Here are where I will place my witterings on matters geekiness. 


The Adafruit USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit

DSCN1339 I have to admit that I sometimes suffer from an overactive wishful thinking gland.  And recently it’s being playing up again.  My current wish is to be able to program my own microprocessors.  Across the web, there are so many brilliant projects using PIC or AVR processors.  Of course to program them you must wrestle with programming code, compile it and then program the processor.

For the programming part you need a small piece of hardware that will interface the chip from your computer.  So where to start.

Read more: The Adafruit USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit

New DIY Cable Instructions over at DIY Audio Projects

Over at DIY audio Projects, they have added a couple of new do it yourself audio cable articles.  Commercial audio cables range in price from a few pounds to a basic model, up into thousands of pounds for the most exotic.  Clearly a frugal audio builder is unlikely to give away so much hard earned cash for such luxuries?

Read more: New DIY Cable Instructions over at DIY Audio Projects

3G Mod an EeePC for Portable Internet Access

During the last few months, Asus has started selling the "eeePC 1000H GO" with internal 3G/HSDPA card for easy everywhere connectivity. While this is surely a welcome addition to the Eee PC range, customers such as Dennis  were left wondering if they had purchased too early. Dennis wanted 3G mobile internet on his notebook and was prepared to take what some may describe as a drastic step to get what he wanted.  Dennis considered a buying one of those ugly external USB 3G modems but considered it a risk to the USB port or even the whole motherboard if the EeePC was dropped or knocked. His solution was to modify the notebook internally…

Read more: 3G Mod an EeePC for Portable Internet Access

2 Great Ways to Subscribe to Justblair's Audio and Electronics Pages

image I hope that you have had a chance to look around the site and have enjoyed your stay at Justblair’s.  The site is relatively new, but is hopefully growing in its size and quality every day.  Keeping up to date with a site can be hard work, but this week I have been working on the site to develop the sites feed capabilities.  The result of my efforts is two hopefully convenient and easy method that we can keep you up to date with new articles and blog entries as they are published.

Read more: 2 Great Ways to Subscribe to Justblair's Audio and Electronics Pages

BatchPCB invites you to place your PCB designs in the Public Domain

imageI saw today a news item that captured my interest.  BatchPCB, a PCB  prototyping company is offering a new service that allows you to place your PCB designs into the public domain.  This is a new and interesting way to share designs with other interested electronics builders.

I am a fully signed up convert to RSS feeds.  In case you are not aware of hot to use RSS feeds, have a look in your browsers address bar…  See an orange logo?     If you click on this is will allow you to save the RSS feed for the site you are in.  You can try it out now with if you like.


Personally I use “Google Reader” to manage and browse my RSS feeds.  in the morning I log into my Google account and catch up on the feeds much in the way that a non-geek may read the daily paper.  Best thing about it is that you don’t tend to miss out on stories that interest you.  Today a news item from Sparkfun caught my interest.


Sparkfun, if you haven’t heard of them already is a company that sells all manner of electronics project kits, catering for the amateur builders.  For slightly unusual kits, sparkfun is one of the few places available on the internet.  BatchPCB is a spinoff company from Sparkfun that provides  a PCB prototyping service.


BatchPCB I learned today have been working on their website to improve the service that they are offering to customers.  The basic premise to their service is that they have automated the process of submitting PCB designs.  What they label their DRC bot (Design Rules Checker) will examine your submitted Gerber files looking for basic mistakes.  Once checked, your design is loaded onto a PCB board template alongside other customers designs.  For a one off prototype this sharing of the boards saves money on the build.  BatchPCB are candid enough about their lead times.  Obviously when you order your design is cued and waits for other customers designs to fill the sheet.


Whilst it’s nice to have another bookmark for PCB manufacture, what really caught my  eye about BatchPCB’s newly redesigned site is a new feature which allows you to place your pcb design on the Batch PCB site for the public to order.  If you are the sharing type, this altruistic act may give you a cosy glow.  Basically you can opt to make your design available and others may order the board as a one off order.  I can see this as being an interesting idea for hobbyists who are collaborating on designs say through forums such as DIYaudio and similar.  Obviously your handing over your pride and joy to the public domain.


From BatchPCB’s point of view the advantages are obvious.  If you want to benefit from someone else’s design talent, the path of least resistance is to use their service.   However, even with the longish lead times for getting your board made, consider how long a group buy takes to organise.  With BatchPCB, the design is already verified and loaded onto the site.  No waiting around for others to join in the group buy.


BatchPCB is a growing but still small scale company.  Erik and Devlin are basically it for now.  It is admirable that there is someone out there catering for the small production runs.  Erik was telling me that they have some other innovative site features in the pipeline just now, so keep an eye on their site for  future announcements.

Have you tried to contact me?

No I am not lonely… well not that lonely anyway.  The reason that I ask is that I received a message from a friend to say that he had tried to contact me via the site. Unfortunately the mail did not get through to me.  I am hoping that this is a one off!


Unfortunately in these days of bountiful spam, publishing an e-mail address just screams “I NEED V1A6RA” from the rooftops and many thousands of helpful souls will endeavour to help how they can.  So what I am doing is this.


I am opening a forum page for lost comments, or alternately if you have been trying to contact me and I have not got back to you, please leave a comment here.  Of course if you do have V1A6RA too sell, can I possibly suggest spamming someone else.. I’ve got plenty thanks!


Bye for now

Peter Daniels NOS DAC, Available in USB flavour?

c2The World Wide Web has made the sharing of information easier, more convenient and more rapid than ever before.  It’s not without it’s flaws though the main one being just the huge wealth of sites to peruse, remember and revisit.  It makes it easy for a product to go astray and last week I discovered such a product.

Read more: Peter Daniels NOS DAC, Available in USB flavour?