Another oddball item arrived today, a 75 foot Siecor Gold fiber optic cable. Two strands, tiny stuff. I got it on one of those 99 cent bids.. mainly because I haven't played with optic fiber and seventy five feet of it for a buck was a no brainer.
What makes you think the mower isn't collecting data on you, watching your every move? Sending covert messages to forward the plans of our rapidly coming Robot Overlords?
I recently had to "dispose of" an end table and spent six hours interrogating an eleven speed mixer, after I noticed they were getting a little bit TOO comfortable listening in on my phone coversations.
You really cannot be too careful.
(maybe I ought to go take my pills now, twitchtwitch)
The grist mill is great however, and still in operation. Even better is Nathan, the caretaker. Not only does he mill flour and stuff with the mill daily and sell baking mixes and the like, he MAINTAINS the mill by hand. Every part replaced is a hand-made part, most carved from wood. He's a fascinating guy to talk to- if you let him, he'll drag around to weird little spots and tell you how long it took to replace a hand-carved wooden gear three feet across. And show you how he made it. Truly defines the word Artisan.
Hey Michael, by the way- if you are ever interested in doing it, there is always call for local theater groups and that sort of thing. The gigs are of course usually unpaid or at best a token payment, but you do get visibility and experience that is hard to get otherwise-- and theater people are a quirky amusing bunch. As you are into the Steampunk/Ren/etc fair scene, it's pretty much that same, odd subset of folks that are the theater folks. They also tend to get really amazed and appreciative of any technical assistance on props- Making a "haunted" table jump (solenoid) and bang... that's a miracle to them, frequently. For Blithe, they needed a crystal ball to light up, but had no way to do it without a cord. I slapped a three watt power LED and a cell phone battery in the base, and it's the best thing sliced bread as far as they are concerned. Low effort, but amount of comments and accolades for it has been just silly. I haven't even done anything actually involving an Arduino yet.. but it will happen I'm sure of it.
If you give a call to the local arts groups, you will rapidly be inundated with requests.. and though not usually rewarding cash wise, it's usually very much so, amusement and challenge wise.. over the next couple of weeks I'll be doing Wizard of Oz, Annie, Blithe Spirit, and MacBeth. I'm sure there's plenty around Ayer- it occured to me after chatting at KRF that if you aren't already, you seemed the type that really ought to be well ensconced with the local theater groups.
Attached is a shot of "Charles" for "Blithe Spirit", local theater doing it. Took the press shots for the local paper last Thursday. Supposed to come across as 1940 ish British and snobby... but look at it from the Depth of Field standpoint-- that's where those lenses that you can drive a truck through really shine. No flash used, this is 100w Halogen PAR sidelit at about 6000K, hair and balance at about 2500K, 50w halogen and 20w LED. Next to it is a still from the original 1945 film, where Charles is played by Rex Harrison. The shot was taken with my Canon Rebel T2i, you can buy the camera with stock lens at Walmart for under $500. A Canon 50mm prime f1.8 is another $89, the f/1.4 (only recently purchased, the King Richard's Faire gig paid for that lens) is more like $600, and still debating whether that upcharge for that increase is really worth it. I know that you are another who takes pride in good results from minimalist equipment
Making shots like this happen is a LOT of fun I am quite pleased with the work I did, it doesn't look out of place even next to the original cinema work. As the guy with the camera, you become the director. Getting the "Charles" look right took quite a while, but I think it came out pretty decent . Not bad considering he's a local accountant. "Elvira" will be coming over to the house later tonight, so I can shoot some stuff with her that emphasizes that she is quite dead, while still elegant, flirty and witty. That's right, an attractive zombie.
(okay I promise no more hijacking the thread, didn't mean to get so far off track!)
OP: The thing is, I would recommend that you go and search around Craigslist or something, and see if you can buy yourself a gently used digital SLR with a basic lens (usually they come with 18-55mm or similar basic zoom lens). A Canon Rebel XT or XTi with that lens could probably be had these days used for two hundred dollars and would give you a tool that you won't regret having gotten! I'm a Canon guy myself, but Nikon and Minolta and Sony (among others!) also produce a decent entry-level digital SLR for several years now- so the secondary market is easy to shop for a bargain. Maybe try a Adorama or another well-known vendor of refurbs also.
It's selling for $140.. so there's going to be quite a few for the under-$200-price tag range. My Rebel XT was my first digital SLR, and it's still going strong today. Several shots for Blithe came from it.
Used for Macro, that camera and lens can do quite well. This stop-motion shot I took with the XT and 18-55mm, using Arduino to trigger a flash timed for the impact of a paint drop into a bowl:
So true. Even worse when camera dorks like me forget to do that kind of thing on an ACTUAL 24 megapixel image. In RAW (without lossy, poorly done JPG compression done on an MCU) it's not uncommon to have 20 megabytes for a single picture. Since the first hard drive I ever owned would have only held half of one picture, I think we can agree that storage amount is overkill.
Most digitals have many resolutions to choose from, even the cheapos. Since a lot of people don't want to edit, just frame, click and post- at least setting the resolution to something reasonable like 4 megapixel or something like 1024x768 is good electronic hygiene.
