It’s Been a While!

I’ve not posted in a few months, mainly because I’ve been extremely busy! Here’s what I’ve been up to recently. School I just finished up the semester and finals were rough, but I came out with great success. I really enjoyed a few of my classes. Namely, Computer Architecture, where I studied how the MIPS32 ISA was designed, and then implemented several hardware versions of it. The second best class was Digital Systems Design where I was introduced to VHDL and was able…

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Autonomy is Cool… and Hard!

Beginning in the last week of August, I joined The University of Alabama’s IEEE Autonomous Robotics Senior Design Team for 2016. I am the System Architecture and Integration Lead. UA has sent fiercely competitive teams to this competition for the past several years, though none have won. This year’s team is staffed with motivated, driven individuals and we are attempting to bring home first place for UA for the first time. I have linked the official competition rules below. IEEE…

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NSA Playset

Today an article ran on ArsTechnica which caught my eye. It’s titled The NSA Playset: Espionage tools for the rest of us and talks about the creation of a collection of NSA-ANT-like devices for doing… NSA-like things. One device — a deceptively simple device — caught my attention. It is called the CONGAFLOCK. This single transistor RF reflector can be implanted into anything that transmits data via wires. The resultant device can be hit with a continuous wave at the frequency of the bug’s…

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A Quick Intro to AC Motors and Generators

Earlier today I was looking around the web for some basic information on AC generators. I am a Computer Engineering major, so my courses only very briefly cover electro-mechanical systems. I’ve been wanting to create a windmill generator, mainly just to see if I can make something useful. I came upon this 1961 US Army training video on AC motors and generators and found it to be extremely informational. It also has a quick review at the end in case…

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Useful Linux Commands

I have been compiling a list of some Linux commands that I find most useful. Some of these are the basic run-of-the-mill commands that any intro to Linux class will teach, but some of them are a little more obscure, yet useful. They are listed below in alphabetical order. apropos This utility is related to the man utility. You can use it to find references within manual pages simply by providing an argument that is close to or exactly what you are…

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July Update

I’ve not written for a while because I’ve been crazy busy recently. I have started a new internship and moved cities to work. But I’ve also been working on a ton of other things as well. Recently, I have been reading the OSDev Wiki and trying my hand at OS development. I am slightly cheating by using an i686 emulator from QEMU and GRUB to boot me into real mode, but I am writing everything else from scratch. I’ve found the most…

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Diving into Java (updated)

I have never been heavily exposed to programming in Java, though I’m an Android person. I recently began reading online course material about programming in Java, and specifically, programming with the Swing GUI library. I had a need for a simple application to store information about ICs and other electronic components I have in my possession, so I thought I’d give Java a try! After figuring out Eclipse’s designer windows and GUI editing helpers, I was able to create an…

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The Power of Drawing Pictures

I recently watched a TED Talk on dealing with large, complex, and as the speaker calls them, ‘wicked’ design problems. The speaker pointed out several things that at first glance seem trivial, but upon a deeper investigation, reveal some pretty powerful insight into the way the human brain organizes ideas and complex problems. The speaker adheres to a visual and tangible design approach wherein the designer physically draws a picture of the desired systems. From there the designer refines this…

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