Why, yes, I have been waiting twenty-seven days to use that title, what of it?
I sort of fell off the Thing-a-Day wagon. Fell off, landed on my ass, bumped my head, and got stuck in the mud. I blame earthquakes, I blame snow, I blame James Franco in a pink dress. And yet somehow I still managed to knock together this… this contraption for the final day:
What is this eerie warbling? Ambient sound from an alien planet? Watch out, red-shirted ensigns!
I read here that it is possible to make a ring modulator out of a vacuum display like this one. What happens is that filaments in the display vibrate like tiny guitar strings when energized by an audio signal.
I was hoping to create a crazy Dalek-like effect (and I was even using talk radio as an input source, so it should well have been). Well, maybe next time…
Today’s project was to coax sound from an ancient AY-3-8910 sound synthesizer chip. This chip was used in many vintage arcade machines, pinball games, and a few home computers. The one that I found was still in the original Radio Shack packaging, with the datasheet included, so there was a pretty good chance it still worked after all these years.
I hooked it up to my Basic Stamp and just couldn’t get it to utter a peep. I’ll try it again with the Arduino, once I learn it better.
For dinner tonight, I made Tuscan Chicken Stew in the slow cooker. I thought it would be the perfect meal for a cold and rainy weekend. I must say that I stepped out for a few minutes this afternoon while the dish was cooking, and when I returned, the house smelled like a bistro. I served it with an improvised sourdough garlic bread with cheese. The dish was pretty good: something I could serve again, but not something that will be clamored for.
The original recipe came to me with pre-measured spice packets attached, which I assume is a marketing strategy to help discrete spices compete against the wide variety of boxed mixes and instant meals on the market today. My changes were mainly to the procedure, though I opted to use fresh ingredients as opposed to canned, and to add just a bit more wine.
Tuscan Chicken Stew
8 oz. dried navy beans
2 T olive oil
1-1/2 lb Chicken Tenderloins, chopped into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 t fennel seed
1 t basil
1 t minced garlic
1 t rosemary
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t black pepper
1 t salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c red wine
6 oz spinach leaves
Soak beans overnight, rinse and drain. Place into slow cooker.
Heat oil, brown chicken on both sides. Place into slow cooker.
Briefly saute onion and fennel seed. Place into slow cooker.
Chop tomatoes. Place into slow cooker along with remaining herbs and red wine.
Cook for 7 hours on low. Stir in spinach five minutes before serving.
My latest thing is a bit of code. A trivial bit of code, really, but it was something I’ve had an itch to do for a while now. I wrote a new script to pull my latest reviews from StumbleUpon and reformat them into a nice definition list, so that I can easily repost them here every once in a while.
You can get a better look at the code here, if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s not much to it. The SimpleXML extension is used to retrieve and parse the “Latest Comments and Reviews” feed, then the title, URL, and description of each item is printed out surrounded by the proper formatting. The output looks something like this:
I started out working on a different thing, but that didn’t work out, as I was missing a few things. But as I was looking for those things, I found something else. I ordered this RS-I RS232 prototyping kit a long time ago— for what I don’t even remember. But, it seemed like the perfect time to put it together.
I’m thinking that I can combine it with the VFD display (if I ever get that working.)
Today’s project was to assemble an Arduino Proto Shield kit. I received this as part of an Arduino Projects Pack, which was given to me as a well meant gift that I somehow never got around to enjoying in a politely conspicuous manner. I thought today would be as good of a day as any to break into the pack.
The Projects Pack contained, in addition to the Proto Shield kit (fully assembled, at right), an assortment of electronic goodies , jumper wires, a small breadboard, two extra proto boards, and best of all, an Arduino Uno (at left).