Friday, 27 November 2009

Vaio and Skype

Vaio has some webcam issues when it comes to Skype video calls (or should that be the other way around). Anyway, the problem is that Skype defaults to using a bluetooth webcam, which if you only have the basic onboard webcam, you'll crash Skype.

There has been musings of various fixed beta versions and workarounds, but it turns out you can fix it in 5 seconds. Just do the following (and take backups in case it doesn't work).

1. Find the C:\Users\you\AppData\Roaming\Skype\username\ folder and open the config.xml
2. Change the line
from: <Device>Bluetooth Video</Device>
to: <Device>USB Video Device</Device>

voila, now it doesn't try to access a bluetooth device, so it doesn't crash.

Monday, 6 July 2009

film based drinking games

A little ditty about how film based drinking games are supposed to work compared to how they are often designed. Let’s first have a look at what a drinking game is supposed to achieve:

Film based Drinking game (n): An activity designed to make the participants far drunker than they had intended through the use of previously unnoticed repetition within a favourite film.

Here you can see that the Collin’s dictionary has made a good point. Drinking games should get you drunk when you weren’t intending to. If you were willing to drink copious amounts of alcohol then you don’t need a drinking game. If you are not willing to do this, then you won’t want to do it by choice. What you need is an ambush.

So person A (let’s say Andy for simplicity), wants to get drunk with person B (Bill), but Bill doesn’t really want to drink too much. “Hey Bill” says A, “Let’s just drink and watch a film that you really like”. William will obviously agree to this. “Let’s make it a drinking game” suggests Andrew. Now Will is not about to say yes to this one unless he believes that there won’t be that much drink involved. There are now two options:

Option A: A furnishes B with a two page list of various events that occur in the film with the phrase “Drink when the following happens” at the top.

Option B: A says just one thing that if it happens in the film they must drink to.

Now option A will clearly have B spotting the dangers ahead and backing out. But option B has Bill thinking that he knows this film and can’t remember it happening too much, so it’s safe to take the challenge.

Sadly, far too many of the online “film drinking games” fall into the first category, with a massive page of detailed events listed that you must drink to. The other major problem with this is that even if you were game to try and do it, that you must stay sober and aware enough to constantly peruse a long list.

Instead let me give you an example of how I believe a drinking game should look:

Sin City.
Drink whilst the following is happening:
1. A colour is shown other than black and white.

That’s it. Bill will think “That does happen a few times, but is a fair challenge”. Before long he has drunk enough through being surprised at his underestimate of exactly how often this happens. Do try this one by the way. It’s a fun one.

Here are some other simple ones:
Blade: Drink along with vampires. Whilst a vampire is feeding, you have to be drinking.
Wayne’s World: Drink whilst anyone is talking to the camera.
Terminator 2: Drink during gun fire. If you’re less capable of holding your drink, drink whenever the kid’s voice cracks.
Lord of the Rings: Every time someone falls over
Dazed and Confused: Every time the kid touches his hair.
Saving Private Ryan Anytime anyone dies (Apologies for the bad taste)
Batman Begins: Anytime someone says gotham
Clockwork Orange: Any time someone uses a made up word

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

wiring for headset

I've recently had to rewire my Creative Fatal1ty headset. Following this, someone has asked how I did it as apparently the same thing has happened to them (following an entanglement with my chair, it ripped the cable apart where the mic and headphone leads join to make a single wire to the headset).

The wires available are:
from the mic port - white and gold
from the speaker port - blue, red and gold
from the headset - green, white, gold, red, blue.

The white is hidden inside the unshielded gold wire, and needs to be separated.

The diagram below should show how the wires match up. I did this through trial and error and it seems to be back working at 100%.

Friday, 19 June 2009

dah da-da-daaaaa! 100th post.

Invention time again. Though I think a better phrase might be innovation. On my list of things to do before I die (alongside of 'make a necklace from a bullet that I have been shot with' and 'fire someone'), is 'Make a gauss or rail gun'. I'm sure that a lot of you haven't heard of either, and others will know it only from Half-Life games. Here's a quick layman's description, written by a layman.

A rail gun uses the magnetic force (called the Lorentz force), produced when a conductive object moves simultaneously along 2 rails. One of these rails is positively charged, the other negatively.

A gauss (or coil) gun uses one or more coils of wire around the barrel of a gun to attract the metal projectile towards and through it. These are often set up in sequence to produce a series of accelerating events.

I've seen the "ball bearing" gauss gun (, but I don't count this as a great life achievement to make one myself.

There's also a rail gun experiment (, but this really isn't very "gun" like.

