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What Happened Since…

Life has changed massively since my last post. New job, new city. I keep planning on doing some upgrades to the site, but time seems to be in short supply these days.

I’ve been contributing when I can to the ED Birmingham Network project. That’s been a massive, head first dive into modern web development with Javascript. As I’m not doing much web stuff at work these days, it’s nice keep a finger in that pie.

Cloud is a little library I wrote to let me communicate with my Little Bits.

The Alarm Clock Castle was my biggest project from 2015. It used two MPU boards, three programming languages, and a bunch of LEGO. The code is available to all. Please share any bugs you fix. ;-)

TagFinder is an HTML/XML parser written in PHP. This was started to be embedded into a larger project at my previous workplace. It was going to hunt through HTML and count images, find links, etc. Unfortunately I never had a chance to move it from a personal project into a professional one. It’s largely here for posterity and in case anyone needs such a thing. But seriously, use SimplePie.

With luck 2016 will be the year I update this site. I’m eager to try out WordPress with JSON while SPA’s are still a thing.

Twelve Years With PHP

PHP’s 20th birthday is this month. It’s been asked people share their PHP story so here is mine:

Thinking back I believe I first started working with PHP around May 2003 on the first, full-fledged version of the school’s LMS. Twelve years later and I’ve come a long way. I’ve written two versions of the LMS, my own web framework, countless scripts and pages, WordPress plugins and templates, integrated it with Perl web services, Javascript interfaces, various databases, and I’ve ridden the mighty Joomla worm.

Perl will always the language I think in, C# is the language I most enjoy these days, PL/SQL is what the job demands, but without PHP my life would be so very different. Thanks you, Rasmus Lerdorf. Thank you, PHP.

Happy New Year

A few of my recent projects since the last post. Not as many hardware projects.

PastebinLib — a library for interacting with Pastebin.

TemplateEngine — a small library for rendering HTML templates.

iServer.cs — a dinky web server. Now that I know what OWIN is this is probably going to be soon forgotten.

Linka — a replacement for a tool at work. The old one worked with our iSeries system. This one works with Oracle. Not really useful to anyone but me.

Feathermay’s Clock Shop — my entry into a littleBits contest. Alas I did not win, but I still use this as a clock.

One of these days this site being overhauled is going to be a recent project.

Project Updates

A few updates to some of my projects:

This site. Not at update but an acknowledgement, this site needs an overhaul very soon.

Crisis Alarm. With the Fourchan.cs library almost done, the SparkCore.cs library working, and the actual alarm itself functional, all that remains is to write the desktop control software that will scan /co/ for interesting threads. When it’s finished there will be a proper project page on the site.

littleBits + Laser Pegs. I’m still working on a proper cloud controlled lamp.

littleBits + ATOMS. I’ve gone a little further than this video, and have a working apparatus if I need to control littleBits through my phone’s Bluetooth connection.  Big thanks to Michael Rosenblatt for sharing an ATOMS Bluetooth module with me; sadly you cannot find those anywhere.

7-segment Display. I bought a 7-segmemt component with a crappy datasheet and thus had to write some code and make my own datasheet to figure it out. I think I burned out a portion of it during my testing, so my datasheet is not 100% confirmed. 90% though.

Laser Pegs + Arduino

Laser Pegs are cool. Arduino boards are cool. So I decided to mix them together. Video 1 and video 2 are small demonstrations of how they can work together.

I will eventually take proper pictures and fully document the project. The short version is:

1x Arduino Uno
1x Breadboard
1x 2N4401NPN transistor
1x Laser Pegs triangular power base (for the plug)
Several pin-tipped wires

Open up the power base and use a soldering iron to remove one plug from the board. The middle pin is positive (+) and the outer wall is negative (-). Solder wires to the plug so you can plug it into a breadboard. For video 1 I powered the pegs straight from the Arduino, but I recommend and plan to follow the video 2 method of using a transistor too keep from pulling too much power through the Arduino.

Keypad Counter

Using the Keypad.h library and a 74HC595 shift-register I can now count to 15 in binary. Maybe I can count higher when I get some more LED’s.

The code to run this was mashed together from the following two links:

Key components:
Arduino Uno:

My breadboard Arduino

Step one toward joining the Homebrew CPU club has been taken. What I made was a breadboard Arduino based off this design. It took me about a day to build because I kept wiring it up to my Uno incorrectly, but it finally worked.

It’s running a test program that counts up and flashes a light for 1/10th a second every two seconds. Tiny but proof it works. :)

Blink 2

One of my first microcontroller experiments. This uses a Parallax BASIC Stamp 1 Project Board and a discontinued Geosafari Digital Recording Lab. the PBASIC program switches states of a variable when the button is pressed, which turns the LED on or off.

PBASIC code forthcoming.

Is this thing on?

Still not much time for big, personal projects. However, I have been snatching time here and there for a few, small things.

The Wally Framework, which is still being polished so don’t download it yet. This is a generalized version of the framework I’ve been using for web projects at work this past year. It’s developed in-house, because as good advice as it normally is to use others’ code, I wanted to understand how our LMS worked from top-to-bottom. I also didn’t want to get locked into version n of a framework, have n+1 come with a whole new API, and be left with a largely abandoned code base I’d have to learn from the bottom up.

Racket-learning, my catch-all repository for experiments in Racket. The past couple of weeks I’ve finally been getting into Racket…not like the other times when I’d install it, dabble a few hours, and forget it. Though I doubt I’ll ever be a professional Schemer, I enjoying getting my mind to think in sync with Racket.

Tic-Tac-Toe, a silly diversion during a dull training session which taught me some finer points about WPF. Though I planned to add a single-player feature at the time, some reading of tic-tac-toe game theory…or the lack there of…dissuaded me.

My last post was about how I was late to the Github party, but since then I’ve been using it for most of my personal projects and a few work-related ones. I haven’t had to roll anything back yet, but knowing I can is kind of nice.

Late to the Github party

Finally started uploading some code to my Github account. Right now it’s one unfinished wrapper and a small client I use at work ever since something more official and Enterpise-y broke. I’m quite late to the Github party, so I suppose that means some new SVC software will start trending soon. Har har.

Welcome to my (Andrew Burton's) web page. This site uses the WordPress software as its content management system (CMS), but it should not be considered a normal blog. Specifically because there is no feedback mechanism, ala comments. That may come later, but for now, this page is strictly a typical web site sitting atop blogging software. The pirate, Software Pirate, up in the logo was drawn by C.K. Russell.

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