Quadcopter project resumed

Over a year ago I decided I wanted to build a small Quadcopter. I bought some Hexatronic 5 gram brushless DC motors (HXM1400-2000) and some 6A Turnigy speed controllers. I designed a lightweight aluminium frame on CAD and did some research on how to stabilise it and control the four motors.

I came across an open source flight controller project designed for Quadcopters called Simple Flight Controller (SFC) which is based on an MSP430 – specifically the RF2500 2.4GHz development modules. I modified the source to compile on MSPGCC and got it to say “hello world” to me but then had to shelve it due to pressing work projects. Continue reading

Raspberry Pi – it’s here!

My Raspberry Pi arrived a few days ago but I’ve been too busy with work to play with it until last night when I did make time to boot it with the default Debian image. All worked perfectly and I’m impressed with the little pi 8-)

I fancy trying RaspBMC on it next…

Restore a Windows7 Master Boot Record

A friend of mine recently asked me to install Linux on her laptop which I was happy to do. I installed Xubuntu alongside Windows7 as dual boot. After a few days of use, she complained that the Ordnance Survey “Getamap” webpage would not work. When I investigated, I found out that the website requires Silverlight to be installed in order to work.

When vieweing the OS website in Firefox or Chromium on Xubuntu, it asked to install Silverlight then set about installing Moonlight (the Linux alternative since Silverlight only seems to work on Windows). Sadly, Moonlight does not support the while Silverlight API therefore the website would still not work properly. Continue reading

Searching for a Linux Twitter client

I am definitely not a Twitter Power User however I do like following tweets from a small number of interesting people. On Windows, I spent some time finding a Twitter client that I liked using and eventually came across Digsby which suited me. Unfortunately Digsby was aquired by a rival in the recent past and it seems that almost all development ceased. The fact that Digsby continues to be widely used despite no real support is a credit to the original developers. Anyway, having settled on a client for Windows, the search began again for a Linux alternative that was similar to Digsby. Continue reading

Customising Xubuntu and Migrating XP

Having settled on using Xubuntu, the next task was to customise it to my liking and see if I could migrate my old XP installation into VirtualBox so that I could continue to use Windows specific software that I need.

I installed Opera and transfered across my sessions, bookmarks and wand data. This was straight forward. Next I removed the default Thunderbird email client and installed Evolution mail (which to me is more like Microsoft Outlook). Next, I removed Abi word and installed Libre Office – all straight forward. Continue reading

A new laptop and a move to Linux

A new laptop

I’ve been using Windows XP Professional since about 2003, originally on a laptop with 512MB RAM and for the last few years on a laptop with 1GB RAM; recently upgraded to 2GB.  I have been reasonably happy with it to be fair and especially happy when Vista came along and I saw others complaining.  In the last year or two I’ve had more customers asking me to write programs that will run on Win7 and some of them specifically asking for 64bit versions so I’ve periodically had to gain access to a Win7 machine for software testing.  This year I decided to upgrade my laptop and go for an i5 processor with 8GB RAM. It was advertised as 4GB but an optional 4GB RAM upgrade was available for just £20 extra so I thought it would be silly not to go for it. Continue reading

Aluminium Cylinder Puzzle

Recently, while I was searching for some info about hack saws on the internet, I stumbled across a website by a chap called Chris Raynerd.  I was interested in many of the posts on Chris’s website but my attention was initially grabbed by his Aluminium Cylinder Puzzle.  Apparently the puzzle was designed by William Strijbos.

Having seen the puzzle, I decided I would like to have a go at making one myself so I contacted Chris to ask for further details.   Fortunately Chris got back to me and kindly sent me a drawing.  Armed with this, the search for ball bearings started in earnest! – I found a worn ball race that I had not disposed of after replacing the drum bearings in our washing machine so the steel balls were rapidly liberated ready to start a new life. Continue reading

A new start with WordPress

I’ve had a weblog since the mid nineties (althought it wasn’t called that then) when the internet was in it’s infancy and for the majority of that time is has been a static website with a fixed set of pages that I edited manually in Notepad.

My first foray into content management systems was with CMSimple which is very good when you do not want to use a database at the back end but configuration is not as straight forward as it might be and getting plugins to work nicely together can be tricky.

Recently I have started seeing more and more Wordpress sites that I like the looks of so I thought it about time for a revamp.  So far, I am pretty impressed with Wordpress :-)