Meta

Dang

A huge thank you to everyone who made the effort to try the Brave browser via my referral link. I ended up getting significantly more BAT than I expected from it. Given the current exchange rate of about $0.22, that’s a nice bit of funding for my work. I very much appreciate all of you who gave it a try. Hopefully you’ll continue to find it useful and will like the entirely new funding paradigm it brings to the Internet.

An extra shout-out to those who are funding the blog in an ongoing basis through Brave Payments. You’re awesome! I feel a lot better about this than using Patreon.

On a side note, OpenBeacon Mini firmware is just about in a state where I can send some initial units out for testing. I’ll have more on that soon. My next blog post will be about some interesting PC upgrades. That should be dropping quite soon. Cheers!

Meta

I Failed To Take My Own Advice

It’s easy enough to give other people directives, but not so much to live up to them. I thought I had managed to dodge the latest round of the upper respiratory viral infection that settled into our house, but I was wrong. The last five days have been riddled with a lot of coughing and congestion. Ugh.

At least now I seem to be on the rebound again, so I can get back to doing some productive work now that I’m back to getting some semblance of a full night of sleep and some of the mental cloudiness is starting to lift. I know I’ve failed to do so the last few times I’ve mentioned a Twitch stream, but I think there’s a good chance I’ll actually be able to do it this Saturday, even if with a scratchy voice. Stay tuned for further info.

Etherkit, Meta

Another Shack Cleaning!

Guess what? I realized that I had a bunch of microcontroller dev boards and such that I was probably never going to use, so I figured it would be time to put them up for sale, along with some other miscellaneous electronics stuff as well.

Please peruse my listing on my For Sale page!

Also, for a limited time, I’ve decided to bring back my old EtherProg AVR programmer, this time as an assembled product, lovingly built and tested by me. Only $9 plus shipping! Cheap!

Meta

Be Brave

As previously mentioned, I’ve been experimenting with using the combination of the Brave browser and its advertising partner program to bring in some extra funding for my work (and replace what I was getting from Patreon). You can see from my last blog post on the topic that the results have already been positive.

Now comes word of a new referral program to try to convince more folks to use the Brave browser. If you download and use the Brave browser via my referral link, I can score some BAT from Brave, which helps to fund my work here.

The thing is, I do think using Brave is quite beneficial to you as a user. It’s based on the Chromium engine and is quite snappy. Ad and tracker blocking is baked into the cake by default. It also has a nice feature of upgrading many non-encrypted connections to HTTPS. And I do believe that the Basic Attention Token model of funding is a much more sane and honest way to do things compared to the current model of ads, trackers, spyware, hidden cryptocoin miners, and general trickery that a lot of sites use. So I like supporting a paradigm shift in this field.

The caveat is that Brave is still in what I would consider a beta state; which I would define to mean that it mostly works as it should but you might run into an odd bug here or there. But in my experience it is pretty stable and mature enough to use regularly. If you have even a bit of computer savvy, I think you’ll be fine.

I don’t know if this will be the wave of the future, but I think if it’s not than something similar will be. Give it a try and see what you think.

Meta

Stay Healthy, My Friends

Feh.

This has been a nasty cold and flu season. After having it hit our house twice already this winter, we were struck again this week, with everyone in the house getting pretty ill with the exception of myself. That meant that I had to attend to the family’s needs, and therefore didn’t get much work done on OpenBeacon Mini this week. Fortunately, everyone is now healing and I can devote more time to work again.

I’ve previously mentioned how I upgraded the office/shack network infrastructure by running Ethernet cable from the living room router and by upgrading our internet package. Now, I’ve completed phase 2 of the upgrade by getting a new Asus AC-1900 router to replace the cheap old TP-Link TL-WR841N that we were previously using. The difference between the two are like night and day. Not to mention that the old router didn’t even have Gb Ethernet support, so all around the networking situation is much better now. Good times.

My dog’s fur gets everywhere, as you can see.

Back to OpenBeacon Mini for a moment. I’ve completed about 80% of the menu system at this point. This menu system is almost entirely new code, which is why it is taking a significant amount of time for me to get it complete. A significant portion of it is being implemented as an Arduino library, so once I’m satisfied that it’s working correctly, I’ll publish the library in the Library Manager and let you know about it. The rest of the coding needed to get OpenBeacon Mini in a state where it’s suitable for broader testing should proceed at more of a brisk pace, since I can leverage a lot of the pre-existing OpenBeacon 2 code. More updates to follow soon!

Meta

Many Thanks

Today I received a pleasant surprise in my inbox:

That’s a bit more than $8 at the current exchange rate.

