Thursday 20 August 2015

A little slice of Australia

I have been training my favourite coffee shop in the art of the typical Aussie burger.

They make great and tasty burgers here but I miss the simple and glutenous pleasure of the Aussie burger with the lot. Today he chef, Agnes,  has cracked it.

We have been experimenting over the recent weeks slowly converting one of their burgers into the Aussie burger by adding and subtracting various ingredients. The first challenge was convincing them to include pineapple, then egg but they slowly came around. The bigger challenge was the inclusion of Rølbeder (Beetroot) pronounced "rrolllbelller". The Danes are not that big on beetroot so it has taken some time to convince them. I ended up just nipping out to the supermarket and buying it myself.

The final trick was to simplify. Most of their burgers have lots of different and shredded ingredients this is just slabs of simple stuff.

See the finished product below. It was glorious and the Grev Axel crew loved it especially the simple colourful layers. This will likely become part of the menu along with replacing  "god dag" with "ooroo" as the standard farewell to customers.

Aussie Burger with the lot ( Paleoish, as in excuse the cheese)

Friday 14 August 2015

Prototype Hits the Slotssøvejen Arcade

I now have a SDU (Syddansk Universitet) Gæst ID card and key to the Uni workshops. Now I can use all the equipment (Laser cutters, 3D printers, Wood and electronic shops) for both my projects and helping out who ever is making at the time. Most of the time is spent fixing the MakerBot T18 printer (big one in the corner) Its rubbish, if your looking for one look elsewhere.

3D Printers and lazzer cutter

Wood and Metal

To acquaint myself with the wood shop I created my prototype Arcade interface old school style as the laser cutters lens was buggered.

Controller prototype (Scramble featured with Mac as screen and Raspberry Pi as MAME Machine)
I'm enjoying this nerding up business. But I fear that my Danish classes that start tomorrow will now dominate.

Sprogskolen - Hjælpe mig

In Australia all our sprogs(kids) go to school, so what's so special about this one.

Well Sprog = Language in Dansk. So yes I'm off to language school to attempt to learn Danish.

In Denmark it is law that all Kommune(local governments) provide danish lesson to residents for free. So this is where the taxes go. So i emailed the school and set up a preliminary interview where they enrolled me in the stream (No3) designed for those with second language already and/or those with degrees. My class size is about 10 students to one teacher and classes run from 8am to 1:30 pm Mon, Thu and Fri. Here goes.

Its been about 25 years since I've been in  a real class room (endless corporate and business type training aside) and its is somewhat daunting. It is my first day but its the third day for my class mates as I enrolled late. Missing two days was a bit of a pest as I was immediately bombarded with Danish and when I questioned or just looked as if I was in pain the teacher would explain "don't worry we  covered pronunciation the other day" same for vowels, numbers, days of the week etc.

What have I got myself into? out of the six hours on day one i think I was enthusiastic for about 30 mins. We switch between Grammar, pronunciation, reading , speaking, writing with such speed that I'm struggling. The bits where I felt enthusiastic were when I realised I knew more than some of my class mates from having spent some time on Duo Lingo (an ipad app for learning danish and other languages). I found out the the teachers all recommend this app as it is a very simple way to learn without any formality.

The grammar parts are interesting but difficult for those of us (ie Australians) that were never taught the language and terms of grammar (ie possessive, third personal, genitive, conjugation etc etc).. The Australian education departments have a lot to answer for deciding to exclude this. It makes learning other languages harder. I suspect the reason for this exclusion its just curriculum change for the sake of it just to keep the academics and bureaucrats feeling in work and feeling important. After all if there was not constant change of approach and opinion what would they do? Or possibly more likely none of the teachers understood it so they thought "lets get rid of it" and now its impossible to go back as even the teachers haven't been taught it.

Oh and the coffee is so bad at the school Kanteen that many go across the road to the Servo (Petrol satation) for coffee, WTF.

god aften

Thursday 13 August 2015


All this tinkering has got me misty for the late 70s machines of my child hood. I thought I'd share my timeline for those of you for whom this may resonate.

It all started with pulling machines apart at every opportunity and a fascination with my fathers Odhner mechanical adding machine.

My first electronic project the crystal radio
Then I saved up enough for a modular kit from my piece work paper route
The first micro computer I coveted the mini scamp, a binary input machine.

Next fascination was the Drean 6800, a hex machine code input machine with TV screen RF connection
RCA COSMAC, this wasnt easily available in OZ  but had a cool case and was quite polished

It was about now that a rich bastard brought along a Trash80 to CUBs (baby scouts in OZ) to show off. This was a polished beast compared to the machines I had been looking at. But it certainly had me browsing the catalogues and stores.

The Sinclair really wanted one of these. I think it was Daid Reid electronics in York st Sydney that had these
Then the Dick Smith Super 80 single board Z80 machine

The real dream the Microbee I was very jealous of my best friend James who had one of these and built his own language and compiler. Tape drives were the storage of the day.

The first computer I actually owner IBMXT 8086. Bought this in 3rd year Uni during engineering degree. I was was fortunate that my sister worked for an IBM sales company so I got this with Colour screen and whopping 10MD hard drive for $1500 AUD. This was better that the machines at uni.

Next Project is to MAME

I just got delivery of real arcade machine parts so I can build a 70s arcade machine game using the Rasperry  Pi and MAME.
Arcade bits assembled for testing

Monday 3 August 2015

Dreaming and the Raspberry Pi

I took delivery of my new Rasperry Pi today.

My new Raspberry Pi2
The raspberry Pi is a very basic computer on a credit card sized circuit board. It was created by an organisation aimed at providing cheap and basic computer fundamentals training to all but particularly school kids. Its inception was spurred by tertiary institutions realising that coding skills/behaviours are lacking something compared  to those in people that grew up during the evolution of computers think 80s. The thinking being that the removal from this basic machine understanding has a cost.

I bumped into this and another such device the Audrino, through my exposure to the university research projects where these devices are popular in prototyping all manner of things. It rekindle so many fond memories of pouring over the latest copies of Electronics Australia or Electronics Today International when I should have been in class. I dreamt of owning such machines as the Mini Scamp, Dream6800, RCA COSMAC VIP, DSE Super 80, SinclareZX80, Micro Bee etc but couldn't afford them so just studied their circuit boards and schematics. (sorry got a bit carried away with my memories there)

The original Dream. can you remember this picture from the EA artical? I can

I thought going back to some of these basics might inspire me so I ordered the Raspberry Pi 2 and am now enjoying learning a bit of Linux and Python. I feel compelled to get back to breadboaring and controlling stuff if only to relive those early child hood feelings of exploration and excitement. Might have to drag out my copy of  "Sole of a new machine" also.

OS installed and ready for action