Instead I will try using a mixture of ring and cylinder magnets. Hopefully I can get the cylinder magnet to accelerate along a "run" of magnets

For a irritatingly narrated look at what rail guns can do, see here:

Parts for my gun will arrive next week. Time will tell. Sooner or later... time will tell

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Slovikian SIM slots and Soldering

So time is ticking away before I am forced to leave (by my own misguided sense of adventure), to the opposite side of the world to meet my match against giant bugs. The glone Mk2 is looking more and more like it won't get finished before I'm off.

In the mean time I can at least update you and make a record of how far I reached so that I might be able to restart it when I get back.

A couple of major stumbling blocks so far:
The LCD soldering is MASSIVELY fiddly. I would seriously advise anyone who is thinking of doing something similar to ask a friend who does this professionally to give their advice or just do it for them. I think the ideal would actually to use soldering paste from a syringe that is set using a heater. The biggest issue of course is that if I allow the solder or wires to touch more than one connector, it will short the screen. It doesn't help that I can't get the solder to even apply to one of the connectors because, I assume, it is perfectly flat.

Using ribbon cable isn't as trouble solving, so much as trouble causing. It may look nice when it is all said and done, but to have nice neat flat ribbon coming from the box means that all the wires have to be kept together and split when they reach their contacts.

The 3310 does not use a common ground for its buttons as I had initially hoped. It's not even neat. The common grounds (for reference), are:
- up, down, 3
- Select, 2, 5, 8,
- Cancel, 1, 4, 7, *
- 6, 9, #, 0

Madness! Well that's how it looks to an outsider like me, but Nokia aren't the only ones to do this so I guess they must know a reason for this complication. It does leave me with some 36 wires coming from the arm box to the hand box for splitting up. Gah! Somehow this "simplified version" has exploded from innocence to a world of detailed electronics and colour coding of everything to maintain sanity.

Some pics of components:

The tactile switches used on the fingers (pen for scale)

The armbox getting a lick of paint. It's going to be metallic when finished.

The SIM card holder (all the way from Slovakia).

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Progress is slow but steady...

So the parts are arriving and assembly has begun. The two time consuming / fiddly bits that I am yet to do and rather actively avoiding are:
i) Soldering the wires to the phone's PCB (I've managed to break a phone in the past on this bit).
ii) Cutting and stitching the leather. Leather is rather hard work and I need to get the fingers just the right size and shape to contain the tactile buttons and wires.

Other parts are coming along. I have created a rather novel way to turn on the phone using a key lock and then a pair of tactile buttons that must be "squeezed" to operate and power up the phone. I still love the idea of using an analogue meter, but they are just too big and cumbersome to be worthwhile.

The boxes have been painted, but I'm not happy with the colours (they look too bright and happy; not the sombre, rusted copper of many other steampunk gadgets).

The vibrate feature needs to be finalised. I like the idea of the vibrator sit against a cat bell, which should make it ring like an old phone (or closely approximate it).

I'll put some preliminary photos up here soon.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

how to hold a SIM?

With the glone2 still in the initial design phase, I am finding it very hard to keep my ideas simple, lest it quickly become another pipe dream.

Having said that, I am adding new bits to it at an alarming rate. Recently, I have been looking at the idea of an aerial in the product. This obviously must be functional and also away from the body and relatively efficient. It must also however, fit the "look". I would like to have it resemble a light bulb coil; sitting externally to the phone casing. I am thinking carefully coiled 2mm copper cable.

Of course, I have no idea whether this will function as an effective aerial. I don't know the wavelengths of Nokias, how coiling the wire will change it and indeed what to do with the facts if I were to be handed them. The last thing that I want to do is just to blindly build it and find that the device has no signal.

Secondly on the ideas board is the battery holder. This is another box that will sit on the forearm. I'd like to have an LED and ignition key attached in series with the battery terminal. This way the phone won't be permanently live and might save it from being damaged.

Finally is the issue of the SIM card. Now the original Glone had this hidden away on the underside of the pcb. This is not the case on the Nokia, which handily has a small plastic block with the terminals on it. The Glone2 must have a way for the user to insert a SIM card with little fuss, but how? It could be a small slot that the user pushes the card into, leaving a little sticking out for later retrieval, or design a hatch to access the SIM card "bay". Either way will require some fancy construction to create an object capable of holding the card in place. This was why I avoided it on the original.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


With the publication of the glone, it has been really interesting and rather rewarding to finally get some feedback following weeks of fiddling in my bedroom (teehee).

My intention was to always end up with a steampunk looking device, which I feel that the glone sacrificed for usability/feasibility.

This time, the theory has been proven, and so it is time to make one that fits the second part of my ideal: to have the right look.