I didn’t know that someone (or multiple someones) was already using the Brave browser and allocating Basic Attention Tokens to me, so that was a really awesome surprise for me today. Thank you very kindly to the person or people who have taken the effort and funds to contribute to me in this way. Since abandoning Patreon, I still haven’t found a good strategy for on-going funding, but it would be great if this method picks up steam. It was a little bit painful to give up the monthly Patreon funds, but I still feel quite good about the decision from a moral standpoint. I’m looking forward to seeing if this model can actually become a thing. From the sound of this, the idea is picking up some steam. The token giveaway mentioned in that article is over, but they say there will be another soon, so watch for it.

Meta, Twitch

A New and Improved Experience

As you have probably seen, I’ve launched occasional Twitch streaming of my work activities, including schematic capture, PCB layout, library coding, firmware coding, and even some solder melting. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but I’ve been traversing it fairly successfully, I think. However, one big problem that I was having was with the quality of my stream output.

Allow me to describe my home office and network infrastructure situation. We have Frontier FIOS internet, which is fiber optic to a junction box on your house, when then downconverts to RF over coax, like cable internet. Our modem and router live in our living room. The router is a cheap TP-Link flashed with DD-WRT. My shack/office is in a bedroom adjacent to the living room. Our house is early 70s vintage, so no network cabling was wired into the house. The old office network setup was another Linksys router flashed with DD-WRT configured as a wifi bridge, with all of the office devices connected to the bridge via Ethernet cable. In effect, nearly every device in the house was connected via wifi. Given the combination of the cheap router and wifi congestion, my internet speeds were slow. The internet package I had from Frontier was labeled at 25 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload, but I’d be lucky if I could get 5 Mbps each way from the office. This meant that the Twitch stream was being bandwidth-choked, since it needs about 2.8 Mbps upload on a consistent basis, which this setup couldn’t provide.

So in order to provide a better stream experience, I did a couple of things. First I called Frontier and got our internet service upgraded to 30 Mbps up/down for a slightly cheaper monthly rate than we currently pay (it pays to check on that every year or two). Then I ran an Ethernet cable installation from the living room near the router to the office so that I could toss out the wifi bridge.

Happily I can now report that from all of the office/shack PCs, I can easily get more than 30 Mbps upload and download speed. I also ran a Twitch streaming test last night from the office PC and got two hours of continuous streaming without a single frame being dropped, which is quite an improvement from the previous streams.

It’s been a few weeks since the last stream, but I’m ready to pick up the pace a bit more again. Watch for more streams soon.

Meta

Now Streaming?

Given my withdrawal from Patreon, this seems like a good time to try out some new ideas that have been rattlin’ around the noggin for a while. One of those ideas was to get a little more social (at least in internet terms) by streaming some of my work sessions on Twitch.

So I’ve set up a channel, installed OBS Studio, and have started to learn how to use the software to at least provide a minimal amount of production value. My old Logitech 720p webcam was dusted off, and I even found another of the exact same model for sale at Goodwill in order to give me a couple of different video sources. I imagine I should be able to connect my USB microscopes to OBS as well so that you could get a good look at circuits up close.

At the moment, I’m getting this all set up at my battlestation, which will probably take another week or so to complete, along with the software learning curve. Watch for some test streams in the near future. I’ll try to make sure that Twitch announces when I’m QRV via my Twitter account. I have no idea how interesting this will be, but I figure it might be worth trying.

Meta

New Blog Theme

As you can see, I’ve changed the blog theme and I’m trying out some of the different post formats, so that I can hopefully make this platform more conducive to the type of “microblogging” I was doing on Patreon.

Meta

Some Site Updates

You may have noticed that nt7s.com now has HTTPS enabled (thanks to the wonderful Let’s Encrypt) and redirects all traffic to that protocol. I think everything is working ok, but please contact me if you find problems with the blog.

I added encryption for a couple of reasons. First, I’m on-board with the idea of HTTPS everywhere, if only to thwart any kind of future problems from intermediaries of various types using your browsing against you. Second, I needed to enable it so that I could start accepting revenue from Brave Payments using the Basic Attention Token (abbreviated BAT). What’s the tl;dr? This is a way to get revenue from your content via a decentralized, cryptocurrency token system based on anonymous data from people’s web browser. It’s still very new and I admittedly am not the most up to speed on blockchain/cryptocurrency, but I sounds right up my alley, so I’d like to try it. This blog was just authorized in the Brave Payments system, so I should now be able to receive BAT in my payments wallet if people choose to allocate them to me. Let me know what you think of all this!