Wow, the days are adding up. Day77! I must admit things are getting a bit boring. There’s no lack of things to do, it’s just getting moving is the hard bit.
Ever since I bought my LG 55″ OLED TV around 2017 (?), my old Sony 32″ LCD has sat forlornly on a table in a spare bedroom while I tried to decide what to do with it. It was basically worthless. Even though it was a Full HD Sony Bravia, no-one wanted it when I tried to give it away. Only 32″? Nah. I thought I might bring it into this computer room, but that would have required drilling lots of holes in the wall for the mounting arm and I don’t really want to.
Anyway, browsing Facebook Marketplace on Wednesday night a woman was asking if anyone could donate a TV as she is out of work, has three kids and is kinda house-bound. Bingo. So I replied and she came here on Thursday morning to collect it. She was very grateful and I was happy to see it go to a good cause, so all’s well. Now I have some space again.
If you could see my place, it’s like a workshop inside. I went a bit overboard in my orders from the Chinese website Wish and I’ve got hundreds of electronic components, connectors, small power supplies, small voltage regulators and controllers and so on. The idea was (and still is) that these would be for my model railway, when I build it.
But the space I had for the railway base boards is now taken up by the boxes of parts!
I’m stuck on the model railway. I’ve got a design worked out but I’m short of the electronics to drive the locos. I’m finding that DCC (Digital Command Control) is a bloody sight harder than it looks. In the old days, building up a couple of analogue controllers was not hard – I did it back in the ’80s.
But DCC, although it’s a brilliant idea, is fiendishly complicated. Cabs, throttles, boosters, decoders, data connections, computer interfaces, weird terminology, it’s not easy. It’s not too bad if you’ve got plenty of money and can buy a ready made system, but you’re looking at ~$1,000. That’s on top of the $1,000 I’ve already spent (over six years) on the track, points, a few locos and a dozen carriages and wagons.
Whether I’ll do this, clear the decks, spend quite a bit more money and make a start on what’s really a multi-year project is questionable.
I’ve actually built the PC boards for two boosters from a Silicon Chip design but they have to be put into a housing and provided with power yet.
In January this year, they published a new design for a controller and booster in one, and I was really looking forward to building it. But disappointment! It’s Arduino based, which I know nothing about, and in the description they say “…. we assume you are familiar with the Arduino Design Environment.” Er, no. Not at all! Fair go.
I’ve read the article several times and I can’t work out how to start. There’s no housing, no knobs, they just say you control it from your computer. Huh? There’s no detail. There’s no kit of parts available – I’ve checked with Jaycar and they’re no help, they don’t even seem to know about it. Phhhtt.
The chaos in the USA at the moment, and the awful, terrible lack of leadership of the Dump is hard to watch. As the commentary says, this is not an isolated incident, this is the result of hundreds of years of ingrained racism, white supremacism, coming back to bite them.
What gets me is the savagery of the police. They are out of control, and since they are being supplied with surplus deadly weapons from the military, they feel they have the right to use them. Considering the number of people who own firearms in the US, more weapons than there are people, the potential is there for a civil war.
I’ve had the view for some time that nothing will change there without a revolution and it’s looking more and more possible.
And when even the president is taking the white supremacist side and suggesting that the armed forces could be released on the civilian population, it’s not looking hopeful. Just like the Soviet Union, the USA could well collapse from within.
And all this is happening in the middle of a pandemic! It’s quite unsettling. Quite honestly, I hope Donald Trump catches the Corona virus and dies. He does not deserve his place on this Earth.