AMA: Ask the Spook

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Spook of the lost
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AMA: Ask the Spook

Post by Spook of the lost »

I'm a government tech support contractor who studies science, engineering, electronics, the paranormal, tinkers with various things, scraps old hardware for parts/modifies into stuff and occasionally works on stellar cartography in his free time.
I also occasionally write science fiction given the old saying, write what you know.
My heroes are Tesla, Einstein, Von Braun, Elon musk, and DaVinci.

AMA, Ask me Anything, I'll answer to the best of my ability, you may be surprised by the answers.
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"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Post by Juneberry »

You have quite a lot of hobbies I'd love to see sometime! But for now, my question is: What got you into working with tech?
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Post by Spook of the lost »

a combination of a family of techies and a passing interest in tinkering with stuff, seeing how it works.
my grandmother assembled motherboards back in the 1980's.
my mother worked tech support and bought me my first computer.
my Uncle always sorta kludged together stuff.
I had a childhood friend who was a programmer back in elementary school as well.
it wasn't long until I became curious and started poking around with stuff and seeing how it worked.
combine that with a love for puzzles and it you can kinda see how it happened.
however it wasn't until about 10 or 12 years ago that I started to really get into it hard core when I tried to upgrade that first computer, bent the pins on the CPU, fixed them, and had to re-assemble everything, it all became clear after that and ever since I've always been trying to find new challenges
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Post by Juneberry »

What's the most recent challenge you've taken on?
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Post by Spook of the lost »

trying to get smooth video so i can convert my wearable computer into an augmented reality capable device.
fortunately I'm highly resistant to motion sickness and nausea inducing stuff however I'm currently running up against the limits of the computer I'm using as the core of it.

besides that the biggest challenge that I've succeed in recently was adding an audio upgrade to my sega genesis, I messed up really badly and spent days studying schematics so I could track down the problem replacing capacitors and repairing circuit traces while integrating the 8 wires for the audio board to the various points it was bypassing

in the process I ended up finding better locations for some of them but I'm rather proud of the end result.
the console is notorious for having an audio buzz with all black or white screens and now it doesn't.

before that it was figuring out voice based inputs for the light switch module I'd made... it still doesn't work 100% right so I'm always tweaking the code to improve on it.

I've got a challenge I'm working up to as well, I've a vehicle where the engine won't start due to timing chain issues, unfortunately I will have to take half said engine apart to fix it and I'm not quite there yet, I'd say that's my biggest challenge right now, trying something similar to but not quite in my normal skill set.
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Post by Juneberry »

I'm in awe reading all these because I have about as much technical knowledge as... I don't know, but it's not a whole lot. Things like capacitors and circuits are things I used to quasi-understand when I was young because dad had me help him building computers themselves, but that was twenty-odd years ago.

Which of your many challenges are you most proud of?
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Post by Spook of the lost »

honestly?
it's not the challenges themselves so much as all the new knowledge I gain whenever I complete a particularly tricky or difficult project or task.
which is partially why I have so many hobbies lol, I'm always trying new things and trying to gain new skills in the pursuit of gaining a greater understanding of stuff in general.

however what I'm most proud of at the moment is the wearable computer I've been tinkering with.

while I haven't gotten it up to augmented reality yet, for the moment it fits in my pocket, the screen is a pair of glasses ensuring privacy, and it's modular and capable.
I frequently do my writing using it since it's mostly a text based interface and I can comfortably work on it for a long period of time.
however I do get a few stares now and then when I go down to the local coffee shop and take out the solar wireless keyboard I use with it.
the concept simply does not exist and is something that must truly be made rather than bought.
I'm very proud of it even if I'm constantly trying to improve on it due to constantly running up against the limitations of what's available currently.
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Post by Juneberry »

How do you use a wearable computer, anyway? :o I understand the screen being glasses, but where are things like the keyboard and mouse? (It's okay if you can't tell me because of trade secrets- I'm just naturally curious what you came up with! ^^)
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Post by Spook of the lost »

well it's using an old style text based interface, think DOS, which makes sense because being close to the eyes the resolution has to be low to keep from squinting at it.
and I use a solar powered bluetooth keyboard from logitech to interface with it.
I carry the keyboard around with me in either my satchel (It's awesome, I got it from the local comiccon, it says tesla industries on it).
or my trench coat which has deep pockets.the computer currently sits in the same bag/an inner coat pocket however I'm looking into reducing some of it's height and making it fit onto an arm band.
I did try utilizing a leap motion for mouse control once but the graphical interface was too clunky for the screen resolution so I went back to text based.
I've also looked into eye tracking but fitting cameras onto the screen is tricky at that size without making it too bulky right now.

it's sort of my great work, inspired by a desire to bring fiction to reality and make it not just a cosplay thing or toy but actually functional, I'm hoping for technologies like Brain Computer Interfaces and stuff to help but I'm always limited by the tools and what's available currently.

my long term goal once stuff moves past DARPA military lab stuff is to replace the keyboard with something that reads my thoughts as far as typing goes since I can type blind and I think I should be able to adapt to something that just reads the signals sent to my hands... but that's still at least 15 years out and I don't know anyone in the Grinder/biohacker groups.

for now though a lightweight wireless keyboard I carry around with me is more than enough lol and being solar powered means it just always works... except in the dark.
Last edited by Spook of the lost on Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 325
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Post by Juneberry »

Did you add an extra power source so that you can use it in the dark? I hope you're not hurting your eyes! >w<
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