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Rob Miles

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Rob Miles University Lecturer and Microsoft MVP. And tall.

Blog posts

Arduino debugging 2: Using #define to manage debugging output

Last time, in the post here we discovered how the __FILE__ and __LINE__ symbols make it possible for a program to print out a tracing information. This can be very useful if, as is the case with Arduino development, there is no easy way to step through your code. The problem that we now have is that we need to add calls to the trace method, and we will have to remove them later. show_location(__FI… Read more →


An apology

The post for today would have been the second instalment of the Arduino debugging series, but since the Squarespace web based editor has decided that the penalty for clicking outside the post edit window is to have the entire post instantly discarded (thereby removing an hour of writing) you are going to have to make do with this minor rant. Read more →


Absurd scientific advice is good reading

This book is a fun read. There’s some really nice science in with the absurd questions, along with the quirky illustrations that Randall Munroe is so good at. I got it at a very good price. And mine is signed too.A long time ago I wondered about getting a blowlamp and selling singed copies of my books. Read more →


Sometimes life is a box of chocolates

Is it wrong to buy your wife a box of chocolates for Christmas with the intention of using the empty chocolate box for a hardware project? Oh, and is it also wrong to get impatient when she takes her time eating the chocolates and making the box available?Asking for a friend. Read more →


Arduino debugging 1: Getting your Arduino program to tell you where it has got to

Why not have a mini-sequence of posts about Arduino debugging. Why not indeed?Let’s start with a consideration of why the Arduino is hard to debug. The main reason is that you have no idea what is going in inside your code. If you’re writing a program on a computer with a keyboard and screen you can use any number of tools to find out what broke. There are debugging tools in Visual Studio that let… Read more →


Green is not always my favourite colour

So I’m testing the NeoPixel drivers of an ESP32 board that Brian has designed. Everything works fine, except that the first pixel in the chain of pixels is always green.I’m OK with green in general. I can’t imagine grass being any other colour. However, I prefer it not to show up when my program is trying to display other colours. So… I spent quite a long time trying to work out how my code could… Read more →


Dentist time

Went to the dentist today. Reminded of my favourite dentist joke:“That’s a very big cavity .. cavity .. cavity……” Read more →


Led panel envy

Yesterday I ordered the panels for my LED cube. Today I find out that number one son has got a set for quite a bit less money from a different supplier. This should not annoy me. It is not as if the price I paid was too high, and I can afford it. However, it does annoy me. Does this make me a bad person? Read more →


Starting a LED cube

We’re taking our first steps in building a LED cube. I’ve dug out some of my old panes and we tried running them from a Raspberry Pi 4 with the Adafruit LED Panel Bonnet. We made the tweak described here to use the Raspberry Pi sound hardware to generate some of the display waveforms. This improves display stability at the price of disabling sound output from the Pi. This seems a trade well worth… Read more →


Lego Dinosaurs

Spent some of my Christmas money (yes, I still get Christmas money - thanks folks) on this amazing Lego Dinosaur kit which is now gracing our mantelpiece. Very nice. Read more →