News
news Old news 1 Old news 2 Old news 3 Old news 4 Old news 5

24.12.2005 There won't be any updates for a day or two. So I wish everyone a merry christmas and a happy new year.

23.12.2005 Christmas atlast. I'm looking forward to having a week of peace and quiet without any customers :).

21.12.2005 Rewrote the mega8 code abit and wired up the reset switch. The temperatures are about 1-1.5c lower than the actual value due to mounting problems. I finally got the trending code working correctly. The results are Here.

20.12.2005 nr.2 Looks as if the problems with the server are not solved. It crashed today. I'll patch the mega8 controller to reboot the server if it thinks it's dead.

18.12.2005 nr.2 Installed a mega8 fanbus controller in the server today. I'll document it later when I get abit more time.

18.12.2005 The conversion to Folding@Home is now complete. The IKEA project displays the status of the systems, Folding auto starts on the Dual Opteron,AMD64 and the portable. All I need to do is write a few perl scripts to monitor the whole thing from the internet

16.12.2005 Seti has finally shut down and here are my stats.
Name (and URL) fref
Results Received 66287
Total CPU Time 31.585 years
Average CPU Time per work unit 4 hr 10 min 26.6 sec
Average results received per day 27.79
Last result returned: Thu Dec 15 20:19:03 2005 UTC
Registered on: Sun Jun 6 09:26:29 1999 UTC
SETI@home user for: 6.534 years

15.12.2005 End of an era, Seti@home is closing down today. I've still not decided what to do now, I can't leave the dual opteron sitting there doing nothing.

12.12.2005 I had an interesting discussion with a work college today. He tried to argue the Atmel processors cannot be trusted and only PLC's should be used for "important" systems. When he asked if I trust Atmel I just said, I'm using a Mega8 to monitor my server and if it thinks the server has crashed it resets it. He didn't say anything more......

6.12.2005 Just finished installing the fat flap oh sorry I mean cat flap. I ended up using a dremel to enlarge the hole in the door (glass door) by about 3mm.

5.12.2005 nr.2 Just hit my goal in Seti@home.
Name (and URL) fref
Results Received 65000
Total CPU Time 31.265 years
Average CPU Time per work unit 4 hr 12 min 48.8 sec
Average results received per day 27.37

5.12.2005 Queenie has broken the car flap again. Yvonne's bought a new one but it's too big for the hole in the door. But atleast it's big enough for Queenie.

4.12.2005 I made afew changes to the dual opteron last week (moved ram about, manually set the timing) and the system has been running over 5 days now.
You can see how the server is doing here.

3.12.2005 Just upgraded spamassassin to version 3.1, it didn't take long after I found a copy of NMAKE for windows.
I've decided to build a small AVR board that monitors the Opteron server and when it crashes just reboot it. It shouldn't take too much to build this.

28.11.2005 More problems with the web cam. The whole camera fell to pieces today. I've glued it back together but I think it's time to look for a new one.

26.11.2005 nr2. The dual opteron is back on line driving this site. It looks as if the crashes were caused by motherboard monitor. I'm currently looking for a different solution.

26.11.2005 Queenie the cat is getting far to fat. She managed to break the cat flap today.

25.11.2005 nr3. Oh, first snow of the season.

20.11.2005 nr3. Took me awhile to find the problem with the AVR. Firstly the LCD was killed by what looks like bird shit and secondly if the temperature drops under 0c the temperature convertion routine crashed. I changed the code around abit and now it seems to work.

20.11.2005 nr2. The AVR fanbus appears to have crashed and on restarting it crashes again within about 10 seconds. It's really could outside at the moment (under 0c) so I'll wait until it warms up abit then I'll have a look at the problem.

20.11.2005 Looks as if I've found the problem with the dual Opteron. On starting MBM today the system crashed in exactly the same way as I've seen before.
It's a pain in the butt not having temperature monitoring but that's life.

19.11.2005 The Dual opteron is now up and running, it's not online (serving this site) as I'm still having some small problems.

18.11.2005 Reinstalled the old server last night and reformatted the dual Opteron. It took a while to get XP to bootup but now it boots and finds almost all the installed hardware. All I need to do now is reinstall all the software.

17.11.2005 Confirmed, seti@home is shutting down on the 15th December. I'm still not sure which DC project I should support with my 6GHz of AMD64 power.

16.11.2005 The server crashed again last night. This time I noticed that the harddisk was sounding really bad. Looks as if I'll be reinstalling this weekend (2000 or XP I'm not sure).

15.11.2005 The server crashed again last night. Looks as if I have to try something abit more dramatic (OS reinstall)

14.11.2005 Didn't get a chance to do anything yesterday. We had a friend around on saturday evening and I spent most of sunday recovering.

12.11.2005 nr2. Just got a warning from my ISP that I've used up my webspace. Looks as if the videos will have to be cut down abit.
Just recoded all the videos to DivX format and thats saved almost 4Mb.

12.11.2005 Weekend atlast, this was a long week.
I plan to shut the server down this weekend sometime for a backup. Don't know when exactly.
Winter is finally here which means my summer work area (balcony) it getting too cold. I'll have to find a winter home for my projects.

4.11.2005 Took a day off work, things are getting me really down at the moment, no reason I just feel pissed off.
Done abit of work on the mega32 controller. I'll update the web page when I'm finished (and it works).

25.10.2005 The new cable modem seems to be working well. Even Yvonne noticed that some web pages opened more quickly.

24.10.2005 Wow 2 1/2 days without internet, now thats hard. The problem is now finally solved, the cable modem was on his last legs. I've now replaced the modem/cabling and hopefully everything should work much better now.
Thanks to the guy at improware who was still there at 19:00 when I (the rabid Englishman with no internet) turned up looking for a solution to my internet problem.

22.10.2005 My internet connection has been down most of the day due to a wiring problem.

19.10.2005 nr. 2 The camera is back on line. The USB cable that came with the camera is crap, after bending it afew times is breaks.

19.10.2005 The cameras died again, it looks as if my soldering isn't up to the amount of movement that the camera is getting at the moment.

18.10.2005 Found the problem with the server, there is a "known" problem with ATI AGP graphic cards and some VIA chipsets. And guess what, I have one of those chipsets. I've solved the problem by installing an old PCI card :)

15.10.2005 Parts of planet-ian.com might not be working today. My ISP is playing silly buggers with the network at the moment.

8.10.2005 nr. 2 The VFD is back online. I also found the problem with the MAX232 board, one of the capacitors was dead. It should have has a capacitance of 0.1uF but it was shorted.
I can now get back to other things :)

8.10.2005 Found the problem with the VFD, it expects an RS232 signal (+-12 volts) so I used a MAX232 driver to convert the TTL signals. For some reason the circuit is dead. I've built a new one and will install it this afternoon.

7.10.2005 It's been a strange week, the server died afew days ago, and when I got home this evening the webcam as going mad. The servos were jumping around and the VFD was displaying rubbish.
The servos are now working again (the wiring for the power supply had a short circuit). The VFD is still down, I'll try and fix it tomorrow.

3.10.2005 Hmmm, the server (Dual Opteron) crashed last night, no blue screen nothing.

2.10.2005 nr.2 Did abit more work on the Mega32 board. The tank level meter is now wired up and working very well:) I still have 8 I/O's and 20Kb code free for new ideas. If you have an idea what I could add mail me.

2.10.2005 Fixed a few minor problems with the new server, nothing major. I'm very happy with the results, some of the heavy duty processing routines (Spamassasin Bayes database update) now run atleast 3 times quicker. I'll take some pics when I get the time.

1.10.2005 nr.2 The dual opteron server is now online, it took longer than expected to copy 70Gb of data from the old system.

1.10.2005 My local server is out of action at the moment. I'm transfering the data/logs over to the new dual Opteron system. It should only take afew hours.....

27.9.2005 Done some more work on the bootloader, it how takes about 35seconds to download about 9.5Kb of code to the AVR. At the moment the code is sent as an intel hex file (plain ascii), if I get the chance I'll try and modify the code to send the code in binary format (That should reduce the download time by 50%)

26.9.2005 The mega32 bootloader it now working. It turned out to me a problem with the visual basic code rather than the assembler code on the AVR. Visual basic is really crap at handling the serial port.

25.9.2005 Didn't get round to recalibrating the temperature sensors on the mega32. I started working on a bootloader so that I can download code to the atmel using the serial port rather than by ISP. It ended up taking alot longer than I thought:(

23.9.2005 I think I'll have to recalibrate the temperature sensors on the mega32 fan board. After going from a mega8 running at 8MHz to the mega32 running at 16MHz I've noticed a temperature difference from about 1-2c.

17.9.2005 Didn't have any time to make afew pictures of the new server, maybe on sunday.
Finally got round to repartitioning the harddisk on my portable (I hate having only 1 partition).It didn't take long to boot from a ghost CD mirror the harddisk to a USB harddisk, dismantle the USB case and swap the internal harddisk with the new one.

16.9.2005 This is not fair, everyone else seems to be getting new viruses and I only seem to get Netsky.P over and over again. This message was brought to you by the email virus scanner at planet-ian.com.

15.9.2005 The opteron server is now in it's new case, I'll make some pictures tonight.
Just broken 60,000 workunits and 30years cpu time in Seti@home. As seti is being shutdown sometime soon I've started thinking about what DC project I should support in the future.

11.9.2005 The mega32 is now running at 16MHz, the fuse change turned out to be quite easy. The CPU now spends only about 20-30ms per second handling the LCD/FAN/PID controller and serial interface (from about 40-50ms at 8MHz). I've also got the buzzer working using PWM rather than a ISR that toggles a pin.
The code is now using only about 27% of the available space and I still have about 10 I/O's free :)

9.9.2005 nr 2 Done abit more work on the mega32 board. The LCD,Serial and Flow meter interfaces are finished. The fan output still needs to be finished (the EPOT output is finished but the TIP31C is missing), I plan to do this tomorrow

9.9.2005 Wow just broke 7000 unique visitors at planet-ian and 2000 visitors ths year.

5.9.2005 nr 2. Most of the mega32 board is finished, I only need to test the LCD interface and wire up the EPOT/Transistor. I also need to add the external 16MHz crystal and reprogram the fuse bits, but I'm not sure what settings I need to use.

4.9.2005 nr 2. Started working on the mega32 board that will be used for the fanbus controller. The mega8 would be big enough for most of the code, but as I've just got a box of mega32's I decided to build a new board. As the mega32 has 4 times as much memory and 12 extra I/O's, I have space for extra functions :)

4.9.2005 Feeling abit better now.
Just had my first piece of guestbook spam in over 6 weeks. The guy tried several times from different IP addresses within 1 minute, each time reducing the amount of text until the spam filter let it through

1.9.2005 Spent the last few days working in Germany. I'm glad to be back home.

28.8.2005 My new computer, the dual Opteron is now up and running. Just doing some tests at the moment, but these things are really quick. I'm used to working with powerful computers but these things leave every else that I've used in the dust.
I replaced the standard MSI heatsinks with a pair of arctic freezer 4's after modding them to fit and now the CPU's are running at about 50c under full load. I'll make afew pictures of the mod when it's 100% finished.

27.8.2005 nr. 2 I've now released the AVR webcam code. Go over to the webcam page if you want a copy of the code.

