After a little work getting the page to match the rest of the website, I’ve finally put up my source code to display text on an LCD screen in 4-bit mode using a microcontroller. It isn’t earth shattering technology, but is a good start for anyone looking to do something fun with embedded microprocessors and is also a useful for debugging the integration process of sensors and actuation for robotics.
The source, pictures, datasheets, and explanation can be found by following the project page links at the side of the page or simply going to the 4-bit LCD.
Earlier today I booked my flight to Trondheim and now I’m getting more and more excited about the trip. I’ll be leaving on Saturday, August 27th, at 5 in the afternoon. At around 8am the next morning I’ll arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands — just in time to catch the 9am flight into Norway. I’ll have the majority of Sunday and all day Monday to go into the city and surrounding areas. Even though during the other four days I’ll have to be at the conference, there will be some some interesting social events in the evening.
On Monday night the mayor of Trondheim will be hosting a gathering at the oldest secular building in Scandinavia at about 800 or 900 years old:
The organizers also have a boat trip to see the Norweigian fjords, a couple of museum tours, and even a large banquet dinner. Probably the thing I’m most anticipating is getting to see an organ concert at the Nidaros Cathedral — a massive building that’s been around since the middle ages.
A one week trip to a completely foreign land is both exciting and scary. I don’t speak (nor have I have I ever tried) Norwegian BokmÃ¥l or Nynorsk — the two official languages of the country. It’s funny that in elementary school — fourth grade to be exact — I did a report on Norway… I never thought I’d actually be going there, though. The Norwegian Kroner (NOK) to US dollar (USD) exchange rate of 6.62:1 won’t really help me too much because from what I’ve checked out on the web everything tends to be more expensive there (due, in part, to the VAT).
Hopefully the site update looks nice and keeps away the comment spamming robots from posting. We’ll see.
It’s been quite a while since there’s been any action from me on here… I’ve been way too lax about posting, and too busy to be anything but. That isn’t an excuse because if the time wants to be found then it will eventually be found. I looked tonight and found some 600 spam comments — but that’s to be expected when I haven’t even checked the site in over a month — resulting in me having the moderate the comments so they won’t show up right away if posted.
The real purpose of me getting back into the swing of things is to share some good news. As it turns out, the array embedded hardware systems I’ve been designing and testing for months is going to be used in a demonstration at this year’s VLDB conference in Trondheim, Norway, at the end of next month. Apparently this is one of the premiere database conferences in the world so having something I designed be on show is an honor. I don’t exactly how it all fits in to a database conference but I’m leaving all that up to the software guys to integrate.
So at work all I’m hearing is 80s music and it is reminding me that I haven’t been rollerskating in more than ten years. Back in West Palm Beach there used to be a couple of really good places — The Palace in Lantana, and Atlantis Skateway on Jog Road. Are there even rinks still in business?
Right now it’s just shy of 8am and this is the earliest I’ve woken up in months. With no loud noises or external influence I’ve managed to rise after only a few hours sleep and completely under my own accord. The only problem is I’m exhausted and need the rest but can’t seem to get any more right now.
While evaluating Tuesday night, I spent the entire day yesterday thinking about what motivates my behavior. Not necessarily limited to the normal psychological influences of behavior like society and culture, but what helps me decide what seems like the best thing to do at any given time. Furthermore, why is it that it sometimes takes me a lot to realize the very little pleasures because they often get ignored?
Tuesday night I was sitting on Jenni’s couch playing Trivial Pursuit and I was having a lot of fun. Being around her is something I’m really going to miss once she heads off to Azerbaijan. After knowing her for a few years I have a level of comfort with her that doesn’t exist with many of the other people I hang around with. I’d probably get annoyed by her with enough exposure but I haven’t ever gotten to that point as we haven’t ever spent too much time around one another.
On Wednesday it irked me that this part of my life had been ignored on both sides and now that she’s leaving in a little under a month, the chances of us being like that ever again were slim. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the only reason we were like that Tuesday night was because she was in fact leaving. If there happened to be another month or two then that it wouldn’t have happened. I say that because it didn’t happen last month. There were still weeks that needed to pass before any strong sense of importance was felt by either party. Why does that urgency only surface when it can’t be denied? That goes against my idealistic view of how such interaction should be: not planned out, fun, and plentiful.
After seeing my movie last night, I decided to stop by Jenni’s house for a grilled cheese. Usuaully I park in the lot that is 50 yards from her from door but for whatever reason I decided to park in the lot they say they tow from. In the four years she’s lived there she said she’s only seen one person get towed. Well, now that number is two. Obviously it’s my own fault and I guess it’s a little crazy that I’ve lived in Gainesville for five years and until last night haven’t had my car removed from anywhere. The bright side is the driver let me pay $40 to drop it in the parking lot instead of the $76 to bring it all the way to Depot. How nice of him — I should write him a thank you card.
This time last year I was preparing for graduation because it was less than three weeks away. Little did I know that my grandad was coming from England (even though my mom did slip and tell me a few weeks in advance it was still a pleasant surprise). Tonight as I was looking through the pictures I remembered something he said to me a little bit before this photo: “I can’t promise I’ll make your wedding, Steve, but at least I’m here for this.” Even then I knew he was sick, but I didn’t really think twice about his statement. Never before has he missed anything life changing — my mother’s medical school graduation, the move from New Jersey in the summer of 1999 — and it make me unnerved to know that he never will physically be present to those kinds of events again. It’s been more than three months since he died and I still can’t help but rewind a year to this date in 2004 when he was still here.
I found out today that this summer I’m going to again be the teaching assistant for the robots class. I’m happy because I’ll be able to be active in those projects, get paid for my time, and improve my skills as a teacher. Most importantly I’ll get a chance to change the things that I thought I (or the class in general) lacked. Maybe I’ll get motivated and even build a robot next semester.