Geez, What Have I Been Doing?

I just looked at my blog and I see that I haven't posted any new content for a while. Sorry about that, folks. (That is, the two of you who read my blog... hi, mom!)

There's a lot going on in life right now, and I haven't had the time to dabble as much as I would like. However, there are a few things in the pipeline.

First, I'm working on a 'Magic Mirror' project. I took the seminal work by Michael Teeuw and I've cranked it up to 11 (maybe even 12). With the newly-introduced Raspberry Pi 3 that includes Wi-Fi, I'm excited about the project. Currently, I'm working on code to handle recurring calendar events, which is a royal PITA. iCal file format data can have date/time information presented in a variety of formats, some of which require parsing out timezone data, and that bugaboo of all time calculations: determining whether a time is in Daylight Savings Time or not. So that's on the horizon.

I also recently became (re-) interested in Ray Wilson's website. He has a variety of analog noisemaker circuits posted on his site and I've been dreaming of building one for a while. They just look like a whole lot of fun! I wanted to do this when my kids were 3 and 4 years old and didn't get around to it. Well, last night I started laying out a circuit board for the "Weird Sound Generator" using surface mount components. I'm going to bolt on an audio amplifier and a headphone jack. Maybe I'll also bolt on some of his other circuits, such as his Echo Rockit. I'm setting a self-imposed deadline of ordering parts this weekend so that I have something to present to y'all soon, even if analog sound synth isn't exactly the digital stuff that I really enjoy doing. These projects just look like so much fun, and they look like they can be built quickly, and hey-- what's not to like about a front panel with a dozen or so potentiometers and as many toggle switches? I'd also like to add a digital circuit that takes an ADC, a microcontroller, and a USB port and stores the generated sounds on a USB thumb drive. (And, dare I dream, build on that to make a multitrack recorder?) Yes, I know that putting a USB port on an analog synth crosses the line into 'unholy abomination,' but hey, I'm just that kind of guy!

I'm also toying with the idea of taking many of the analog ideas on Ray's site and creating a software synth in Windows that allows you to drag and drop analog blocks like VCOs, LFOs, filters, etc and virtually connect them in any arrangement that you'd like.

I've also long dreamt of building a Yamaha DX7 clone in a microcontroller. That's still an idea but I have no immediate plans to work on it.

I'd still like to participate in the SparkFun AVC, but that's going to take a serious time commitment, and I'm just not sure that I'm going to be able to spare that kind of time. I've applied to two graduate degree programs recently and hope to be back in school soon.

Oh yeah-- I did install an Android based head unit to replace my car's stereo, and that was kind of fun, but so many parts of it are vehicle-specific that it didn't seem worthy of a writeup.

So, nothing to report right now, but by posting a promise to you to have something soon, I'm motivating myself to heat up the soldering iron.