Framing it up

Front of the frame
Attaching the sides to the front. Note the MDF 'square'... I don't own a square yet.

For a while now, I've been interested in making a camper trailer. Something hard-sided for winter camping, but lots of ventilation for summer. It'd have to be light enough to tow - under 1000 pounds or so, and cheap enough to build without worrying about expenses.

Now that I have a job and a workshop, I can! It's kinda exciting.

July 31st - Tortillas?

Helen and I at the Oregon state sign
We biked to Oregon. How did we bike to Oregon?

Today's ride took us from Boise, ID to Ontario, OR. That's the penultimate state crossing!

We passed a little tortilla bakery, and they offered us a few bags of tortillas to take back and share! Fresh tortillas are delicious.

June 30th - Loss on the Trail

My tire with a large staple in it
This is the only picture I have from the ride today. Fitting, I suppose.

As much as Bike & Build emphasizes safety, cycling - or being outside in general - is dangerous. Especially with hundreds of riders and thousands of miles, accidents are all but unavoidable.

On another Bike & Build trip, one rider, Patrick Wanninkhof, was killed and another, Bridget Anderson, was hospitalized when a distracted driver struck them.

Our ride took us from Mountain Home to Boise, ID. When we arrived, the leaders brought us together to let us know what had happened, and give us time to talk with each others and think with ourselves.

It was a quiet day.

Don't drive distracted.

World's worst RNG.

I've been working on a USA medallion recently, and wanted to add a flickering effect. Something to make the lights twinkle randomly. That's not too hard on a real PC, where resources are cheap. But the ATTiny 44 I'm working on has only 128 bytes of ram. (That's 1/8th of a kilobyte, which is 1/1000th of a megabyte, which is itself 1/1000th of a gigabyte, which is what your computer has.)

Most of the RNG's around need 4 bytes or so for storage, and more for calculation. Mine doesn't! (It's also not very random, but you can't have everything for free.)

Graphic Copper in Kicad

Bitmap2Component icon
Doesn't look like much, does it?

For my trinket, I wanted to make the front side unmasked copper, since it's shiney and reflective and looks cool. KiCad supports converting graphics to component files, but only for the silkscreen (user text) and soldermask (the green stuff) layers. But, with the new plaintext components, it's trivial to get graphic copper. Here's how.

Bitmap2Component iconStart by opening Bitmap2Component. From  the main KiCad window, it's the icon to the side here. That'll open the program shown below. You can follow the usual way of creating a component: click on Load Bitmap, adjust the threshold value to select which parts are in the component file, and so on. The Black&White tab shows the final outline. For copper, try to use a resolution above 300dpi (600 or 1200 is best); modern processes can create really, really small features, and you want to take advantage of that. When you're done, save it as a Pcbnew file (.kicad_mod). It doesn't much matter which layer you use, but I'll pretend you're using the Front Silk Screen layer.

July 29th - Lost on the Oregon Trail

The tennis court we slept in, at dawn
Daybreak at the Y

Just about six months ago today, I was lost on the Oregon Trail. Heading out of Twin Falls, we started off the wrong way, turning a 95-mile day into a 105-mile one. With headwinds. It was a pleasure.

A very long day, and a very tiring day, but we got to bike on the Oregon Trail, out in the middle of nowhere. I love biking in the middle of nowhere.

At the end of the day, we wound up in a surprisingly built-up town, Mountain Home. You couldn't even see the place from 5 miles out, yet it has a population of about 15,000.

This really kind woman put all of us up in her house. Apparently, her boss used to host B&B, and when he moved out of town, he asked if she'd like to.

July 28th - To Twin Falls!

Ellie and Abra, sitting ... on Abra?

Today's ride took us out of Burley, into Twin Falls, ID. Twin falls, named for Shoshone Falls, was a large city, as cities in Oregon go. The real feature, though, was the waterfall.

Helen and I rode down (literally - it was a few hundred feet of descent) to get to the falls with some other riders, and we all explored for a bit. The pictures have captions, too!

(I promised I'd finish uploading these, and I will. It's just that driving across the country, starting a job (I have a job now!) and moving into a new house are all time-consuming.)

DigitalOcean DDNS

Years ago, when I first bought nitkin.net, I thought it'd be pretty neat to give my home server a domain, say, home.nitkin.net. At the time, IMeanWebHosting handled DNS through CPanel. CPanel doesn't have an API to update DNS records, so DDNS was a long shot. Instead, I wrote up a little script that'd simply track my home's IP address, and figured I could update the records by hand when things changed. (As it turns out, RCN never changed our IP in the 2 years that home.nitkin.net was up for, so the whole DDNS thing was entirely unnecessary. (That's all back here, along with some introductory material.)

But times change, people move, and shared servers are outgrown. I graduated from school and moved out to Colorado (anyone want to hire an electrical engineer who's pretty good at website stuff and Linux?), and switched hosting providers.

Bike & Build

Building a handicap ramp
On one of the first build days, we created ADA handicap ramps with Rebuilding Upstate

Group ridingOver summer 2015, I volunteered with Bike & Build, an organization that arranges cross-country cycling trips that aim to involve young adults in affordable housing. Over the course of the summer, we bike cross-country, averaging 70 miles a day (the longest day is 116 miles.)

Some days instead of cycling, we volunteer with local affordable housing organizations (usually Habitat for Humanity). On build days, we work on the build site from 8-4 or so. 

July 27th - Fairgrounds!

The tents, my friend, are blowing in the wind. The tents are blowing in the wind.

In yesterdays post, I promised more cool pictures of the fairground. Here they are!

When Helen and I woke up this morning, we were surprised to find high winds making life difficult for those in tents. Overnight lows notwithstanding, we all headed out around 9 to work on a build site for a while. They had a little interior work - cutting trim and wiring - that I helped out with. Most of the group was in the front yard landscaping. (I didn't envy them: it was cold and wet.)

We stopped by a bike shop on the way back from the build site and picked up patch kits. The southwestern part of Oregon and northwestern California are desert, so it'll be a while before we hit civilization again.

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