In which a blag.

This weekend has been super fun, and we’ve got fun stuff coming up and as always there’s been a ton of fun stuff in the recent past so I thought I’d write!

First up, brewery news. I’m super lazy and haven’t done shit. After the first mess of a brew I decided to get new valves, replacing the solenoids with ball valves. I’ve had the valves on my desk for like 2 months now and I got the cable I needed about 3 weeks ago and I just can’t find the energy to wire it all up. There’s so many little tiny wires to connect! Hopefully I get over the lazy soon, cause that brewery deserves to be used!

In electronics news, my BTPD kits finally sold out and I have been working on a new version. I ordered some LED modules from a company in China that I originally found on eBay and I am waiting for them to show up. They were way, way cheaper than Digikey, so if they turn out to be what I want and they actually work I will be able to drop the price on the kit quite a bit. I’m also redesigning it to be mostly surface mount and am going to try my hand at the reflow toaster method of surface mount soldering. My goal is to be able to do all the surface mount work in batches and then sell the boards as a “kit” which just means they need to solder on the LED modules and the headers or as a complete board for just a little more.

Also in electronics, I am checking out the ATmega32U4 which is a pretty badass little AVR. It’s a 32k mega with a USB controller built in. There’s an open source USB library for it so I bought a breakout board to play around with it. I’m also awaiting delivery on a Leaf Labs Maple, which is what I think is going to become my MCU platform of choice. The Maple uses a ST Micro STM32 MCU which is a SUPER badass little chip. 72MHz, DMA, tons of IO, tons and tons of peripherals including USB and the little things are only a few bucks. I think I’ll end up designing a little breakout board for them and doing more experimentation once I play with the Maple some.

So, I mentioned this weekend, which has been great. It’s been great because A Perfect Circle is playing three nights in Seattle, one night for each of their studio albums. We bought VIP tickets at the Showbox for the “Mer de Noms” night and the “Thirteenth Step” night. Those were Friday and Saturday and they were just great, great, great. I guess I don’t have much else to say about it. The music was awesome, the Showbox was awesome (as usual) and we just had a lot of fun.

One other awesome thing is that we finally decided to replace the slowly dying Explorer… with an Explorer! We have a road trip coming up and we were stressing over which car to take. My car was in the best shape but if we ran into any weather it would be a death trap. The Explorer would be ideal but it was on it’s last legs and might not survive the trip. So, last Sunday we decided to go look at a few new Explorers for the hell of it. We went to Kirkland Ford first cause they had advertised a 2007 that sounded perfect. When we got there they couldn’t find it so they showed us a brand new one but it was too expensive. Nice though. Then we ended up at Sound Ford of Renton cause they had a 2010 with 31k miles (clearly a fleet vehicle) that also sounded perfect.

I’m going to put up another post in a few days detailing my experience with Sound Ford of Renton so I’ll skip that for now. Suffice to say we found a perfect Explorer and bought it! It’s now sitting happily in the driveway on it’s new tires we picked up yesterday and is ready to ferry us to many fun new adventures. It’s a 2010 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition 4WD with a pretty sweet Black Pearl Slate (or something) and Tan’ish paint job and interior. It also has Sync, so we finally have a vehicle we can listen to all our music on. The music thing has been a major source of contention and it’s really nice to have.

In the process we traded in the old Explorer and Courtney’s Grand Am, so now the driveway seems much less crowded!

So that’s it for car news… what else?! We have an awesome vacation coming up but I will talk about that HIT BY HIT AS IT HAPPENS and afterwards, so I can’t say much there…

I think that’s all for now!