Bytesize updates: The Beginning

There’s ton of information that I wanted to share in the past few months, but unfortunately it’s takes a while to write a long detailed update, and by the time I get to it, information is no longer fresh in my mind, and laziness settles in 🙂

So here’s something I’m gonna try.  Short, right to the point , but frequent updates a.k.a. Bytesize Updates. Something like twits.
Why not just use twitter? I don’t know, it’s somehow different. I never got wormed up to the Twitter, besides I like to have as much control as possible over my posts.

So here it is:

First “edition” of Bytesize Updates: November 29, 2012

I’ll talk about Tivo HDD upgrade, iPad 4, knockoff lightning to USB cable and update on my LED Clock project.

First of all, Tivo Premiere HDD upgrade update.

It’s been over a week since I installed new 1 TB HDD.
Great news!  Other than original reboot, I haven’t seen any slowdowns or issues yet. So I believe it was a success! 🙂

Second news of the day is that I got iPad 4 (a.k.a. New New iPad). This is the one with Retina screen and lightning connector.  I was debating if I should get Android tablet or iPad,  but eventually I decided to go with evil empire’s tablet mostly because of the screen. If there was an android slate with similar to retina res and 10 hr battery life, I’d be harder choice.  Plus all the apps that I purchased from iTunes, hard to loose that investment…

So speaking of iPad, I’m getting to the 3rd update. Lightning cable.  In theory sounds very nice, small and can be plugged in in reverse (great when you charging at night). However Apple is insane to charge $20 for each cable!  And what’s even worse, it’s super short (3ft/1m) to be useful at a night stand for charging. I wish they made a $5 version that can only charge the device. I need at least 3 of them: one for my computer, one for charging at home and to juice up in the office.  But fortunately there are inexpensive Chinese knockoffs on eBay.
Here’s the deal. I will buy one, and will write a short review, so you’ll know which one to get or avoid (hopefully not).
This one is from US Seller “portportal” , eBay item # 160874890675, I just ordered it and should get in few days, so stay tuned!

And finally an update on my LED Clock.

I haven’t been writing much about this project yet, but for the last 2 months I was extremely busy makeing Arduino based LED clock (similar to Wise Clock). It’s been fun and challenging few months, and I can write so much about this project (and I’ll try) but here’s short version (video at the end).

For the display I’m using 32×16 bicolor (RG) LED board made by Sure Electronics. It’s around $30 on eBay.
At it’s heart currently is Arduino Mega2560 microprocessor board. Then there’s a Wave Shield, RTC board, buttons and Temperature sensor.
At first I was using Arduino Uno, but I ran out of RAM when I tried using Wave Shield. So I upgraded to Mega2560 at least for now. For the future I’ll probably make my own board with ATMega640p or similar chip. So far Clock’s functions/capabilities include:

  • Display Time in Large Digits in either 12 or 24 hour mode.
  • Selectable Color of the Time (Red, Green or Orange)
  • Date Display
  • Temperature display
  • Alarm that uses Wave Shield and custom WAV sounds
  • Vocal Time, Date and Temperature announcement
  • Menu System driven by 3 buttons (Menu, Set and Increment)
  • Custom display brightness control

Currently I’m working on adding Snooze Alarm functionality. As soon as its done I’ll start working on PCB prototyping and then enclosure.

Here’s a quick video of clock in action (this is before I added Alarm capability)

That’s it for today!


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