Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Easy Barcode Scanning with JavaScript

It seems like it should be easy to scan barcodes from your web browser. You should just be able to point your camera at a barcode and let the browser do all the work. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a easy solution – until now. Introducing is a website that allows you start… Read More »


In what little spare time I’ve had lately, I put together a new web site, Giveaway.City, that provides an up-to-date list of Amazon Giveaways. If you’ve never participated in an Amazon Giveaway, they’re actually pretty great. With just your Amazon account, you can enter to win all kinds of prizes, from Kindle books to iPhones. The… Read More »

ITEAD Studios Smart Home Switches

I was recently contacted by a representative from ITEAD Studios and asked if I would be interested in taking a look at their new smart home switches. It looked like a fun product, so I happily agreed. My samples arrived a few days ago, and I’ve had a little time to play with them, so… Read More »

Syma X5C-1 Quadcopter

My nine-year-old son wanted a quadcopter this Christmas, an idea I was honestly a little excited about myself.  After a bit of investigation, the Syma X5C-1 appeared to be the perfect option, offering great stability and the ability to fly it outdoors.  As a bonus, it also comes with a built-in HD camera.  I was… Read More »

DIY Virtual Wall for Roomba – Part Two

This is the second and probably final part of my Roomba virtual wall project.  In my first post, I talk more about the technical details that of how the signalling works, etc., so I recommend it as a starting point.  In this post, I’ll talk about how I put it all together and deployed.  This… Read More »

3D-Printed Ping Pong Table Bracket

Recently, my neighbors asked me if I wanted their old Kettler ping pong table.  Imagining all the family fun we’d have, I gladly accepted.  The table is aluminum and meant to be outdoors, which is good news because it has been for the past 15-20 years.  It’s mostly in great shape, but on one side… Read More »


If there’s one disadvantage to using a wireless keyboard, it’s not knowing the status of the Caps Lock.  This becomes particularly frustrating when you’re in a terminal window, for example, and realize the Caps Lock is on only after a few failed attempts to enter a password.  I wrote this utility for the Mac that… Read More »

Playing Sound in Java

This isn’t much of a post, but I’ll put it here for anyone (especially a current tutoring student) who needs it. The SoundClip class I’ve provided can be used to load and play an audio file from within the current JAR’s res folder. Usage In this example, the code will load the file “res/sounds/brick-hit.wav” and… Read More »

A Year of Solar Energy

I’ve been a solar customer for just a few days shy of a year now – long enough that I’ve  gone through a full cycle of electric bills since the system was installed and made operational.  I was hesitant to move forward with solar energy at first.  The cost of installing one’s own system was… Read More »