27.8.2005 I've decided to attempt a mad mod to the new server. The heatsinks the are supplied with the motherboard are really bad (High temperatures and very loud). I've seen in the internet that someone managed to get 2 Arctic freezer 4 heatsinks fitted to to the same motherboard so I'll be spending some of today with Mr. dremmel :)

26.8.2005 The new server is now in my dirty fingers. Problem is that it looks as if it had a small "knock" and the side is bent and the front is cracked. I'll test the rest this weekend. I imagine I'll have to replace to heatsinks as the ones that are installed at the moment aren't that good. They sound like a jet aircraft taking off.

25.8.2005 My new server is now sitting in Germany, only afew kilometers from me. Yvonne said she would pick it up this afternoon. :)
So some of planet-ian will be down this evening, I'm not sure how long it'll take to copy the most important parts of the old server (SQL DB,perl scripts etc).

24.8.2005 Quick update, my new server has finally left Malm (after a 3 day site seeing tour) and now it's in Freiburg. That means it should be delivered today :)

23.8.2005 My new server is on it's way, it's currently in Malm (isn't that were ALF came from)

21.8.2005 Had a quite week, apart from ordering a new server (Dual AMD64 2GHz,1Gb Ram). It should be winging it's way to me as I write.
Still too much work and not enough time, but it's better than no work.
Increased the volume of the resevoir by about 200ml, I'll leak test it today.

13.8.2005 Done abit more on the fanbus controller project. One of the problems with the old watercooling was that the system only held about 1/2 Liter water. The new watercooling system for the AMD64 should hold more water, but as there isn't much space in the new case I had to be creative. Have a look at the projects page for more info (The neighbors children had lots of fun trying to guess what it is)

6.8.2005 nr 2. I've found the problem with the email charts, I'm actually getting these emails, they are comming from the pop3 account from my ISP, most of the emails are spam and are deleted by the spam filter but some of them are actually for planet-ian.com but with an incorrect email address. Anyway these emails produce a mail storm that end up landing in the frozen list on the email server.

6.8.2005 Just noticed a small problem in the email charts. for some reason it seems to think that I got over 100 ham emails yesterday. I'll have to look into this.

4.8.2005 Fixed the "last bug" in the automatic update routine for the virus scanner. The f-prot binary download file, contains very old definition files, so that when the program code was updated the virus definition files were overwritten. The routine now unzips the last downloaded definition files if a new version of the binary is downloaded

29.7.2005 nr.2 I've finally solved the problem with the automatic update routine for the virus scanner. It only took one line of code to put the FTP transfer into binary mode and then everything worked as expected.

29.7.2005 Done abit more work on project 12, the fan controller is now documented :)

27.7.2005 Got bored at work today so I sat down, and rewrote some the Fanbus code.The changes are :-
1) The flowmeter is now wired up to the external counter interrupt
2) The PID controller is now optimized
3) The LCD display is now configurable
4) Finally documented the output hardware
5) The code is now fills 92% of the available 8Kb

25.7.2005 Getting quite alot of visitors at the moment, looks as if the webcam has made it onto some new page. The problem is I don't know from where and I'd love to know what their writing about me.

23.7.2005 nr 2. We were invited by a friend to come round and enjoy a nice grill. Guess what, I spent most of the evening sitting infront of a "sick PC", grrrr.

23.7.2005 Things are getting silly. I've spent the last 2 weekends and 5-6 evenings working on computers for other people, and a neighbor has just bought a GPS unit that he want's me to install.
I think everyone thinks that as I spend time playing with computers/electronics, I've got no problem playing with their computers/electronics.
Geeks need weekends off aswell!

19.7.2005 The problems with the VFD are now fixed. It turned out the the servo's are getting abit old and are starting to draw abit more power than the used to. I've solved the problem by running the VFD off a seperate LM7805 voltage regulator.

18.7.2005 The problems with the VFD are getting worse. I'll have to build a small 5Volt supply for the servo's or the VFD. I'll try to install it in the next few days.

