Electronics

Stepperino alpha version

20 Aug , 2010  

circuit mounted on breadboard

Stepperino is a stepper motor controller based on arduino and cheap, commonly available components. This early version is capable of controlling an unipolar stepper motor (5, 6 or 8 wires) in half step mode and is the first step towards more sophisticated control to be achieved in firmware. More…

iPod & iPhone

Wet iPhone dissection

11 Jul , 2010  

My iPhone has been doing great since 2007, and no matter which kind of  “essential” features apple threw out in newer models, I was still pretty happy with my 2G… until yesterday, when it accidentally fell out of my hands and was dropped into water! The phone is dead, but at least I can have the pleasure of taking it apart.

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linux

Setting up mt-daapd/firefly

4 Apr , 2010  

mt-daapd, aka firefly, allows to serve a music folder directly to any iTunes running in your home network. This is great to share music across the house or to keep a music dump folder aside from your main itunes library.

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linux

Setting up Avahi

2 Apr , 2010  

Avahi advertises the shares made available by netatalk to macs in your home network via bonjour, so that connecting to the file server means just clicking on its icon. This is how to set it up.

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linux

Setting up netatalk

29 Mar , 2010  

Netatalk is an open implementation of the afp protocol, needed to serve files to mac computers. This is how I installed it on my home server.

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linux

Enabling ssh access

22 Mar , 2010  

gnome-terminal
ssh enables remote terminal access to a linux box, and is the first step towards an headless machine. More…

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linux

Setting up MDADM

20 Feb , 2010  

MDADM (multi disk admin) is the software implementation of RAID on linux. It can be used to take a bunch of disks and make them into a single, powerful drive. This leads to several advantages, depending on the raid configuration you choose to implement.
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linux,Tinkering

ATOM/ION nas home server

18 Feb , 2010  

The replacement motherboard for my home server has finally arrived! This is the ‘master’ post in which I’ll detail the configuration of the system, from software services to integration in the home network (MAC/WIN/LIN).
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Tinkering

WordPress upgrade to 2.9.1: error 500

19 Jan , 2010  

Just got through a wordpress upgrade and got a 500 internal server error instead of your site? Here is my quick fix! Maybe it can save your site too.

Just a word before everything else: remember to backup just right before an upgrade. It’s been said millions of times, but for sure it’s never enough.

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Tinkering

Put that old stereo of yours to good use

24 Aug , 2009  

If you are like me you spent all of your teen years listening to music like mad, with your best friend from the past: a big, bulky and weirdly shaped stereo system with speakers. Here’s mine.

My old stereo system

My old stereo system

I never use it now: all my music is on the server or on my macbook, and thinking of CD’s and tape decks looks so retro these days. But what to do with it? I’ve turned mine in a fancy pair of bluetooth enabled speakers. With 10$.

I’ve bought a bluetooth headset from Hong Kong, off ebay. The quality is what you should expect: plastic feeling and headphones that break upon the moment you put them in your ear. But who cares: the headset is the important part. Even more important is that the headset you buy off ebay is A2DP capable, that is capable of delivering stereo sound.

Second step is making sure your hardware (phone, PC, MAC) supports the A2DP protocol as well. My black macbook does, and most likely your average 2-3 years old mac does too. And also make sure that your old beast has an auxiliary audio in port, but, again, most of them had this option.

Third step is to have a RCA to headphone jack cable (YMMV according to your stereo model), in order to link the headset to the stereo.

A junk headset and an old cable.

A junk headset and an old cable.

Finally it’s a matter of pairing the headset with the computer, plug it into your stereo and enjoy wireless music with a decent quality.

Well… to tell the truth quality is not the best feature of this setup… but surplisingly not because of the headset: I realized just how bad sounded my dusty stereo after years of in-ear headphone crystal-clearness. No dinamycs at all: I just had to shut it down. Probably its place is the junkyard now.

But I have also an iHome with a more decent sound output: the sound quality came back ok after trying the headset with it, and now I’m happy with my new bluetooth speakers. Next step is to integrate everything in order to keep that piece of plastic from HK always on, leeching supply from the iHome. But that’s for another time.

Sorry, old bulky dusty stereo, but modern tech has beaten you off one more time.