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Category: General

Ira Glass on beginners

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

-Ira Glass

How to get rid of stickers on your Macbook


MacBook Pro with open source project stickersIf you are roaming the open source world, chances are you’ve either come across people who have tons of stickers of various projects on their laptops or you yourself made sure it has ample sticker coverage.
But what if you want to sell your laptop, or have to return it to your employer in a clean state? Get ready to invest some elbow grease.
I simply decided to go more with the clean and simple look on my MacBook Pro and so the
stickers had to go. I thought I’d share a very simple way as I found a wide range of solutions varying in complexity and chances of success.
This is only aimed at MacBooks as other laptops (like my beloved Thinkpads) have different surface materials which may or may not react different.
First you will need some paint thinner:
Can of paint thinner used for cleaning
I started by simply pulling off everything I could with my fingers and finger nails. Some stickers are easy, others not so much. Get off as much as possible.
Next get some paint thinner on a paper kitchen towel and begin to rub it first into the remains of the sticker and then in circular motions with some pressure until the glue part dissolves. Keep going and make sure every part of the sticker comes off. Wipe off multiple times to not just spread the remains all over the lid.
Once you got it all off use a clean paper towel with some paint thinner and give it a final wipe. Then use yet another clean and damp paper towel and wipe off the remaining paint thinner (it smells terrible).
The end result should look like this:
Cleaned up MacBook Pro with old stickers in the back
Make sure you do this in a well ventilated room or ideally outside. This stuff really can cause some nasty headaches.

Why Open Source Matters

I finally managed to get around posting my slides to Slideshare to make it easier for
others to view them. In this talk, I discuss the importance of open source software
beyond the typical (and mostly falsely used) free-of-cost argument.
[slideshare id=62149223&doc=opensourcematters-v2-160518153901]

Softrock Lite II build day 1

Finally made some time to start building the Softrock Lite II SDR
receiver. The original plan was to build it as a pan adapter for my
TS-940S which has an IF out port. Since I no longer have this rig,
and my K3S has a different first IF, I decided to build it for 30m as
a WSPR receiver.

20160117_235335715_iOS (2)
First test of the oscillator stage

Checking on the frequency counter confirms everything is working as
it is supposed to be.


Next up was the divider stage. All went fine, except with some need to
tidy up my soldering of SMD parts. First time I used a hot air rework
station for SMD parts. Not as easy as I thought, but turned out OK.

20160119_001549348_iOS (2)

Again tested all the steps and made sure the voltage readings for example
were correct. It is really important to do this for each stage to make sure no
errors sneak in and then are harder to find later.


The divider provided the expected signal at the test points with the expected
frequency. So on to the next stages ….

K5TRI Ardukeyer complete

Finally finding some time to post the completed keyer I designed
the board for a while ago.
The populated board
Now I can finally use paddles with my TS-940S. Next version will be the deluxe
edition with USB and LCD display.


Made the board for the K5TRI Ardukeyer based on K3NG’s code so that
I can use paddles with the TS-940S.


I used Eagle for the schematics and PCB layout and then transparencies
printed in the laser printer and heat to get the layout onto the board. Some
time bathing in Ferrite-Chloride Acid does the rest.

Let there be audio

Quick hack with an LM-386 for an audio amplifier I needed for one
of our rooms.

From this:

Then this:

And finally found an enclosure:

Signals looked nice and clean on the scope and sound is sufficient for it’s

K5TRI Rotorduino Source Code

Update 4/8/2016: Code is now on GitHub
I finally found some time to post the source for my rotor controller I posted about a long time ago. Maybe some day I will also find time to make the schematic. I never drew schematics in a proper tool other than on a piece of paper. It should however be somewhat self explanatory. As the saying goes:”The documentation is in the source” :).