Cancer Ten Years On

As I’ve mentioned on this blog I had a bit of a run in with Lymphoma back in 2006/2007. Well here we are and ten years have passed so what’s changed in this time? LOTS! But more importantly what has changed within me, the survivor?
Well I’m cancer free, and I have issues related to my treatment that have effected me both physically and mentally. It’s more of the mental health that are my biggest problems.

I have issues with certain parts of the treatment I received, namely Radiotherapy and the high dose of Methotrexate. It was the latter that causes me the most trouble. But why? this is the question that plagues me still. There’s no logic in why I feel the way I do, but if the mind was this simple to question then my issues wouldn’t exist! The issue of Radiotherapy isn’t one of a mental issue but that of a physical. I suffered from burns to my tongue, throat and neck, and the healing of these wounds took longer than it would if my body wasn’t so run down. Today the effects of those burns has affected my taste due to about 2/3rd of my taste buds being removed!

All through this I’d lost my ability to smell, I originally thought it was due to the necrotic¬†tissue that had physically blocked my nose. However several months post radiotherapy and my nose had almost cleared up, but not a hint of my sense of smell was going to return any time soon. ūüė°

Then finally in 2013 we got around to doing what was planned for 2006! (but only one!)

Arduino Due & Electrosmash pedalSHIELD

I recently purchased an Arduino Due from an $18USD credit from ITEAD. I immediately went searching for something unique to use it for, that’s when I found the ElectroSmash pedalSHEILD and thought that’s the perfect thing.

Above is a picture off Electrosmash’s website showing how it all fits together, below is my finished product. 

It took me about two hours to complete the kit. The instructions were clear and precise and plenty of pictures if you needed to double check something. 

Below is the ITEAD Arduino Due clone that was purchased separately. This is the only board that can be used with the pedalSHIELD Due, however there’s the option for the Arduino Uno called the pedalSHIELD Uno. (not pictured) 

At this stage I’ve tried all the example sketches but haven’t had time yet to try my hand at making something uniquely my own sound. 

Seriously Joking, Right? 

Most likely the worst twitter suggested follow I’ve ever received! #youhavegottobefuckingkiddinme

STEMTera Kickstarter

On September 28th the STEMTera bread board was launched on Kickstarter. This is an Arduino compatible micro controller inside a modified solder less bread board. This caught my attention because I mainly tinker with Arduino stuff whilst sitting on the couch! So there are times when I’d have multiple pieces of gear with a rat’s nest of wires (that’s pretty much the norm for this kind of thing!) However the STEMTera bread board essentially removes the need to have your micro controller then a bread board for components , in that you can place items directly on the STEMTera thus saving some space (if that’s a concern) so I pledged for the $45 backing with delivery for mid to late December. Oh and I got mine in black as that to me seemed logical for the least amount of light bleeding through the plastic cover.

stemtera black

Skip forward a few weeks and I’m now using the STEMTera board as my go to board for anything Atmel 328p based. I’m kind of hoping that a SAMD (M0) or STM32 (M3) will become a reality in the not to distant future.

LED Tea Light

With Xmas not far away I’d ordered some LED tea Lights for the wife to make some decorations to give away to the family. ¬†I was interested to find out what was driving the LED, but because all the candles were required I was not able to autopsy one to find out. ¬†This got me thinking, I have an Adafruit Trinket that would be great to drive an LED via PWM and create the desired flame effect.


Now after searching the web for examples of what it was I wanted to do, I finally settled on this one from .ledhacker¬†This is pretty much what I was after! Here’s a copy of that original code…

#define FLICKER_LED_PIN 10
// the start of the flicker (low)
static int flicker_low_min = 200;
static int flicker_low_max = 240;
// the end value of the flicker (high)
static int flicker_high_min = 230;
static int flicker_high_max = 256;
// delay between each low-high-low cycle
// low->high |flicker_hold| high->low
static int flicker_hold_min = 40; // milliseconds
static int flicker_hold_max = 80; // milliseconds
// delay after each low-high-low cycle
// low->high->low |flicker_pause| low->high...
static int flicker_pause_min = 100; // milliseconds
static int flicker_pause_max = 200;  // milliseconds
// delay low to high and high to low cycle
static int flicker_speed_min = 900; // microseconds
static int flicker_speed_max = 1000; // microseconds
void setup() {
int flicker_random_low_start = 0;
int flicker_random_low_end = 0;
int flicker_random_high = 0;
int flicker_random_speed_start = 0;
int flicker_random_speed_end = 0;
void loop() {
  // random time for low
  flicker_random_low_start = random(flicker_low_min, flicker_low_max);
  flicker_random_low_end = random(flicker_low_min, flicker_low_max);
  // random time for high
  flicker_random_high = random(flicker_high_min, flicker_high_max);
  // random time for speed
  flicker_random_speed_start = random(flicker_speed_min, flicker_speed_max);
  flicker_random_speed_end = random(flicker_speed_min, flicker_speed_max);
  // low -> high
  for (int i = flicker_random_low_start; i<flicker_random_high; <span="" class="hiddenGrammarError" pre="" data-mce-bogus="1">i++) {
    analogWrite(FLICKER_LED_PIN, i);
  // hold
  delay(random(flicker_hold_min, flicker_hold_max));
  // high -> low
  for (int i = flicker_random_high; i>=flicker_random_low_end; i--) {
    analogWrite(FLICKER_LED_PIN, i);
  // pause
  delay(random(flicker_pause_min, flicker_pause_max));

