Projects and Playgrounds: Experiments and Forays into Doing It Right or Doing It Yourself

From time to time, I’ll have a personal project on my plate that’s worth sharing. Some projects are handy HOW-TOs, steeped in the DIY ethos. Others are little side-experiments where I try something new, like trying to write clean HTML by the book, or learning a CSS trick. Some others are posted here for the sake of posterity.

You can be sure that some of these projects were difficult in their execution but rewarding in completion; the rest were just fun. I hope you gain some manner of knowledge at the most or some modicum of entertainment at the least. Enjoy.

Roland JX-3P Tape Dump Patch Decoder

Jan 2013
File under: Music, C, MIDI

I have a Roland JX-3P synthesizer that I’ve modified with a MIDI expansion module. Some of the patches in the user banks are really cool, and I needed a way to view the patch parameter values so I can configure my MIDI software to set up the patches when my project is loaded. Since the synth doesn’t dump through MIDI, I needed to write a program to listen to the tape dump and decode the patch memory values. This is the culmination of that work, and I share it here with you.

CSS @media Example

Oct 2012
File under: Web Design, CSS, HTML

I knew it existed, but I’ve never actually used or tested the @media rendering intent declaration, part of the CSS1 standard, to create different page styles based on how, and on what device, the page is being viewed.

Moveable Light Fixture

Jul 2008
File under: lighting, cheap, DIY

My living room is dark. Too dark. No overhead light fixture. I needed a hanging light, but didn’t want the fixture to be fixed to one spot. Here’s a novel way to put overhead light right where I want it!

CSS Rounded Boxes

Dec 2007
File under: Web Design, CSS, HTML, W3C

You like sites with rounded corners and drop shadows? Wish those sites would reflow to be wider or narrower when you resize the browser? I figured out a method to do rounded corners and drop shadows while keeping a liquid layout. Here’s my explanation.

A Hand-crafted Model Presentation of W3C Principles

Jun 2007
File under: Web Design, CSS, HTML, W3C

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a number of recommendations on web design principles. This is a project demonstrating the W3C ideal of the separation of content, style, and behavior into three easily-changeable components.

Custom DIY CPU Air Duct

Oct 2004
File under: computers, DIY

Does your CPU overheat? Feeling the temptation to blow money on expensive and unnecessary core cooling setups? Build your own air ducting and save! Here’s how!

The Farm, 1997

Nov 1997
File under: website, friends, design

In 1997, I ran a website called The Farm. It started out as a personal site hosted on the then-massive three megabytes of space provided free with my dialup’s service; it was my playground as I learned HTML. Later, I decided that my literary friends could also benefit by having their stuff posted on the net (a rarity in the days before Livejournal and Geocities), so The Farm was born. The version posted here is the final incarnation of the shared site, the culmination of three months of site redesign (I told you I was learning), posted online in this form for only 6 weeks before I closed the dialup account. I provide this for you as historical reference; perhaps the former “Residents” of The Farm will find this copy and smile.