A List of Simple Colours

A list of simple colours. Seems like such a trivial idea, doesn’t it? Recently in one of our apps, we needed a list of colours to differentiate some categorized items. Most of the palette-creating tools on the web give you a palette of 5-6 colours.

We needed around 10.

Enter Sasha Trubetskoy and his blog post, List of 20 Simple, Distinct Colors.

Sometimes the best things in life are simple.

Thanks Sasha.

The Minty Amp – My First Altoids Tin Project

My life is filled with embedded computers and tiny components, and I love it. I’ve always had an affinity for underpowered equipment. The limitations force you to become creative. I love working with multi-processor computers, don’t get me wrong. But there is something that fuels my creative drive something fierce when I work with embedded computers and electronics. Continue reading “The Minty Amp – My First Altoids Tin Project”

Data Science For Humans – Beta Lecture Series

Recently I had the pleasure of delivering a data science lecture for the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Policy. After that lecture, I decided to re-record a few choice bits for a more global audience.

This series of videos takes a quick look at how to install Anaconda, an all-in-one programming setup for data analytics, and then how to read in CSV (comma-separated value) files, clean them, and export them again. Continue reading “Data Science For Humans – Beta Lecture Series”

My first book, “Beyond Passwords,” is DONE. Wow.

Today marks a big day in my life.

I completed my first book. I just sent off the final manuscript for publishing. (That’s fancy-words for “I emailed a formatted PDF to the publisher.”)

This book is all about cyber-security for small businesses. While some of the content applies to individuals, I geared it toward the needs of business owners. Stuff like how to stay safe while traveling, what makes a strong password (hint: it’s not a word), and why you should NEVER leave your laptop unattended.

Continue reading “My first book, “Beyond Passwords,” is DONE. Wow.”

Your Wi-Fi Password is (Probably) Too Short

When’s the last time you changed your Wi-Fi password? Perhaps you’re among many who have never thought to. When you signed up for Internet service, did you have the technician set up your modem for you? If so, your Wi-Fi password is probably way too short to be secure.

tl;dr: If your Wi-Fi password hasn’t been changed for years or it’s < 12 characters long, go change it. NOW. Continue reading “Your Wi-Fi Password is (Probably) Too Short”

Pattern Matching & Systematic Reduction Continued: How I Learned to Multiply

Last time I talked about memory and memorization I discussed how I learned the Braille alphabet. We reduced the number of symbols to memorize from 64 down to 5, plus a few rules to transform those symbols. I mentioned I wanted to show how I skipped learning the multiplication tables.

In elementary school, I hated having to memorize the multiplication table. Teachers always tried to tell me different ways to memorize it, but I could never shove that knowledge in my head.

Continue reading “Pattern Matching & Systematic Reduction Continued: How I Learned to Multiply”

Pattern Matching & Systematic Reduction: How I Learn New Ideas Efficiently

Throughout my life I have always searched for patterns. I can’t explain why, but I’ve found it’s been the way I’ve learned most efficiently. One example of this is my recent fascination with Braille. I had the chance to play Scrabble recently with someone who is fully blind.

It was, no pun intended, an eye-opening experience. Not just because I was soundly defeated (I don’t play Scrabble much), but because this person was able to feel their way around the board, their letters, and come up with high-scoring words.

Continue reading “Pattern Matching & Systematic Reduction: How I Learn New Ideas Efficiently”

Modernizing Your Libraries: What Magical Go-Fast Button Lurks Within Your Code?

One of the specialties of my consulting company, Northern HCI Solutions, is to take old software and modernize it. Often companies have programs that work perfectly well, but because their code is aging, it’s hard to find people to maintain those systems.

One of our most recent projects involved modernizing a Delphi app written in the late 1990’s. This app is an amazing piece of kit. It runs scientific simulations on a precise timescale. Our client wanted to keep the functionality they had and present it to users as a web app. Continue reading “Modernizing Your Libraries: What Magical Go-Fast Button Lurks Within Your Code?”

PurpleBlu2 – My First Custom Wi-Fi Pi Speaker Build – PART 2 – Test Run

In part 1 of this blog series, I covered the basic design of PurpleBlu2, my first from-scratch Raspberry Pi-powered Wi-Fi speaker. To recap: I designed a speaker system from scratch using some small 2″ full-range drivers (for good quality audio), a Raspberry Pi 3 B+, a small 5 watt amplifier, and a wood box I designed myself.

Continue reading “PurpleBlu2 – My First Custom Wi-Fi Pi Speaker Build – PART 2 – Test Run”

PurpleBlu2 – My First Custom Wi-Fi Pi Speaker Build – PART 1 – Plans

After the success of retrofitting a Raspberry Pi into my old guitar amplifier, I started the design of my next project. This time I didn’t want to reuse old parts. I had the following objectives.

  • Cabinet that could be mounted in the kitchen.
  • Small speaker size.
  • Powered from one replaceable power supply.

My long-term goal is to create a Sonos-like system for my entire house. My girlfriend and I want to have zone-based audio (think: stream to each room at the same time) for parties and our own enjoyment. My first step was to build a system for the kitchen and experiment with some off-the-shelf parts. Continue reading “PurpleBlu2 – My First Custom Wi-Fi Pi Speaker Build – PART 1 – Plans”