Alien Chicken

Alien Chicken

Time to unleash the Terraformers …


Micro-controllers (where digits count and speed don’t)

Micro-controllers are really in every part of our lives.

You have one in your washer and dryer, your dish washer, your cellphone, your DVR and even some of your more simple accessories (ever peeled open one of those simple weather stations?)

They make our lives easier by lowering the component requirements for devices.  What used to take a hand full of discrete components and integrated circuits now can be boiled down to a couple of chips, a clock and a very small board.

The net result, more bang per buck on a smaller PCB surface.

They are particularly of value in amateur radio simply because of their ability to control other circuitry.

I learned this the easy way when I could not get my pre-owned FT-817 to work.  I went digging through the manual and found the menu option that allowed me to reset the micro-controller to the defaults.

PRESTO !  I then had a working radio.

Micro-controllers have always been one of my pet interests, so much so I subscribe to the IEEE Embedded Technology journal which concerns itself with these small devices.

Micro-controllers have almost all the same characteristics of their larger cousins, desktop, laptop and server grade computers but tailored to the packaging of the device.

They have no peripherals or very simple peripheral capability.

They typically have a reduced instruction set, can be low power and operate with a very small word length.

In amateur radio one popular micro-controller is the PIC; but while I was trying to find an easy solution to automating a door on my chicken coop I found the Arduino.


Open Source Hardware Standard v0.3

Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Draft Definition version 0.3

OSHW Draft Definition 0.3 is based on the Open Source Definition for Open Source Software and draft OSHW definition 0.2, further incorporating ideas from the TAPR Open Hardware License. Videos and Documentation of the Opening Hardware workshop which kicked off the below license are available here.


Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts — machines, devices, or other physical things — whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use those things. This definition is intended to help provide guidelines for the development and evaluation of licenses for Open Source Hardware.

It is important to note that hardware is different from software in that physical resources must always be committed for the creation of physical goods. Accordingly, persons or companies producing items (“products”) under an OSHW license have an obligation not to imply that such products are manufactured, sold, warrantied, or otherwise sanctioned by the original designer and also not to make use of any trademarks owned by the original designer.

The distribution terms of Open Source Hardware must comply with the following criteria:

1. Documentation

The hardware must be released with documentation including design files, and must allow modification and distribution of the design files. Where documentation is not furnished with the physical product, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining this documentation for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The documentation must include design files in the preferred form for which a hardware developer would modify the design. Deliberately obfuscated design files are not allowed. Intermediate forms analogous to compiled computer code — such as printer-ready copper artwork from a CAD program — are not allowed as substitutes.

2. Necessary Software

If the hardware requires software, embedded or otherwise, to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions, then the documentation requirement must also include at least one of the following: The necessary software, released under an OSI-approved open source license, or other sufficient documentation such that it could reasonably be considered straightforward to write open source software that allows the device to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original hardware. The license must allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files or derivatives of the design files.

4. Free redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the project documentation as a component of an aggregate distribution containing designs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale. The license shall not require any royalty or fee related to the sale of derived works.

5. Attribution

The license may require derived works to provide attribution to the original designer when distributing design files, manufactured products, and/or derivatives thereof. The license may also require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original design.

6. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

7. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the hardware in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the hardware from being used in a business, or from being used in nuclear research.

8. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the hardware must apply to all to whom the product or documentation is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

9. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the hardware must not depend on the hardware being part of a particular larger product. If the hardware is extracted from that product and used or distributed within the terms of the hardware license, all parties to whom the hardware is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original distribution.

10. License Must Not Restrict Other Hardware or Software

The license must not place restrictions on other hardware or software that may be distributed or used with the licensed hardware. For example, the license must not insist that all other hardware sold at the same time be open source, nor that only open source software be used in conjunction with the hardware.

11. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.


The signatories of this Open Source Hardware definition recognize that the open source movement represents only one way of sharing information. We encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or not they fit this definition.

OSHW Draft Definition 0.3 is endorsed by the following persons and/or organizations. Please feel free to add (your own names) to this section. Listing your affiliation is optional for personal endorsements, and endorsements are presumed to be personal unless the organization name is listed separately.

David A. Mellis, MIT Media Lab and Arduino
Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries
Phillip Torrone, Make and Adafruit Industries
Leah Buechley, MIT Media Lab
Chris Anderson, Wired and DIY Drones
Nathan Seidle, SparkFun Electronics
Alicia Gibb, Bug Labs
Massimo Banzi, Arduino
Tom Igoe, Arduino, ITP/NYU
Zach Smith, MakerBot Industries
Andrew “bunnie” Huang, bunniestudios
Becky Stern, MAKE
Windell Oskay, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
John Wilbanks, Creative Commons
Jonathan Kuniholm, Open Prosthetics Project/Shared Design Alliance
Ayah Bdeir, littleBits.cc/Eyebeam/Creative Commons


Re-Imagining the Dollar

There is a project intended to give artists an opportunity to re-imagine our currency.

It shows off  some impressive talent and a lot of great ideas.

Visit it at Dollar ReDe$ign Project


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