17.7.2005 Banged out a quick project today. It consists of a AT90S2313 a switch and a servo. I don't really need this but it's a "put your money were your mouth is" type project.

10.7.2005 The problems with my health that I had in 2003/2004 aren't getting any better, the doctors are saying that due to the amount of scar tissue they can't/won't operate again. After my last visit to a "specialist" I decided to speak to a lawyer, and it looks as if I have a case. Although it won't solve my problems, it might help cover some of my costs.

6.7.2005 Back at work after a week off, looks as if I won't have any time to do anything interesting for quite sometime. But I plan to test and document the fan controller part of the fan bus system this weekend.

3.7.2005 Spent the last week in France, living in the slow lane (33.3Kb/s). Didn't get much time to anything programming wise. I spent sometime working on the new water cooling system for the AMD64.

19.6.2005 nr2. AHH. Spent most of the day working on the fanbus project, without getting much further! I think I've found a bug in Bascom. It looks as if the buffered input/output to the serial port can cause a stack under/overflow if the buffer used under/overflows when the code is running a subroutine. I'm currently trying to repeat the problem, but it's not that easy :)

19.6.2005 Not had much time to do anything this week. I spent most of the week at a customer installing a large Monitoring (Data aquisition) system.
The P4 system looks OK, the guy hasn't had a crash all week.
I've got to get on with the fan bus system, the temperature in Basel is rising (we have 30c) now and 33c expected next week.

12.6.2005 Project 12 is comming along well. It's turning into a very usefull tool to test PC's.
For example the P4 I built some months ago has started to have problems. It didn't take long to find the problem (The fan on the graphic card was dead). In the end I've mounted a Zalman ZM80D-HP cooler and a geto fan. Here's what the sytem looks like The Setup and here's a copy of the results.

10.6.2005 Starting to have problems with the webcam, or better the VFD. When both servos move at the same time the VFD crashes. I'll try and modify the code at the weeked to only move one servo at a time.
Rewritten more of the fan controller code and now it's about 83% including a PID controller.

22.5.2005 nr2. Ran out of code space on the MEGA8, so I've ended up going over to using assembler for some routines (mainly interrupt handlers) and rewriting the basic code abit. Before the rewrite the code used 101% now it's down to 81%. Rewriting the ISR saves almost 100bytes per interrupt as bascom saves all registers/restores all registers per ISR but as the ISR only uses some registers, only they need to be saved/restored.

22.5.2005 The first attempts at creating the fan controller part using a BC337, are looking OK. I'm able to control the voltage going to the fan to within 0.2Volts. The transistor is getting quite warm. I'll have to have a look for a more powerful one, but for my first attempt it doesn't look too bad.

16.5.2005 The AMD64 is doing really well at the moment, I've got it up to 2300MHz using stock voltage/cooling. I'll swap over the old AMD this afternoon.
Some people have been complaining that the webcam doesn't work for them.
Most of the problems as with firewalls so I've put together a new page here that uses a small redirection script running on the webserver to display the camera image/send commands the the AVR.

15.5.2005 Just picked up a new PC for me, or better for Yvonne. It's a AMD 3000 Venice
Building it at the moment in a crap case just to make sure everything works.

13.5.2005 Bad news,Good news.
Good News - I've found a EPOT that is capable of handing 15 volts.
Bad news - they are not being manufactured any more
Good news - I've found a company that has several in stock
Bad news - They want an arm and a leg for them.
Good news - I'm willing to pay the price :)

11.5.2005 Bad news, it looks as if the EPOT's that I found aren't usable for the fan controller, their only rated for 5volts, I need atleast 10volts :) Looks as if I have to go searching again:)

7.5.2005 I'm getting quite a large number of visitors to my site at the moment, the only problem it I'm not sure where their comming from.
The flow sensor is now calibrated 800pulses = 1 liter, 3 lines of code and now the controller displays Ltr/min.

