Over the years network speed has gradually increased from 10Mbps then 100Mbps to the current 1Gbps. Now most people wouldn’t notice as their wifi and Internet is about 10Mbps. But using net backups on a 1TB hard disk changes all that. 

Previously I backed up locally on to a USB disc. This takes s couple of hours but gets there. However my current powerline network solution runs at a shitty 30Mbps meaning s backup will be round 11hours min.

Meanwhile I’ve discovered my MacBookPro does 975Mbps over wifi! Go figure.


Robot Theologan 

Yes you read correctly. The shortest sentence in the King James Version is well known. 

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

But what is the most common phrase? Did you know omnipotent only occurs once (Revelations). 

Yes I’ve been merrily dissecting the KJV Bible, building trees of phrases. Why? I’m not sure. I may write a Marcov Jigsaw phrase generator. I reckon I will be able to pump out biblical sounding phrases on demand.

For the moment I’ve been looking at how common phrases occur. Patterns?  Can I guess grammar from statistical analysis alone?

Too much time on my hands.


So, I’ve been working with ARM embedded systems for more than a year now and I’ve still not had much of a chance to play with the very low lever boot strapping system. I’m familiar with using u-boot but I’ve never compiled it and installed it unaided. I thin kit is time I learned how. So this morning I have a free hour and I’m going to learn how to build u-boot and this down-loader’s down-loader MLO. I’m going to do this on my Beagebone Black. If it works there then surely I can do it on other platforms. Maybe I can hack it and improve upon it.

I can tell you are thrilled. Watch this space and I’ll report back.

Nokia 5110 LCD, meet PicNDuino

Finally got the PIC18F25K20 on my PicNduino talking to a Nokia 5110 LCD which was given to me by a kind friend. I was determined to to bit bash the code and to use hardware SPI. This I have at last achieved.

The delay has been mostly due to digging through the Internet for proper PIC documentation. I’m not quite sure how they stay in business with such large amounts of poor docco that is so poorly linked to others. I feel the need for tutorials and generally clearing things up. Still they are way ahead of Texas Instruments who seem to drown in formal catalogued documentation that makes little clear.

Anyway, so I now know how to managed i2c and SPI plus LCD displays and thermistors and IR remote controls. I can do all this across Raspberry Pi, PiC and Arduino. I should be able to add TI’s micro-controllers to that soon.

The question now is what to do with it all? I might try blowing a stand alone PIC to do something. If that works then I might make a gizmo for my exercise bike that reads the sensors and outputs more intelligent data than the current computer display.

All baby steps so far but I’m getting there finally.


Well I’ve canned my idea for a Bluetooth LE to iRRC bridge on the grounds that someone appears to have done this commercially already with a pretty polished product including mobile apps.

Not a massive surprise but a bit of a disappointment all the same. I guess I worked out how to at least read and decode a signal from a Panasonic remote control. So no more buttons for me. Micro-controllers a from now on will be remote control only.

So my next project is to get my Nokia LCD display to run from my PIC micro-controller using SPI. This has been on hold this week as I sort out some business activity which has taken precedence. I’ve learned a lot in the last mon but I still need to up the stakes if I am to make a commercial go of this. Python appears to be a much more useful tool than I initially gave it credit for, so I’m brushing up on that somewhat. Generally I’m done formulating what core skills I need to hone and now need to get down to actually doing the honing. Hence things being a bit quiet for a while.

I’m thinking now that wifi control is probably more valuable than Bluetooth. It uses more power but is more ubiquitous. Plus it will give me Internet access. Being able to log data remotely could be. Dry valuable indeed.

Remote Control

I’ve been working on a complex Arduino project. The intention is to build a system that will record and emulate all the remote controls in the house, TV, DVD, radio, PVR, etc.

Initially I bought an iR diode and LED off t’Internet but it looks like decoding the receiver signal is a little more complex. However, it also appears devices tend to use a phototransistor-receiver rather than a diode. These receivers appear the same but have some tricks inside to amplify and filter the signal appropriately. I bought one off eBay for about £1 and it came with an Arduino library for lots of common remotes. All but Panasonic. A Panasonic routine was available but worked with neither of my remotes.

So I spent a few days staring at the output and trawling Google until tonight. I found an XML file online that showed 6 bytes of data encoded into 100 bits. A bit of a code adjustment and bingo! It works!

So tomorrow I’ll edit the transmitter and we’re good to go. After that it will all be about button presses and control.