Feb 21

3Doodler and Raspberry Pi On-Off Switch

Hey All,

You all know I’m a huge Kickstarter fan.  This week has proved to be an awesome time for projects (and a sad day for my wallet).  Two projects caught my eye, the first one is the 3Doodler.

The 3Doodler is a hot-glue-gun like device that uses a plastic extruder to create 3D shapes in air.  The plastic extruder is one that you would normally see in a 3D printer like the Makerbot, but has been adapted to be handheld.  Because the plastic cools rapidly, it can create sturdy shapes that can be drawn anywhere.

It already surpassed the million dollar mark, so I have high hopes for this project.  I backed it at the $75 October level, so I hope to get mine then and be able to do a review of it.  If you are into 3D Printing and artwork, you may want to consider backing this project!

Another Kickstarter I backed this week is a project for the Raspberry Pi.  It’s an on/off switch that talks to the Pi via GPIO and activates a safe software shutdown before cutting power.

I’ve talked to the creator, he’s a member of the Raspberry Pi forums, and is quite excited about this project.  It’s $22 for this batch of boards.  If you are looking for a power switch for your Pi, this may be it.

I have a cool piece of hardware to show tomorrow.  Looking forward to sharing it with you all!

-Shea

Feb 15

Friday Post: Pebble

Hey All,

I want to start this by saying I LOVE Kickstarter.  I have funded many projects, most have succeeded  some have been delayed, some are still in the will it succeed or will it fail phase.  I really like the Kickstarter model.  It’s not a store.  It’s a risk vs reward for the backers, and a way to make the creators dreams come true.  I plan on putting the DeskCade on Kickstarter very soon(tm).

Today I am going to talk about the Pebble Smartwatch.  I backed this many months ago, and it’s an ambitious project.  It was the first Kickstarter project to reach 10 million dollars.  I received my Pebble last Sunday, and I would like to write some initial thoughts on it.

TL;DR Cliffs Notes:  It’s got potential, with a firmware update it will be awesome, but it’s just not there yet.

My out of the box experience with the Pebble sucked.  I was using an iPhone 4S with iOS 5 because they said it was supported.  Well it isn’t 100% supported on iOS 5.  The app gets stuck trying to talk to the Pebble, and the firmware update that’s available hangs.  iOS 5 will send a notification when you get a call, but no notifications on texts or e-mail.

The next day I updated to iOS 6, and lo and behold, everything worked.  For about 2 hours.  When I sit down at my work desk, I usually take off my watch to code.  When I stepped away for a bit, nothing worked anymore.  I had to re sync the Bluetooth connection, turn off notifications and then re-enable them for it to work again.  And then I walked away again and it happened again.  It’s a frustrating issue that I know will be fixed in a firmware release.  It has too for this product to be successful.  I has to just work..

One other software gripe:  Please put a battery indicator and a charging indicator somewhere on the screen.

Onto the good:

The build quality is amazing!  Even though it’s only plastic, it feels solid and tough.  The screen is very easy to read.  The battery life so far has been great.  The charger has a very Apple Magsafe connector feel to it.  You place the charger on the side of the pebble and the magnets pull it into position.  As a watch, it’s great.

Conclusion:

This is going to be a great product.  I have no doubt.  Once they get the kinks out of it on the software side, I’m never going to take it off.  I’ve seen it work.  It has the potential to be a paradigm shift in wearable computers with it’s SDK.  I have high hopes for the creators.  I want to be able to back more of their ideas.

——————————-

On a side note, PiMAME 0.6 is in the works.  I’m hoping to release it next week.  Te latest edition of Raspbian came out last week.  I tried moving over to that, but it’s still slower than the older release of Raspbian I’m using.  It also seems to require a bigger SD card as it’s just hitting the 2GB limit.

I’m going to continue using the older Raspbian, I’m putting in a start-up menu so you can access frequently accessed items, and I’m working on making the image smaller so there aren’t as many issues with temperamental SD cards.

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Shea

Jan 30

Video of XArcade Stick Working with the Raspberry Pi

Hey All,

Real quick, just wanted to show a very rough video of me using the XArcade Tankstick on the Raspberry Pi.  I have the Trackball, Buttons  and Joysticks all working.  Gridlee has issues with it (has to have custom inputs set) but Street Fighter 2 and Missile Command worked “out-of-the-box”.  I had to make a minor edit to the AdvanceMENU configuration file, but it looks like its working nicely.

I’m going to try a fresh re-install of PiMAME and try to recreate the results.  I’m hoping to have a guide for this very soon ™.

-Shea

Jan 22

X-Arcade Tankstick Unboxing

Hey all,

My new Tankstick arrived today, courtesy of XGaming.com. They have asked me to test it and get it running on the Raspberry Pi. I only had a couple minutes to play with it, but I made a little unboxing video for everyone:

Size comparison of the Pi versus a Tankstick:

tankstick
This thing has some heft to it!  With the few minutes I got to use it, I notice why some users of the Raspberry Pi are having difficulties making it work right.  It’s nothing wrong with the device, but with the way some of the software interprets the inputs.  I have a couple of hunches and ideas on how to fix it, which I hope to get to within the next week.

PiMAME 0.5 is also coming along nicely.  I’m reverting back to the 0.3 stack and just adding some minor modifications.  That should be released on Friday.

-Shea

Dec 31

Raspberry Pi Powered SNES

Hey All,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  This is what I assume to be the last post of 2012.  Might as well end it with a bang 🙂

A fellow member of FamiLAB (Orlando’s Hackerspace) has made a great write-up of his Raspberry Pi powered SNES.