5.5.2005 Done some more work on project 12 the flow meter is working as expected.
It's a long weekend so I've got several days to play.
My health has improved alot since I've started taking a new medication, the pain is almost gone, and the side effects aren't too bad.

2.5.2005 Finally got sometime to work on project 12. Pop over to the projects page to see how it's getting along.

20.4.2005 For everyone who reads/visits this site, I'll still alive. I don't have the time to do anything worth wrting about at the moment :(.
It doesn't help much that the doctors have found out that in one of the operations they've damaged a nerve, and thats the reason why I'm still having problems.

7.4.2005 Wow, just hit 6000 unique visitors for planet-ian.com and 1000 visitors this year :)
I've got another appointment at the doctors next week, if they don't sort me out soon I'll go mad!
I plan to build a new test board this weekend using a MEGA8.

3.4.2005 Added project number 12 to the project page. Spent most of the weekend calibrating a temperature probe, at the moment the results are looking good. I have a variation of 1 volt between 90c and 15c. The only problem is that the signal is not linear.

2.4.2005 Just started working on the temperature probes for the new project. Using a voltage divider I'm able to get quite a nice Voltage range. At the moment 45c gives 0.39 volt and 36.9c gives 0.51 volt. Using a 2.56 voltage reference and a 10bit ADC it'll give an accuracy of 0.0025volt, which is more than enough for me :)

30.3.2005 The appointment yesterday went well. The doctor was almost "human" and could understand that after 14months and three operations I'm starting to get really pissed off. Anyway his possibly found the problem. Looks as if I have an infection that comes and goes. I'm now on a coarse of medication that should reduce the swelling and fight the infection.

29.3.2005 Back to the hospital this afternoon, the problems that stopped me from working last year are still there. Hopefully the doctors can find out what the problem is this time.
On a different note, Yvonne's just noticed that the cactus is flowering again. Go over to the webcam and have a look.

28.3.2005 Had a nice weekend in France. I spent most of the time working on a new Atmel board,based on a Mega8,LCD display and serial port.
The nicest thing about the mega8 is that it has several ADC's. Digging through my junk box I can across several EEPOT's that when joined up to a LM317T is should be possible to build a fan controller.
The only thing I need now is a very small temperature probe, maybe I can build something using a NTC/PTC or with a diode joined transistor.

12.3.2005 Ahh, tax return day. Spent the first 2 hours of today filling in a tax return, only to find out how much of the money that I don't have,I have to give to the tax man. But atleast I understand why taxmen and women are so strange.
For example can I deduct the hospital bills from point A based on Chapter 3 subparagraph 23 or is it Chapter 7 subparagraph 4. The difference is about 500SFr in MY hand.

8.3.2005 Hmm. If you live in Birsfelden and you've just bought and installed a netgear wireless router, you should think about enabling WEP. If you don't know how to mail me at i.dobson (at) planet-ian dot com. I had full access to you system for atleast 10 minutes before you shut to down :)

6.3.2005 The camera has been really active today. I've had up to 6 visitors at the same time!

6.3.2005 The IKEA mod project is finished.
I've decided my next project should be something with Analog inputs/outputs. Maybe something like a fan bus controller. I already have some ideas, when I get the chance to run some tests I'll create a page with ideas/solutions.

5.3.2005 No news is good news I suppose. Not much going on here, I'll be finishing off the IKEA box today (Tidy up wiring etc). Then I can start on the next project.

22.2.2005 Thought for the day :- Power corrupts. Power failure corrupts absolutely so backup your data now. This is aimed at someone (You know who you are) backup your PC, I'm not doing to "fix" it again.

20.2.2005 nr2. Finally got the optocoupler board up and running.
The problem was that the voltage comming from the router was 1.3volt with no activity and 2.3volt with activity. The problem was that the optocoupler LED had a forward voltage of 0.6volt, so the signal was always on.
Adding a LED infront of the input reduced the voltage to 0.1 for inactivity and 1.1volt for activity. I'll update the project web page sometime today. When it's done the results are here.

