Fri, 30 Mar 2007

The Shangri-La Diet 2

Been on the diet for about a month. I don't feel like I'm losing weight very quickly, but of course, that's a benefit, not a feature. Good things happen slowly, bad things happen quickly. I noticed that I've been really hungry the last few days. Then I realized how much bicycling I've been doing. Of course the diet predicts that I'll be more hungry. Eat to maintain setpoint. Exercise and you'll just get hungrier

Going to India for a week. I'll have to switch to hot sugar water, but in the land of tea, that shouldn't be a problem. I'll also try eating as many strange (to me) foods as I can.

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Ride starting Fri Mar 30 18:30:06 2007

15.88 km 52094.51 feet 9.87 mi 2730.00 seconds 45.50 minutes 0.76 hours 13.01 mi/hr

Just a bit on the cool side today. In the thick of maple sugar season. Freezy nights, melty days. Just what the sap run needs, but it makes bicycling a bit cool. Saw a gazillion deer, all of them bold enough to just look at me, even when I talked to them. They're like "What? Does he think he's scary just because he's a human??" I was disappointed that they didn't even care to look at me.

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Mark XII Electronics

The Mark XII keyboard is as yet unbuilt. I'm happy enough with the Mark XI physical design. With a little bit more work, it's manufacturable, except for the electronics. For that, I need something which consumes less power, is smaller, can implement chording, and implements the HID profile. That perfectly describes the Broadcom BCM2042 bluetooth keyboard controller.

Unfortunately, that chip is a BGA chip, which is hard to work with. Fortunately, several companies implement Broadcom's 92042 bluetooth keyboard module. Blue Packet is one of them. They sell the 2042 on their BP20422 bluetooth keyboard module (to which I can't link directly, but it's off the drop box.) They haven't (yet) committed to modifying 8051 firmware with the necessary chording algorithm, but I'm confident that I can talk them into it. Talk, yes, and money. Unfortunately, the module on the PC board isn't working. I suspect that I toasted it while soldering it to the PC board.

Speaking of the PC board, my friend DJ Delorie very graciously answered my questions about how to use PCB, the Open Source PCB package. Then, he even volunteered to make the board for me. Ahhh, it's to nice to have college buddies. They make your life so much easier. This first cut at a board is just a footprint adapter. I wanted something from which to hang discretes, as well as have good access to the pins. Plus, Blue Packet hadn't yet sent me the schematics.

I have ordered another ten modules from Blue Packet. That should be enough to get a good prototype working, even without the chording firmware. I'll only be able to type 7 keys without chording, but I'll have all the electronics in order at that point.

Blue Packet (Thumbnail)
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Mark XI keyboard

Been sitting on this version of the keyboard, but I want to get it out there. This one is much smaller and stealthier. It also puts the keys on a flexible PC board. That's much more manufacturable than the previous versions which used the key's mounting straps. The keys flex a little along with the PC board, but that's not a big problem. Because the keyboard is cupped, that gives it much more strength than if it were flat. And the pressure from the fingers is always directed against the direction of the cupping, so physics is my friend here.

This version is just the flexible PC board, mounted in a chunk of shapelock. It doesn't pocket as well as the Mark X keyboard, whose thumb rest folded. But, it's sturdier, lighter and fits well in my hand. The back view shows how the big ugly electronics (hopefully the Mark XII electronics will be smaller), the palm support, and the way the thumb rests on the battery box. You can see the PC board just a bit here. In the back of the hand view, not much shows beyond the fingers.

back view (Thumbnail) back of the hand view. (Thumbnail) side of the hand view (Thumbnail) top of the keyboard (Thumbnail)

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Tai Chi Power Training

So, after tonight's Tai Chi power training session, I was stoking up the furnace with some scrap wood. I had a too-long piece of 5/4" square hardwood. Not something easily broken. I tapped it on the door of the furnace and said "You're not going to break that with your arms".

Thought about what we learned today about compressive and expansive force and remembered Dragon's Back. Not exactly part of the form, but we practice it as much. It's a Chi Kung movement which slowly whips the back forward and backward like a snake, while the arms follow the whipping motion out in front of the head. So I generated power from the legs, through the Dragon's Back, and out into my arms, moved it down about 6" and snapped it clean in half.

Now that's the way to break a piece of wood. None of this karate breaking of pine boards with the grain for me. :-)

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