Getting started. Never finished.

Category Archives: geek

So that keytar, that I could only get to blink LEDs, after many attempts to get sound in a predictable way. When I pinned it on in Sacramento, a little defeated by the things I couldn’t resolve, I decided just to try. I tweeted a picture of it to Howard Jones. Much to my surprise, he favorited it and retweeted it a few hours later. And then he called it out from the stage.

He did sign it, in the post-concert nanosecond that was afforded for meet-and-greet. (And I, quite embarrassingly, effectively blew off Tom Bailey in the process.) I saw his stagemates after that, and they told me they could see the LEDs from the stage and were impressed that I had made it.

And today, a week after the show, Howard posted a capture of my Tweet, now a week old, and captioned it “awwwww.”

Whatever failure I felt about not getting it right in time – it’s gone. I’ll just move on and work on something else that will utilize that concept. Not under the thumb of the cynical few, or laden down by the doom crew. True as it ever was.


I started a new job in the past month. Since my work schedule includes an hour-long lunch break, I bought myself a MacBook Air to celebrate and to have a way to work on some personal projects during that time. (Yes, I’m a librarian, but I can’t just read during lunch. I find if I haven’t done something with my hands, I don’t feel like I’ve really had a break. And one can’t knit *all* the time.)

The keytar tie project I posted earlier seemed to fail. The first point of failure seemed to be the piezo; I stripped the wire off a standard piezo, sewed it in, but got no sound. I decided to purchase the speaker/buzzer that is part of the LilyPad lineup.

But that didn’t work. So, I decided I needed to rip everything out – and that was a lot of handsewing with conductive thread – and test my components with alligator clip connections.

Nothing. Not even Ye Olde Blinke would work.

And thus began a Beverly Crusher Moment that I’m still in.

It turns out that Mavericks (good grief, do I hate that name) has its own FTDI driver that prevent the USB ports from working the way you need them to for Arduino projects. The weird thing is that I had installed my own FTDI driver, but Apple must have pushed out an update that overwrote it.

Following advice on the Arduino forums, I disabled Apple’s FTDI driver and reinstalled the recommended ones. Now the proper ports show up for transferring code to the Arduino board, but the process just hangs. And hangs. And never completes.

I’m at the point where I’m strongly considering partitioning the drive, installing Mint Linux 17, and using that for Arduino tinkering.

Of course, the intermediate step is testing the USB/micro cable to see if it suddenly sprung a leak (ha ha). Let’s apply a little Occam’s Razor logic, after all.

But this much work for a relatively small project, all because my computer of choice thinks it knows what functionalities I want better than I do – that is frustrating, and makes me wonder why Mac should continue to be my computer of choice.


indiscreet cd insert

I have the desire to learn ALL THE THINGS. Starting this blog was part of that: both as evidence and a learning process in itself.

The problem with learning ALL THE THINGS is that you can choose “all”, or “things.” You probably will learn a lot about a specific thing, or a smattering about a lot of things.

In my case, I’m a bit of a novelty addict. But also a perfectionist. This means lots of started projects that don’t get finished, because I’m not satisfied with them. Heck, I even admit to this is the subtitle of this blog.

So I’ve sat on an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for nearly a year, occasionally attempting something through a tutorial book that is really designed for the boxed software, and getting frustrated, and moving on to something else. I decided to give it one last gasp by trying a Skillshare course on InDesign. And I nearly bailed on that when I couldn’t get the project to look exactly as I wanted.

I’m coming up on a birthday that I consider significant. I have this feeling in my gut that the lesson to bring into this new year is “finish.” And it finally dawned on me that finish and perfect are not always compatible, and there is nothing wrong with “finish so you can move on and return if you wish.”

The link above is a cd insert for my almost-fake band. A couple of these songs exist, one is an idea we messed around with, and one is just a name. Another thing to finish.


Nearly a year since starting this project. Spending the day learning and experiencing the reenergizing that comes with it. Also, Wordcamp swag does beat library conference swag.

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Thinking about various inputs/outputs for the Arduino-based meditation shawl. Was going to go with click button x times = x(10) minutes until lights start up, but now thinking about input from pulse sensor (pulse reduces x amount = lights start up) or temperature. Also could add sound to the shawl. Sound could be an input or an output. Nerds and/or meditators, your thoughts?

Also, the pulse sensor that I found is wired, not e-textile, but I think I could make it work. How often does one through a meditation shawl in the wash, anyway?


Decide that you really should knit the shawl that you want to attach the Lilypad board to, because there’s no way some fabric you’ve purchased would suffice. Therefore, you have months of work on lace-weight yarn to go before you even plug that Arduino board in and start coding!

At least it’s a pretty distraction….

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Solved it!

PS – Why tagged as music? This is the strap for my bass.


Haven’t got the Aniomagic sparkle boards to blink yet. And yes, I am foolish enough to sew things in place first and then realize I need to troubleshoot. Hands were needing a project – haven’t made a necklace in a while.

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