Interestingly, following the feedback, certain other things have come into view.

1) What is the health risk of keeping a phone so close to the skin?
2) Are buttons really ideal?

I had looked at alternatives to the buttons earlier on, but small buttons lent themselves to the design due to their ease of application and general look. However size is now more important to me. With the Samsung, the designers in their wisdom did not include a common earth on the buttons (don't ask me why). The new phone I want to use is the Nokia 3310, which does have this feature.

It may be possible to therefore have contact "pads" on the side of the fingers and an earth wire on the thumb. Attaching the earth comfortably to the thumb may be awkward, but from then on, it would just be a matter of touching the pads to make a button press. A wired metal thumb ring perhaps?

Finally the radiation issue. After a lazy 5 minute Googling, it seems that the major issues are to do with signal strength, phone heat and distance of the antenna from the body. The aerial is the small plastic flat panel on the back of the phone. Perhaps this can be moved and modded to be a separate component. Maybe disguising it as something more ancient, like an antenna or satellite receiver? Ideas on a postcard please.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Glone V1

A big apology for the wait. This has been sitting complete on my desk and I have not yet taken pictures of it in action (thanks Pops!).

As you can see it is fully functioning. The buttons on the fingers give control of buttons 0-9 and call and end call. The mic and speaker have been added to the base of the thumb and the end of the pinkie. I have trialled it and its been generally good, but there's a lot to change for version 2. Some of the major issues are:
- The primary speaker is broken, so there is no ringing tone, and it must be switched to speakerphone to take calls.
- There is no vibrate function (as it was part of the primary speaker's functions)
- The sim card slot is hard to get at because it is under the pcb.
- The pcb is hard to keep attached to the glove as its screw holes are only semi circles on the edge of the board.
- The speaker is rather fuzzy (electrical tape is helping, but something of a bodge).

Additions for version 2:
- ribbon cable to cut down clutter
- a box to hold the main board
- a vibrate feature
- smaller buttons fitted to the side of the glove
- copper sheeting and rivets
- better housing for the speaker & mic.
- More art work (perhaps watch gearing built into "windows" on the main box)
- If it's a Nokia, could you wire the vibrate piece in to the fly wheel of a watch?
- No buttons on the pcb. It looks scrappy and is awkward to get to. Instead they should be mounted on the box's top

Anyways, some images:

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Hero: A trilogy in three parts. My autobiography

When writing about oneself, it is important not to underestimate the impact you have had on the world. Indeed would we be anywhere without the motor engine, the atomic bomb or wheel? But all these things have one thing in common; their creators are unable to invent anything else. Their pinnacle accomplishments have been reached and accomplished.

I believe this is where I have the opportunity to stand above all of these people. Einstein may have helped revolutionise modern thinking on the universe, but no more than that. I on the other hand, have still time to do far greater. In this respect, I am far greater than Einstein.

But this was not always the case. Indeed my early years were not spent enlightening peers nor bringing peace to the inner city. Many days were spent arranging coloured plastic bricks and staring at the television, but even then I knew that the rest of my life would not be this way. The plastic bricks would one day become bricks and mortar that would form shelters for blind orphans or go to describe the abstract form of DNA that will help medicine cure death.

Many of you whom I know from the medical world will know that this is still not yet the case. Despite many medical advances over the last few centuries, the death rate in humans is still estimated to be at 100%. I am therefore writing my autobiography in the future tense. I'm sure many of you realise that as an eccentric billionaire, I have little time to sit in front of a typewriter and produce my life's work in such elegantly simple terms that even someone of your literary stature can comprehend the revolution I have brought about, so instead I have chosen to write it now to get it out of the way, and therefore free myself up to changing the world irreparably for the better.

The trilogy begins.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Confessions of a plug socket repairman wannabe

I have a confession. I have no idea what I'm doing. But I'm in too deep now to admit it. I thought that I would make some fast cash but it so quickly spiralled out of control.

My name is Josh Cuppin. I'm 36 and I'm in advertising. I didn't mean to be. I didn't mean to be in advertising and I didn't mean to be 36. Both just happened. It started with when I was having a job interview to be a plug socket repairman for Gringer and Gringer advertising consultancy Co. During a discussion of which mnemonic I use to remember the order of the coloured wires in the plugs, there was a knock on the office door.

A young chap with glasses that made his face look like the front of an Oldsmobile, poked his head around the door and said that he didn't mean to interrupt but their meeting was in its 5th hour and they were no closer to cracking what to do with their 2 in 1 dishwasher tablet problem.

"what problem is that?" I asked, partly out of curiosity.
"They have a 2 in 1 dishwasher tab, but sales are flagging. We're stumped where to go from here". The man looked close to tears. In an attempt to lighten the mood I flippantly said
"Why not a 3 in 1?"

