The New Machine Era

I have been hard at work at the STRP Biennial the last two and a half weeks.
(last week of February and first week of March)
There we exhibited ,or rather performed, 'The New Machine Era'.
A Large Machine loosely based on the Rube Goldberg Machine.

Six teams individually built their own 'cracking contraption' to be assembled last week into one large machine on the floor of a building called 'Het Klokgebouw' in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

IMG_1974

Fretboard prototype working

Let me explain what the Ukulele prototype is all about.
A long while ago I showed a breadboard with a bunch of leds that represented the fingerings of chords on a ukulele. Back then it was controlled through flash and java.

This time I took the measurements of a real ukulele’s fretboard and used a lasercutter to cut the shape of the fretboard and the holes for 3mm leds. I’m using a max7221 chip to drive the led matrix. Since this chip can only drive a 8×8 matrix (or so I think) and not a 16×4 I had to put rows 5 to 8 behind rows 1 to 4. I only used 6 colums in all rows. So row 1 and row 5 represent the frets of the first string and so on. It’s connected to an arduino (duemillanove).
I grabbed the schematics and library from the arduino site .
The sketch is reading from the serial port, and I’m sending 4 characters in hex representing the fretnumber for each string. Where a fret number is converted to the correct led.
So frets 1 to 6 on string 1 are led 1 to 6 on row 1, and frets 7 to 12 are less 1 to 6 on row 5..

ukefretboard_poster

I then started to build an html5 version of the wonderful Ukulele Playalong by my friend Marcel van der Zwet . It's certainly not ready yet but it has the basic functionality of showing the chords to a song. The chords are timed to a video on youtube, and I'm using popcorn.js trigger the chords a the correct time. The events are routed through a websocket to a helper application ( a simple Cocoa app at the moment) that in turn sends it to the serial port after which the arduino does the rest.

So next up is version 2: building a custom pcb with smd components so that I can actually mount it onto the neck of a (soon to be sacrificed) ukulele.
But that means I have to learn to work with software like Eagle and doing multilayered pcb's
which is all completely new to me. So I think this will take while....

Slow response from apache on osx?

Are you getting really slow responses from apache on OSX?,

If you have ipv6 enabled this might just be the problem...

See here for a solution:
http://serverfault.com/questions/321386/resolving-to-virtual-host-very-slow-on-mac-os-x-lion