Arduino Altimeter


This is a revisit to the CanSat project to share some tips on how to use a simple MPX4115A pressure sensor as an altimeter.  In a previous post I shared how to set up the sensor to detect ambient pressure, so now that we have that data, how do we estimate our altitude?

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When Life Gives you Oranges, Make Arancello


We all started January with good intentions, but while mine included eating more fruit, I may have overestimated my enthusiasm for it.  Yes, I’ve definitely eaten more fruit this month, but I’ve also bought far more than I needed.

So now I’m looking at a fruit bowl full of oranges, and wondering what to do with them…

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Testing SD Cards with Linux


While on holiday recently, my wife bought a 32GB micro-SD card, which she intended to use in her tablet.  Since then, it has been giving various errors, so I thought I should take it and verify its quality.

In order to test the card, we’re going to run three tests:

  1. Access Speed, to assess the card Speed Class.
  2. Drive Size, to assess if the reported size matches the actual size.
  3. Data durability. to assess that data written can be read back reliably.

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Buttermilk Scones


Breakfast.  The most important meal of the day.  I’ve pretty much settled on a bowl of oatmeal for some time now.  I find it can carry me to lunch much better than other cereals I’ve tried.  Although I tend to like strong flavours (curries, chillies, mustards, spices, etc.), I tend to avoid them at breakfast, so oatmeal’s reputation for being a little boring doesn’t bother me.

Until today.  It’s the weekend, and I want something more interesting for breakfast.  So today, I’ve decided to use up some leftover buttermilk to make some Buttermilk Scones for breakfast.  Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee, and a warm from the oven scone, smothered in melting butter.

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Damson Ketchup


It’s barbecue season again, and when I have friends around, they’re sometimes surprised to see that tomato ketchup isn’t on the table.  I’ve nothing against tomato ketchup, I just haven’t been bothered to buy any since I’m sitting on several liters of Damson Ketchup from last year’s damson harvest.

Once they get over their initial reaction of, “Damson what?”, and try it, most are pleasantly surprised by the tangy fruity flavor.  So open your mind to a burger sauce with a difference!

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Manage Passwords and Keep Your Sanity


In life, I wear many hats.

I am a Software Engineer, so I know what leaps we have to go through to keep your data safe, when it’s on our servers.  We do our best to keep things simple for you, but we can’t do it all.  As such, having a good password is what we expect of you.  Doing this keeps us, and you safe(er) from data breaches.

But, it would seem you’re not keeping your end of the bargain:

So what makes a good password?  Longer is better.  Multiple types of characters (letters, digits, special characters, etc.) are better. Not based on a dictionary word. So on, and so forth.  What are you left with.  Phrases that are unrecognizable as ‘human’.

I am also a consumer.  Setting different passwords for each account is also recommended, as a breach on one won’t lead to a breach of another.  But who has time to generate (and remember) these complex password for every site one visits?

I feel the pain on both sides of the equation.  Passwords suck!

I am also an open-source advocate (some might even say zealot).  So until the boffins in the lab come up with something better than passwords, I can heartily recommend KeePass Password Safe.  This is a nifty bit of open-source software that will help you manage your passwords.  You can run it pretty much everywhere you can run software.  It saves your passwords to an encrypted file, and helps you generate strong, complex passwords.  When you need to use them, just copy-paste them from the KeePass application to your browser or other application.

Go forth and continue to enjoy your computing experience, but help keep us all safe by using strong passwords.  Using KeePass will help you keep them strong and unique and best of all, maintain your sanity.  Just don’t lose that password file!

American Meat Loaf


Meat loaf was one of the family favorites during my childhood until one day, in our eagerness, we took it from the oven a little too early, and all ended up with food poisoning for the next few days. So by all means, cook it and enjoy it, just give it the time it needs. Read More…

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