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Hi, and welcome.


This attempts to be a free-form, (mostly un-cohosted) podcast about tech-oriented hobby-projects. Do not proceed if you're looking for a high-quality production.

On a semi-biweekly basis, Michai and optional cohost talk about software, electronics and mechanical engineering from a hands-on point of view. Most of the time, that means giving excuses for not having done any work at all.

Apr 12, 2020

In this time of global turmoil, the CBA Podcast once again proves to be your one-stop source of distraction and meh-grade information.

We start off by a quick list of how to keep busy in a sort of useful way, followed by a short talk about a 230 Vac test-jig and designing for test-jig repairability.

Already mentioned in a previous episode, I finally got around to building a digital driver box consisting of push/pull FET and open-drain drivers for a low-voltage digital input-signal. And that's not the only thing that got finished: I also got around to make mechanics and software for a spiky icicle LED ball decoration thing, which worked out quite well.

A fuzzy talk about getting to know your electronics equipment more intimately concludes this episode. If you are looking for useful things to do there, perhaps this is worth a shot.

Relevant links:

  • the ongoing RetroChallenge 2020/04 lasts until May, and is now hosted by Mark Sherman
  • please leave 5G towers alone, and instead read Wikipedia's article on wireless device radiation and health
  • some podcasts I listen(ed) to, in random order:
    • Eaten By A Grue (Carrington Vanston & Kevin Savetz), about Infocom text adventures (even if you never play(ed) those, like myself)
    • DoubleTake (Carrington Vanston & Shari Creamer), where 2 people review 1 mystery movie each
    • Henry & Heidi Podcast (Henry Rollins & Heidi May), true stories from the past. Most have to do with music/punkrock, but probably accessible if you're not 100% into that.
    • SledgeCast (Gerry something and Iain something), talking about "Sledge Hammer!" TV-episodes, one each episode. I binge-listened to these while driving to Hannover and back.
    • The Amp Hour (Dave Jones & Chris Gammell), about electronic engineering. Occasionally have interviews that go off on a tangent, which I  like.
    • Rationally Speaking (Julia Galef), about the borderlands between reason and nonsense (unquote). For some reason I can't listen to this while driving, but while walking on a treadmill everything's fine. Go figure.
    • Damn Interesting Podcasts (Alan Bellows), true stories, told in fitting atmosphere. Creepy. Weird.
    • Retro Computing Roundtable (Paul Hagstrom, Earl Evans, Carrington Vanston, Michael Mulhern, etc etc) about retrocomputing
    • Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor and others), imaginary weird reports about an imaginary desert town. Recommended to me, I like it, haven't heard more than the first few episodes, and as with Rationally Speaking, I can't seem to listen to this while driving. :-)
    • Joe Rogan Experience (Joe Rogan and guests). Sit down for an hour or two to get to hear about people you might not even have considered otherwise. Or skip to the next episode, of course.
    • You Don't Know Flack (Rob O'Hara), telling stories about his own life. This guy can really tell a story, very funny and entertaining, even if you're not really into the subject at hand.
    • Multiple Sadness (Rob O'Hara), about B-movies that are so bad they're good. Very funny and entertaining. 
  • video of my LED icicle spike ball decoration on YT
  • video of Pintek DP-25 differential probe weirdness on YT

Some pics of the things mentioned in this episode:

230 Vac test-jig

230 Vac test-jig, using DIN-rail components and a big block of MDF wood

digital driver box

digital driver/amplifier box, innards

LED ball innards

LED icicle ball, innards. The small PCB is an AVR micro and 2 16-channel constant current LED-drivers.

painted LED ball

painted with acrylic paint and spraypaint. Should probably just have 3D-printed this in the first place...

LED icicle ball full on

LED icicle ball, full brightness, sitting on desk