I wake up in the night crying from the nightmarish recollections I have of these moments. Why couldn't I just shut up? Why was I so desperate to impress the guy for a job that primarily would involve unscrewing plugs. But no. I had to suggest a rubbish idea. And they loved it.

Before I knew it, I was in the meeting room, surrounded by tacky suit wearing morons all chatting insipidly about the idea of a 3rd bit on the dishwasher tablet. Eventually it came to pass "The powerball". I didn't sleep that night. I couldn't help but think that I was part responsible for the introduction of an entirely unnecessary invention that doesn't do anything. But I also had a large envelope of money plus a job offer of advertising coordinator. I also had the admiration of the others in the room who I assume would have lost their jobs if they had come up blank. I also got the offer of having 2 of their wives and one of their husbands.

So I sat in the office the next Monday knowing that I would have to help again. That I was part of this machine that I got annoyed with every time adverts came on between my programmes. Now yes, I would have technically helped by fixing their plugs to allow their electrical items to facilitate their awful dreams and ideas, but now I was more directly involved.

So the first day. I had bought a gaudy shirt and tie and "ironic" cuff links to try and blend in a little. The team market meeting provisional leading supervisor took the stage and showed us the first slide to outline the new issue. Gillete.

The room was awash with initial ideas of what to do. Apparently it wasn't masculine enough. That somehow Gillete's image was vaguely feminine. And all the while I sat there, doing nothing. Petrified. Afraid that someone might at any minute uncover me as the fraud I knew I was. After 5 minutes, the room got progressively quieter, as each idea fell from grace.

Finally Ron, the vice-chair manager of advertising turned to me and said "Well Josh?". Time seemed to stop. The air in the room stopped moving, as if too waiting for my response. Finally Ron spoke again. "What is more manly than the 2 bladed Gilette razor?".

"um..... a three bladed razor". Silence. Nothing. No one dared move. Then sudden unleashed furore. "Superb!", "the machismo of it!", "It's like having 3 penises!". And that was it, my fate was sealed. Now all I do when I'm in a meeting is wait for as long as I can, ready to perform my one trick again and pray that no one finally says "Hang on, aren't you just adding 1 to it each time?! A 2 year old could do this!".

But no, just more money, more offers of money cars and spouses.

I just wanted to fix plugs.

Friday, 17 April 2009


So there was this idea that comedy was easy to write, so a while back we thought that we could write something based on parodying stereotypes in universities. Below is a script using a few of the ideas. Please don't copy any of this and turn it into a Bafta winning award without contacting me first!

The exciting life of students-

(from exiciting clubbing scenes cuts to V and T in front of the television. V coughs out some food and it lands on the floor. Lengthy pause. )

V: I'll give you a pound if you prod it.

(another lengthy pause)

T: (Goes to say no), yeah okay then


(Cut to R sleeping slowly zooming in on face with Mozarts dies irae playing. Suddenly alarm goes off and music stops abruptly. R gets up and out of shot and turns alarm off. Returns to bed and music starts again as soon as he closes his eyes).

Eventually R goes down stairs in Dressing gown to the living room.

T: (not averting eyes from television) How goes the revision?

R: It's starting tomorrow

T: (looks confused) The exam's tomorrow

R: Well what are you doing about it?

T: I've revised.

R: So you know it all?

T: I think so.

R: Could you help me?

T: Bit busy at the moment

(long pause whilst T watches TV)

R: Oh shit. Shit, shit.

T: You're a 2nd year Chemistry student. You can't expect me to help you out at this late stage.

R: I only need enough to pass. Besides, if I fail then who will you live with next year?

T: Other people whos housemates have also dropped out?

R: I hate you. (walks back out)

T: Hate you too mate.

(R goes to V's room)

R: Evening

V: (not looking up from pc screen) Hey

R: I need help on my exam.

V: I'm busy

R: (looking at screen) What you buying ?

V: Hobnail boots

R: Why?

V: Dunno, just always wanted some.

R: Have you revised yet?

V: For what?

R: The exam tomorrow!

V: (Finally turning from the screen), I don't have an exam

R: Yes we do! at 1pm.

V: But I'm not in your course

R: (speechless, stares at V for a few seconds) Aren't you?!

V: No

R: But why were you in my exam last year?

V: I was bored. I was trying to get some others chucked out of the exam and so increasing your chances to get placed higher in the class.

R: (another long pause) ah thanks mate.

(V turns back to the screen)

R: So what do you do?

(Flash back to Vietnam fighting)

V: Media studies

R: Really?!


R: So so can you help?

