Article

Mark Fischer

10 minute read

This article aims to demonstrate some of the many uses of the Fn::Sub syntax in the AWS CloudFormation service. Topics include:

  • Basic Fn::Sub and !Sub syntax
  • Short and long form syntax
  • Nested Sub and ImportValue statements

Background

About a year ago (Sept 2016, along with YAML support) AWS added a new intrinsic function to CloudFormation: Fn::Sub. This greatly improved string concatenation in CloudFormation.

Mark Fischer

6 minute read

Marc Scott wrote a thought provoking article over at coding2learn.org called “Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You” a few weeks ago. It’s a really well reasoned article, and you should go read it if you haven’t yet.

As I was reading through the article, I kept thinking to myself “Yeah, this guy has it nailed. All these people out there have no idea how to use a computer. We should really educate them more on general computer use.”

However, after reading through some of the comments (there are many) and thinking about it some more, I began to disagree with his ultimate conclusion more and more.

Mark Fischer

3 minute read

A recent topic thread on Hypercritical with John Siracusa has been trying to answer the question “are video games an artform where its not possible for a large part of society to enjoy them fully because they lack the appropriate skill”. The example being a first person game where the player can’t enjoy the game because they lack the skill to simple move around the environment and understand the controls.

I only want to talk about a small part of this larger discussion. I agree with the premise that “a large number of people lack the skills to enjoy certain games fully.” Where I disagree with John is when we states that “it’s not possible for these people to gain the skills”.

Mark Fischer

1 minute read

I got my first printed circuit board (PCB) design in the mail today. This is for a pretty simple blinking LED project.

When UITS got its new logo, the dancing circuit people just screamed out to be made into a real PCB somehow. This is what I came up with. I realize using a full Arduino ATMega168 is a bit overkill for driving some LEDs, but I decided that I’d rather get a prototype working this year instead of deciphering datasheets for the smaller ATtiny series for the next 6 months.

Mark Fischer

6 minute read

After nearly a year, I finally finished up putting LED ‘stars’ onto our bedroom ceiling. See this earlier post where I talk about getting it started.

After a lot of soldering and taping, I managed to tape 32 white LEDs to the ceiling of our bedroom, and get stars working. I tried a bunch of different wiring ideas out before settling on simple bare buss wire. I just put some white electrical tape to keep it in place, and tape over any place where the lines have to cross.

Mark Fischer

1 minute read

We finally got around to getting our back yard landscaped. Arid Plant Designs did it, and they did a great job. We finally have something in the back yard other than dirt! We even have grass! I’m pretty happy having some grass for Kirin and the dogs to play in. I’ll post some better stills tomorrow.

Mark Fischer

5 minute read

With Kirin’s increasing love affair with Elmo, we decided to bite the bullet and get a new TV. Our old TV we got when we first got married, so I figure eleven years is a good run for a TV.

We were replacing an old 28” CRT TV that had a G5 iMac hooked up to it. The iMac was really starting to struggle with playback on full screen h264 movies, so we decided to replace that as well. To be honest, we actually set out to only replace the iMac, but we got side tracked…

Mark Fischer

2 minute read

Playing around with silly electronics again. This time the idea is to put twinkling stars on the ceiling of our bedroom. I’m using two TLC5940 chips to drive LEDs. The chips are capable of 16 channels of PWM, so the stars can fade on and off nicely.