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Sean Sheedy
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Sean Sheedy

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The Perfect Camping Guitar

Thrift store guitars are often irreparable junk, especially when the guitars are originally from venerable guitar retailers like, well, Sears and Walmart. But last week, I got lucky. The Silvertone pictured, sold by Sears in the sixties, cost $30 + strings + a new nut carved from a domino. It has, as someone else described their Silvertone, a "funky twangy sound". But the smaller guitar, a "First Act" kid's guitar, was the real surprise.

Common sense would tell you that this guitar should sound like junk. Restrung with strings found on deep clearance at Target and showing signs of rust, common sense proved right: It sounded absolutely awful. I recalled what my son said when I bought it: "If you don't like it, you can always use it as an oar."

Then I snapped the first string. Not wishing to waste another pack of strings on a bad guitar, I moved the remaining strings up one position and put the old sixth string back on. This made all the difference. It tightened everything up, and made the guitar bright and loud with a surprising amount of sustain.

I love my main guitar, but because I don't want to thrash it, I've always wanted a decent sounding beater guitar. I cannot bring myself to drop hundreds of dollars on the small guitars that some of the respected brands offer. I find their tone lacking and their price high enough to have second thoughts about taking one camping.

This First Act, however, sounds surprisingly good. Last weekend I visited a friend who plays far better than me. We messed around for several hours on the Silvertone and the First Act, and our good guitars stayed in their cases. We were having too much fun!

The best part is that the First Act cost a whopping $7.50. I have found my perfect camping guitar, and no, I will not be using it as an oar any time soon.

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Sean Sheedy

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White Tail!
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Another simple Arduino holder
This holder was made to accommodate a small powered speaker that is attached with double-sided foam tape.  The shield is an older version of a Seeed Studio Music Shield.  This was built for an inaugural brunch to play the audio of an ISS contact made via ham radio in 2008.  We ran out of time to hook up the "play/pause" switch, which was for convenience anyway since the shield already had this.  We were low on Arduinos, so we borrowed one normally used for programming, thus the presence of the ISP cable in the foreground.
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Sean Sheedy

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Final shots from inauguration eve on the mall.
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Circumstances brought me and my son to the National Mall the evening before the inauguration, where a crisp clear sky, a beautiful sunset, and massive amounts of theatrical lighting provided by or for television networks reporting from the mall provided a unique opportunity for photographers.

These were taken with a Canon SX260 HS using CHDK camera software to provide bracketing, and GIMP for image processing. They would have benefited from having been taken with a proper SLR, use of a tripod, and greater talent behind the camera, but I was surprised that they came out as well as they did.
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Sean Sheedy

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Derelict Playground This morning, the clouds were perfectly set up for a great sunrise. I got a chance to play with the Canon PowerShot my kids got me for Christmas. This playground was found on one side of a photo of a barn, not noticed until afterwards. (tweaked with Gimp.)
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Sean Sheedy

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Took long enough to discover this wonderful applet for unifying Logitech devices... hope it becomes part of the standard Ubuntu distro soon!

http://pwr.github.io/Solaar/
Linux devices manager for the Logitech Unifying Receiver.
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Sean Sheedy

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What's great about this post is not so much the LCD display code, but the laptop hackerspace this guy built. Plywood, deck screws and cable ties let him move his hackerspace to wherever he wants to hang out in his house.
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Sean Sheedy

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Alternators + Arduinos
I need some suggestions for a device to act as a small homebrew temperature probe that can measure (and withstand) between 100 and maybe 170 degrees Celsius.

I'm about to install an alternator in my Sprinter, and am aware that the current rating (in this case, 150A) is not fixed, but is dependent on things like ambient air temperature and altitude.

So I'd like to instrument my new alternator with temperature and current probes to better understand its operating profile, and eventually automatically add and remove loads and issue warnings. For current probes I will probably use hall effect devices scavenged from optical drives.

But I need tips on something to use for a temperature probe. I need something tiny that can fit between gaps in the windings, can withstand high temperatures, and provide a resolution of better than, say, five degrees when wired into a circuit that drives an Arduino input. Any suggestions?

(A paper about alternator temperature considerations: http://www.rockymountainpower.com/pdfs/Tech%20Paper%20Alternator%20Rise%200166970SBY.pdf)
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A quick search of Mouser and Digikey for "bead thermocouple" put the lowest price just under $10. I'm probably missing something cheaper.

I searched a little and I think I have a solution (see section 5):
http://www.capgo.com/Resources/Temperature/Semiconductor/Semi.html

and a 1N914 diode or a surface mount 1N400x are in my junk boxes, so no shipping cost. I'm leaning in this direction. I have a cheap temperature gun I found on sale at Radio Shack that I can use to "calibrate" it.  So I think I'll try using a diode. Now I need some high temperature epoxy and insulation for the diode leads.
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Sean Sheedy

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Simple Arduino Holder
This Arduino holder for a project using the TVout library is a cut from a sheet of plastic. A hole was drilled for the RCA connector. The edges were sanded, though in this case, not particularly well.  The plastic was placed in a vise, slowly warmed with a small heat gun, and folded over. Small holes were drilled for the mounting screws which came from a junk box. For standoffs, the insulation from a mouse cable was cut into small pieces and pushed over the screws. Rubber feet were added.

(TVout only requires two resistors; a pair was paralleled to approximate a value that was consumed by other projects.)
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Sean Sheedy

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The night before the inauguration, we got off the Smithsonian metro stop to find CNN conducting interviews in an open studio on the National Mall, with bright lights illuminating landmarks in the background. A small crowd had formed near the stage, cheering whenever they were put on camera. The lighting made for some unique photography, at the expense of porta potties in the shot (which, unfortunately for us, were all locked.)
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My daughter and I were headed to school.  The sky was looking promising.  We rounded a corner and she shouted, "Stop the car!"  We both got out and started snapping photos of this barn.

I'm not a photographer, but I am really liking this camera, which is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS that my kids got me for Christmas.  Gotta love +GIMP too!
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Have them in circles
423 people
yahi abderrahim's profile photo
malango boneface's profile photo
Alfonso Maffei's profile photo
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Dan Scott's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Wireless/Mobile Engineer/Consultant
Story
Tagline
Wireless & mobile engineer; former Java ME Executive Committee member
Introduction
Hi!  I love to build and make things.  When not doing that, I am a consultant in the mobile space, where I enjoy doing developer advocacy work.

Interests:
  • Mobile and wireless (Android, Java ME)
  • Hardware & software projects
  • Dodge Sprinter (my current project car)
  • Amateur radio (AI4ID)
Fun Facts:
  • My four kids share the same birthday
  • I can ride a unicycle (but I can't hover yet)
  • I swam in Arctic Ocean (just for a minute)
  • Dr. Demento played my songs on his show
  • With an antenna made from a tape measure, I contacted Richard Garriott on the International Space Station.
A few odd projects:
  • Air-powered antenna launcher
  • A "Daddy Airlines" airplane float for the Twinsburg, Ohio Twins Days parade
  • Ice simulator for strengthening muscles used in curling
  • A talking bust of William Shakespeare with moving head, eyes and synchronized mouth (long lost, unfortunately)
Some tunes: