Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Pricing Up a New Maxed Out MacBook Pro Max

I typically buy a new personal laptop computer every 5-6 years. I was a diehard Windows person until Windows Vista came along when I crossed over to the Mac world. I've been a Mac person ever since.

Because I keep my computers for a long time, when I buy I always load up on hardware. I typically go for the fastest processor, most memory and the largest storage drive.  Today I decided to price up a new loaded MackBook M3 Max and was blown away by the price - $7200!

Pondering, I decided to skip the $19 Apple Polishing Cloth. I can always pick one up later.

Granted, maxed out the configuration is for high end niche users and not users like me. My 14 inch M1 Pro is only two years old with 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD so..... I'll just hang on to that for now.

Monday, October 23, 2023

555 Timer: Astable Mode

The 555 timer IC is a popular integrated circuit (IC)  used in various electronic projects and can be configured to perform a wide range of tasks. It was first introduced by Signetics (now part of ON Semiconductor) in 1972 and has since become one of the most widely used ICs in the electronics industry due to its simplicity and versatility. The 555 timer IC is available in different variants, including the NE555, LM555, and others, with minor variations between them.

The 555 timer operates over a wide range of power supply voltages, typically from 4.5 volts to 15 volts and is typically used in one of three operating modes:

  • Astable Mode Operation: In this mode, the 555 timer acts as an oscillator, generating a square wave output signal. This mode is commonly used in applications like LED flashers, pulse generators, and tone generators.
  • Monostable Mode Operation: In this mode, the 555 timer functions as a "one-shot" pulse generator. It produces a single pulse of a specified duration in response to a trigger input. Applications include timers and delay circuits.
  • Bistable Mode Operation: This mode is used to create a flip-flop circuit, which has two stable states and is often used in simple digital logic applications.
Depending on how a 555 timer is to be used, the appropriate configuration and values for the timing components (R1, R2, and C) must be selected to achieve the desired output characteristics or time delays. Here's some details:
  • Timing Component Operation: The 555 timer's timing is determined by two resistors (R1 and R2) and a capacitor (C). By choosing appropriate values for these components, you can set the desired time intervals for the timer's operation.
  • Internal Comparator Operation: The 555 timer includes an internal comparator that compares the voltage across the timing capacitor with two-thirds of the supply voltage and controls the output accordingly.
  • Output Stage Operation: The 555 timer has an output pin (usually labeled as "OUT") that produces either a high or low signal based on the timing mode and the voltage across the timing components.
  • Trigger and Reset Input Operation: The IC has a "TRIG" (trigger) input and a "RESET" input. The trigger input is used to initiate certain modes of operation, while the reset input is used to reset the timer and interrupt its operation.
  • Threshold Input Operation: The "THRS" (threshold) input is used in some applications to override the internal voltage divider.
Here's a short PSpice video I made demonstrating how the 555 Timer can be used in Astable Mode.

The 555 timer is still one of the most popular components used in timing-related applications. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Captain Vela The Adventure Dog (2009 – 2023)

Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.
-       Dr Seuss


Sunday morning Vela (our 14 year old Bichon Frise) woke up at her usual 6 a.m. time and we went out for our usual walk followed by a usual breakfast. Everything seemed fine with her. Around 10:30 Vela started to shake a little bit and looked uncomfortable. Since it was Sunday and our veterinarian was closed, we ended up taking her to an Animal Emergency Hospital in Deerfield, MA. Long story short  - scans found spots on her liver, kidneys and gall bladder. She was in a lot of pain and we were given some pain medication to keep her comfortable overnight. She came home with us for one last night. On Monday March 6 we brought her to our vet. Scans and test results were reviewed and discussed. At around 11 AM she was put to sleep. I cannot say enough good things about the care Vela received from Dr. McIsaac and the staff at The Granby Animal Clinic.

After Tim The Springer passed away we sure had a huge gap in our lives. Eva was a junior in high school and Gabby was a junior at Mount Holyoke College. On the way to Eva’s school we would drive by a house that had a sign with a picture of a white fluffy dog on it. A colleague had a couple of Bichon Frise dogs – I remember going over to their house one day and those two amazing little white dogs running circles around us in the house. John told me when they do that they call it the “Bichon Buzz”. Impressive little dogs those Bichons! I had a hunch that picture on the rock could possibly be one.


