Staticfree Blog

I have been prowling the concrete wilderness for 18 minutes, and 16 seconds. Before that, I was away.

Sun, 01 Jan 2012

thumbnail of widget

I put together a quick 12-at-the-top 24h homescreen widget for Android. Check it out on the Android Market!

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Tue, 05 May 2009

After discovering SuperGenPass and finding that it solves the uppercase/number and entropy problems that I had with PasswordComposer (at the cost of added complexity), I decided to make a version that I can take with me. With some help from Ari Pollak, I put together an Android version of SuperGenPass that tries to make the experience of using it on an Android phone as integrated as possible. If you're constantly fighting with trying to remember website passwords, check out SuperGenPass!

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Tue, 07 Apr 2009

This note is intended for anyone who may have accidentally programmed their fuses incorrectly on an AVR microcontroller.

While tinkering with clocks, I mistakenly set the lfuse of my attiny45 to decimal 22 instead of 0x22. This turns out to enable a mode expecting an external watch quartz crystal running at 32.768kHz instead of the on-board clock. As soon as I set it and exited the programmer, the micro did nothing and wouldn't respond to the programmer (in this case, an Olimex AVR-ISP500).

To recover the chip, you need to drive it with an external clock on the xtal1 pin and lower the ISP programming rate. Conveniently, my programmer happens to have such an output on one of its spare pins, which runs at 62.5kHz. Just driving it with an external clock wasn't enough. The key for me was to additionally lower the programming speed using avrdude -B 200 (measured in µs). The suggested rate is 1/4 the target MCU clock, so in my case it needs to be slower than 122µs (= 1/(32.768kHz * 0.25)) and 200µs seemed to work just fine.

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Mon, 17 Nov 2008

After a few years of stagnation, I've finally released a new version of my SharedExpenses software. SharedExpenses2 is a complete rewrite of the original, keeping only the concept. For those unfamiliar, it's tool for people who live together and want to share common utility, grocery, and other such bills amongst each other. One could think of it as a complex "IOU" system or as a interest-less public credit system. Either way, if you live with two or more people and are looking for something to make it a little easier to keep track of who owes whom how much, this is for you.

This new version is written in Python with web.py and sports one of the most requested features of the previous version: circular debt removal. See the project page for details.

Go give it a shot and post any bugs you find to the SharedExpenses2 trac server.

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Sun, 17 Aug 2008

In a valiant effort to procrastinate the writing of a presentation, I put together JQS5. This is a very simple jQuery + Javascript Slide Show engine. It can turn the most basic document, such as this one, into a slideshow.

The concept is based on S5 which is a wonderful HTML slideshow engine. S5, however, requires you to add more markup than I care to worry about. JQS5 doesn't require any special markup to your document. Just add in the header and you're set!

As no special markup is required to make it go, I threw together jqs5.xsl which is a simple XSLT stylesheet to add in the appropriate headers to your XHTML document. As my site is all XHTML, I added a site-wide filter that lets me look at any page as a slideshow. See my projects page for an example.

Go check it out!

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Fri, 13 Jun 2008

Lauren and I have been going on some adventures recently. We've hiked two mountains, chased after a randomly-placed location on the map, and taken to the skies, trying hang gliding. It's been a ton of fun and there more planned. Without adieu, more photos!

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Tue, 08 Apr 2008

UV, visible light and IR US currency

A while ago at Grendels, I happened to discover an odd characteristic about US currency in infrared: it has special markings! So I decided to do a proper photo shoot using as many interesting sources of light that I had around my home.

These are only a few bits of the spectrum. I wonder what surprises await in other, less accessible parts!

multi-channel composite of the above images
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Mon, 17 Mar 2008

After disabling bitmap fonts in Debian, the default alternative to Helvetica is Nimbus Sans. As you can see below, its on-screen rendering is ugly. Thankfully, Debian makes it pretty easy to disable Nimbus Sans and make fonts look nicer.


regarding
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Thu, 13 Mar 2008

Tokyo

I went to Japan last week with my brother Cole, my dad, his significant other, Marie and her daughter, Minna where we met with my youngest brother, David. We traveled to Tokyo and stayed to explore for a couple days. Then took the bullet train to Kyoto where we stayed in a machiya-like hotel and ate bowls upon plates upon bowls of odd things that once lived in the ocean.

a bit of a temple

After we explored all variety of pagodas and temples over the course of a couple days, we headed over to Okinawa to stay on a military base.

