The lack of file tags in Windows

So, I’m supposed to be working on this month-long challenge.  But hey!  I found some other project to work on.  It’s in service of my recent computer switcheroo, with which I’m a little obsessed lately.

Since recently switching from OS X on an iMac to Windows 10 on a laptop, I sorely miss file tagging. I’ll admit, this is one feature that I had not given much thought when I was preparing for the big leap to another operating system.

Though I’m happy with my switch, I’m also trying not to live in denial.  This is still Microsoft we’re talking about.  They have made incredible advancements as of late with their Windows 10 version.  And yet, in some areas they are very much behind in innovation compared to Apple.

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Day 15: display testing

This post is part of the GaSiProMo challenge.   You can read more about this here.

So I have my display working sort of.  It’s definitely showing good old ASCII characters.  Here’s a quick video of it in action:

You can see my code at GitHub.

I’m quickly realizing that I will need a more sophisticated text parser to make this thing usable.  ‘Cuz sending a character at a time for bit-fiddling pretty much sucks.

Platform Interchange

I suppose that the “Slippery Slope” phenomenon applies to me right now.  A chink in my Apple armor developed some time ago.  Then I got out of the iPhone world all together, which amazed me as much as it did my friends.

The recent maturity of Google’s cloud services (Photos, Drive, Music, etc.) had a considerable hand of this transition.  It’s very hard to argue with free, no matter who you are.

But then you do pay for free.  You pay with your time investment and commitment to the new platform.  For me, that cost has been relatively low.

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Day 6: early firmware testing

This post is part of the GaSiProMo challenge.   You can read more about this here.

Things are progressing nicely.  I have the display fully wired now to the Mega.  It’s a spaghetti mess, but it’ll work.
I have the serial port on the Arduino working nicely for debug.  I also did a fair amount of thinking with regards to data and address packetizing.  It quickly became apparent that doing a bunch of digitalWrite calls for all this pins (8 data, 5 address, per character of the display) would be a nightmare.

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Day 3: Arduino setup

This post is part of the GaSiProMo challenge.   You can read more about this here.

I’ve had a bad experience with Arduino.  But perhaps I was just cranky that night.  I was also unlucky with a defective Uno.

The good news is that for my new project (which has a deadline), my new Arduino Mega is not in fact defective.  I can attest its functionality tonight, at 10:45pm.

This platform is pretty slick.  They cleverly have positioned it between full language control and  GUI-only.  The syntax is mostly C strict.  But there are abstracted functions and methods that keep the very low-level hardware constructs from mucking up the works.  In a word, Arduino has “de-engineered” the sometimes maddening experience of working in firmware on any given microcontroller.

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Day 1: setup

This is day 1 of the GaSiProMo challenge.   You can read more about this here.

I got the display mounted to a breadboard. How about that, it’s green!

The display has a self test diagnostic mode built in, which is incredibly handy. Saw little cute LED bits flashing and twinkling. So the thing appears to be alive, after all these years!  Here is some video too:

The majority of my project frustrations seem to revolve around toolchains.  I hate changing tool sets because the learning curves are so steep.  After a few hours, I finally sided with an Arduino Mega board.

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I’m a notorious task-starter, and not a great task-finisher.  My garage is littered with old projects that are collecting more dust than accolades.  I can lean on the old, dependable excuses but really that’s lame.  If every moment is the new normal, then there aren’t any excuses.  Our hobbies define us, and I love my hobbies.  So it’s time to get serious about some side projects.

One thing that I’ve always responded to positively when it comes to my side projects is a good deadline.  Nothing motivates like external pressure.

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Modernizing my email

A few months ago, I did an overhaul of my digital life.  Those posts were all about switching smartphone platforms from Apple iOS to Android.  What was most revealing to me was not the hardware and software differences, but just how I get things done now.

In the end, I’m not unhappy with my switch.  I tend to get things done better on Android.  That’s not a light admission, as I’m a longtime Apple product user.  So to begin the switch away from the Apple ecosystem is somewhat shocking to me.

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