2018-06-01 (F) Weekly Summary

Plant biology can be an exciting field of study but knowing where to start isn't easy. A video by The Thought Emporium, aka Justin Adkin, demonstrates how simple it is to stain and view cells. By far, the best part of the video is his enthusiasm for learning and sharing that information.

Hiding text in plain sight isn't just for spies and cryptopunks, anyone might benefit like finding scavenger hunt clues inside a special book or literary notes in a complex story. The process works by distorting regular text, just a little, and measuring that distortion reveals a variable. Enough distorted letters contain a message. The distorted letters can be printed, and the message remains intact.

Making custom keyboards without custom keycaps means that some keys don't have accurate labels. To make the whole keyboard readable, I designed little caps which could be cut from tape and placed over any round keycap. Painter's tape was used for the first round since it was inexpensive and it could be removed if wasn't suitable.

Painter's tape keycap covers

A new enclosure was in order. This time, it was cut from thin plywood, 1/8", and a cover was cut from adhesive plastic. The plastic had a metallic finish like might be found in a car's dashboard. The decorative layer was cut the same as the one below, except without screw holes.

Decorative covers and wooden frames

The board was reassembled but not all the buttons worked. Most of the problems came from poorly soldered ICs which were fastened to the board with a fine-tip soldering iron. There were still problems with entire boards not responding.

 Malfunctioning buttons have black tape

The boards which weren't responding seemed to be a problem with data and power being passed from one board to another. Weak connections seemed to be rooted in the way the boards were connected. A piece of wire was laid across the solder pads and mounted to the surface. This would work fine as a jumper across two points of a single board, but the physical pressure was too much. The bits of wire were replaced with longer lengths which went into the solder pads on each side. Stronger joints fixed the problems associated with weak connections.

Rugged connections between boards

The rest of the weekly summaries have been arranged by date.

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