Monday, October 24, 2016

Reddit ShowerThoughts message popup

The ShowerThoughts sub-reddit on is all about those awesome epiphanies we all seem to get when we are in the shower. It is one of the few moments today when we are totally alone with our selves. No phones (unless you are on of the unlucky ones to own a waterproof bluetooth device). This python 3 applications uses the linux libnotify-bin program to pop up any new messages through out the day. This uses the os.system method to execute the notify-send command with title and message from the reddit post. Download on github Hope you enjoy

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jay Z Relaunches Tidal with a Parade of Celebrity Artists Tidal states about 2.5 million songs. Even if you count conservatively, some songs are counted more than once because they appear on multiple albums, say 750,000 unique title/artist combinations. My own flac file collection is just shy of 1 TB and it is less than 3000 titles. There is no player out there that can hold anywhere near the files I have in my own personal collection, let alone all of the titles in the Tidal library. Also, the new Meridian format, MQA, will be available soon on Tidal which give even better then cd quality. Even at $29.99 a month that would be worth it as long as the number and types of titles available in MQA warrant that pay level. I want to thank Tidal and Jay Z for what they are attempting to do here. Even if all they accomplish is to raise the level of awareness of higher quality audio to the masses, along with My. Young and his PONO/music service, it was worth the exercise. Your avid supporter William Main

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tidal HIFI is now sounding great in Canada

If you have the data plan to handle it, has streaming FLAC files at 1411 kbps - Lossless which is the equivalent to an audio CD at 16 bit/44.1 khz. They do provide three levels of streaming however. Standard Quality, High Quality and HIFI. These stream as follows Standard quality: 96 kbps (AAC +) High quality: 320 kbps (AAC) HiFi: Flac 1411 kbps - Lossless (16/44.1 khz) I listen to standard quality when I am out and about on my cell phone. When I am in WIFI either on the phone or one of my other computers I listen using HIFI. The cost is $19.99/month CAD which is about double everyone else on the streaming game. For me it is worth the expense. You will have to decide that for yourself. There is a free 7 day trial.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A giant magnet's 3200 mile voyage

Muon g-2, the world's largest electromagnetic ring, is traveling in one piece from Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York's Long Island to Fermilab outside Chicago. It's arrival may lead scientists to the next big discoveries in particle physics.

Provided by the Natiional Science Foundation

Monday, September 30, 2013

Phil Plait at TAM 8: Don't Be A Dick

If you are already a skeptic then you will find a lot of good points in this talk. If you are not a skeptic then you will find some very scary notions. It will challenge you to re-examine your belief system. But this us actually a good thing. I don't mean to tell people what to believe but I still think that everyone should question everything and learn to become a critical thinker.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Our community is the largest of it's kind in the world, making it the perfect environment for the turning even the smallest seeds of inspiration into big ideas that shape the future.

Monday, September 9, 2013

LCD Serial Display - Parts List

First draft of a working prototype

  1. Arduino UNO
  2. Breadboard
  3. 10K POT
  4. 2K Resistor
  5. Single strand hook-up wire
  6. USB Cable
  7. LCD Display 5 x 7 dots plus cursor, 5 x 8 dots or 5 x 11 dots, dot matrix LCD (TN and STN mode.)
  8. Break-away male header strip

My decision to use the UNO was purely convenience driven. Any of the available arduino boards can be used for this project. At the end I will convert to using a bare processor in place of the development board. A typical arduino development board can be had for as low as $9. Some, like the nano, are breadboard pluggable.

There are a veritable glut of LCD display modules available. I paid $6 for mine at a local electronics retailer here on Toronto. You can get them from any of the on-line electronics stores as well. Chances are you'll pay more for shipping than for the display. Orion Daewoo 16x2 LCD Display Module 16216L-B-F30 is available for $2.99 plus shipping. This version does not include a backlit display. Here is a typical PDF data sheet for this type of display.

One of the things you will need to plug the display into the breadboard is a 16 pin header strip. 40 position break away headers can be purchased for less than $1 each. I'd suggest you get 4 male and 4 female headers if you are ordering on-line. They are extremely useful in all type of projects and you'll find you use them up rather quickly.

If you do not already have a breadboard, you can purchase kits that include a breadboard and a selection of pre-cut jumper wires. A good starter breadboard is the half-sized breadboard from AdaFruit Industries in New York City. A good supply of jumpers can also be had.

The USB cable usually comes with the arduino development board while the resistor and the POT can be purchased from any electronics supply. Digi-key has a good selection of resistor kits.

Here is a wiring diagram of the basic circuit.
Wiring Diagram

First you will need to solder a 16 pin male header to the display board. This will allow you to plug the display into the breadboard. The header pins look like this when you get them.
Typical 40 pin Male Header Strip
You will need to cut a length of 16 conductors using diagonal cutters. The shorter side inserts in the the row of sixteen holes in the top left corner of the display board from the bottom. They should look like this.
In the next post I'll start to cover the software required for both the MCU and the Python code.

Virtually yours,

Wee Willy Wonderful