Category: Electronics

May 04 2016

Arduino IDE on Ubuntu – Can’t Open Device

Arduino IDE successful upload message

If you’ve just installed the Arduino IDE on Ubuntu, you’ve likely encountered an error similar to the one above the first time you tried to upload a sketch to your board. The error that I specifically get reads: avrdude: ser_open(): can’t open device “/dev/tty/ACMO”: Permission denied ioctl(“TIOCMGET”): Inappropriate ioctl for device Problem uploading to board. …

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Mar 09 2016

Unsigned Binary Integers and Internal Congruence

This is going to be another one of my “selfish” posts – written primarily for me to refer back to in the future and not because I believe it will benefit anyone other than me. The idea is one that I always took for granted but had a hard time proving to myself once I decided …

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Feb 01 2016

Binary Signed Integers – Signed Magnitude Shortcomings

I previously discussed the signed magnitude solution to representing signed integers as binary strings and pointed out that while it had the advantage of being simple, it also has some disadvantages. For starters, N-bit signed magnitude integers have two representations for zero: positive zero (a bitstring with N zeros) and negative zero (a bitstring with …

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Nov 18 2015

Binary Signed Integers – Signed Magnitude

Binary Numbers

We humans and our meat computers don’t have any trouble recognizing the sign of a number. If there is a minus sign, “-,” in front of a number, that number is negative. If a number is prefixed by a plus sign, “+,” or, the more likely case, has no prefix at all, then the number …

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Jul 13 2015

Adding Headers to a littleBits Arduino

A Pair of 3 Female Headers

In keeping in line with their KISS philosophy, the littleBits Arduino module does not offer (easy) access to the full range of analog and digital I/O options that can be found on regular Arduino boards like the Arduino Uno. As a matter of fact, the littleBits Arduino only provides 3 bitSnap inputs and 3 bitSnap …

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Jul 06 2015

DIY littleBits Perf Module

DIY littleBits Perf Module - Signal Test, On

The littleBits modular electronics system is great for rapidly prototyping electronics circuits, but what happens if you want to use an element, switch, sensor, actuator, etc., for which a module does not exist? Fortunately, littleBits provides three different solutions for the problem. Two of these are ready to go modules: the Proto Module and the …

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Jun 25 2015

littleBits – The Singles

littleBits Pulse Package - Front

The RadioShack here in town, *my* RadioShack, is finally closing its doors forever after more than ten weeks of clearance sales the likes of which I won’t likely ever see again. I scored a lot of cool gadgets at ridiculously low prices, but my favorite continues to be the littleBits modular electronics system. As I’ve …

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May 09 2015

littleBits Arduino Coding Kit Unboxing

littleBits Arduino Module

So I honestly haven’t even had the chance to build a littleBits circuit more complicated than a battery, single dimmer and LED yet, but as soon as I unboxed the cloudBit Starter Kit, I knew I wanted more. As an Arduino addict, grabbing the Arduino Coding Kit at a 60% discount seemed like a no-brainer. So just a …

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May 08 2015

littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit Unboxing

littleBits P3 USB Power Module & Cable

Ever since my local RadioShack started carrying littleBits, the modular electronics system for students, makers and hackers, I’ve spent more and more time in front of their display in the store, going back and forth about whether to purchase any. I never did pull the trigger. Until now. Honestly, the price for both the kits …

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Apr 21 2015

RadioShack Clearance Haul

Homer Eats Pinchy

After RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the store in town and the few others nearby were among the lucky 1,740 of 4,000 nationwide chosen to live on, albeit as Sprint-RadioShack hybrid stores. Say what you will about RadioShack’s business missteps over the last few decades, but I …

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