Time to get moving

Posted August 25 2005, tagged ,

I've just spend some time reviewing the details in my note book where I keep my thoughts during my thinking time.  My thinking time usually revolves around a couple of quiet pints trying to download any ideas into a more permanent form.   I think that this is a good technique to have, as that genius idea that comes and go like the flight of mercury. 

However taking a look at this book (which I've had for about 3 months now), makes me realize a major weakness with myself.  I am very good at coming up with a good idea, but poor at seeing that thought through to a conclusion.  However it is with this realization that I have decided to stop thinking and start doing.
What follows is a list of the projects that I have started and need to finally complete. 

POV Clock

A persistence of vision clock.  Using a PIC, motor, and a bank of LEDs I want to display the time by spinning the LEDs in synchronization with changing their state  Thus over a each rotation period, the time will appear to hover in the air. I suspect about 60% of the PIC code needed to produce this effect has been written.  In order to move forward, I need to produce the hardware needed to support and rotate the LEDs.   I need to produce a detailed manufacturing plans, and spend a weekend back at my parents.  I could probably build the hardware over the course of a weekend. 

From the point of having the hardware completed I could complete the rest of the programming in a couple of weeks.  This would only need a few days of development time. 


Reporting, amendments to the weightings, debugging and polishing.  Nuff said, I have a deadline anyway - just get on and complete it.  Get on to more interesting items. 

Google natural Listing

Get the number one natural listing for the search term "oliver jenkins".  This is going to take time.  I think that natural growth of the site, coupled with interesting projects and posts will achieve this.  I have no interest in 'gaming' the system anyway. This project cannot be rushed, and in actual fact by completing the remaining projects, I will complete this. 

Google maps, underground hack

Plot the tube network on to a Google map.  The programming technology is not a problem with this project, rather the generation of each point/station is the major deal breaker with this project.  Although I have a list of 303 stations, coupled with a long/lat coordinate for each, there is allot of work to do.

From a rough calculation from the September tube map I get a total of 319 stations.  This may be due to my current list does not include DLR or similar stations.  Also having a list of points, does not make a network.  These stations need to be grouped together as lines and loops. The real show stopper is that a quick test showed that my co-ordinates are not accurate enough for the maximum zoom level within the Google maps application.  I either need to find a more accurate list of co-ordinates or plot the stations manually. 

I have a list of stations against lines that I can use to build on.  These do not list the order along the line, nor do they allow for the fact that certain lines have loops and dead ends within them. I think the next step is to write a quick and dirty application that I can use to get more accurate co-ordinates of each station and input the list of lines and their order.  Such an application should allow me to adjust the co-ordinate of each station and input/change tube line information. 

CNC engraving machine

Despite pages of hand drawn sketches and notes, I am a long way from even starting this project. The code will share common routines with the POV clock, and until this other project is complete their is little point starting another PIC based build. The acquisition of junk hardware should continue as well as occasionally looking at CNC machining sites for ideas/inspiration. One line of research that I need to pursue is the specification of the CNC code itself, and the routines needed to translate it to the motion of three stepper motors. 

Mecha Phone

Just as they have built at http://www.sparkfun.com/ I want to build a working rotary phone that can dial out using the mobile phone network.  However rather than buying an expensive GSM unit and interfacing it using its documented method.  I will use an unused mobile phone. I have found a mobile phone that works (old matrix style Nokia) and I need to just start hacking it.  Having a PIC control it should just be an application of analogue switches to the existing handset.  From a quick glance at this handset I will need to control 14 lines (0-9 plus, On, Off, and two menu buttons).   I need to purchase a few analogue switch ICs, as well as an old rotary handset. Hopefully my Dad has an old rotary phone that is either lying around, or can acquire from somewhere. Also the mobile phone handset that I have requires a star-driver to open it up, so I will need to get access to one of those. 


Autumn is just poking its head through the door at the moment, so I think that I have enough to do, to keep me out of the pub in the evening! 

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