V: Not really. I don't know your subject and I need to stay in all day tomorrow until my boots arrive

R: ...shit.

(R returns to living room to find T joined by J)

R: Hey James, how was last night?

J: Hmm?

T: potatos

(J gets up and runs around the couch before sitting down again)

T: He said how was the hypnotherapist show?

J: Oh, no I didn't go in the end.

R: ...ahh.

R: James, have you got any tips for revision?

J: yes, start early.

R: Any others?

J: Cheat

R: Cheat?

J: Cheat

R: How?

(J leans over and whispers in R's ear)

T: No, they'd spot a mile away

J: Not by whispering Tom

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

St. Edisson's fire.

Frank never liked light bulbs. He wondered about darkened rooms for hours, preferring to bruise his shins on coffee tables rather than operate the light switch; useless thought this would be anyway as the lamps were bulbless.

For Frank knew more about light bulbs than anyone else should. He lived with the knowledge everyday and every sun set he would once again relive the moments when he first discovered the horrible truth.

Filaments, we are told are merely a coil of wire designed to generate resistance to the current, and so convert the energy to heat and light. From there it caused the gas in the bulb to glow. An inert gas. To glow... this bothered Frank so he read into it.

Xenon and other inert gases can not react in ways that other metals and non metals might due to their electron stability. They can not join in with others, make exciting molecules or worthwhile structures. And although they must have been made at some point and ultimately decay to energy-less particles later in life, their midlives are simply redundant.

They do however hold other properties. When pushed together, they can change their formation to create a tetrahedron, much like plastic balls do in a ball-pool. Each can only close so far to another atom until they are pushed through and come out the other side. The electrons must be excited to have anything to happen, but the electrons are too close to the other sub atomic particles to ever be excited enough to jump to the next level (a process known as the glass elevator).

As the electrons can not therefore function as natural electrons might they are known as mute-electrons or faux-particles.

Scientists knew that these duds were of no use, but then realised that there lack of use gave them a purpose. They were reliably mute and could be trusted to never react. Early uses included fire proof mats, test tube beakers and babies' dummies. But when Edisson wanted something to hold his electric fire in place, he did not know the repercussions. He filled a beaker with what is now called St. Edisson's fire and ran a current through a wire contained within. The result was a disaster.

The room began to glow with uncontrolled mute electrons. Edisson tried to shout but the mute electrons that had been emitted in to the room absorbed the vibrations, unable to react as standard electrons might. Opening a window the electrons finally dissipated in the sunlight, killed off by the holy nature of the photons pushing them down to the ground from their impacts.

The Edison haze was unable to move from the floor and he could finally speak. But he didn't want to. The haze was at least contained in the room. Controlled for now at least. He knew that when the sun faded, the glow would start again and he would once again be surrounded and subdued by the great mute. He would not call anyone in to the room as it would let the haze out to his family's rooms. He stood in his room and awaited his death.

Today the bulb is in every home, under every bed, in every loft. We don't think about its contents whenever it operates and we rarely think of the consequences of breaking one open. But Frank Edisson does. He is still in the room by himself waiting for the sun to set again.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Painted signs... why?

I feel a weird experiment coming on. Firstly I want to find something that I care about enough to go somewhere with a big sign and shout angrily at no one in particular. Secondly I want to be given the mindset that this is not only a worthwhile action, it is the best thing to do to bring about resolution in my favour.

This is of course in reference to the recent G20 summit (I wonder if I'm on the FBI list for writing this yet?). It seems a weird hobby to have.
"What do you do?"
"oh I'm a telesales person with Ensleigh insurance"
"Really, what do you do when you're not working?"
"I like painting and attending large rallies to protest global political situations".

I assume that this is the same state as Nazi vegetarians or militant recycling police (people who tell you off for not putting a crisp packet in the special recycling bin). They must be aware that nothing changes because of their choices; animals still die and the world is still becoming more polluted and damaged, but their stance puts them on the side of "right". They are not to blame for the bad because they aren't a part of the problem. That's fine, I don't mind this. Of course if they start protesting that they are a better person than me because of it...

But protesting struggles to fit in to this category. You are not changing your life to be different. You can't protest against the reluctance of the uk to remove its nuclear deterrent in the same way because you are not on the same level. You can't say "Look, my world is free of nuclear weapons and I haven't suffered any military or political repercussions". The argument doesn't fit. Now if you were a country with strong military ties to the world and then you removed your reliance on nukes then yes, that would make sense. But you don't. You're a car mechanic from Ipswich with 2 kids.

