Monday, January 23, 2006

Electronics and my philosophy...

Everyone has a personal philosophy whether it is borrowed or unique to themselves. Mine you can probably tell from the links I thrown here, and various rants in my blog.

Thats not what this post is about.

I've always had a prediliction for expensive gadgets, or nifty toys. However I almost don't see them as seperate pieces of equipment. For me they are a bit like high tech legos. My last post, which made the blog (YAY!), is indicative of what i mean. Over the past few months I've been amassing various toys that are good at what they do in their own right.

A tiny wireless color camera with audio, nice picture once it's properly focused and sensitive sound gain. Ideal to use as it was intended, a lowish cost security camera that needs no power cable or signal lines.

A generic lcd HMD. Great for gaming or watching tv, or dvd's that would bother or offend other people.

Six channel radio setup for rc airplanes. Good unit by futaba if your into Model Airplanes and such. I'm not, but still a good unit.

I like to see how i can combine different pieces and make them do other things. For example my last post shows how i used the above toys to create a really cool rc car you can drive from the cockpit of the car. It worked great but i have already taken the thing apart and packed the pieces away in their respective cases. Why? Because building it yesterday was just done just to do it. It has nop practical application in my life. I may rebuild a variation of it next time i need to run cable just so i don't have to climb into a ceiling (I hate fiberglass insulation). But I may not just the same.

It may sound crazy but i have this desire to build things just to do it. I may do it to solve a problem, or i could just be bored. More often than not it's the latter. But I think that's the beauty of the whole hardware hacking scene, and magazines like MAKE. To challenge ourselves to do something cool. Or to do it because you can save money yourself over buying overpriced items that are purpose built.

Everyone I know seems to have a PDA of some kind and also have a iPod or similiar mp3 player. This i dont get. The pda's have the ability to play the music well enough. Removable storage has come down in price enough where you can get 2 gigs relatively cheaply. I mean who really NEEDS a 60gb mp3 player? Isn't that a bit over kill and kinda ridiculous? Are you ever going to have time to listen to it all? And apart of a few PMP's out there, they can't display video. My pda can display video very well. I simply did some smart shopping and got a 2 gig compact flash card and now i only need carry my pda and my cell. I havent even booted up my laptop in about 2 weeks.

I think the notion of buying purpose specific items is silly. I prefer versatility in my gadgets. It's probably why i love my pda. I can do nearly everything with it I need. As a matter of fact I think one of my next projects is going to be is figuring how to make a cable that will connect a vga port to my HMD. Mainly because my pda has a vga out on it. I can use a screen rotation utility and dump the video signal back out the vga and have native resolution on my LCD goggles. Thus eliminating the bulk of my portable dvd player when traveling (and i do a lot of that).

I may dissect my little wireless camera and see if i can remove the ir filter and make a cheap night vision system. The possibilities are endless if you can look around and see things for what they can be used for instead of what they're made for. My guess is since that seems to be MAKE's mission statement, it explains why i like that site and magazine so much.

Geez, that was a lot longer winded that I expected it to be. As always, feel free to comment.


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