13.2.2005 nr2. The next 3 days are known as "die drey scheenschte Dg" (The most beautiful 3 days) here in Basel. It's fasnacht more info here

13.2.2005. My internet connection will be down again today (No email/webcam/live content). My router will be forced to friends with Mr. Soldering iron, it didn't work out yesterday how I hoped :)

12.2.2005. My internet connection will be down for a couple of hours today (No email/webcam/live content). My router will be making friends with the Mr. Dremel and Mr. Soldering iron :)

6.2.2005 nr 2. Yvonne has asked her first HTML question:- "Whats a frame?". Looks as if she's started to edit her site !

6.2.2005. My internet connection will be down for a couple of hours today (No email/webcam/live content). My router will be making friends with the dremel :)

31.1.2005 nr 2. Yvonnes domain has gone live! Switch made the change this morning and it's slowly crawling the the internet. Not much content at the moment, Yvonne doesn't know her luck (HTML is not word).

31.1.2005 My old portable (IBM 380Z) has spent the last few months unused and unloved, when a friend asked if I knew of anyone with a cheap portable for his daughter the IBM came to mind. So it now has a new home in Germany with my friend Armin. I swapped it for an old soldering iron that he lent me sometime ago :)

30.1.2005 Today started early and bad. Queenie woke me at 4am with an arm pit peeling (don't ask).
At 8am there was a loud bang outside and the internet died. 10am the internet is back up again, no one knows exactly what happened but the ISP service guys restarted the entire network and it looks as if a bridge somewhere near to me blew a fuse (A backup is now online).

29.1.2005 This morning I remembered that I have administration rights for yvonnes domain (yvonnes-eule.ch), so I've spent the last few hours going through the switch.ch maze until I found the page where I could enable the it and set the name servers.
All I now need to do is wait until switch update their servers. This should happen on monday if I've done everything correctly :)

23.1.2005 Spent the last couple of hours playing with DNS records, Yvonne has started to show interest in all things HTML so I decided to try and get her domain (www.yvonnes-eule.ch ) up and running.
I can do a NSLOOKUP for yvonnes-eule.ch and it appears to be correct , so all I have to do is wait for switch.ch to update their records.

21.1.2005 Just saw this quote from a OZ breakfast show, it made me laugh atleast
Coming up next, what does the future hold for artificial body parts? We polish up our crystal balls after the break.

20.1.2005 The NTP code is finshed, total of 800 bytes of really nasty maths (The NTP protocol returns the time as a 32bit value, which represents the time in seconds since 1 January 1900). The actual code to read the time from the ntp server and convert it to a long that the Atmel can use is tiny, most of the hardwork is handling leap years etc.

17.1.2005 I've been thinking about what I want to display on the LCD for project 10. It should display atleast:-
1) Time
2) How many emails are waiting for me and yvonne
3) The number of visitors to planet-ian.com today
4) and anything else that I can think of.

Adding a RTC (realtime clock) would be possible but an NTP client would be much nicer (Pure software).
The only problem is that the LCD is abit too dark. Looking at the specification I've seen that the backlighting needs up to 300ma which is far to much for my project. The solution I'm going to try is dismantle the LCD and replace the LEDs with some high power white ones. Think this is a new project, I imagine this is a new project (Number 11).

16.1.2005 The new AVR controller has been running for 8 hours now, responding to UDP packets every 5 seconds, as expected. All I need to do now to finish project 10 is :-
  1) Try and get the backlight on the LCD working (I plan to use PWM to control the brightness)
  2) Wire up 2 optocouplers as inputs that come from the activity LED's of my router
  3) Mod the router so I can wire up the AVR
  4) Wire up a digital output that goes to the opto coupler that controls the modem
  5) Make a hole in the case for the LCD
  6) Write the code for the AVR/Mod the code for the server to use the AVR to control the modem
  7) Convince Yvonne that I'm not mad.
It's a lot to do and as I'm going back to work tomorrow it might take sometime before I can do anything else on the project....