But I guess that's where it comes from. It's born out of frustration. You can't change the uk's businesses risky capitalisation on fluctuating markets because you are a nothing in their eyes. Your opinion is irrelevant and won't be listened too. I feel like I might be close to sympathy (a first).

So close and yet so far. I still don't see why the only solution left is to stand in a street with a sign near the house of someone who might be able to make a difference to your cause.

Someone in that amount of power will be basing their decisions on advice from people in the know. Influential people that may very well politically and financially support this person. They must base their suggestions on the repercussions, like a move in chess affecting all the other pieces on the board. They will not however, ever look out of their window and read your "no nukes in Britain" hand painted sign and think "oh yeah.... I hadn't thought of that".
So maybe the satisfaction is just from being there. You won’t make a difference, but that’s okay. You are surrounded by people who believe that doesn’t matter either and in front of you is a line of police stopping you progressing. As if just beyond this line is a point in which you would make a difference. Just another 50 foot forward and your point would be taken on and changes would be made. But if it doesn’t matter what you protest as nothing will happen, why not chose a new subject. “Kittens make good pets!”. Who knows, maybe that will stick in the head of those in charge more easily and Mr. Brown may have a couple of lil’ cats by next week.

On a separate note, I now have mentioned nukes, G20, 20th century fascists and nuclear weapons in this article. That should get me a few more hits.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fingers affixed

So it has been and though I'm almost apologetic to do it, it's yet another post regarding the glove. Honestly if this doesn't work out it will be a rather large disappointment for both myself and my hundreds of readers.

Progress has been made and it is traditional to keep you all posted. Apologies for this post is only in English for now, my large Chilean following will have to wait for their usual translated post.

So on to the glove. The fingers have now all been cut, sewn and threaded with copper wire to reinforce and then reattached to the glove using the black leather thread. I am trying to get the glove itself fully done before I start attaching the electronics to it. This way the electronics can go on all at once to avoid unnecessary stress on components.

The speaker and microphone have both been detached and a length of extension wire put in between them and their original mounts. This has been accomplished through the use of the "Third hand" device. A useful "Mad scientist" looking set of clips designed to hold things in place leaving my hands free to solder.

On a sad note, the hands free kit did not work, so to answer a call (which will silently ring I'm afraid), I will need to press the answer key, and then the speaker key so that it uses the working speaker. This is hardly the end of the world, but it is a shame that even if everything else goes perfectly, the phone will still not have full functionality.

A suitable name is still required. An interesting mention by a Mr. Big Dave was the amalgamation of phone and glove to produce glone or phove. The alternative is to produce something from the Latin. Answers on a postcard please.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Glove pics

As per some people's requests, here are a few snaps of the phone section switched on, plus a glove with a prototype finger section added.

Silence isn't golden

Interesting developments in the world of manus-radio last night. With the soldering completed on all of the buttons, it was time to fire it up with the SIM card in (to my shame, I hadn't thought of running a full diagnostics whilst the phone was still intact). Everything was working fine, except that there is no sound!. No sound and no vibration. No there definitely had been sound when I first got the phone and turned it on. This means that during development, the sound had been broken. :-(

It does not mean that the phone is a write-off, there are 2 possible saviours. Firstly, it has 2 speakers on the top of the handset, and the 2nd is used for the "speaker phone" setting which still works.
Secondly I have ordered a hands free kit for the phone which I will ultimately use for listening to calls by wiring them to the thumb and pinkie.

I have noticed that there is also no vibrate function, and I'm wondering whether the speaker at the top is responsible for producing the vibrate feature (which some Samsungs do). Unfortunately Samsung seems to be completely ignored by the Internet, so there's no useful PCB diagram, hackers’ resource or anything else of even moderate use. I'll try emailing Samsung support but I assume that will be like asking for a description of rainbows from a blindman.

Just a couple more days of development. Who knows, maybe next weekend it will get its first outing?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A quick update on the glove.

I spent yesterday evening working on the glove, my first real opportunity since getting back. I have made some discoveries.
- Though my soldering ability has improved, I am still rather crude in my creations. I have just ordered a "helping hand" device that is basically a stand with crocodile clips to help me with future soldering of wires. Also after having another look at the onboard mic, I have decided that it is beyond my abilities, so I've ordered a hands free kit, which I can then cannibalise.
- It's all bloody time consuming. I spent about half an hour platting the copper wire to make about 4 foot's worth and I thought that that would be a quickie. There is still the more time consuming points of sewing the glove and threading the fingers. It may be a couple of weeks before I have something worth taking out in public.
- The buttons take a solid push to activate. This means that they will have to be very well secured so that a push by the thumb will send the signal and not just rotate the finger piece around the glove.
Finally a more happy note, I have soldered and reinforced (via the glue gun), around half of the buttons and they are all working, which is a good sign. Another evening and they should be done and from there it will be on to the mounting and reinforcing.

