Wednesday, September 15, 2010

*peeks around*

I just realized that chopping up USB cables is a complete waste of time - just use a USB front-panel port thingie off a dead PC.

More coming soon, maybe. There's some stuff happening in SB now that ought to inspire me (

Friday, May 29, 2009

*gasp* an update!

I've been far, far busier than I could've imagined the last couple of months, so alas I let this slide.

Anyhow... I'm going to do a new project this weekend: A breadboard project where I use an AVRopendous and a few simple parts to make a USB-based remote control power/reset switch.

Why? Because I can, duh.

Seriously - it's because I'm hoping to get into lower-level graphics hacking, and for the bits where I can hack from the relative safety of my recliner in the other room, it'd be nice to trigger a reset from the main comp's command line when i crash the drone computer that I'll be testing the new code on.

Hopefully Marvac has some opto-isolators...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Now where was I...?

I forget. :)

Seriously I came up with an interesting lil' vintage computing hack tonight.

I got an original IBM PC from a local surplus sale (why a 5150 was put out for surplus *now* I'll never know). An original IBM PC is, sadly, not terribly useful at all, leaving me with "now what?"

So, I started thinking - I could add a protoboard to it, maybe a serial port and some terminal software. That would rely on the ancient 5.25" drives actually working, and I'd be a tad shocked if that happened.

I then remembered the 5150 (not even the XT. Just the original PC) has a casette port.

My evil idea/plan is this: Wire up an AVRopendous to the casette port, pre-load it with a "basic" program to write out to the PC to then use the port as a simple terminal interface. I'm having a little doubt that I could actually fit a useful terminal into the 16K memory of the AVRopendous, but eh, I can figure something out.

Now to put aside the time to write this... there are a lot of things more practical. But this'd be a neat hack!

Monday, February 16, 2009


looking at this:

I realized I could make an EDID interposer that would let you program in different monitor specs, to fool your video driver into making new modes... so if you wanted to make custom modes that matched DVD pixel-perfect specs* and access them in mac or windows, it'd be a lot easier.

(* - best with tube monitors, alas)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

random ideas and stuff

Been busy IRL lately so I haven't had nearly enough time to carry out evil plans, while plans keep popping into my head.

Like, perhaps, a C-like interpreter that might actually fit in my AVR chip. Because there needs to be more stuff like that. And then I could make a standalone computer out of the evilmadscientist board.

Other random things:

- Got sniped on 208 older CPLD's by $1. They would've been 40 cents each. :P

- Needs to get something credible working soon.

- Broke down and ordered a real AVRISP mk II this morning, just in time for AVRopendous to get fixed, as far as I can tell.

- I need to solder a few things - like a male db9 plugin, a din-4 for mah ADB experiments, that kinda thing.

- It'd be fun to implement ADB in that interpreter.

- And more fun to make that interpreter a compiler, too. Running on the AVR of course.

(This is, of course, nigh impossible, or at least insane...)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I think my first 'real' project will be a WacomADB->USB conversion using the AVRopendous to turn the ADB tablet data into serial tablet data, which can then be picked up by Linux and Mac (TabletMagic) drivers at the very least.

There's enough documentation out there to do this - there's an ADB version of TabletMagic, and I can use that as a roadmap to getting the data out and converting it into what the serial version's data would look like.

A USB HID + newer tablet emulation might be possible, but probably quite a bit more work (as the datastream would have to be updated), and I'm not sure if Wacom would appreciate me 'borrowing' their USB device ID's, which would be needed for the native OS drivers to work. A far better target would be any standard HID extensions for tablets, which appear to be picked up by Vista at least. If MacOS and Linux can use it, that would really be the way to go. If it fits in 12K of ROM, that is...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend *cough* Update.

Been sick this weekend. (I need an antivirus upgrade. and a USB port in my head. wifi would be nice, too.)

I got my AVRopendous board plugged in - the demo works in Ubuntu 8.10 - if you put it behind a USB hub. If I wasn't sick I would have the AVR programmer code in there long before now, but it's still not in there. I'm thinking of doing one simple enhancement - it would work as a serial port *until* you hit the HWB button, allowing this + an ATmega168 to work as an arduino-type board... with bootstrapping capability.

I have a couple more boards on the way, so I can dedicate one or two to a particular role. They're quite flexible and pretty small (not as small as the FTDI USB breakouts, but more flexible ;) )