Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Times, Part 1.

[ Part 1   Part 2    Part 3 ]
I've been meaning to create this post for a while. Besides my day job, and my recent sojourn into Android, I'm into hobby electronics. Now I've had the code slinging itch since I saw my friends Timex Sinclair 1000 when I was 11, but in the past couple of years, I've really embraced the breadboard and the soldering iron. Software is very satisfying, but there is something about making something that you can hold, touch. And that you appear to your loved ones to possess some sort of voodoo that can transform a mess of wires and chips and LEDs into something that does something.

In fact, it was my desire to show my wares to the world that inspired me to finally get off my rump and create this blog.

Now to exhibit A...

The background:

Last year, after working for several grueling months on a clock, (still at 90% complete a year later, the topic of a future post), I wanted to make something that my wife would not just appreciate, but enjoy, get excited about. So I asked her what type of electronic device she felt was missing in her life. She replied that she wanted a "time out/ time's up timer" for our kids, who happen to be procrastination aficionados, and occasionally earn a trip to the stairs to "think about what they've done". And so was born the "Good Times" timer.

Here is the finished result: (right before boxing to put under the tree last Christmas)
(Apologies, I'm really an awful photographer)

The juicy innards 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Java Conditional Compilation.

For a "main stream" programming language, Java has a few aggravating shortcomings. The lack of conditional compilation is one of them.