Arduino Color Organ

The Color Organ used the MSGEQ7 graphic equalizer chip. Information on using it came from

I found that rather than blast the output values to the LED’s, it would be better to set ranges of values and light up the LED’s from that range.

int analogPin = 0; // read from multiplexer using analog input 0
int strobePin = 2; // strobe is attached to digital pin 2
int resetPin = 4; // reset is attached to digital pin 4
int spectrumValue[7]; // to hold a2d values

void setup()
pinMode(analogPin, INPUT);
pinMode(strobePin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(resetPin, OUTPUT);

digitalWrite(resetPin, LOW);
digitalWrite(strobePin, HIGH);


void loop()
digitalWrite(resetPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(resetPin, LOW);

for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++)
digitalWrite(strobePin, LOW);
delayMicroseconds(30); // to allow the output to settle
spectrumValue[i] = analogRead(analogPin);

if (spectrumValue[i] < 65) {
analogWrite(pwm[i], 1023);
Serial.print(” “);
} else if (spectrumValue[i] < 80) {
analogWrite(pwm[i], 1022);
Serial.print(” “);
} else if (spectrumValue[i] < 100) {
analogWrite(pwm[i], 1021);
Serial.print(” “);
} else if (spectrumValue[i] < 200) {
analogWrite(pwm[i], 1020);
Serial.print(” “);
} else {
analogWrite(pwm[i], 1015);
Serial.print(” “);

digitalWrite(strobePin, HIGH);

Continue Reading

ITIL Links

 ITIL stands for the Information Technology Information Library and is a series of best practices for the delivery and support of Information Technology based services. I have passed the ITIL Foundations course, and plan to attend ITIL practitioner courses and/or study the ITIL v3 material.

ITIL Links

Microsoft Operational Framework




Information Architecture

Continue Reading

Digital Electronics Links




Good Links





    Online Labs



    Cypress SoC Links

    I was given a Cypress PSoC 3 development kit. This includes an 8051 controller, programmable logic along with various analog components. The development software allows for visual design, lots of components in the libraries as well as programming in C. Oh, and I now have a PSoC 4 as well.


    TI MSP430

    I purchased this at the 2013 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire for $11.


    Bora Binary Explorer Links

    I purchased this board through the Kickstarter program. This board includes a Xilinx XC9572XL CPLD, which gives you equivalent to around 1600 gates.


    Altera FPGA Links

    I purchased an Altera DE1 development kit, which includes a Cyclone II FPGA. What an awesome looking board. 


    Altera De1


    Xilinx Links



    Verilog Links



    VHDL Links

    • They would go here!




    CPU Design


    Links Sites



    Digital Simulators (see Altera for Modelsim)


    Analog Simulators




    • Digital Design And Computer Architecture
    • Digital Design Principles And Practices
    • Fundamentals of Logic Design
    Continue Reading

    Job Sites Around Vancouver

    Search Terms: Manager, Infrastructure, Network, Systems, Operations, IT


    Job sites (friday is posting day):

    Consulting Firms

    • West Pacific Consulting Group (Feras El-Kalel) Glen Murray
    • CNC Global (Tammy Danforth)
    • Teksystems
    • Annex Consulting Group (Shaun Marthinson) Jean Claude Rondoe
    • TRS Consulting Group (Titan) Mike Britton
    • SI Systems (Ray Bullmore??)
    • TP Systems
    • Maxim Group (Jay Bell)

    Head Hunters

    • IT Mindfinders
    • Robert Half

    Surrey Searches

    Employers in Surrey


    • Business in Vancover
    Continue Reading

    ASUS TF700T Tablet Review

    I have to admit that when the iPad3 came out, I was mighty impressed with its’ Retina display and was surprised that no other competitor that I was aware of even came close. Kudos to Apple and their suppliers for pulling off that amazing feat. As for myself, I’m not a fan of iTunes and have been looking for a tablet, but on an alternate platform. Being the owner of an Android phone, an Android based tablet seemed a good fit.

    My needs are:

    • Ability to display portrait or landscape via tilt
    • Touchscreen navigation
    • Wi-Fi
    • Must be close or equal to iPad3 resolution and screen size (1920×1200 minimum)
    • Able to plug in MicroUSB or SD card
    • Can plug into my desktop/laptop and appear as an external hard drive
    • Has a Gmail email/contacts/scheduling client (and syncs across my various devices)
    • Can display my techie PDF files clearly and without the need to magnify/scroll around every single page
    • Runs media consumption applications, ie Newsreaders, browser, Youtube
    • To comfortably use the device in bed
    • Watch movies

    My needs are NOT:

    • Creation or updating of documents/spreadsheets
    • Running the latest/greatest games
    • To replace a laptop or desktop

    Ultimately, the TF700T serves as a fancy bookreader for me. Expensive? Yes. Quick? Yes. Crystal clear? At 10″ and 1920×1200 pixel resolution, most definitely.

