Monthly thread - what’s new with you? (December edition)

What have you found, or learnt, or watched, or heard? What are you building or breaking or repairing or investigating?

Let’s hear about your technical adventures, however large or small.

Previously: Monthly thread - what’s new with you? (November edition)

I don’t seem to have any technical adventures going on at present, but here’s a couple of rather interesting but gratifyingly short videos - one on rotating things and the other on magnets. (Which are in some sense also rotating things.) Hearing the sound of magnetisation, that’s new to me!

Quick update on what’s new with me: a bit of code golf, trying to write the smallest program in the language of my choice to do a specific thing. In my case, BBC Basic, and trying to print out ASCII art of a particular eight-pointed star pattern. On Thursday night I was very pleased to have removed one character from my best effort. Today I was able to remove nearly 40 characters…

Interesting article by someone who was employed as a human backup for a chatbot:
(tldr: Instead of training the chatbot to be more human, she ended up acting more like a bot)

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Had a quick look at the way people are using

There’s some reasonably impressive code-generation in there, but as with a lot of things AI, it generates convincing output (particularly when you give it good prompts) BUT although the code may run, it’s often incorrect/misleading/full of bad practices.

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Just a reminder that if Santa needs any suggestions for your stocking the 2023 Tech Shed annual membership is available now, at an inflation-busting price of £5: 2023 Membership

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas / Hanukkah / Midwinter / Festivus
and looking forward to seeing you in the New Year

I did a technical thing! On Wednesday the openreach people didn’t turn up and we learnt we’d continue to have no broadband for another three weeks, and I thrashed around a bit with a Raspberry Pi trying to plumb my phone into the home network… and failed. But yesterday I tried again, this time with the phone connected by USB cable rather than wifi hotspot, and was successful! So our home network is back, in time for Christmas, supported by a £20 mobile data purchase. And with the phone parked on an upstairs windowsill, we get quite a good connection.

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I have made a laser harp. Using a green laser and numerous photo resistors. And an ESP32. 8 channel polyphonic. Green is the wavelength that the photoresistors are most sensitive to.
Using fixed point arithmetic to generate the waveforms (floating point arithmetic is not recommended in an ISR for the ESP32).

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This is interesting - using algae as a solar panel / battery. It continues to produce electricity even during the night. Algae Battery Ran For 6 Months Powering a Computer With Photosynthesis - YouTube
I have ordered some algae - spirulina and chlorella. Sold as a health food supplement. the cell walls are cracked, but I am assuming not all of them are cracked, so hopefully some will grow.

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Do let us know how this experiment works out!

The algae finally arrived. I have put them into a jar of water with a light shining. After a slow start they are now producing small bubbles of presumably oxygen. Under ideal conditions algae double every few hours. I will hopefully do the experiment before long.

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