This is what I had to look at while walking to work...such nice clouds, very promising for flying. I had to go to work, hold an exam, do a lab in the evening, wrangle with jigdo and sarge...
Also no flying last weekend: Saturday too much wind and a 40th birthday party of a friend in the evening, Sunday way too much wind. And not a chance of flying afternoons last week, nor this weekend (oh how this sucks!): tomorrow I'm off to Melbourne until Sunday, presenting at the small SAGE-AU VIC symposion. As I promised to give a hands-on demo and setup a box for attendants to play with, things got a bit busy. Especially as the slides were completed only yesterday. Talk about belts-and-suspenders-and-fallback: I bring the slides on transparencies, on a CD, on a USB disk and my lapdog. One of those sources of enlightenment will work, shirley.
On the positive side: my server box is feeling better after I set up a ceiling vent last weekend. I also used the opportunity to flash the OBP to the latest version. That took major wrangling, and my stubborness got the better of me: I should have reverted to netbooting earlier on but didn't - and eventually suffered through half a solaris install on a spare disk just to be able to boot the stinking OBP flash upgrade ("platform-independent upgrade software" my ass). I also got new security screens (FSVO security, but that's common here), and can leave my windows open fully all the time now. Helps a lot against heat buildup.
The LCD for the mediabox has also arrived and I soldered up the connectors and a little bit of extra stuff for controlling the backlight. I had no transistors around at home, so I asked \rho if he had any spare transistors I could snarf; yes, he says, come and get some. I take things home which seem a bit big; I even asked whether these were really transistors and nothing else. Yesyesyes says he. So I chose three different models, in the hope that at least one would be ok. Trying to identify base, emitter and collector on the critters was interesting: ...current flows...reverse the meter...current flows...ponder...try some more...current flows everywhere, this is either dead or not a transistor. Turns out that all three were voltage regulators, 5V and 12V. This is on a Sunday, at 1625: Jaycar closes at 1600. I'm stubborn.
So I dug into the box of junk for something to get transistors from. Armed with a component specification searchengine I identified a few threeleggers on a dud fan control unit, and desolder braid is your friend.
Alas, my understanding of TTL and pull-up resistors is sadly lacking so the backlight control "circuit" I made works inverted (I need to learn how to make an inverter with a second transistor so that even though being NPN, juice flows when the control input is low...) because the lcdproc programmers expect you to wire this up with a PNP transistor but all I had was NPN stuff. Still it works. Next step: make my piece of ugly remote-control-file-chooser lcd-aware. Attack of the Blinkenlights!