Ring of Fire – Summary

Ring of Fire is a tree ornament I built this year. A big, high-powered, custom-animated tree ornament. First, there was the idea and a parts list. Then I wrote a simulator to create animations against. When that was done, I built the ring and started on the firmware And then I did a whole bunch…


Santa Animation

The oldest of my displays. The “landing lights” are blue lights in canning jars dyed blue. All the santas and the reindeer are made of plywood. Some of the lights on the mid and upper santa are burnt out, but I’m not sure I’m going to get around to fixing it before next year.  Animated…


Ring of Fire – Video

Here’s a video of the completed project. The video is from my Canon G3, so the quality isn’t very good. For sake of comparison, the blue and red globes in the video are 50 watts each, while each LED is only 350mW. The LEDs a bit brighter than they appear because the video is about…


Tree of Lights Video

My second animated display. This one has 16 channels and runs using a Motorola 68HC11 microcontroller. In the background you can see the house outline lights, which are a four-color dimming system also based on a 68HC11  Tree of Lights


Ring of Fire – Up in a tree

The last few days have been fairly hectic. I wanted to get “Ring of Fire” into a demo-able state (to take into work on Friday), so that it could go up today. First up was building the project board. As I mentioned before, the LEDs pull 70mA, so I need a separate transistor to drive them,…


Stay at Home Server

The Windows team has launched Stay at Home Server, and they’ve produced a short book that introduces it. You should read it.


Ring of Fire – Ring and Firmware

After firming up the animations that I wanted to do, I got two things accomplished in the last few days. First, I build the “ring” part. I had bought a 5′ piece of pvc electrical conduit to use as a form, and my plan was to bend it into a circle by heating it with…


Battery University

A great resource for all things related to rechargeable batteries.


The life and times of a HealthVault piece of data…

HealthVault has two temporarl views of data. The first temporal view is fairly obvious. If, for example, you’re looking at the Height type, there is a When property that can tell the time at which the height was measured. That allows you to do fun things, like chart the growth of your children over time (as…


Ring of Fire – Simulator

To make some progress before my parts arrive (they showed up yesterday), and to have a good way to test my animations, I decided to build a simulator. The simulator is build in windows forms, and is intended to prototype both the approach I’m going to take in the real software. I’m also hoping I…