Monday, 16 March 2009

No glove, no love

Firstly a big thanks to Bruce, who has been good enough to do some of the fiddly soldering that had me break the previous phone. The new device is a Samsung x640, which means a colour screen and even a camera phone. So far the following parts have been done:

- Phone disassembled.
- Battery hard wired in to phone circuit
- Keypad has had wires soldered to all the important buttons
- Remaining keypad has been attached back on to the circuit
- Screen has a wire frame around it ending in a tripod.
- A hot glue gun has been used to reinforce the solder points.

The device can be turned on and off by connecting the 2 wires from the power button.

The next step will be to solder the wires on to the buttons. At the end of this, the device should be fully functional, although rather awkward to use as each of the push buttons will be floating around.

From there the finger sections need to be made using the sections from the leather glove and reinforced with copper wire. I may plat the wire again, as this turned out to be strong but flexible. The down side is that it then becomes rather large and hard to stitch in to the leather of the glove.

The microphone and speakers will need to be removed and their wires extended. This will be the final bit of fiddly soldering, as the microphone has a couple of tiny points to attach the wires to/from. This will allow me to replant the speaker and mic in the finger and thumb. An alternative if this proves too tricky is to find the hands free kit. This plugs in using a tiny jack port, which can then be split quite easily.

Once the fingers are created, they will be attached to the body of the glove using leather lace. Hopefully this will avoid putting strain on the soldered points, though given that the points will be reinforced with the glue gun, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

The final piece of the jigsaw will be to attach the phone body and battery to the back of the glove. If it is still looking rather steam-punk-ish, then I’ll look to paint the various components in copper to give a more distinctive look.

A side issue that I need to give some thought to is that the sim card slot is on the back of the keypad board, I’ll need to have access to it. Perhaps a simple hinge a latch would work, but this will need some consideration.

At the end of it I want a glove that has an air of professionalism to it. This means that the design and style should have a level of consistency across the glove and there shouldn’t be too much loose stitching/ big blobs of glue etc.. It should also be functional. This means that not only should the device physically work, but should be possible to send and receive text messages and calls without constant adjustment or fiddling. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Returning plans

Returning from my holiday, I'm now in possession of an old Samsung X640 ready for dismantling for the glove. Unfortunately this will have to be when I have a free hour. Next week maybe?

In the meantime, an interesting quote:

Out of 100 men in battle, 10 shouldn't even be there, 80 are just targets, 9 are real fighters,
Ah, but the one,
One of them is the warrior, And he will bring the others back.

- Hericletus 500 BC

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Album covers

This is not my good idea at all, but someone on Facebook have come up with a method for coming up with a realistic album cover. The rules are as follows:

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop (or similar) to put it all together.

Lots of fun for very little work. Here are my results:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Fat fingers=bad solder

So it has been a while since I have updated my progress on the glove. I'll sum it up in two points. 1)I now have all the components except for a hinge for the screen and the finger buttons. 2) I have broken the keypad due to my fat-fingered soldering attempts.

The keypad was so fiddly that the rather basic soldering iron I have wasn't accurate enough. Soon enough I had soldered the two contacts of the button together and then only had a penknife to try and scrape it off again. In short, 2 days of this process left the keypad knackered. This leaves me 2 problems. Firstly that I don't have another phone and I really liked the layout of this phone (it had crossheaded screws holding it all together and the clamshell design meant that I could have a separate mounted screen). Secondly I will prolly just do the same thing to the next phone I get so I need an alternative to soldering on the wires.

After a brief poke around the interwebs, I have found a number of things that might help. Ideally I want a conductive glue that I can dab on the wire and then hold in place on the keypad contact. Given that the wire will then have a big dollop of glue from a glue gun on it, I'm not worried about structural integrity, rather just a clean join.

Ideas on a postcard please.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

glove update

Okay, so I've just been shopping to buy various bits and pieces for the glove. I now have
- Copper wire (to reinforce structure)
- Leather gloves (army surplus)
- Leather cord (to tie finger sections to glove)
- Glue gun (to reinforce solder locations)
- A couple of test buttons of various sizes.
This area is still one of the biggest unknowns. Despite their need to be small, they must be robust along with any connections coming from them. They must also not rotate around the finger, else they would be useless.

Apart from the buttons, I now have everything to complete the project. One final worry is that I have lost the little microphone that Samsung decided to leave loose on the PCB and has now (hopefully) landed on my bedroom floor.

