Musings of a Fondue

A Budding Interest in Hardware

Original Date: March 17, 2014

The following sites have exposed me to a whole world I had no idea existed. And it’s mind blowing!

Eager to learn their language, and since this battery charger was the closest thing on hand I could open up, it will be my guinea pig. My goal with the charger is to be able to identify all the components on it, how they work together to accomplish their intended task, draw a schematic for it, and recreate its PCB. I figure in the process I’ll learn a lot about Hardware and Electronics.

Battery charger

20140316_114835

top view

Eagle PCB Layout

Original Date: March 16, 2014

I was going through a SparkFun tutorial on reading schematics, when I decided to use it as an opportunity to learn a thing or two about PCB layout.

My candidate circuit was that of the FT231x breakout board mentioned in the article. SparkFun releases all of its products as Open Source Hardware, so the relevant schematics were provided on the product page.

Once Tedious

Original Date: March 11, 2014

What would once have been a very tedious selection with the CTRL key literally took a minute by writing a simple code snippet (and using Chrome’s console to run it). =D!

This,
manual

Became this,
automated

Open CV

Original Date: March 3, 2014

Image from this video

I am interested in making a game that relies on hand gestures being detected by a webcam. In search for how to go about this, I came across videos like this and this which used Open CV to detect hand gestures.

I then found this tutorial series on YouTube. In the process of working through it I learned a lot! Checkout the series if you want a great intro to Open CV.

Since this is one of the few times the only time I managed to keep a dev log, I present it below.

JResig Book - AutoComplete

Original Date: February 18, 2014

In chapter 12 of his book Pro JavaScript Techniques, John Resig walks through how to create an autocomplete search using AJAX.

Here’s my go at it1

User Interface

The UI was fun to work on. Okay, maybe not all the time. But the end product was rewarding.

As seen in the book,

My take on it,

Server code

The autocomplete search relies on a file called auto.cgi being called and executed as the user types. For example when the user types “c”, a request is sent to the server for auto.cgi?to=c. The server executes auto.cgi with c as the argument, returning all the users whose names contain the letter c.

Responsive Layout Tutorial

Original Date: February 12, 2014

I was looking for a framework I could use to make my blog. I wanted something lighter than Bootstrap and came across Skeleton. I also came across this tutorial series on TutsPlus on Building a Responsive Layout with Skeleton, and the accompanying videos.

The series turned into an unexpected lesson on web design. I learned about Photoshop mockups and their use in website design, about font pairing, responsive design, grid layouts, textures, patterns, media queries, and lots of other good stuff.

Checkout the resulting website here

It’s optimized for Desktop browsing.

JResig Book - Gallery

Original Date: January 31, 2014

A simple image gallery based on chapters 7 and 9 of John Resig’s book Pro JavaScript Techniques.

Check it out here

The book is great if you want to dip a toe into writing better JavaScript.

Tic Tac Toe

Original Date: January 30, 2014

My brother asked me if I could make a tic tac toe game for the command line.

It wasn’t long before I got bored with the its limitations and moved on to the glorious world of sound, color, animation, and mouse/touch interaction that is HTML5!

And this,

_____ _____ _____ | | | | | X | | | |_____|_____|_____| | | | | | | O | | |_____|_____|_____| | | | | | | | X | |_____|_____|_____|

Became this,

Play the game here
Make sure your sound is on!

JResig Book - TIL

Original Date: January 16, 2014

Today I learned that you can abstract away frequently used code.

While working through John Resig’s book Pro JavaScript Techniques, I noticed he uses simple helper functions to keep the code neat and non-repetitive.

A GUI for Youtube-dl

Original Date: December 6, 2013

I came across Youtube-dl while looking for a safe way to download YouTube videos. Youtube-dl is a project on Github and the code is public, so I assumed it was safe.

The interface however is through the command line. This is kinda cool because you learn a bit about using the console. It also looks fancy/hacker-ish to someone walking by when it’s running even though all you’re doing is downloading some videos.

However, the command line use makes it something that I cannot give others to use. Also, having to remember the arguments to pass each time you want to use it is unideal.

I wanted to make a simple app that allows you to use Youtube-dl through a GUI (Graphical User Interface). I wasn’t sure how to do this, but I recalled reading a post by Avery Lee where he explained that C++ and Win32 was what he had used to make VirtualDub. So I googled that and came across several tutorial series on YouTube on making Windows GUI applications.