Chaos Puppy - Read Your Pet's RFID Chip

Most pets have an RFID chip in them so when they are lost it can be scanned and the owners information can be retrieved.  I would like to harness the power of this RFID technology to allow my pet, Chewie, to control my house and update her Twitter.

I've learned that pet RFID transmits at 125 kHz.  I had an RFID reader lying around from Adafruit, that I doubted and confirmed could not read Chewie's RFID chip.  I've order a 125 kHz Arduino compatible reader that should arrive on Friday.  Will update blog in a few days with the results of the new reader.

Github project here.  Until next time.


3d Printing Basic Tools of the Trade Part 2

  • Netfab STL Repairer - this amazing free little web utility repairs your STLs making sure all the surfaces are connected and the model is solid.  I run all my models through it pre-print. 
  • Painters tape - cover build plate with this to help model sticking and protect plate.  The wider the better 
  • Pallet knife - used to pry the model off the build platform.  Works amazingly well.  I bought mine at local art store, but here's a set of similar ones for cheap on amazon 
  • Rubbing alcohol - use when printing models that have small foot prints to improve sticking.  Using: you rub the build plate (even if it's covered in painters tape) down with this pre-print.  It makes the model stick MUCH better, so it should only be used if you have a model with a small surface area touching the build plate.

3d Printing Basic Tools of the Trade

I've been getting into 3d printing lately.  I have a makerbot replicator 2 and love it.  Here is a list of some of the tools I'd recommend picking up if you would like to create custom models from scratch:
  • Digital Calipers - used to measure dimenions of physical objects ie diameter of a cylinder
  • Ruler
  • Notebook - for skething, I like the Rhodia brand b/c their graph paper has 5mm squares
  • Google Sketchup - free software software for creating models
  • STL export plugin for sketchup - if you go the Sketchup route you're going to need this plugin to export files the printer can read

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You've Got Mail iPhone Mail Alert

With the release of iOS 5.0 for iPhones and iPads it's now possible to set a custom sound for emails (among other items). I thought it'd be fun to use the old school "you've got mail" sound byte for my emails. To set a custom tone for your incoming mail make sure your iPhone/iPad has iOS 5.0 then:

1. On you iOS device click Settings>Sounds
2. Scroll down to the new mail option. After you click on it you can see you can load any of your custom ringtones. (Here's an article on how to make custom ringtones).

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Restore Missing Airplay Icon on iPhone and iPad

My Airplay icon went missing from both my iPhone and iPad. Luckily it's an easy, but weird fix to get it back. You need to change your phone language from English -> French (or any other language) -> English. To do this:
  1. Settings>General>International>Language
  2. Select "Francais" and click done. iPad/iPhone/iPod will change over to new language.
  3. Repeat steps one and two but change device back to English.
  4. Settings>General>International>Keyboards
  5. Click "edit"
  6. Delete the non-English keyboard
Now go try to play media. Your Airplay icon will be back!


How I Use Text Message Payments to My Make Life Easier

I recently started using a service called Venmo which is "The Paypal of text message payments." I can pay and charge friends or merchants for goods/services. It's definitely one of those services a la cell phone esque. If you don't have it you don't know what you are missing, but once you have it there's no going back. Below I've listed some simple use cases to try to illustrate the power of the service:

Paying others - Splitting a lunch bill:
  • When I'm out to lunch w/friends, one person pays the bill and the rest of us text that person.
  • "Pay Jenny $21.37 for lunch."
  • Jenny receives $21.37 for the bill from all of her friends. It's great b/c it eliminates the friend who says "I'll hit you later" and then never hits you later. It also eliminates the need for everyone to have cash
Paying others - Cashing in/out of poker night:
  • When we do poker night, one person is the "pot" and we all send them buy in money.
  • "Pay Brad $20 for poker buy in." At the end of the night cashing out is super simple, no dealing w/breaking of bills or coins. "Pay Jenny $11.41 for poker winnings."
  • In this case Brad is the pot. At the beginning of the night we all send him money, then at the end of the night he sends out the winnings.
Charging others - picking up laundry
  • When I pick up my brother's laundry I charge him for it. The money is taken directly out of his account b/c he "trusts" me.
  • "Charge Andrew $13.75 for laundry."
  • $13.75 comes into my account
These are just a few use cases of how to use text message payments to make your life easier. If you would like to try Venmo, which is in beta, to text message payments please email me and I'm friends with the guys who made it, so I can shoot you an invite.

In the comments, tell me how you use text message payments to make your life easier.


Record Video on Any iPhone without Jailbreaking

The app everyone has been waiting for has finally been released: iVideo Camera. With iVideoCamera 2g and 3g iPhone owners can record video without jailbreaking their phones.

iVideoCamera currently only captures video at three frame per second and can only record up a minute long video, but for 99 cents it's a steal. I recommend buying it as I assume future updates will include better/longer video quality.


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