I have started soldering the wires to the keypad but this is being hampered by a) my ineptitude in soldering, b)the large and cumbersome soldering iron and C) the pcb is completely flat, so it is very hard to get a good solid solder on it. This is why I now have the glue gun to reinforce all soldering done.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Steam-punk glove - the device

The device I have found to use is the Samsung A300. This is partly because it is a clamshell with good, clear components, but also because I happen to have one lying around from back in the day.

I spent yesterday evening dismantling it and figuring out which bit did what. It looks like the battery will either remain in the rear housing along with the primary PCB, or I'll solder the contacts so that it can be placed elsewhere.

The positive is that because this is a clam shell it will stay nice and small and also will allow the screen to be positioned, perhaps using a brass hinge.

The next step will be to solder on a switch for one of the phone's keys. This will be the final proof of concept before I start buying components for it.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Steampunk phone glove

It's new invention time! well I say new, I've been fiddling around with this idea for a while, but only recently have I found a way to build it all.

I was re-invigerated to have another look at it following some amazing steampunk pics of computers being sent my way. For those of you not acquainted with the idea of steampunk, it is a nerdy dream that mixes victorian and gothic design and mechanics with the modern. Traditionally this would be steam powered robots driven by cogs or overthetop zepplins laden in gothic architecture. Basically its anything that is from the modern age but it works only using oldy-worldy technology. Of course it doesn't actually have to work, but it does at least look like it might work.

So back to my idea. I wanted to put a phone into a glove so that I could answer it in much the same way as a mime might pretend to talk into their hand i.e. with the microphone in the little finger and a speaker on the thumb. It then rather balooned into a fully functioning finger located keypad.

In anycase, I couldn't find a way of migrating the keypad from the circuit board so I gave up. I then found this:

Genius! Just solder wires straight on! I'm not going to try and draw it all yet, but I think I have the plan pretty clear in my head, so I'll attempt to explain it. The phone sits on the back of the hand, rotated so that the screen can be read normally. Buttons are push to make switches and placed on the back of each finger so that they can be operated by the thumb. Wires run from the buttons to the phone's keypad. The microphone and speaker are also rewired to sit on the thumb and little finger.

Finally the buttons have to be kept in place, so they sill sit on sections of a leather glove, reinforced with soldered copper. The phone itself sits on a leather pad which has two "watch" straps that go around the palm and wrist.

What could be simpler?!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Validating your time with animals and abstractions.

So its a New Year and with it comes new responsibility, mainly coming up with something to write about on the blog that is of enough interest to justify not only me writing it, but you reading it and generally for this blog to not just be confined away to a "curiosity of last year". By the look of things, I'm not doing to well so far. So far I have pointed out not only the lack of progress in this first paragraph, but also the redundancy in its writing and therefore reading.

Which is an interesting point. Can something that was not worth writing be at the same time worth reading? Doesn't the reading itself validate the writing? Maybe when the reading is worthwhile only then does the validation carry through. Unforunately this is not a "If A proves B then B must prove A". In this case that would mean that by me writing it, I have validated your choice to read it. Or perhaps only if the writing was worthwhile does it validate any reading of it.

That didn't make any sense. And so I'm back at the beginning. I have yet to make a point to validate your little trip through this speach so I am yet to make all of this typing worthwhile. So let's try to make this all worthwhile. You are reading this to be either entertained/informed/provided with information to use against me. I have not really done any of this yet unless you count the psuedo maths applied in the last little bit which someone who studies both English and Maths is currently trying to unravel to prove that they understand either.

Instead I believe that you can be sated therefore with either a piece of information that will warm your head via the brain, or something that will make you smile. But of course if I could do that off the top of my head, then I wouldn't be typing this in in my spare time, but be writing it up to make a living off. So let's try to work something out between us.

I want you to think of an animal. Now I want you to write down the word least associated with it. Go and do this now... I can wait...

Okay so what did you come up with? A different animal? Not very inventive. Another object with another property? Getting closer maybe. Perhaps an abstract concept. Maybe a celestial object (going with far away= different). I'm rather stumped to come up with the all-trumping winner for this one. I'm stuck between 'Sufferage' and 'Apron'. It's suprisingly hard to come up with a word that has truly no way of linking back to the animal within a single spanning concept. You think that a Horse has no link to 'Wednesday'? -

Wednesday is from the Anglo-Saxon god Woden. Woden was worshipped during the Migration period, until the 7th or 8th century, when Germanic paganism was gradually replaced by Christianity. In Christianised Anglo-Saxon England, Woden was rationalized as a historical king, and remnants of worship were continued into modern times as folklore, Wodan featuring prominently in both English and Continental folklore as the leader of the Wild Hunt.

What better way to go hunting than on horseback? (Damn I'm good).