    One the negative side, I wasn’t impressed with the non-standard charging port on the ASUS. It reminded me of the one in use on the Apple products and I would have much preferred an industry standard Micro USB port.

    Oh, and I plugged a mouse into the USB port of the keyboard and it worked just fine – but I normally don’t use it. I also disabled the touchpad on the keyboard as I found it got in the way of typing.

    Do I feel what I paid was worth it? Compared to the iPad and currently available Android tablets, very much so.

    I’m very happy with the TF700T and add-on keyboard. I don’t expect it to match the content creation capabilities of a laptop or desktop, but then I already had an Android phone and was aware of the capabilities of the platform.

    Would I take the tablet on the subway or bus? In that case, I would probably have preferred a 7″ tablet, like the Nexus. That seems to be a much more ‘on the go’ device than the 10″ based TF700T.


    Based on my needs, I would give this tablet 9/10.


    Want to replace your laptop with a Tablet? I would not recommend it.

    Update: After owning this tablet for over a year, I find that the web browsing on it is very sub par. The score for this table has now dropped to 7/10.

    Continue Reading

    A Web Development Environment

    Update: Working on a new version, which isn’t ready yet. It should contain:

    • Secure backups
    • Review of all content
    • Linux Mint
    • Git update with database migration and serialization
    • I’ve created a document that describes setting up a web development environment using a Windows 7 workstation, an Ubuntu 12.04 Virtual machine along with a Hostgator Reseller account and, most importantly, Git.

      This document provides lots of examples. Feel free to provide constructive feedback to

      Topics covered include:

      Oracle Virtualbox phpMyAdmin
      Hostgator Web Hosting vim
      Drupal Git
      WordPress drush
      Site Migration wp-cli
      FTP Samba
      Apache SSH
      MySQL GIMP
      PHP NetBeans

      I have now released version ‘1.0‘ of this document as well as a sister document for installing Virtualmin and Webmin on Ubuntu 12.04.


    Continue Reading

    Maker Initiatives



    Maker Specific



    Making Stuff



    Continue Reading

    Getting Back Into Electronics

    After a 25+ year hiatus, I started to get back into electronics about a year ago. It started around the 2012 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire with the purchase of an Arduino Uno. After creating a couple of basic LED projects, I then purchased a strip of RGB LED’s along with a video remote and wrote a program that displayed a variety of patterns and to be controlled remotely. From there, I created a project whereby the LED’s would respond to sound, followed by a small Sumo Bot.

    Other items I’ve recently acquired include:

    • Raspberry Pi (a tiny Linux computer)
    • Bora Binary Explorer (Xilinx based CPLD development kit)
    • Altera DE1 FPGA development kit
    • Cypress SoC 3 development kit
    • Cypress SoC 4 development kit

    It’s been a while since I was working with electronics at this level, as I’ve been in IT for so long. Back in the 80’s, I worked with various processors, including:

    • 8080
    • 6502
    • 6800 and 6802
    • Z80
    • 8088
    • 68000
    • Z8000

    My first ‘computer’, in 1980, was a Motorola 6802 D3 evaluation kit. It included some built-in ROM, a hex keyboard/display as well as 128 bytes of RAM. If you wanted anything else, you had to either make it or buy it at a horrific cost. I ended up designing and wire-wrapping additional memory (which worked), and a cassette interface, which almost worked. After a while, I thought about my end goal, which was to program some graphics and create more hardware. As a result, in December of 1981, I purchased an IBM PC for $5,500, which was almost 1/3 of my gross income at the time. I enjoyed programming the PC in assembly language and wrote some nice graphics programs for it, including a 3D starfield, a small 3D’ish star game as well as a CGA hack for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

    I purchased an Amiga 1000 in 1985 as it was significantly ahead of any other platform at the time. It had:

    • Motorola 68000 CPU
    • Graphical user interface
    • Multi-tasking
    • Command line interface
    • Dedicated chips for colour graphics
    • Dedicated chips for sound
    • System documentation and development tools

    What was not to like.

    Getting back to the old CPU’s, the challenge with them is that they all ran at speeds under 10Mhz. In order to go faster, you required either:

    • AMD 2900
    • Motorola 10800

    I spent some time reading about the AMD2900, but had neither the technical background, the time nor the funding to implement that in any fashion. With the development of FPGA’s (field programmable gate arrays) in the 90’s, engineers have been able to create their own CPU’s without requiring a series of dedicated chips to do so. With the use of my recently acquired FPGA development kits, I hope to re-learn some of the basics of hardware design and possibly develop a simple CPU. I don’t, however want all the muss and fuss of wire-wrapping 7400 series components like the old days.

    Continue Reading