In a bid to stay more on top of the various projects I have in progress, I thought it might be worthwhile to start a little bit of a production update journal. Of course, there are the big element14 presents tentpole builds, but I'm also exploring other topics on the side that may be of interest to various readers. This will likely evolve more as I get a better sense of what I'm doing, but for now, let's dive right in!
In a previous element14 Presents video, I took an old 2XL toy that I had lying around and "upgraded" it to a custom Google Voice-powered AI assistant built on the Raspberry Pi and Google AIY Voice hat. This was quite a bit of trial-and-error compounded by the anxieties of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced "lockdown", but it made for a pretty decent little product at the end of the day--especially for being assembled on my makeshift work table in my tiny apartment (I much prefer working in my shop studio across town). To complete the project, I still need to take care of a few things. Namely, I need to repair the original 8-track tape player, clean up the wiring, and add a voice changing circuit so that the Google Assistant voice sounds more like 2XL and isn't so completely jarring to switch back and forth. After I get the internals finished, I do need to perform some cosmetic work to clean up the yellowed plastics and replace the cardboard panels that are falling apart.
I'm a couple weeks into the project now, and I believe that I have the 8-track player diagnosed as a broken plastic guide that I may be able to replicate and 3D print.
I'm also currently investigating how voice changer circuits work so I can design my own.
My current side project is more "digital housekeeping" than anything. I started a blog over 15 years ago and it's become a sort of catch-all for many different things that I've written over the years. As part of my upcoming website redesign, I'm pulling much of the material that probably doesn't really belong "in the open" (read: stuff that should be kept in a personal journal), moving it to my forgotten old journal (that I started in 2001!), and cleaning up a lot of the "social media posts" that made their way into a microblog format when I was experimenting with the so-called Indieweb. (For the record: Indieweb is an amazing idea and I am fully in favor of small, personally-owned, web presences that interconnect in social media-style silos. I just need to move it from my mainstream web presence.) I'm somewhere around 2014, so the bulk of that work has been completed and the remainder is mostly articles and show notes written since I started focusing on my technical work outside of the Day Job.
The hexadecimal color clock is completed, the video is in the can, and goes live on element14 presents October 2!