The contrast between a ritzy traditional Japanese hotel and an American military hotel is astounding. The most notable differences were:

  1. a poorly-designed ventilation system that was so noisy one had to talk loudly over it
  2. general aesthetics and pleasantness; one place encouraged rest whereas the other seemed to find resting in one's hotel to be an afterthought
  3. the toilet (of course)
a pineapple cart

Okinawa is famous for a few native fruits, notably: the Goya - a green, bitter melon that looks somewhat like a pickle, the pineapple, and the Shiisa which isn't a fruit. Shiisa are guardian lions that come in pairs: one with its mouth open to let out bad spirits and one with its mouth closed to hold the good ones in.

We just so happened to plan this trip around the same time that David was getting his promotion, so we got to see him become promoted to Corporal - the first big promotion in the Marines.

visitors looking at an aquarium tank

We snorkeled in the coral reefs on the north-western side of the island. As I wasn't able to put my glasses on under the goggles, I got to see coral, water and swimming schools of blurs. The water was warm in our wetsuits and the waves weren't too obnoxious. We later went to the aquarium and saw many of the things that lived in said coral. Okinawa is largely made of coral, so many things that are usually rock are instead coral, such as castles.

There are a few notable quirks about Japanese streets:

  1. There are numerous vending machines. I only encountered a few of the wide variety of vending machines available.
  2. Overly-friendly construction notice signs, complete with inspirational pictures.
  3. The crosswalk man has a hat
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Sat, 05 Jan 2008

view from our livingroom window

I made it! I've finally gotten off the North American continent. My lack of Italian skills isn't as scary I thought, due to a common language of money, food and occasional English. I already knew how to read the wine bottles and many of the names of food. With a bit of French, Spanish and metric knowledge, I'm able to get by reading general signage.

I love the metric system: it makes so much sense compared to the highly deprecated and confusing English system. I've been using metric measurements everywhere I go for the past few years and have one place that I still need to convert: the kitchen. Metric measuring in the kitchen is done more by weight than by volume. It's looking like I need to get a nice digital scale.

The only thing I am not down with here is the exchanging of "." and "," in numbers. To me, "." is more important than "," and is something more important to leave in a thing. Dropping a "," in a sentence is less critical than dropping a ".". So when I see that "." is used for thousands separators (which can be left out) and "," for decimal separators, that does not make me happy.

I have some photos online and will be adding more. Check out my ongoing collection of photos from my trip to Firenze.

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Wed, 03 Oct 2007

I am Solar Powered - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

This is my first Threadless submission and my first attempt at design of this sort. It's a cheerful reminder that we don't have to use solar cells to be powered by the sun. If you like it, you should go vote on my design so it can become a shirt!

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Sat, 15 Sep 2007

I haven't been updating this blog all too often, but I have been updating my website! Perhaps I should unify the two at some point, but for now, here's a list of some new stuff:

rock in a pond

  • Dots! - a graphical way of representing large numbers, in order to better visualize and compare them. How big is 45986 anyhow?
  • n770 hacks - I finally got my n770 back from repairs and will be posting various hacks that I do there.
  • Infrared Photography - some more IR photos, such as the one above from my recent hike in the White Mountains.
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Wed, 13 Jun 2007

I've been playing with my infrared-modified Canon Powershot A40 some more. I've managed to work around the blurriness due to the confused auto-focus and have done some post-processing work to make the images cleaner. At least for starters, I think I've managed to come up with some images worthy of the time it took to hack it :-)

Below are a few of my favorites so far. Check out my infrared gallery for more or go visit my flickr page to leave a comment.

Gorge in Ithaca

sand, water, sky


regarding
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Thu, 26 Apr 2007

E15 - home of the Media Lab

Having left France Telecom R&D in search of different waters, I arrived at the shores of the Media Lab, where I'm now employeed at NeCSys.

My first day was on Monday and I've already been overwhelmed with new names and faces. I am determined to fix that as soon as possible; there are some amazing people and projects here and I plan to meet them all. If you are at MIT and reading this, stop by E15-463F and say hi.

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Sun, 11 Mar 2007

Tina in the park

Tina and I went for a walk around town, enjoying the 10°C weather. We took my recently-modded Canon that now only sees near-infrared. I'm still working out the kinks with the mod, so some pictures are slightly blurry.

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