Been a very busy 2010 so far

It has been a long time since my last post and have been fairly quiet over the last 4-5 months. 2010 so far has been a year of first and big changes.

Since January I have been working on writing my first book. It has been on my list of things to do ever since I started my career, but never really thought it would happen. So when I was approached to write one on the new Flash iPhone Packager last November I could not pass up the opportunity. It has been a really intense process and has kept me quite busy over the last 3 months. This week I will be finishing up the last few chapter edits, and it should be available sometime in June.

April 1st, 2003 was my first day at Fuel Industries, and 7 years and a week later, yesterday was my last day. The last 7 years has been an amazing journey and have learned and seen so much.  Working at Fuel has provided me with so many opportunities that I would not have had working elsewhere. The wide variety of types of projects has exposed me to so many new and different technologies, which has helped me become a better programmer. I was also fortunate enough to travel and see many parts of the world that I would not have seen on my own. The friends that I have made there will last forever, and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

So what’s next? In a couple of weeks I am going to start work at QNX here in Ottawa. QNX is a pretty cool company and you may have seen their QNX car on display at Adobe Max last year. QNX develops an operating system for embedded devices, which has a Flash layer which can be used to create interfaces and applications which run on their OS. I can’t talk about what I will be doing too much yet, but will once I get settled there.

2010 is turning out to be a pretty monumental year, and has been a great way to start a new decade. I am really looking forward to what the rest of the year and decade has in store for me. I’ll be at FiTC for Saturday and Sunday only. So if you ar0und let’s grab a drink.

Continue reading » · Rating: · Written on: 04-08-10 · 1 Comment »

Sparkfun’s 7-Segment Red 6.5″ Display and Arduino

A little while ago I purchased 10 of Sparkfun’s 7-segment red 6.5″ displays.

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8530

I had been wanting to purchase them for quite some time but they had been out of stock. When I was finally notified that they had received more I instantly bought them, without really thinking what I was going to use them for. Once they arrived I quickly opened them up and saw that it was going to be a little bit more of a challenge then I originally thought it would be. And I also thought they would come with some fancy schematic that I could just follow, but they didn’t.

So the first step was just to try and get a segment to light up by just supplying power. The digits use a common anode, which means it has one lead connection and 7 ground connection for each segment. So I started running it through a 5v power supply with not luck. Then a 9v, still no luck. Finally 12v did the trick. After I soldered wires to all of the connection I was able to get all 7 segments to light up by just running the common anode to the power and each segment to a ground.

Ok so step one complete now to try and get it talking with Arduino. Now I wasn’t really sure how to go about doing this since each segment was connected to a ground. So I started digging around on the Arduino forums and found some similar posts on what I was trying to do. My conclusion was that I need to get a shift register to turn each segment on and off. I found some people who had some luck with this display and the Allegro 6278EAT. You can pick some up for $1.55 at Digi Key. There are lots of different LED drivers out there but the reason I chose this one was because I needed to supply 12v to my displays and it sounded like some of the others that people where recommending wouldn’t work.

So after a lot of experimenting and researching I was finally able to get the display to turn on and off with Arduino. This tutorial on the Arduino site was the most helpful. And I used the following Arduino sketch which I got from this post on the forums.

int dataPin = 11;
int clockPin = 12;
int latchPin = 10;
 
//holders for infromation you're going to pass to shifting function
byte dataRED;
 
byte dataArrayRED[11];
 
void setup() {
 
  //set pins to output because they are addressed in the main loop
  pinMode(latchPin, OUTPUT);
 
  //Arduino doesn't seem to have a way to write binary straight into the code
  //so these values are in HEX.  Decimal would have been fine, too.
  dataArrayRED[0] = 0x3F; //00111111 - 0
  dataArrayRED[1] = 0x06; //00000110 - 1
  dataArrayRED[2] = 0x5B; //01011011 - 2
  dataArrayRED[3] = 0x4F; //01001111 - 3
  dataArrayRED[4] = 0x66; //01100110 - 4
  dataArrayRED[5] = 0x6D; //01101101 - 5
  dataArrayRED[6] = 0x7D; //01111101 - 6
  dataArrayRED[7] = 0x07; //00000111 - 7
  dataArrayRED[8] = 0x7F; //01111111 - 8
  dataArrayRED[9] = 0x67; //01100111 - 9
  dataArrayRED[10] = 0x80; //decimal point
}
 
void loop() {
 
for (int i = 0; i<11; i++)
{
 
  dataRED = dataArrayRED[i];
 
    //ground latchPin and hold low for as long as you are transmitting
 
    digitalWrite(latchPin, 0);
    //move 'em out
 
    shiftOut(dataPin, clockPin, dataRED);
    //return the latch pin high to signal chip that it
    //no longer needs to listen for information
    digitalWrite(latchPin, 1);
    delay(300);
 
  delay(1000);
}
 
}
 
// the heart of the program
void shiftOut(int myDataPin, int myClockPin, byte myDataOut) {
  // This shifts 8 bits out MSB first,
  //on the rising edge of the clock,
  //clock idles low
 
  //internal function setup
  int i=0;
  int pinState;
  pinMode(myClockPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(myDataPin, OUTPUT);
 
  //clear everything out just in case to
  //prepare shift register for bit shifting
  digitalWrite(myDataPin, 0);
  digitalWrite(myClockPin, 0);
 
  //for each bit in the byte myDataOut…
  //NOTICE THAT WE ARE COUNTING DOWN in our for loop
  //This means that %00000001 or "1" will go through such
  //that it will be pin Q0 that lights.
  for (i=7; i>=0; i--)
  {
    digitalWrite(myClockPin, 0);
 
    //if the value passed to myDataOut and a bitmask result
    // true then... so if we are at i=6 and our value is
    // %11010100 it would the code compares it to %01000000
    // and proceeds to set pinState to 1.
    if( myDataOut & (1<
    {
	pinState= 1;
    }
    else
    {
	pinState= 0;
    }
 
    //Sets the pin to HIGH or LOW depending on pinState
    digitalWrite(myDataPin, pinState);
    //register shifts bits on upstroke of clock pin
    digitalWrite(myClockPin, 1);
    //zero the data pin after shift to prevent bleed through
    digitalWrite(myDataPin, 0);
  }
 
  //stop shifting
  digitalWrite(myClockPin, 0);
}

And here is a final diagram for connecting it to Arduino.

NOTE: the diagram shows a 15kohm resistor but it may not be bright enough. If you put a 2.2kohm resistor it will be much brighter

And here is a video of the display counting – http://www.viddler.com/explore/julian/videos/14/

I am working on getting more then one display working and will write a new post when I do

Continue reading » · Rating: · Written on: 05-30-09 · 4 Comments »

Fuel Industries Featured in the Ottawa Citizen

Over the weekend Fuel Industries was featured in the citizen a couple of times.

The first article was on the front page of the Saturday paper and talks about our up coming Happy Meals product with McDonald’s. I will also be speaking about this at FITC this April in Toronto.

 The second article and video takes a tour of our studio and shows of some of the cool spots in the office. The video only shows a small portion of what is a really cool space.

Continue reading » · Rating: · Written on: 03-10-08 · No Comments »

Nokia FWA article

A couple of weeks ago Rob from FWA asked me to write a article about our Nokia Site The Passenger, and it went live today. The article goes through how we came up with the idea and talks about the execution. It touches on going to Paris and shooting all the video, through post production and how we developed the driving engine.

You can read the article here.

Continue reading » · Rating: · Written on: 03-20-07 · 1 Comment »