Goodbye, Our Dear Connie

February 29th, 2012

Dear Connie, from the day we brought you home you were trouble. Deaf as a doornail, and barking at any and every other dog you saw. Fighting with Sam over food, and scratching almost right through our back door. But we loved you all the same. You will no longer meet me at the front door when I come home, and no longer be ready to jump onto a blanket or cushion as soon as someone else gets up. You have brought years of joy into our lives, and I hope we brought the same to yours.

Good bye, Connie. We will miss you.








A Day at Sorrento

March 6th, 2011

Taking advantage of possibly one of the last real days of summer, we headed down for a day in Sorrento with Rob, Shal and the boys. The kids had an absolute ball all day, starting off with a friendly drag race. Despite the handicap of a trailerload of manky water and dead dragonflies, Bailey got off to a quick start and Pia never managed to make up the lost time.
Ready Set Go

Enough of this bike business, after lunch it was down to the beach to make Dad (aka Mark) & Dad (aka Rob) push the S.S Inflatable around the shallows while the kids bounced up and down with the waves. Should have taken a video of this, so when the kids are older we can ask for pay back!
Boat Ride

And what’s a trip to the beach without building (and more importantly, demolishing) a few sand castles!
Sand Castles

Touchscreen wallplates

September 11th, 2010

After a couple of years of not doing much with the extra wiring I put in with our renovations, I’ve finally gotten around to installing my first touchscreen wallplate for my Charmed Quark Controller home automation system.

I had originally intended on using an embedded LCD touchscreen, but it wasn’t quite powerful enough, and way too much effort and heartache to code from scratch. So I recently re-discovered and old HP iPaq I had lying around, and realised that after taking the electronics out of the pesky plastic case, its the perfect size to fit in a standard Clipsal wall plate.

So after a a little bit of fiddly work on the wall plate with a knife and the trusty Dremel, it was ready for mounting. As well as the pink cat5 for the Clipsal C-Bus, I had also run an additional blue cat5 to some light switches. So I’m using this one to run power to the iPaq’s USB port. No ethernet required – that’s what wireless is for! Fortunately the power supply I have is a touch over 5V, the cable run is short enough, and the iPaq tolerant enough for the power to work. I did have an issue with the first power supply, in that the iPaq turned on, but reset itself as soon as the wireless was enabled.

The screen is a little larger than the standard footprint of a light switch, and the PCB is a little wider, so I had to customise the cut-out from the standard template.

Everything tucked away and screwed in place.

The screen is a little off-center in the wall plate, as the edge is wider on one side (as seen in the first pic of this post. Unfortunately the mounting holes for the plate get in the way if I try to center the screen. I was also a little hasty is cutting the panel out of the bezel, and slipped a couple of times. So I’ll need to try again and be more careful to make the cover a bit more presentable. But other than that, I’m pretty happy with the result. Now I just need to convince Kirsty!

And a few screenshots of the interface, including the ‘Home’ screen displayed when music is playing and when radio is playing, album selection, radio station selection, and the weather forecast.

Not far, but its a start..

April 15th, 2010

It looks like all the practice with her cart has paid off!
After a few attempts, Kirsty and I finally managed to catch Pia taking a few steps on camera! I reckon she’s been walking behind our back for a few days now, but we finally got her red-handed!

My Cart

April 8th, 2010

It’s been a while since I last spent a weekend tinkering in the workshop, so to fight my withdrawal symptoms, over the Easter long weekend I headed off to Bunnings for a bit of timber and hardware, then dragged out the circular saw, router, jigsaw and drill and got to making a little walking cart for Pia.

My Cart

After a day of cutting and gluing, as usual the most tedious and time consuming bit was sanding and varnishing, but it came up pretty good, and Pia seems to like pushing it around. Until it bangs into a wall (or a dog!).