Tuesday 29 December 2015

BirdBox2016: the role of the Picaxe

As 2015 gives way to a new year, so its time to ready those bird boxes for the coming nesting season.

My original 2014 Raspberry Pi box remains unchanged, although it will be sited higher than previous years, this time maybe 3 metres up the trunk of our Canadian Maple.

But last years (2015) Picaxe + Pi box has undergone a few more changes, so maybe this is a good time to mention them.

Thursday 17 December 2015

PicaxePi: in circuit programming

I used the combination of Picaxe and Raspberry Pi for the first time a year ago.

At that time I programmed the Picaxe by temporarily soldering a connector to the board and connecting it to my laptop.

But I've now made a few simple modifications to my BirdBox2016 controller so I can program the Picaxe from the Raspberry Pi.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Picaxe syntax highlighter for gEdit

I hate trying to understand and edit source code when its presented as plain black text.

It is funny how just a splash of colour can make so much difference to the readability of a source file.

So if you have to examine Picaxe source files on Linux (and you cannot use the LinAxePad editor) you need an alternative.

Sunday 6 December 2015

BirdBox 2016: fitting the UV LEDs

Although initial testing with a bunch of UV LEDs did not look too promising, I've decided to push ahead and fit them to a bird box anyway.

They were very cheap, and I'd like to say they were easy to retro-fit into last seasons bird box.

But a wiring error resulted in a blown Darlington driver, so it took up more of my Sunday afternoon than I'd expected.

Friday 4 December 2015

Making the case for the StupidPhone

A couple of months ago my Smart phone started playing up, then it stopped working as a phone.

It seemed to develop a hardware problem whereby I was sending more noise than speech.

So I had to decide whether to invest £100+ in a new Smart device, or consider the alternatives.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Lubuntu/LXDE: cannot add apps to launch-bar

Having installed a fresh image of Lubuntu 15.10, I found I had a problem adding newly installed applications to the Launch Bar.

A quick search of the internet did not reveal anything useful, so I had to open a few files and work out what was happening.

Strange that I hadn't noticed this problem before!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Supe up your computer with a Solid State Drive

The cost of Solid State Drives (SSD) has dropped to a level where replacement of hard drives is now a reasonable option.

But can you really expect to notice any improvement in using an SSD in place of an old hard drive?

Having replaced a couple of HDD at work, I decided to invest in an SSD for my light-weight home laptop.