the best convention registration system I can manage. Since 2002, CONGO has been used for many events of all sizes, registering and printing badges for tens of thousands of attendees. There have been many… Read More

Arduino Nano “Programmer Not Responding” on a Mac

Arduino Nano v3
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For the Staff project, I’m going to be replacing the existing Arduino Uno R3 with a smaller, more easily embedded Arduino Nano.  The Nano is a heck of a lot smaller than the Uno (makes sense – it’s meant to be permanently installed, while the Uno is a prototyping platform).  I received my Nano a… Read More

Video Demo of the Staff

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Several people have asked how the project’s coming along, and I realized that the most recent video only showed a little bit of the functionality.  So I dusted off my iMovie skills and whipped up a little demo (complete with background music!  Aren’t you impressed?).  All the current modes are displayed, though the most recent… Read More

23andMe – A Scientific Look into Myself

My genotype
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A couple months ago, a friend pointed me to the website   Their mission statement is pretty straightforward.  “23andMe’s mission is to be the world’s trusted source of personal genetic information.” Here’s how it works. After signing up online and coughing over my $100, 23andme sent me a small kit.  Inside the kit is… Read More

Notifications on all Logins on a Linux Host

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Putting this one out there because I spent some time surfing various Well Known Sites and couldn’t find a complete answer. We had a need to log whenever users logged into a production host – just a notification send to the admins saying someone was on one of the production boxes.  The other requirement was… Read More

The Arduino Mini 05 is… well, mini!

Arduino Mini 05
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I’m looking to replace the Arduino Uno in the staff with a smaller controller that will fit in the body of the internal tube. The Mini 05 seemed like the best option… well, received it this weekend, and I have to admit, I’m a little daunted. On the one hand, it sure will fit in… Read More

Magic Staff – FAQ and Build Details

Idling staff
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Well I’m back home after taking the staff out for Halloween.  I carried around as part of my costume, costume – greeting people coming to the community for trick or treating, but also to hang out with my neighbors.   A lot of people were asking about the staff – both seeing it in action… Read More

Magic Staff – Takin it out for a spin

Zach and staff
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The day finally arrived! After a marathon work session on Saturday, I was able to take the staff to a party last night! The batteries held up great, the staff was a great hit, and everyone was asking about it and wanting to see what it did. Talk about inspiring! There were naturally some ups… Read More