Thursday, February 7, 2013

200th post - and a little closure

While I certainly can't claim to have a blog anything as super dandy as the Kelly Blog, we've had a lot of fun over the years.

I thought that post #200 would be perfect to tell a follow-up story on our Vietnam trip.

Ryan is a persistent dude, and really wanted to find out what happened after Marley ran off the road, so he went old-school and looked up their family in the phone book.

Ryan called and found Marley's mom surprised and grateful to hear from us.   As it turns out, Marley did have several broken bones in his spine.  After being taken to Hanoi by ambulance, he was flown home, and had surgery to stabilize his spine.  He was left with only a bit of foot drop, and was told that if we hadn't treated him like a spinal injury from the beginning that he could have easily been paralyzed.

I was so relieved and thankful that Marley did so well, that was definitely one of the hardest days of my life.  I can't imagine what it was like for Marley and his family.

Thanks everyone for reading, will be posting more in the following months.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mad Photo Booth

Just to let you know this post is pretty darn geeky.  Most of you will just look at the pictures, which is just fine with me :-)

I've been playing with Arduino, an inexpensive, easy to program microcontroller.  I started with an experimenters kit from here, and burned through all of the practice circuits in two days.  Rubin gave me an infrared LED, and I started to wonder if I could use the Arduino to control a camera.  After quite a bit of experimenting, I had a working prototype together with the following breadboard layout:


When you push the button the red LED flashes for a period of time (7.5s) and then the IR LED is used to trigger the camera five times with one second between (all times configurable in the script).  We rented a backdrop from the local camera store for less than $50 and Lisa found all kinds of great props on Etsy.

Knowing that there wasn't any way a breadboard with a tiny push button switch would have any kind of WAF (wife acceptance factor), I got on ebay and ordered some big red buttons, and crafted a button with a status light from a radio shack project box and some cute 4 connector intercom wire.

After seeing the whole setup, Lisa remarked: "I didn't know you could make something so professional", which was a proud moment for me. 

The photo booth ended up being the hit of the party. Usually you have about 3 photos from a party and this time we ended up with hundreds.  Many of which are so fantastic they aren't fit for the blog.

The best thing about Arduino is the super-helpful community.  Nearly everything that I used for this project was cobbled together from friends.  In that same spirit, here's all the necessary Arduino code bits: