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Making things out of wood

05 February 2017
3 minutes
hacking Project: E-ink frame

Continuing my project to build an e-ink photo frame calendar, my next step was to build the frame. This was comprised of two disasters and a compromise. I’m not very good at wood.

Disaster 1: DIY

I learnt how frame mouldings work and found a local art shop that would sell me a length. I built it in SketchUp and measured the model so I could be confident about the measurements. I then bought myself a mitre box so I could cut some beautiful 45° angles.

I have always struggled to saw straight but I thought the mitre box would be the solution to this. Surely it’s impossible to do anything but saw straight with a mitre box? It turns out, if you’re really bad at sawing things, it’s possible to saw through a mitre box. Once I had sawed new directions into all four 45° slots, I decided to power through and sand away the mistakes.

This almost worked. I had to do a lot of sanding but I eventually got the four pieces to fit together and look okay from the front. Unfortunately, I had done so much sanding that I lost a good few centimetres of...
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Planning the e-ink photo frame

02 February 2017
3 minutes
hacking Project: E-ink frame

I am not terribly organised and frequently discover I’m supposed to be in a meeting when either my phone starts beeping and flashing or - if I’ve left that somewhere - a friendly soul PMs me to ask where I am. I wanted to build an actual thing and thought I’d try and solve this problem at the same time.

I quickly thought of building something with a screen that can sit on my desk and display upcoming events. I had a Raspberry Pi sitting about and was confident I could figure out the code, I just needed a screen and something to hold it all together.

There are plenty of LCD screens available that would integrate easily with the Pi. There are even touch screens. My desk already holds two gargantuan monitors and I feared another backlit screen might make my eyes upset.

I settled on using e-ink: I don’t need back-lighting or colour, and I only want to display static content. If I could build this well, I could have something that didn’t look like a device at all.

The proper e-ink developer kits start around $1000. I looked into jail-breaking my Kindle and easing it out of the casing but my device is the Alcatraz of Kindles and its generation has yet to be broken out. I briefly fell in love with the giant Kindle DX, with a 9.7” display, but these were expensive to acquire and I’d probably have felt bad tearing it apart.

I eventually stumbled upon a company called Pervasive Displays, they were mentioned in a forum post about a tiny screen someone had included in a project. After further digging, I found a 7.4” 1-bit screen that I could get hold of for about $150.
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Resuming the spooning

05 January 2017
2 minutes
photography Project: Heaped Teaspoons

I’m picking up a photography project that I let slide for a bit too long. I started a new job and put things like that on the back burner. After stressing for a while that I suddenly didn’t have any active projects, I started three on one weekend.

My previous projects have always been linear projects, usually presented in a book, where I’d create something or perform tasks, recording the results. I’ve always seen it as part-performance and part-documentary. For this new project I’m dealing with measurements, specifically the heaped teaspoon. I love this measurement because it’s less of an exact measure and more of a challenge; if a recipe asks for three heaped teaspoons then I like to try and really hard. To that end, I have been visiting my friends kitchens with my Bronica SQA and rolls of Velvia 120 and challenging myself to create the most impressive heaped teaspoons imaginable. Here is one example:

Sugar cubes]

That’s 23 sugar cubes. I’ll also be photographing granulated sugar, to demonstrate which is better. There’s a few more photographs after the break.
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  • This is a little open-source tool that allow you to quickly convert between several table formats. It understands CSV, TSV, Markdown, SQL and HTML.

    You can find this on GitHub.