ATTiny85 WAV Audio player for Halloween

It has been ages since I last posted. I wont get in to the reasons for it right now. Lately I have been working on a project for next years Halloween fun.

A few years ago I built a “Lightning Box” based upon a color organ circuit, and a halogen flood light. The unit works, but is a bit clunky, and relies upon an external CD player boom box unit I bought at the Dollar store for $5. The whole contraption definitely could use some re-working.

The current plan is to make the unit fully self contained (with the exception of the speakers) and solid state. The C player will be replaced with a audio player circuit I located that is based upon the ATTINY85 processor. I also plan to remove the amplifier board from a set of old computer speakers, combine that board with the audio player, and then feed the amplified audio into the color organ as well as the speakers. This entire collection of hardware should be able to be housed in a standard Carlon 4x4x4 PVC watertight junction box. More on that later…

I have attached a picture of the working prototype Audio board.

Heave Away

Ok, I have checked logs, identified the punk responsible, banned their IP, and banned the IPs of around 30K known spammers. Behold the power of a decent blacklist, sed and awk and a pissed off sysadmin at 3 a.m. Tomorrow when I’m more lucid ill do a little analysis on the block list and trim it down by just banning whole netblocks where I get no traffic but spammers and bots from. For now though I need sleep!

(In case you are wondering? This is a final test message I’m not just blogging for the sake of blogging)

Software fun

We had an update to our library system again today. This one was on the test server. Once again the vendor insisted we don’t have a test system. I spent another five minutes of my life arguing with them to convince them that we did indeed have the system that they installed incomplete six months prior. This is at least the fourth time I’ve had to argue this point with them. Yet again today it is supposedly now entered in their inventory system. We will see what happens next time I have a problem.
The upgrade itself went fine, however as expected, it wouldn’t run because the system was never fully setup initially. After a few hours of work the upgrade tech did manage to get it working though. I took the opportunity to ask what she did and replicated it on our production system so it now works correctly too.

Twitter Cross Posting

Just so everyone knows, I’m trying out a different setting for the twitter plugin for WordPress. It should now, in theory, only make a single daily post that is a summary of my days twitter postings, rather than be annoying and post a new blog posting EVERY time I say something on twitter.

This should keep you all form being overly bombarded by that stuff. Now that the faire season is back into swing, I will probably have actual posts again.

The suitcase is packed… mostly…

Tonight I think I may have managed to pack 3 personalities into one suitcase. It wasn’t an easy task believe me. “Why are you packing?”, you may ask. You may even ask, “Where are you going?” Well, its that time of year again when I get to travel for work to the location of the yearly conference for our user group for our Library Automation Software vendor. This year I struck gold with the trip though. It just so happens that the conference is nestled all nicely in the middle of the week that falls between Opening and second weekend of the Scarborough Renaissance Faire in Waxahachie, TX. Waxahachie is 30 minutes south of Dallas and the conference is, yep, you guessed it, in Dallas!
So, this year I get to attend both the conference and the faire. Work agreed to fly me down early and back late, (same price just different days than I normally would have) allowing me to attend the faire on the weekends. Work will pay for my hotel while I’m at the conference, and thanks to a VERY generous friend and his wife, I have a place to crash when not at the hotel.
WOOT! So, look out Scarborough here I come!

For those keeping score, the three personalities include:

  1. Work John
  2. John T. Hawser
  3. Relaxing John

Oh, also, while packing I found a pocket in the suitcase that I had apparently missed when unpacking from the Germany trip, and I found the gift I bought for my mother that I was sure I had lost! She was very pleased.


I am still unable to get the web server to email me when anyone comments on the blog. This is very annoying to me, as I can see no reason for it. The ports are open, I can manually send mail from the server to my inbox, but for some strange reason it doesn’t want to work from php.
I have checked,and re-checked the php.ini path to sendmail, and it matches the path on the server…

Blog comments – ooops

This morning I updated my blog client on the iPod only to discover a ton of comments on the blog. Comments I was never notified that they had been posted. If you have commented on my blog since probably mid feb and I have not responded I appologize. It seems the new server has been blocked from sending out any email. I will look into this and get it fixed hopefully today sometime. I thought it had been kinds quiet out there… Sorry folks!