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Showing posts from 2014

Sock it to the banks: transfer money smartly!

Modern times call for crafty experimentation and careful observations to avoid getting ripped off at every turn by some "service provider" seeking to collect fees from their "renters."  Guided by personal experience and altruistic desires, I would like to share some simple hints for transferring money between bank accounts quickly and efficiently without incurring fees.

Use your bank's mobile app
Many banks offer applications for your mobile device that can facilitate bank transfers by easily scanning and quickly depositing checks.  My experiences with several institutions show that while some banks are hesitant to give you the full amount immediately when a check deposit is made in person or ATM, checks for hundreds or even thousands of dollars clear completely and instantly when using a bank's mobile app.  The only potential fee with this method is that you need to have checks from all your banks so you can transfer money between each bank as needed -- some…

Make your own dual programmer in AVRDUDE

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Modified 9/16/2014

Those of you who have programmed an Arduino through the Arduino or AVR Studio IDE may have noticed the utility that is really doing the work: AVRDUDE (AVR Downloader/UploaDEr).  This is a powerful program that can facilitate programming new sketches on top of a bootloader, load a brand new bootloader or chip image, capture the current firmware programmed on the chip, and set fuse bits (which can render your chip unusable without special tools if you're not careful).


You mean I could have been doing this the whole time?
The LEDgoes USB Communicator supports both programming over serial (bootloader must be present) or via ICSP bitbang (very slow).  The ICSP operation is identical to Adafruit's FTDI Friend product.  The serial programming is identical to the Arduino, except that in my case, I'd like to be able to program two ATmega chips at the same time without switching cables.  What's the best way to do this?

My original train of thought (from Mixing Log…

Applying old properties to new files in Windows

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A while back, I used some kind of "cp -r" command in Linux to copy files from an old IDE hard drive to a newer SATA drive.  The IDE drive is 10 years old, and thus many of the files on there are of that vintage.  Unfortunately, I was not aware that cp does not properly transfer file attributes between Windows files (as these are NTFS partitions).  I could have simply used Windows to copy the files, but I didn't want this to happen:



Hence why the choice to use Linux.  Nevertheless, being somewhat of an archivist at heart, I was interested in retaining some of these original file properties, namely Created, Modified, and Accessed times.  I didn't want all my files looking like they came from 12/2/2013 when some of them are as old as 2002.  So, I went back into Windows to solve my problem.

The idea for this was derived from one of many related StackOverflow posts on the topic, plus some additional information was acquired in order to walk the directory trees recursively. …

Waking the Sore, Groggy Dog

Well, it's reached the point where I finally had enough of computers and everything I was doing on them for just a bit, so I closed the lid of my laptop on Tuesday right at 5 PM and sat outside in the lawn chair, doing absolutely nothing for about 30 minutes until my dog started panting up a storm.  I let her back inside and she gulped down tons of water quickly.  Still not knowing what to do with myself while trying to stay away from the computer, I just about dozed off on the couch when inspiration struck me: I needed to do something physical to stay awake.

Now I'm a huge fan of sitting, but sitting still in one position at a desk for a long time leads to unhappy muscles.  Plus, I find tedious or uninteresting work to be soporific, especially if I just had a heavy lunch or didn't get much sleep the night before.  However, taking a nap usually leads to undesirable outcomes: I wake up about 2 or 3 hours later, still feeling groggy, and often incapable of accomplishing my de…