Monthly Archives: September 2009

New Toy: Chumby!! (open source hardware!)

I get to play with a Chumby!  Chumby is an open source hardware “Window to the Internet”, or ambient information display, meaning it scrolls through a variety of information sources and presents the data for you to check out at a glance.  It does wi-fi, audio, photos, and videos, and has a touchscreen and an accelerometer.  I met Open Source Hardware superstars Bunnie Huang and Steve Tomlin at Foo Camp, and am getting to try one out via them.   Yesterday, it arrived in the mail, and I’m psyched make stuff on it!




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Filed under Electrical Fascination, Project Updates

Electronics Update: My New Workbench

I’ve finally arrived in Cambridge: I built myself a work bench to do electronics on. That means I’ve finally arrived here!

I think it’s pretty sweet. Here are Star’s essentials:

star's new electronics workbench!

Stuff on the desk: my awesome weller soldering iron (I missed you while I was gone!), the world’s smallest/cutest single channel scope, AVR programmer, board etching stuff & copper clad FR4, toaster oven, The Art of Electronics, a couple of projects I’m working on: an OLPC that I need to make boot, a Meggy Jr to play with & program, some experiments with DIY plastic forming, and some various stuff on breadboards!

I’m looking for new Weller tips if anyone has any == I have an EC1002.  Also, feel free to come over and play!


Filed under Electrical Fascination, Project Updates

Blog Statistics are Beautiful

I can hardly describe how warm it makes me feel inside that the number one search term that leads to my blog is “interesting questions to ask” which resulted in 45 clicks to in the last 30 days.

Also I wanna shout-out to all the folks who were looking for “Star Simpson wikipedia”. Awesome. Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to look anything up — stars at@ mit dot. edu

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MIT is awesome + Blog Scale-Down

Wow, I’m really enjoying MIT — there are a lot of things I missed about Cambridge and didn’t really realize it, mostly the way that nearly everyone you meet on a given day is utterly driven over something and eager to share.  It’s fantastic!  

The flip side of this is that, while I’m definitely still interested in documenting and synthesizing via blogging, I expect that I’ll be writing to this blog less often.  Just thought I’d let all my blog-readers know.

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Playtime Programming Party

I just threw Boston’s 1st party on playing with Programming-Languages-I’ve-Been-Meaning-To-Try, and I think it was a great success!  I invited over a whole bunch of people to convene on the goal of playing with programming languages they’ve always been meaning to try, and haven’t gotten around to sitting down and checking out yet.  

Some folks played with JQuery, there was a fifteen minute tutorial on Brainfuck, and another bunch got their Processing legs.  I played quite a bit with ChucK, an audio programming language, and learned more about audio filters, by doing so.  There was a strong crowd interested in Erlang and Haskell,  and Perl6 got quite a bit of interest, but obviously no hacking because the Perl6 people can’t get their act together and haven’t released it yet.

So it looks as though I’ll be throwing another one in a month or so!

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“Triple Equals” => Secret JavaScript Kung Fu Revelation!

I got really psyched about an online wordgame called DeepLeap recently — I think it does a fantastic job of requiring and encouraging intelligence (at least, lexical depth, creativity, and swift thinking) — so I looked through the JavaScript code it’s written in to understand it better, where I discovered this intriguing operator, “===”.

Triple equals?  A typo?

No!  Turns out that’s a real thing!  And it’s awesome and hella useful to know about!

It’s a test for equality AND type congruence — for example:

1 == “1” is true, because they’re both equal to one, but

1 === “1” is false, because they’re not the same data type (one’s an integer, the other’s a string).

Additionally, in searching for this knowledge, I found a blog post which led me to the YUI theater — Yahoo has talks online about JavaScript development.  Hot knowledge!!!  You can learn a lot about coding and design by watching the talks posted there.


[1] DeepLeap
[2] from this code line:

var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");


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