Pat's Log
Sat, 30 Apr 2005

Caution: Microcontroller In Use
20050429-1 I like my car's CD player. Panasonic makes good car audio electronics. However, in the current generation of CD players there is one very strange oversight. There are two perfectly good RCA input plugs on the back. The catch is that they do not show up as a source. Why? Because they are the CD changer input. Otherwise, there is nothing special about them. They only work when there is a CD changer plugged into the DIN-8 plug next to them.

20050429-2 Therefore, the task is clearly to fool the head unit into thinking there is a CD changer present. I managed to find an excellent source for doing this with PIC controllers, but I thought it would be nice to implement on Atmel. So, I more or less translated his code. I was surprised that it worked on the first try, especially since timing appears important, and I did have to rescale all of the routines to run on a different chip at a different clock speed. Nevertheless, it worked.

I added a nice 1337 message to the display and I considered sensing whether there was input on the input line before showing the source in the menu, but decided it was quite a bit more work to do it safely. As it turns out, the Panasonic system is very flexible. My initial worries about hitting the 8μs clock proved to be unfounded, since only after getting the whole thing working did I realize that my DIVBY8 fuse was on... the entire thing worked just fine at one-eighth the intended speed!

Tonight's Enterprise, In The Mirror, Darkly, Part II, was fantastic. Many plot twists and excellent Trek nostalgia. I'm also fairly certain that the last two episodes were the most sexually explicit Trek ever. While not quite as provocative as the Dax/Kira lesbian relationship in DS9's mirror universe, the sheer volume of the scenes pushed boundaries. It was also interesting because much of the episode was on a replica of the original TOS Enterprise, where Kirk "befriended" many women. Seeing these scenes now, with little or no censorship, certainly contrasts 1960's to the 2000's. Unfortunately, only three episodes of the show remain. That should be the end of Star Trek for a long time.

[] | posted @ 03:58 | link
Thu, 28 Apr 2005

My last exam ever (I type that with caution) was yesterday. I was extremely sick and fading in and out while writing it. It was still easy. In fact, aside from DSP, all of my exams in this round were straightforward. DSP does worry me, however. When I get that mark, and it's a pass, a very large weight will be lifted from my shoulders.

For now, I'm sort of enjoying freedom, except that I'm sick and sore. There is some poetic element to the fact that the group I belonged to for Frosh Week was called Freedom. Now, almost four years later, it is over. I picked up my grad photo along with the Class of 2005 composite yesterday. It's rather amazing how many people on there I don't know. It would have been nice to at least know more people by name.

One way or another, it's over, and I'm looking forward to the summer break I have set aside, devoid of school or work. I have trips to plan. I have many projects to get caught up on. I expect this blog to be filled with new material as things come to fruition.

[] | posted @ 18:20 | link
Tue, 19 Apr 2005

20050418 After a near-all-nighter, today I wrote what I expect to be the hardest exam of this semester, DSP. The following Matlab expression just about sums it up:

[x,w]=freqz([1 1 1 1 1 1],[1],[-pi:0.01:pi]); plot(w,abs(x));

In the end, I spent all three hours writing. After leaving the exam, I realize that I don't really know what I wrote. I hope it's enough to pass.

Upon scooting back to my car, I saw the by-law officer punching in a ticket for parking too long. I managed to persuade him not to give me the ticket. With luck like that, maybe I did okay on the exam?

[] | posted @ 03:59 | link
Thu, 14 Apr 2005

New Toy!
20050413 I woke up this morning and decided I want an portable solid-state media machine ("MP3 Player"). I got an iriver iFP-795, 512M capacity. I was initially dismayed that it didn't seem to do usb-mass-storage, but thanks to its re-flashable EEPROM, finding a UMS-enabled firmware was not too hard. Unfortunately, UMS seems to limit it to USB1.1 speeds, but it is still a good trade-off. It is a very good unit considering its price. It even comes with three accessories for carrying it!

While at the F-shop, I also picked up Star Trek: First Contact; definitely in my top-5 list and it was a decent price.

I really should be studying more...

[] | posted @ 03:59 | link
Mon, 11 Apr 2005

Are We There Yet?
The past week and a half or so was spent finishing up anything that needed finishing, particularly the 4th-year report. Now that is all over and all I have left to look forward to are exams. All in all, everyone seems to be under far less stress than usual. Not stressing over exams is a two-edged sword.

Not being particularly keen to study just yet, I downloaded and actually bought Escape Velocity: Nova. After the many, many hours of entertainment Ambrosia Software has provided me over the better part of the last decade, I felt it was only right. The whole weekend was dedicated to that game.

In usual spring routine, I started helping out with the Association for Bright Children class where we teach how to build r-c board made of balsa to a classroom full of little people. This year was the smoothest first class ever. We were actually a little overwhelmed by how smooth everything went.

Finally, I am no longer All I can say is "wow." I went from 35-50 messages per day to an average of 6. There was even a 24-hour period that was completely mail-less. I had no idea I was that unpopular.

[] | posted @ 03:54 | link
Sun, 03 Apr 2005

A Unique Insight Into Drunken Pat...

...Pope John Paul II just died. I don't understand the overall commotion. The man lived a very long, very full life. It was his time, and any human should be happy leading as complete a life as he.

I had my birthday get-together tonight. In attendance were Markus, Raf, and Phil. We seem to get together for drinking a lot. Much wine and beer was "processed." We decided it would be fun to play board games all night. It was fun all around. I think we knew that we were sufficiently drunk when we started discussing "cheese." I am rather glad I cannot experience that "cheese" stuff. "Enough said." For whatever reason, this "cheese" stuff cracked me up tonight.

I am currently returning to work writing the group telecomm project, as well as the Xbox project. There is no cheese there either. May the project be as cohesive as his blog entry...

[] | posted @ 06:06 | link

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