The sensors, even the cheap ones, are getting remarkably good. The Iphone 5 sensor's signal to noise ratio is better than the sensor in my first "Prosumer" digital SLR- but the fact that the sensor is larger and has infinitely better glass in front of it make the images, though technically noiser, a heck of a lot better than anything any iphone ever will produce. Light physics doesn't change to meet marketing blurbs, usually. That being said, it's usually the expensive gear that has aperture ranges that create the depth of field issues. f/8 is probably about right, but if you are trying to do macro with a 50mm f/1.4 you're gonna have a problem. The fifty dollar f/8 lump o glass is far better for macro than the $700 1.4 (at least until you stop down the 50mm to f/8 that is)
Photography is great in that in many ways it is a very exacting science- I find it hard to think of it in terms of Art, I picked up a camera as an outlet after being an engineer for years. I like to think that my tendency to overthink and overengineer shots as being just another aspect of being the nerd I am proud to be I am well known locally (and getting requests from troupes regularly now) for doing theatrical photography- extremely tricky low-light work, and worst of all, it's PEOPLE, so they actually have to look good!
As I am sure you know, it takes time and practice to rewire things after something like that- but if exercised, that muscle between the ears can be incredibly resilient. You've had to reteach some things to yourself, but having done so proves you are likely to be able to do more.
Yep, was about to put together an email to you. I need to run to the pharmacy and pick up a few things, but the planned mail boils down to:
Everything you have described so far is well within the possible.. in fact, I am using my first RTC on a project at the moment, I am using Dallas 12887+. Did you post about your project before, on the old forum? I seem to remember something similar to your project, if it was you, it may be useful for us to review it as a "here we are and here is where we are going" thing.
I've posted before about Arduino and tinkering in general being a great form of therapy.. and I applaud your efforts on many levels. Recovering from something like that is a tremendous battle, and engaging and challenging your mind is a huge part of that recovery. Taking the initiative on that-- guiding your own recovery- I consider it an honor to be able to help with that if I can.
Do you ever use Skype or that sort of thing? Whatever suits you best.
Off to do those errands, then I'll send that email with my contact information and all that.
The cost will be exactly zero, at least for any assistance I provide. I'm disabled myself, Crohns and some associated fun and games. One thing I often have is time.
I'll be happy to help, and may be of particular use because I spent five years working with disabled patients including adaptive equipment and therapies- I have background in practical Occupational and Physical Therapy, as well as adaptive learning and communication hardware.
What do you need, and how can I assist?
Curious, BTW- "midwest"- Where in the Midwest? It's a pretty big place, spent most of my growing up years in a tiny town in Wisconsin..
Oh, worth mentioning: If you do the soda bottle thing, it works very well for other home and yard pests also. Simply use an attractant that is specific to the bugs you want to stop.
Flies respond well with a small wad of meat or dog droppings as an attractant. Always add some water, it both helps spread the odor and drowns the bugs. Just about anything nasty is good for flies. As more and more flies die and the whole mess gets nastier, it only gets MORE effective as time goes on.
Sugar water (add some borax for extra killing power) always is good for ants and many other crawlies.
Yellow Jackets and Japanese Beetles work well with their respective phermone attractant packs, they can be bought as "refills" for the commercially made version of the same trap idea. By the way, FYI- Yellow Jacket Phermone Attractant works very well. As in you should never ever ever ever NEVER consider squirting one through the window of a random car in a parking lot at the ball game. Ever.
The scheme also scales up nicely:
55 gallon drum, inverted cone "funnel" of sheet metal, hang a couple of corn cobs a few inches higher than the rim. Rats, Squirrels, etc- put a foot of water in the bottom. Come back in a few days and dump the bodies, add more water. A slightly different but even more effective rat eliminator is a chunk of rain downspout with the bait hanging in front of the end. Place it over the barrel and have it pivot so that when the rat runs down the pipe to get the bait, it's own weight causes the downspout pipe to pivot, dumping the rat into the barrel. With the weight of the rat gone, the spout falls back down and is reset... next "customer" please...
It's also possible to do something similar with a tanker truck and Raspberry Pi or Arduino Due. I'm a decent swimmer, but....
My personal favorite and eco friendly option is to re-use a soda two-liter bottle. Stick a couple around the yard- they work. Well. My kids actually argue over who gets to make the mosquito traps we put out the day before we are planning to have folks over.
Cut off the top about 1/3 the way down the bottle, flip it and place inside the bottle to form a funnel into the remainder of the bottle. Attach with tape.
Make a solution of 1/4 cup brown sugar in two cups warm water, allow to come to room temperature, and then toss in a packet of yeast. Pour the mess into the bottle via the funnel.
Sugar and yeast make CO2 for long periods. Mosquitoes hunt by CO2. They follow the Co2 down the funnel, and then cannot get back out. Kills THOUSANDS of mosquitoes a day, give it a try. If you want, skip making sugar water and just use some of the soda, or best possible- use the half bottle of soda the kids left out on the counter.
Eco-friendly, Non-toxic, Can be made by anyone.. and essentially Free, to boot! I get that your project is directed at people that have.. ummm... much more money than need... "Skymall" sells this kind of thing. I just don't see how the poverty-stricken folk are going to buy something that costs $100+ per room and provides less than 100% protection, like netting does. It's cute, but how practical is this for the poverty-stricken folk of Brazil this is aimed at?
I'll take a look at your project... Take a minute and take a look at mine, if you would:
I remember an addage from Spanish class in High School: ""En Boca Cerrada, No Entra Moscas.."
Longer term, the best solution is treating the area's standing water with a culture of Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelii- it's a bacteria which is predatory on the nymphs of the mosquito. Very effective, safe, and cheap. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis I have a half dozen "pucks" of retail-sold culture, waiting for the warmer weather to toss into the swampy spot behind my fence.. without BTI, it's moquito heaven. With BTI, even my neighbors comment on how many fewer mosquitoes are around.
BTI was used after Katrina in the New Orleans area to treat swimming pools which had become nothing more than bug farms after they were abandoned.. the military and department of the interior both have programs implementing BTI as a disease control measure in the works.