Clay Dowling's Occasional Musings

I'd love to say that I'm gonna be a power blogger with lots of important stuff to say, so that I could promise weekly or even daily postings. The reality is that I'm a dude with a job and a family and too many hobbies, so you'll get posts when I really have something to say. Occasionally they'll even be worth reading.

C++11 Array Iteration

I've just gotten to play with the C++11 for extensions for the first time. It's really cool, especially the ability to iterate over a plain old array. Dig this code from my current hobby project:

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2016/01/29 22:22 · clay · 0 Comments

Programming the GPIO on a Raspberry Pi

If you read my previous piece on putting FreeBSD on a Raspberry Pi, you're probably now wondering what exactly you're going to do with this little box. Fortunately I have invested the effort to work out some basics of handling GPIO on FreeBSD and a Raspberry Pi. Because of why I chose FreeBSD, I've also implemented it in C: my first choice for tackling new problems in systems programming.

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FreeBSD on a Raspberry PI

Over lunch a colleague mentioned that she wanted to start using Raspberry PI projects to draw crowds at some of our community open house events. Because I first learned systems programming on FreeBSD, I wanted to try making it work. Fortunately there's a great little project called crochet that helps you build an image you can burn onto an SD card. Since cross compiling is actually kind of hard to set up, whenever it encounters a problem it tells you how to fix it.

If you're looking for the quick solution, download this pre-built image and burn it to an 8GB SD card.

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2016/01/10 20:35 · clay · 0 Comments

Medal Box

For Christmas my stepson's mother in law suggested that she would like to buy a small box to hold my step son's military medals and ribbons, which currently reside in a plastic bag on his dresser. Since I have a wood shop, making him a box seemed like a much better idea. The box is out of black walnut, the trays have figured cherry sides and maple plywood bottoms. The trays were lined with suede.

I joined the sides with finger joints, partially because I like the look of the joint, but also because I can cut it quickly. If I had more time, I probably would have done this with hand cut dovetails, because I find the joint pleasant to make.

The lid has a recessed lower edge, so that it fits securely into the top of the box. My father made a small pencil box for me when I was a child that used a similar lid, and I'd been thinking about it recently, so I echoed it in this box. I also has a raised panel lid. I've always liked the look, and wanted to do one by hand. This was a great chance to give it a try. I found it very easy to do, and I really like the finished result, so I'll probably do more hand raised panels in the future.

The finish is a boiled linseed oil and varnish combination from Tried & True. I've worked with it before, and it's a pretty hard finish to goof up. It also looked better than any of the other test finishes I tried. I'll put a final coat of bee's wax on the box, which gives it a nice feel to the hand and is easy to restore to a brilliant shine.

2015/12/19 14:08 · clay · 0 Comments

Halloween Video Display

Halloween is kind of a big deal where I live, so this year I decided I needed a nice rotation of videos projected onto my garage wall. There are a few things you'll need:

  1. A computer, preferably a laptop or netbook.
  2. External speakers, ideally weather proof.
  3. Extension cord
  4. Appropriate Halloween videos
  5. A safe place out of the weather to set up your gear

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2015/10/31 21:52 · clay · 0 Comments