So I loaded this on¬†the Trinket and at first I didn’t include a current limiting resistor and the LED showed a slight flicker, but not anything like a flickering tea light! After adding the current limiting resistor (220ő©)and that didn’t really change much except for dim the LED ever so slightly. ¬†So obviously I needed to tweak the code and see what I end up with..

Now my first thoughts on why it didn’t work out as expected is that the code was obviously written for a 5v logic, however this trinket is 3.3v logic. I made the following changes (after a little fiddling)and got more of what I was after ¬†ūüôā

< #define FLICKER_LED_PIN 10
> #define FLICKER_LED_PIN 0
< static int flicker_low_min = 200;
< static int flicker_low_max = 240;
> static int flicker_low_min = 15;
> static int flicker_low_max = 175;
< static int flicker_high_min = 230;
> static int flicker_high_min = 180;
< static int flicker_hold_min = 40; // milliseconds
> static int flicker_hold_min = 20; // milliseconds
< static int flicker_speed_min = 900; // microseconds
> static int flicker_speed_min = 800; // microseconds

As you can see I only made small changes to some timings and they seemed to work better for the 3.3v logic

The next thing was how long would this run on a 1000mah lipo battery? well, somewhere between 4 to 5 days!

I’ve placed the code and supplement files on github should you¬†wish to make one. ūüôā

Migrating to HTPPS

Over the next coming weeks I’ll be gradually updating old blog posts to be fully compliant to https, Should I find anything that can’t be done then depending on the content I’ll most like just delete it!

For now I’ve forced a redirect from http to https at the server level, hence why some content may not display correctly (especially links to external sites that are http only)

So I suppose just watch this space? ūüėČ

Kickstarter or not? 

I’ve only ever backed one project on Kickstarter, and so far I’ve never seen the product and just keep getting updates claiming that things are going well, oops no there’s a problem with X…  Ok we’re back on track…  Nope now there’s problems with Y. 

So I backed the ZNAPS project in July 2015 and the initial statement made was that a product would be delivered by December (2015) so here we are now August 2016 and still nothing has even been confirmed as being complete and ready to ship.  Ok so this isn’t an issue with Kickstarter, because they are just a means of advertising your product and gaining funds (they take a percentage) so the problem solely lies with the people who are ZNAPS. If you read through the comments on Kickstarter you’ll see comments after comment all stating their dissatisfaction with the way the whole thing has unfolded. 

The Demise of Medicare 

‚Äč$61 to visit my GP when this used to be bulk billed. That’s almost half of my weekly DSP income! #auspol #lnpkillingmedicare 

Disappointed Doesn’t Even Come Close…¬†

Well the election results are in and…  Fuck me,  how stupid are people? 

Enter the Nexus 5X

It’s that time again where my phone contract had expired and my Nexus 5 battery was spending more time on the charger than active use. So I was going to look into replacing the battery, but the last time I got a so-called OEM battery (Galaxy Nexus) I got something that said one thing but its actual capacity was something totally different.¬† So I was cautious about getting stung again, plus there was the possibility that I’d bugger up the replacement process and end up with a phone that’s only good for a paperweight!
So I decided to look at what my provider had on offer and was surprised to see that they had the Google Nexus 5X and 6P. I’m not interested in a phone that is borderline to the size of a tablet so we went with the Nexus 5X. I was a little hesitant¬†at first about the Nexus 5X because I initially just thought it would be just a re-release of the original Nexus 5. I was wrong! it’s a new phone altogether and with some noticeable¬†differences.

imageThe next thing to decide on was a suitable case to protect the phone from the day-to-day abuse it will endure. After looking at what was available from the Google Play Store. I was surprised at the costs! really they were expensive with prices ranging from $34AUD to $59AUD. Because you have to purchase them sight unseen, I wasn’t keen to shell out for say the most expensive without seeing some kind of review or similar. Now this is where YouTube is your friend! so after watching several videos on all of the cases, I opted to go with the Adopted¬†Case.