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Neil Martinsen-Burrell
Teacher, geek, father
Teacher, geek, father

Neil Martinsen-Burrell's posts

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1Watter is buttery smooth on the air

The W8DIZ designed 1Watter is a crystal controlled (VXO) transceiver with a nice sensitive superhet receiver and it only costs $44! It comes as a kit with parts and a PCB but no enclosure. I built the bottom of the chassis out of copper-clad board, but then I needed something to cover the top. I don't have the tools or the time to build a matching enclosure from PCB stock so I went for the recycled option instead. One old butter box and a couple of popsicle sticks for stiffening, et voila. 
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Arduino I/Q Audio Frequency DDS

A 16 MHz microprocessor without a DAC isn't a great platform for a DDS since you have to use PWM and a low-pass filter to output analog voltages which limits the frequency range that is available, but for low audio frequencies, it is just fine and the Arduino certainly makes it easy to get started.

It also has multiple output pins, so in this case we can make two audio waveforms with a defined phase relationship, both in-phase and quadrature.

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Homebrew SWR indicator following the design of Dan Tayloe N7VE. A PCB kit is available from, but this version was very easy to make.

The male BNC pigtail attaches directly to the radio, while the coax to the tuner connects to the female BNC. When the tuner is tuned for a 50 ohm load, then the LED goes out. I will replace the resistors with larger ones with a higher power rating, then package it up with some soldered PCB stock.

A little education goes a long way

You send one daughter to a Shakespeare class in the afternoons and all of a sudden your FOUR YEAR OLD is greeting you in the morning with "Have you no modesty? No maiden shame? Fie fie you counterfeit, you puppet you!

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Apparently, Apple's Mavericks OS introduces a "feature" that tries to auto-create typographical niceties such as smart quotes, ellipses, en-, and em-dashes. Word processors such as Microsoft Word have been doing this, but with Apple's longstanding commitment to typography, I can see where they wanted to add this on the OS level.

The problem is that the OS cannot know the context of what I am typing.  If I'm in a Slack chat with another developer discussing the "`--no-splits`" option then the backticks indicate that I want literal text and those two initial dashes should be preserved as is. But Mac OS X doesn't know anything about Slack and Markdown syntax so it tries to Do The Right Thing (DTRT) and convert the double-hyphens to an en-dash. D'oh!

I think that this is an Achilles heel for the OS trying to DTRT. It doesn't know the context and so it has no idea how to Do What I Mean (DWIM). Boo, Apple. If you want your computer to keep doing what you tell it to, go now and turn this "feature" off.

#mavericks #dwim #dtrt  

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I'm in Seattle this week to start my new job with +Moz​. Very excited for the new opportunity and to meet a great group of people in person. I'll train here this week, then it's back to Iowa where I'll be working remotely. 

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Now I know I am old. I drive the same car as my mom.

New ten year old Prius picked up in Rochester this morning. 

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Mucca Pazza Tiny Desk Concert

These lovable freaks make me wish I could play a band instrument. Maybe there's room for a second

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Apparently I have some many messages in the mailbox that the message counter wrapped over to negative numbers. That's better than Inbox Zero!

Brin Knows Privacy

Science fiction author (and futurist even) +David Brin  is the most cogent voice talking about privacy in the modern world.  As he does on most topics, he veers away from knee-jerk techno panic while also avoiding head-in-the-sand ignorance of repercussions.

After listening to +Leo Laporte and +Jeff Jarvis too many times on This Week in Google argue childishly about privacy, I submit this modest proposal.  +Leo Laporte should interview +David Brin on his show Triangulation about The Transparent Society ( a book published 15 years ago that presages everything we have seen this past year from Snowden to Ferguson.

Let's make this idea viral enough to actual happen.  Re-share this post if you'd like to see it happen
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