Sorry, this entry is only available in German.
Since this blog has been dead for several years, because I moved many of my online activities to Facebook, I decided to create a new line of articles here. Because I am expecting more visits from outside of Switzerland, I want to describe a set of excursions, and maybe I end up with a sort of small Swiss tourist guide. Since I live in Zurich, the focus will be something like this:
- Easy one day touristic excursions from Zurich, for which it is worth getting up in the morning and get going.
- Short tours to the environment, that can be done spontaneously in an afternoon.
- Longer tours that take more preparation and maybe even an overnight stay
I already assembled a list of possible excursions on the Offerings page “Excursions to Swiss Attractions”. In the near future, I will describe some of these excursions in more detail whenever I find the time. This page, therefore, serves as a directory and overview for excursions that I recommend at any time, which I probably made myself, and which I love to do with my visitors. It can serve as an inspiration and basis for suggestions.
Recently, I stumbled upon an advertisement for this object. It is a gadget called Blink(1), which can be plugged into a USB port and which has two color LEDs, one on top and one on the bottom, that can be controlled by a piece of computer software to show any color in any brightness. The gadget is costing around 40 swiss franks and it has a nice piece of control software, which can be used to make the gadget light in many different useful ways. For example, IFTTT (If This Then That) can be used to make it light in various colors upon given conditions, or URLs, files or scripts can be called to define color combinations, or a mailbox can make it light up if a given number of new mails arrive, or if the mail of your significant other arrives or if the mail has a certain subject line. Or you warn of a low battery, or when the CPU load exceeds a certain percentage.
In part 1, I described the hardware of my project of a computer controllable lava lamp. In this second part, I want to discuss the necessary firmware, which is the software necessary to teach the Picaxe Microcontroller the desired functionality.
We need to keep two areas in focus:
- We need to be able to read the desired color values from the USB serial port, defining the desired intensities of the colors green, red and blue.
- These desired values have to be turned into actual light in desired color and intensity. This means, the LEDs have to be turned on.
I wanted to build a device that can light in different colors, and where the colors can be controlled from a computer. My idea was to hook it up with a computer, who then should signal some state by lighting the appropriate color. For example, while building and compiling a program, the lamp should blink in blue color. When the build is finished, the lamp should light either in green (when the build ran fine) or red (when something went wrong).
I found the lava lamp shown to the right, which is equipped with a color-changing LED and is powered from USB. I bought one and intended to modify the controlling electronics to my purposes.
This young man is quite impressive: