Microsoft … why do you think I am Chinese

Whenever my Office 365 subscription is due for renewal, I get the following:

Ian 您好:
感謝您訂閱 Office 365 Home。 歡迎您加入。我們即將針對您的訂閱收取下一期的定期款項。 在 2019年11月12日,我們會向您的 MasterCard **XXXX 收取 ₱4,699.00 的費用。

除非您在 2019年11月12日 的至少兩天前取消訂閱,否則您的訂閱將持續 1 年。

若要取消或進行其他變更,請登入您的 Microsoft 帳戶以管理您的訂閱。

And yes, Microsoft “Contact Us” was as useless as various cow appendages to bulls. Seriously Microsoft – your AI is hopeless and you promised me a human volunteer to help – which I was never connected on.

I guess I will just have to take Chinese lessons … was that Cantonese or Mandarin?

Electronics – the second project!

This week's components - somewhat more than last week
This week’s components – somewhat more than last week

I made a red LED flash. The next project was to make a series of 8 LEDs flash – in sequence up and then in sequence down. The programming for this was still simple. It got more complicated when I was playing with the code to make just the green LEDs flash, then just the red. I reprogrammed to all the lights come on, in sequence, then go off again in sequence. That coding was a little more challenging.

The completed project
The completed project

Still, I am learning a bit about circuits and I guess I am halfway back to remembering how to code in C.

Next project I think will have some switch built in, so that I can turn the thing on and off. Each of the circuits gets just a little more complicated as does the coding so it is a good learning process.

And now … watch the little lights flash.

Electronics? How hard can it be?

The Kit - all the bits!
The Kit – all the bits!

When I was back in Oz over Christmas I noticed that both Jeffro and Steve were mucking around with some electronics stuff. Now, I’d always had a passing interest. Dad was a plumber and really, electronics can’t be all that different can it? After all, what goes in must come out, mustn’t it?

So, armed with the $89 electronics kit, I started on my road to understanding the vagaries of electronics tonight. It was just a little something to play with after working on a proposal and before sleeping.

And just the bits for the first, albeit simple, project
And just the bits for the first, albeit simple, project

I grabbed the bits I needed.

Now to understand what they were. I needed a diode (red or green). That was easy to find. I also needed a 470 ohm resistor (sounds like I know what I am talking about doesn’t it). Now, resistors have bands of colour on them and the combination of colours tells you what size they are. Fortunately my desk lamp has a magnifying glass in the middle of it so it was easier to determine which were the 470 ohm resistors as compared to the 1K and 10K ones.

And so the assembly begins into the breadboard.

And it's built. Now to muck around with the code that makes it blink
And it’s built. Now to muck around with the code that makes it blink

Now I know this doesn’t look that complicated. Whack the red LED into the breadboard, run a resistor in series from the negative end of the diode, ground all that from the breadboard to the microcontroller board (that’ll be the black wire) and then connect the active (blue) wire from microcontroller header number 13 back to the positive end of the LED.

Plug it in and it should work. To make life simple, the first project is pre-coded into the microcontroller so if everything has been done correctly, then the LED blinks about once a second for a second.

Easy. I then went into the editor that you can download with this kit and started hacking the code around, changing the blink sequence and so on. What appears below is the final output with a half second blink, half second off, one second on and then one second off.

Now I am looking forward to the next project … controlling 8 LEDs (oh, and I have a couple of painting projects coming up as well).