Well we decided we would start looking around for another dog and stopped by that place in Granby. Talk about a Bichon Buzz – the family were private breeders and had 15 or 16 Bichons of various ages. Controlled chaos is probably the best term to describe what we experienced walking into that house. A litter of new pups was coming and we discussed getting on the list for one of them. But.... there was an adult dog that caught our eye. Her name was Katie at the time and she was three years old. Katie had a couple of litters already but could not have any more pups for medical reasons. The breeder was responsible and was keeping her as a pet. Katie came up to Diane and the owner thought that was unique – unlike the others, Katie did not typically take to people coming in the house. Diane and I both asked about Katie and the owner told us she could not have any more pups and they would keep her as a pet. When we asked if Katie was available she was taken a bit back at first and surprised we would be interested in her. Long story short we brought Katie home the next day, changing her name to Vela.


Right from the start Vela fit right in with our family. She was our first “little” dog. Prior to Vela I had never been a fan of little dogs – probably because I never had one! Just like the other two Vela was all dog and had quite the personality. She may have only been 11.5 pounds but she was a tough, wiry little dog that could be quite smug at times. An amazing watch dog who loved to be with us. I believe if she had stayed with the breeder family Katie would have been very well cared for but would probably have never left the house. Vela however had the opportunities for many adventures with us, spending time, seeing things and visiting places with us that few dogs have been. The perfect airplane under the seat in front of you and everywhere else dog. So many memories and so many (over 1,000) pictures and videos.


She was a constant companion and incredibly attached to Diane. When Diane was out she hung around with me but the second she saw Diane’s car coming down the driveway – well – I was a distant second place. The picture posted here tells the story well – that was the two of them.


As we saw with Tim, we see a lot of Vela in our two daughters. Gabby and Eva. Both grown up now and doing grown up things – Eva married living in Nashville, TN and Gabby engaged, living in Medford, MA. Both with dogs of their own - Cheese the Beagle (Gabby) and Mo the Sheepadoddle (Eva). Vela got to spend time with both of her nephew dogs, most recently over the holidays. She taught them some stuff for sure.


I miss so many little things about her. Sleeping next to me while I work. I miss her food and water bowls. Feeling her moving around on the bed at night. Watching out the window for Diane to come home. She never forgot a person. I don’t think I ever used the word “No” with her. Waking me up every morning when it starts getting light to go outside and get the day started. She was constantly with one of us during the pandemic.


Monday morning was so difficult for us and our house is so quiet now. We miss you so much Little Buddy.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

MATLAB Tip Calculator on Your Phone

In this video I show how to take your MATLAB code and run it on your iPhone. 

Here's a list of instructions you can use while watching the video.

In MATLAB on Your Computer

  • Create a MATLAB script or function.
  • Document your code by adding explanatory comments at the beginning of the file and within each section.
  • Publish the code. On the Publish tab, click Publish.
    • By default, MATLAB creates a subfolder named html, which contains an HTML file and files for each graphic that your code creates. The HTML file includes the code, formatted comments, and output. Alternatively, you can publish to other formats, such as PDF files or Microsoft PowerPoint® presentations. For more information on publishing to other formats, see Specify Output File.
    • In MATLAB Online™, to allow MATLAB to open output windows automatically when publishing, enable pop-up windows in your Web browser.

  • After publishing the code, you must share the folder containing the published files. For more information, see Share Folders in MATLAB.

  • To save to the MATLAB Drive, in MATLAB select Publish -> Save -> Save As -> navigate to MATLAB-Drive and save tipcalculator.m there.
On Your Phone
  • Install the MATLAB app on your phone, login to your account and access the script saved in to cloud. You must have internet access to access.
  • Impress your family and friends with your tip knowledge, skills and abilities!
And if you want to also impress them a little more, here's how to mirror your iPhone screen on a Mac.
  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with a USB cable.
  2. Open the QuickTime Player on your Mac.
  3. Click “File”, and choose “New Movie Recording”.
  4. Click the Options pop-up menu, then Choose Your Connected iPhone. ...
  5. The iPhone screen will now instantly display on the Mac.