Xanadu in 2019

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If you haven’t been following Ted Nelson on YouTube, you’re missing out. Recently, he’s been posting a series of informational videos on the Xanadu architecture and concepts. Even more recently, he hosted a live Q&A session, taking questions from Twitter. Ted Nelson’s Channel What’s Xanadu, you ask? It’s the original concept for a hypertext system,…

New maker project — retro name badge

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If you played pinball in the 80s, you know about 16-segment LED displays. They existed in the narrow technology window after mechanical switches and alarm-clock-style 7-segment displays, but before full dot-matrix displays or full video were feasible with off-the-shelf computer hardware. There’s something geekily charming about these old displays. So naturally, I wanted to have…

Think Like Tesla

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I’ve avoided publicizing this until there was significant content out there. Announcing a new YouTube channel: Think LIke Tesla. This channel exists to celebrate a certain Serbian inventor/pop-culture figure and help YOU become a clearer thinker. In time, it will include everyday descriptions of Nikola Tesla’s patents and experiments, as well as fundamental ideas that…

Call me AJ6BD

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CQ, CQ, CQ. This is AJ6BD. I officially have a callsign. I can now legally broadcast on the amateur radio bands. I’ve been building radios since I was ten (really). I had plenty of help from my mentor, who taught me more than I realized there was to know about electronics, AC theory, signals, modulation,…

Signal generator

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Another blast from the past, from the same era. This was a general-purpose gadget: a 5V power supply, plus bouncelsss switch, plus a variable frequency TTL square wave generator. This was one of my experiments with making my own circuit boards, starting with copper cladded boards, drawing on the circuit paths with an inert ink, then…

Antennas and photons

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In the previous article I described how antennae work in terms of EM waves. But EM isn’t exactly a wave. Quantum aspects require modeling as particles. Photons. But I can’t really figure out how a photon traveling through space gets converted into an electron current in a wire. There are some cases where treating EM as…

The antenna project

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A layman’s description of how antennas work, plus some related experiments. Physics is strange when you think about it. I’ve been working with electronics since I was about five. (Not an exaggeration. I “fixed” one of my two-battery-requiring cars with one good battery and some wire.) I sailed through high school electronics, and went on…

Unsafe Java

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Pop quiz. Why is the following Java 8 code unsafe? UPDATE: this code is fine, see comments. Still good to think about, though. Entity e = new Entity(); e.setName(“my new entity”); persistanceLayer.put(e); To provide some context, Entity is a POJO representing something we want to store in a database. And persistanceLayer is an instance of a…

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