15.1.2005 Just tested the new board, and have managed to get it to work. It looks as if the problem is with having 2 connecters in the ISA bus along with "cheap" ribbon cable. Something that I don't understand is that the old board sometimes worked when connected to my main switch in the office rather than the Zyxel.

14.1.2005 nr2. OK just tested the prototype with exactly the same NE2000 and it worked first time, looks as if I have a problem with the board. First of all I'll try a new power source (I'm using a different bridge rectifier than normal).

14.1.2005 I'm having major problems with the NE2000 interface for the new project. It appears to initalise the card correctly but is unable to send/recieve any data. It could be a problem with the lenght of the ISA bus cables or the network cards aren't programmed correctly. I'll dig out my prototype board today and test the cards with it.

13.1.2005 Just broken 500 visitors this month!
The new guestbook spam filter looks as if it works :) My first victim got caught by the filter :)

12.1.2005 nr 3. Guestbook spam is still giving me problems, I've changed the rules for the filter abit, lets see if this helps.

12.1.2005 nr 2. I've just noticed, since updating SA to version 3 only 1 spam made through the filter. I wonder now long it'll take before the spammers find how to get around it.

12.1.2005 My problem isn't as bad as it was last time, I basicly over did it abit at the weekend and I'm now paying for it.
Atleast I've now got time to work on the AVR. The ne2000 interface is almost working, it sees and accepts the first packet sent but then doesn't see anymore. I'll try just driving a LED when a packet arrives rather than the LCD. I've got the feeling that the problem is an interaction between the LCD and the NE2000 code.

11.1.2005 nr2. Looks as if I'll be spending the rest of the week at home. My problems that caused me to spend most last year at home or in hospital have come back :(

11.1.2005 I've just noticed that my webcam has made it into the news page for a well known overclockers site, that might explain the 350 visitors in the last 2 days.

9.1.2005 nr 2. Just tested the NE2000 interface, that appears to work aswell. All I need to do now is add several inputs that go to the router, mod the router so that the LED's can be wired up to the AVR, and mod the case so the LCD is visible.

9.1.2005 Did abit more on project 10. The LCD interface is now working 100%, it was working before I started but as the contrast voltage was too low(-2Volt) I saw nothing on the display, so I started playing until I realised that the display worked but just wasn't displaying anything :)

8.1.2005 nr2. Updated SA to version 3 on the server. Everything seems to be going really well. I'll need to update the spam/ham/possible ham scores as SA3 seems to do alot more checking. I'll update the download page in afew days if I don't run into any problems.
Now I can get back to the little computers:)

8.1.2005 Decided to have another go at getting spamassassin 3.0 working in AP mode with xmail. This time I've got alot further, I can now read/scan/rewrite and save the modified email. The bayes filter is giving me problems but all I need to do is update the database (40Mb of tokens)

6.1.2005 Got a nice suprise today. I purchased 10 RTL8019AS network cards through EBAY, but got an email from Ebay that the supplier has been suspended due to complaints. As I had already transfered the money I thought OK I've lost a few Euro. When I got home there was a package waiting for me with .... 10 Network cards :)
I can now get along with project 10:)

4.1.2005 Came across this today, doesn't look bad (a potato powered webserver).

2.1.2005 Did abit more work on project 10. The hardware is almost finished. I've wired up a STK200/300 compatible ISP as the simple programmer that I've used up till now doesn't work with my new portable.

1.1.2005 nr2. I've got a real big problem, hopefully someone out there can help me. I need several old ISA bus RTL8019AS network cards, my supply is slowly running out. If you've got such a card or 5 laying about call/mail me.

1.1.2005 First post of the year and it's a bug fix:) The sorting routine for the spam chart didn't like it when the month goes backwards (Month 12 to month 1), didn't take long to fix