Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots


  1. Bob Fegert says:

    I have a monitor with a sort of swelling on the back, a bulge actually, It’s a Raspberry Pi, Velcro attached…works well and less straggling wires.

    The Pi2 has the first computer lightningBUG! Yup, aim a strong light at it and RESET!

  2. Tom Roderick says:

    Jeff, If you are still interested I think there is still a TRS Model III somewhere in my basement that needs a new home. I even made an A to D converter that plugged into the port underneath and a sort of light pen that could be used to scan bar codes and such. It sorta kinda worked.

    I am sad to see them go, and have even bought components from them recently when I didn’t want to wait. That is when I could find the component I needed.

    After going to the Maker Faire in Atlanta last year I think that some sort of Maker Shack could actually be a viable business in some places today.

    1. Well, as much as I admire the machine, I doubt I have the bandwidth these days to do much with it. I’m learning Arduino, dipping into AVR assembly, and trying to restart my flagging SF career. So thanks, but I doubt I could do it justice.

      I generally bought components from RS only when I needed them Right Now. I have a file drawer full of surplus catalogs (it’s a thinner file now than it used to be) and when I was doing lots of homebrewing in the 90s and early oughts, I’d order by phone and generally get a few more than I needed for a project so there’d be spares and some extras for some future project that I hadn’t chosen yet. It was a good system, but even that’s passing away, as I described a couple of years ago:

      1. Bob Fegert says:

        There is Pascal for the AVR.
        The free version lets you compile 4k of code and is actually useful for the small parts like the ATtiny84. The tiny84 is my favorite AVR for small and fun projects. Last lot of 100 I bought from Mouser they were 0.96ea

        The free GCC compiler is excellent. The GCC compiler is built into AVR Studio 6. Studio 6 runs a bit slow on anything but a fast computer though.

        1. It’s still a little unclear how well how the Mikro compiler works in the Arduino universe. If I knew it was a solid fit, I’d be willing to pay $200 without hesitation. Although I need to have a grasp of Arduino tech, given limited mental bandwidth I will probably be doing more embedded-ish stuff on the RPi2 using Lazarus/FreePascal. Having 1 GB to play in will help that toolchain a lot.

          1. Jack Smith says:

            Some years ago, I had a poor experience with Mikro Pascal for PIC. So buggy it was unusable. Simple things like A*B B*A.

            I’m sure it’s been fixed and improved since then but as they say “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”

          2. Jack Smith says:

            That was meant to say A*B not equal to B*A, but the not equal brackets failed to display – confused with HTML encoding markers I guess.

  3. Bob Fegert says:

    I wish a rich geek would buy some of the Radio Shack stores and sell very inexpensive parts. Make them outlet stores for Asian bargains like
    $20 hackable smart phones, $60 Hot-Air Rework stations, 5 cent resistors, caps and diodes..etc And carry low-priced solder paste and Hakko soldering iron tips. And have a laser cutter set up to make custom solder masks.

    Such stores would go over well in large college towns.

    I have to order parts from Thailand to get cheap prices… I’d love a nearby place to pick up stuff quickly.

  4. TRX says:

    > science has failed us

    There’s precious little science in nutritionism.

    There’s not much behind the AMA, either. Some of their official positions boil down to unsupported opinion and voodoo medicine.

    Further, the word “scientist” means, basically, whatever you want it to mean. Commonly applied to university grant whores who will come up with any results desired for the people who are giving them grant money. “Look, I have the shocked hairstyle and unravelling sweater, I’m a scientist!”

    1. Which, of course, brings to mind that old Connie Francis song:

  5. Lee Hart says:

    Jeff, how did you ever remember that Connie Francis song? I heard it *once* on Dr. Demento in the early 1970’s, but couldn’t recall the artist or the title. But you did!

    I too will miss Radio Shack. I have fond memories of my local store in the 1960’s. The local ham club met there, and they had a back room full of tools and parts. I’d buy the latest Popular Electronics in front, they had most of the parts, and I could get advice and start building it in back. It was a real proto-makerspace.

    They certainly could have a decent enough stock. If my junkbox is any indication, they could pack an incredible selection of parts into a tiny space if they left out the pointless packaging.

    They can’t sell parts as cheap as China; but they could price things so the convenience of getting it right *now* outweighs the cost. I don’t mind paying 25 cents for a penny resistor; but I do mind when they want $1 and don’t have it in stock anyway.

    Pascal for micros? What a concept! That would certainly be a better introduction to programming for kids than C!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *