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Showing posts from 2018

Getting Started with a Sparkfun ESP32 Thing, ESP-IDF, and Visual Studio Code

I've had a Sparkfun ESP32 Thing laying around on my desk since back in May when I met the fellow from Iron Transfer at a pinball convention, and we got to talking about IoT and his devices to remotely administrate pinball machines.  However, I spent tons of time this year planning for exhibitions, and didn't really get to do anything with it -- until now.


Before You Begin
There are a few choices you need to make up-front about which IDE you wish to use for development, plus which development framework.  I have chosen Microsoft's Visual Studio Code since it is cross-platform, feature-rich without hogging resources, free to download, and based on an open-source product similar to how Google Chrome is derived from Chromium.  It comes with extensions for language support and IntelliSense, which are must-haves when authoring code.  You are free to use an IDE of your choice; it won't really hamper your ability to enjoy the rest of this article.

The other decision lies in your d…

The OpenBrite Turbo Controller for Vectrex

Image
At long last, I debuted my custom turbo Vectrex controller at the Houston Arcade Expo on October 19 & 20.  This will be a milestone for Vectrex fans and collectors, as it brings about more ergonomic controls and a rate-adjustable Turbo (auto-fire) mode that can toggle per button.
Vectrex Controller Prototype, as seen in Houston last month
Why, you ask?
I acquired a Vectrex in late 2015 from a very generous individual who had several to spare.  However, it did not come with a controller, so it laid dormant until I got around to building the giant 100x NES controller.  As the guts of a cheap knock-off NES controller from Amazon went into my behemoth NES controller, I used its shell and buttons to enclose a crude perf-board controller, and cut up a cheap Sega Genesis extension cable from Amazon in order to make all the connections from my hand-soldered board into the Vectrex.  It is well-documented on how to fashion a Sega Genesis controller into a Vectrex controller, but I didn't …

Angular Noob: An Observable On An Observable Observing a Promise

With the reusability and extensibility of modern Web components, I do not look back on the days of jQuery with much fondness.  However, I haven't paid much attention to Angular since Angular 1.  Since its syntax didn't really appeal to me, I opted to learn Polymer instead.  Well now, given a new opportunity, I am diving into a much more modern Angular and TypeScript.  Unfortunately, I am finding that a lot of articles people write on Angular, when you're diving into a well-established code base, are about as dense as reading toward the end of a book on quantum mechanics.  It's English alright, but the jargon is applied thickly.  (And this is coming from someone who has even impressed some of Google's Tensorflow engineers with their machine learning skillz.)

The problem at hand is fairly straightforward.  We want to notify something in the UI upon the outcome of a RESTful request we make to an external resource so that it can display useful information to the user.  …

Talking about Digital Fight Club

Earlier this month, I attended the third installment of the Digital Fight Club, put on by Digital Dallas.  Digital Fight Club is now going to be held at various events across the country!  I'd love to make it out to every one of them.  You all who are where it will be held are in for a treat, and should not miss it.  Read more at http://www.digitalfightclub.co/.


You Talk About Digital Fight Club
The format involves two thought leaders sparring in a short debate on a particular topic centered around emerging technology, design, and organizational behavior.  Each round of debate, consisting of both debaters' opening arguments and rebuttals, lasts under five minutes.  Then, another five minutes or less goes to at least two of the five judges to ask a question addressed to one of the debaters, and the other can rebut the answer as well.  Finally, the judges and audience decides a winner for each round.

Despite the brevity, it is a power-packed punch of information, opinion, and emoti…