I have been watching Ted (Waterbury) work on this project for the past few months, and the work is nothing short of incredible.

I hope everyone has a great new year.  May 2013 bring you joy, happiness, and success.

-Shea

 

Dec 14

Friday Post: PiMAME Image and other neat things

Hey All,

Hope you all like this:

PiMAME

Download Here

This is a fully configured Raspberry Pi image that auto boots into AdvanceMENU and runs your MAME games for you.  It includes a copy of a Free MAME ROM so you can see it working right from the start.  SSH is already enabled, memory split is setup, and everything is updated.

Once you have it flashed to your SD Card, I recommend running “sudo raspi-config” and expanding the file system, otherwise you will only have a few megs of space left to use.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Raspberry Pi Radio

http://www.icrobotics.co.uk/wiki/index.php/Turning_the_Raspberry_Pi_Into_an_FM_Transmitter

With one wire and a simple program, you can turn your Raspberry Pi into an FM Transmitter that plays on FM 100.0MHz.

 

Nov 23

Friday Post: Happy beginning of the holidays!

Hello All,

Happy beginning of the holidays.  Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday… To all my friends here in the US, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I spent some great time with my family.  To all my friends in other countries, I hope you are having a wonderful week 🙂

Raspberry Pi Camera

The Raspberry Pi Foundation today released the first video of the Raspberry Pi Camera.  It looks like it’s going to be an awesome piece of kit.  $25, 1080p video, 5MP pictures.  I cannot wait to order one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8N7kgtL0-Ts#!

Wii U

So I was able to purchase a Wii U Deluxe set during Black Friday.  I was not expecting to come home with one.  I was really just driving around looking at the lines.  Toys ‘R Us had opened at 8, it was 8:20, and the line was short, so I decided to go in.  I went to the back of the store, where the electronics section was, and asked if they had any Wii U’s in stock.  I was completely shocked to be given a ticket for a deluxe model.  My fiancee didn’t believe it either.  2 hours later (yay, waiting in line to pay) and I’ve got this thing hooked up.

The first thing it needed to do was download a huge update.  It took about 2 hours to download and install. After that, it was smooth sailing.  The system is awesome.  The gamepad is not just a gimmick, it works amazingly well.  It acts as a universal remote for my TV and my Cable box.  It’s much faster to browse the  cable guide using the Dpad than using the remote itself.  Netflix is better on the Wii U than on the Xbox 360.  To be able to select from the queue on the gamepad, watch it on the TV, or press a button and switch the stream straight to the game pad is so cool.  It’s seamless.

Nintendoland is this consoles version of Wii Sports and Wii Play combined.  You can use the Gamepad to play the games in single player mode, but to use 2 player you need to use Wiimotes.  It’s nice they kept backwards compatibility.  The ninja minigame is a lot of fun.

I also purchased New Super Mario Bros. U.  The game is gorgeous in hi-def.  The multiplayer mode can be a relationship killer though.  Just warning you!  The game plays like all the other NSMB games, but that’s a good thing.  It’s great fun 🙂

Spark Fun Free Shipping

For Cybermonday,  Spark Fun will be doing free shipping!  Happy Hacking!

Megacynics DeskCade

To anyone who hasn’t read the webcomic Megacynics, you should start.  It’s a great comic, Ash and Steve are cool people.  I recently made a DeskCade for them.  This time I tried it out of Acrylic.  It took less time, but cost a bit more in raw material.  I’m really happy with the look of it though.  I have to find a better materials supplier.

Ornaments

I’ve also started making some ornaments on the laser cutter.  I’m thinking of starting an Etsy store for them.  I’m taking requests, so leave a comment!

 

Take care all!

Sep 16

It’s Alive!!!!

Hey All,

Excited to post today.  I was out shopping today at Walmart and I came across a portable battery pack charger on clearance.  I had tried to use a friend’s Duracell Portable charger and while it would power the Pi, it only outputted 500mA so it wasn’t able to power my LCD.  I took a chance and picked this battery pack up and what do you know…it worked!

It’s a Kodak Power Pack KP1000 – 5v 700mA.


I’m now one step closer to my portable gaming station 🙂

-Shea

Sep 01

Friday Post: Arduino Keyboard Joystick

Hey all,

It’s been a long week, and I am really glad I have a long weekend to sleep in.

When the Arduino Leonardo was announced I was really excited to see it have built in USB HID support and could act as a keyboard, mouse, or joystick.  I was even more excited to find out that my year old Teensy++ (Arduino compatible board) was based on the same chipset that the Leonardo now uses, and is able to act as a keyboard as well!

This is a new feature that was introduced in the Arduino 1.0 IDE.  You can now send keyboard presses with this simple line of code: Keyboard.write(‘a’);  If I wanted the Up joystick to be the up arrow on the keyboard, I would just use: Keyboard.write(0x0E); .

.

My goal is to use my Neo Geo AES controllers as an input for MAME.  The Neo Geo pads don’t have any control boards built into the unit.  The console itself interprets each pin individually, just like an actual arcade board.  The pad uses a standard midi gameport (DA-15) connector, with each pin representing one button.

My idea is to make a Neo Geo pad to usb adapter using the Teensy++ as go-between.  The Neo Geo pins will be wired up to the digital pins on the Teensy, and the Teensy Arduino sketch will interpret each button press as a keyboard press.

I’m looking forward to working on this project.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and a restful Labor Day.