WorldKey Simulator: Let’s Put a 40-Year Old LaserDisc on the Web


EPCOT Center. If you were lucky enough to visit as a kid you either loved it or hated it. I was firmly in the love camp, as a kid who was obsessed with computers and technology. Those in this camp seem to talk about, or rather, fondly reminisce about what used to be, and lament the state of the original pieces that are still hanging on. As a child of the 90’s, I was lucky enough to experience the last gasps of Horizons and Journey into Imagination, as well as see the dinosaurs in the Energy pavilion. I still remember the 1994-2007 Spaceship Earth as one of the most inspirational touchstones of that time in my life. However during the earlier days of EPCOT Center, there was another, perhaps lesser known component that was just as innovative in own way. This technology was known as WorldKey.

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Building an Animatronic Dinosaur


I’m a huge fan of themed entertainment, especially the Disney parks. Theme park rides are some of the most interesting engineering marvels out there and the best part is - you can visit them! For me, the enjoyment of a trip to Walt Disney World comes as much from appreciating the technology and systems used to create rides as it does from the theming and story. A core part of many theme park rides are the animatronic characters that bring the experiences to life. I was recently gifted a Meccano Meccasaur - a toy with some limited “smart” functionality. I wanted to see how much I could augment this functionality if I added a new brain and some more points of articulation.

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Portal Turret Voiced Roomba


I recently replayed the excellent Portal 2 by Valve. One of my favorite things in the game are the automatic robotic sentry turrets. The contrast of their cutesy voices with the fact that they fire machine guns at you on sight makes them a core part of the gallows humor present in the Portal series of games. As I played through the game, I realized that a lot of the voice cues trigger on events that are similar to another robot closer to home - the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. I decided I had to find a way to combine these two things!

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Adding an SSH Key to the Windows System Account for Git


I ran into an interesting Windows quirk recently. I set up a spare Windows 7 box as a GitLab-CI Runner to see if it was any better than an existing Jenkins-based pipeline. The runner is pretty easy to set up, a few commands and I had it set up as a service running under Windows built in Local System account - the recommended configuration.

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Configuring SSL with Let’s Encrypt on AWS EC2


SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is one of the technologies essential to security on the web. It allows a web browser and server to form an encrypted connection. Encryption is an essential part of web security. If you’re browsing the web in a coffee shop or airport without encryption, it’s trivial for anyone else to see exactly what you’re looking at.

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Setting up Grav on AWS EC2


I’ve been operating my site on various flavors of shared web hosting for years. Shared hosting has a lot of benefits: it’s cheap, easy to set up, and hides almost all of the nuts and bolts. I finally decided to take the plunge and remove the training wheels by hosting my site on AWS.

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ADS-B Receiver with PiAware


Recently, I’ve been watching the excellent show Mayday (or Air Disasters in the USA). The anatomy of how complex systems break down and fail has always fascinated me, and this show does an awesome job of presenting that information in an engaging fashion.

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Track Independent Train Mapping and Identification


Recently, I’ve been itching for a fun hardware project to work on. Part of that spark came when I was looking through some of my old college projects, in particular the Track Independent Train Mapping and Identification project that was the focus of the Embedded System Design course I¬†took at Virginia Tech.

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