I am a MS CompE student at UAH. I've been getting involved at ML256 because it's been a great place to work so far and it's fun to have like-minded folks around. I'm originally from Alaska so I'm a bit out of my element here, but it's nice to have a place to hang. I'm still getting to know people and am still learning names, so please feel free to (re)introduce yourself if you see me in the shop tinkering. If you have any questions or want to collaborate on something, let me know! I'm pretty knowledgeable about digital electronics, embedded systems, and a whole slew of random things. I also tend to horde electronics parts so feel free to hit me up if you are building something and need a weird part asap.
I know a handful of languages, and can usually get by alright learning a new one.
- C / C++ (usually C for embedded work, C++ on PCs)
- C# (not very knowledgable about .Net so I tend to do things the hard way)
- Web development using PHP & SQL mostly (bit of hacking CSS in there as well)
- Processing, a neat Java wrapper but looking at my code you'd guess I don't know Java... and you'd be right.
- HDLs like VHDL & Verilog
- Visual Basic (borderline embarressing)
- Bash & tcl because I'm hella lazy and love to automate things
I love microcontrollers. I'm most familiar with MSP430s thanks to Uni classes, but I have had my fingers in a ton of projects over the years. I have done some assembly work with microcontrollers (beats the hell out of x86 assembly) but mostly do C any more.
- MSP430 - I have a USB Olimex programmer and generally use CrossStudio for development. They are awesomely power efficient but a bit of a PITA to configure. I usually have a few on hand, and tend to prefer one of the following:
- PIC - I have a Pickit2 and use MPLAB for development. I started on the PIC16 series but have found dsPICs to be pretty sweet for what I've been doing lately; cheap, easy to use, and plenty flexible for a number of jobs. Lately I've been using dsPIC30F4012 for a lot of odds and ends.
- FPGA - Not truely a microcontroller (although, you could put a softcore in one!), but I've played around with them. Really fun, insanely powerful, but not very hobbyist friendly. The languages aren't too bad, but the chips can be expensive, the layouts are touchy, and for most jobs they are overkill. I've been meaning to play with CPLDs to meet some of the same jobs an FPGA does, but simply haven't gotten around to it.
I've done a lot of work in IT, and am familiar with tons of consumer equipment, operating systems (Gentoo4lyfe), networking equipment, etc. Operating systems I've played with:
- Slackware - I used to be a total slacker, but got tired of tarball software maintenance. On a server it might have been easier to deal with, but on a desktop my software just got older and older.
- Gentoo - I loved Gentoo. Emerge is awesome, and I could use the commandline and vi to do everything I needed to get done.
- Ubuntu - Currently installed, not a big fan.
- Redhat - First installed redhat 4.6. As far as I can tell, it hasn't gotten much better over the years :(
- OpenBSD - Big fan, had a homemade router for a while running OpenBSd
- FreeBSD - Ports is cool, but hardware and software support made using it as daily desktop a bit hit and miss.
- There is most certainly a reason Sun is out of business. That said, I have a NAS running OpenSolaris (ZFS ftw) and it's bearable. Barely.
I'm pretty familiar with Cisco hardware and find configuring routers somewhat calming; an almost zen-like experience. Just don't forget your write mem command!
I love music. I consume far too much, and waste too much time attempting to play it. I've been 'playing' guitar forever, and have picked up bass, drums, and saxamaphone. I can sort of play a piano, but even worse than the aforementioned instruments. Nice thing about electric guitar is there is plenty of room for electronics projects! I have a really crappy guitar development board, but will probably be making a nicer version #2 shortly. The board allows for easy testing of guitar effect circuits, such as distortion, but some missing features make it not as effective as it could be.
- Related Projects
I think a lot of my electronics and music work ends up crossing into the 'art' category, but that's natural. That said, there are some things that are artsy but don't fit anywhere else, so they're going here. Lately, I've been playing around with glass etching and stenciling; mostly things I can print and trace because I'm a terrible artist!
I love taking a piece of generic metal and turning it into something useful. I was sad to see the shop didn't have a decent sized mill and lathe. Mills are awesome, and there is something fascinating about machining something with perfect radial symmetry on a lathe. Plus metal objects polish nicely and end up shiny! I've done a variety of simple projects (some tooling, water cooler for my PC, and a bunch of random odds and ends) over the years, and would love to get back into it. CNC seems like the way to go from here on out (my drafting ability outstrips my machining ability) so I will be keeping an eye out in the future for opportunities in this area. Plus, it helps that Al is fairly light, solid, easy to work, and it's not all that expensive. It's amazing what it can be used to make!
- Related Projects
Robots have been a hobby of mine for some time. I really like autonomous robots - the AI aspect makes everything much more interesting. I used to be really involved in [IEEE Micromouse] but had to go and graduate so I don't do that any more. Recently, I have been getting into UAVs, both fixed wing and rotor craft. I have some ideas for other robots, and have been working on a telepresence wheeled robot featuring wireless video.
I'm hoping that someday electronics will be my bread-and-butter, but for now I just satiate my need to build things with random electronic projects. Usually involving LEDs (everything is better with LEDs!).
It's amazing in a world where retail products often sell for less than the material to make then would cost that there is still room for DIY. Sometimes you can't find something that fits your needs exactly, you're in a niche where the manufacturers don't have the benefit of scale, you're doing something new and wonderful, or you have to DIY because it just feels good man. I'm probably going to drop a bunch of random crap in here - a catch-all for situations where I build it instead of buy it.
- Related Projects
Something that is fairly popular at the shop. I have a few ideas that I will have to explore in the future!
Project Master List
|The rakish rats' posh pad||Homemade cage to house my pet rats||Completed|
|Engine Mount/Dynometer||Heavy mount for testing RC engines and motors||Engine Mount/Dynometer|
|Stencil art||I have been experimenting with spraypaint stenciling||Experimenting|
|OBD Feedback||Use feedback from the OBD port to drive an RGB LED strip||Hiatus|
|Infinity Clock||Analog clock based around a typical infinity mirror design||In Progress|