Maker Shed strikes again – with easy Arduino interfacing

Great :

This week in the Maker Shed we continued our Spring-cleaning sale with some amazing discounts and free shipping on orders over $100 (details here). Also, we are continuing to work with kit makers on a lot of really cool products. Do you have something that you think would make a great kit for the Maker Shed? If so, send us an email at, we are always looking for cool stuff.

More about the Spring-cleaning sale in the Maker Shed

New product this week:
The new Make Controller 2.0 & Interface Board kit from the Maker Shed is a great way to get up and running with this micro-controller. Adding sensors and motors has never been easier.

The Make Controller is built around the AT91SAM7X256, and adds the essential components (like the crystal, voltage regulator, filter capacitors, etc.) required to run it, while bringing almost all the processor’s signal lines out to standard 0.1″ spaced sockets. The software environment remains constant no matter what you plug the Make Controller into – the firmware libraries are organized and documented, making it clear which are compatible with the Controller and Application boards. The Interface Board makes it easy to connect and communicate with your favorite devices with up to 35 general input/outputs, 2 serial ports, TWI, CAN, SPI along with Ethernet and USB. All pins are 0.1″ spaced for easy insertion into your prototyping breadboard.

More about the Make Controller 2.0 & Interface Board kit

Read more | Permalink | Comments | Read more articles in Maker Shed Store | Digg this! [From Maker Shed weekly wrap-up]

Computers and users with autism

Interesting project an story about the experiences the Google SketchUp team has with a rather different group os users:

A couple of years ago, the Google SketchUp team began hearing from a new group of users — people on the autism spectrum. After consulting with some experts, we learned the connection between autism and SketchUp isn’t particularly surprising. Many people on the autism spectrum have visual and spatial strengths, and 3D design software plays to them. With this in mind, we started a program called Project Spectrum. As part of Autism Awareness Month in April, we’ve launched a new webpage showcasing some great SketchUp artists (Rachel, Jeremy, JP and others). We’ve also created a Getting Started with Google SketchUp video for anyone who wants to learn the basic tools to start modeling. More of the Project Spectrum models can be seen in the Google 3D Warehouse collection. Watch the video below to hear the story behind Project Spectrum and meet some of the kids involved [From Project Spectrum: recognizing the talents of children with autism]

Arduino Ethernet library — Smaller and more functional

The open source community keeps on improving the Ethernet library for the Arduino Ethernet shield:

Ethernet library — Smaller and more functional
01.02.2009 at 15:39:47 Hi all,

I’m wanting to make other people aware of the work Peter from London has been doing on shrinking the size of the Ethernet library and adding additional functionality. The code is available here:

Arduino Ethernet2 library

Now, I’m pretty sure he wanted me to sign a whole load of disclaimers about it being untested before agreeing to me posting about it but I think it’s important work and think others would be interested in trying it out.

I haven’t yet tested it out but wanted to post about it before I forgot to do so again

[From Arduino Forum – Ethernet library — Smaller and more functional]

wow – someone wrote a DHCP library for Arduino Ethernet shield

Useful :

I knew that the Arduino Ethernet hardware and supporting library didn’t directly support getting an IP address (and other supporting information) via DHCP. I began to look around to see if someone had developed a library that would handle the DHCP handshake, and unfortunately I could find no such library – only comments of people wishing someone would develop such a library. Well, I’ve started just that – a DHCP library for the Arduino Ethernet shield.

[From Make: Online : DHCP library for Arduino Ethernet shield]

Arduino Mega example

Good intro to use of extra pins on the newer/bigger Arduino Mega :

I just finished a quick sample project for the Arduino Mega, doing a project that comes up all the time, and usually requires a multiplexer, Max7219, or shift register: controlling 128 LEDs with a Mega. In this example, there’s nothing but a mega and 2 8×8 LED matrices. Whee!

And yes, that’s a nifty light blue prototyping shield designed by and made by Smart Projects. Looking forward to using more of them.

[From Mega Knight Rider Example]

autofs in Apple’s Leopard OSx

Excellent :

Autofs goodness in Apple’s Leopard (10.5) – Part I
By rajeev karamchedu • November 22, 2007 • Email this post • Print this post

Autofs is one of the features in Leopard that is currently going a bit unnoticed and under-appreciated. In Leopard, autofs is completely re-written and is multi-threaded. TIGER’s automounter was excruciatingly slow and inflexible w.r.t to its configuration. I felt none of those pains when I tried Leopard’s automount with my NFS shares. In this article, we are taking a look at Leopard’s autofs facility in depth from a unix system administrator’s perspective. Meaning that we won’t cover what autofs is, what is NFS, SMB etc. We think you are a very smart person and can actually teach us a thing or two about these things. What we will cover is the various configuration possibilities, tricks and gotchas in an effort to realize its full potential.

Although the unix guys may be most thankful for the improved support of NFS and autofs in Leopard. It is worth noting that autofs capabilities can be as easily utilized to manage all other kinds of file shares as well – NFS, AFP and SMB. So if you support Leopard in an enterprise environment, take full benefit of this new layer and manage all of your file systems with it. If you are looking for information about integrating Apple into your exsiting Unix/NFS environment, please read the article Integrating Mac OS X into Unix LDAP Environment with NFS Home Directories.

[From Comprehensive review and guide to using autofs in Apple’s Leopard OS (10.5) · Rajeev Karamchedu]