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Week 54: Going into production

I finally ordered the circuit boards for my Eurorack project, which I’ve given the name Pipistrelle after the soprano pipistrelle bats that live in the woodland by our house.

I ordered 25 boards mostly assembled (that is, all the surface mounted components except for electrolytic capacitors and one voltage regulator), which cost me a total of £26 plus VAT. Even if I’ve made a mistake and have to reorder, the economies of scale mean it’s still cheaper than ordering the components to build it myself. In fact, most of the cost of the module is in the potentiometers, knobs, sockets, and microcontroller, and those go on later.

I also ordered all the remaining components. As luck would have it, Thonk sent me a discount coupon right as I was putting together an order with them. Between that and the bulk discount, I saved a lot of money on 100 potentiometers and 100 knobs. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy the 100 sockets, so I’ll have to place another order for those. I have enough sockets for initial testing, however, so it’s not a catastrophe.

Five of the boards are already promised, but I’ll definitely have a few spare, so if anyone reading is interested in a kit, let me know.

I don’t think I’d realised quite how much the project had monopolised my attention. I was staying up late every night moving around components and connections in the PCB editor. Now that it’s out of my hands (for now), I feel like I have a lot more free time.

I found a few Wordle clones and similar games in other languages, which I’ve been playing:

  • Wordle (ES) – Wordle in Spanish
  • Le Mot – Wordle in French
  • SUTOM – a similar game in French, but the word is a different length each day, and you’re shown the first letter
  • Foclach – Wordle in Irish

So far, I’ve found some of the other languages easier than English because once you know a few letters, the possibilities are much reduced by orthographic standards (whereas English has plenty of orthographic standards, all at the same time). On the other hand, I was really thrown by the loan word “TSARS” in Le Mot the other day. It only took me three guesses, but several hours of pondering between the second and third. I think it might well have been the only possibility from what I knew at that point.

Most other languages use fewer letters than English. Spanish adds Ñ, but doesn’t use W or K. Irish has only 24 letters, but ten of them are vowels (A and Á are separate, for example) which makes it a significantly different experience. On the other hand, there probably aren’t actually very many five-letter words in Irish: I don’t know how many are in Foclach, but the word list on my computer only lists 857, versus 6770 in English, 7102 in French, and 4752 in Spanish.

There are a few things I enjoy about working from home. One is just taking a nap when I’m tired. Another is being able to pick up a musical instrument at any time – when I’m waiting for some tests to run, or when I just need to think about something. This week, I’ve had an old recorder next to my trackball, and I’ve been reminding myself how to play. It’s a nice instrument when it’s not being murdered by schoolkids.

Most fresh herbs are only good for a few days, but sage seems to last forever. I bought a small pack of sage last year for a dish (celeriac risotto, recommended). Last week, I made it again. The leftover sage from last time was still in the fridge, and still as fresh as the day I bought it, some time in November! We do have a fancy fridge that does an excellent job of keeping fruit and vegetables, but even so I’m impressed that those sprigs of sage, “best before 29 Nov”, have survived for nearly two months.

The Christmas tree was finally collected this week. That’s one less problem.

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  • Week 53: Keeping going

    I was torn on how to number this week, whether to restart at 1 (the ISO week number), or keep going, or do something else entirely. But as I started with 0 back in January 2021, I decided to just continue. There is an ISO week 53 in some years, but never a 54, so it will no longer be ambiguous from next week. It’s nice to have a monotonically-increasing number as an encouragement.

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  • Week 52: Winterregnum

    We did it. 2021 is over. L— and I went for dinner at a friend’s house, watched a strange, low budget, but very enjoyable comedy horror film (Tucker & Dale vs Evil), and went out to the river to watch the fireworks and light shows at midnight.

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  • Week 51: Christmas

    Merry Christmas!

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  • Ruining the fun of Wordle with strategy

    I discovered Wordle on Wednesday. It’s a fun game where you have to guess a five-letter word in six or fewer tries.

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Older entries can be found in the archive.