Hein (fub) wrote,

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The weekend

I've had a good weekend. We did a lot of things, but all in all, it was very relaxing because we only did fun things.

Early in the afternoon, we went into the city centre to do some shopping. We ran into a friend of ours that we hadn't seen in quite a while, it was fun to touch base again. I scored the first book of the 'Song of Ice and Fire'-pentalogy (?) by George R.R. Martin, and on a whim I also bought the 'Learning Python' book. I really want to get into this language: it seems to have a community as active as Perl, and the language is just so much cleaner.

Speaking of unclean (and, in this case, perhaps even unholy) programming languages, you owe it to yourself to check out a language aptly named 'Brainfuck'. It has only eight instructions and is Turing-complete, meaning you can make any program with it. It's basically a fast way to program Turing machines, and the programs look... horrible.

Anyway, we swung by the supermarket for some groceries and then went to visit some friends of ours that we (again) hadn't seen for quite a while. I'm starting to think that we're either too reclusive or our social network is too big to properly maintain...
A fun time was had by all, we saw pictures of their trip to the US and I explained about my LED projects and how TV works.

When we got home, it was time for a quick bite and we were off again! This time to a party thrown by a colleague of klik. It was fun. I don't see klik's colleagues that often (except for exar, I see him more often), and I totally do not fit in with that crowd. But everybody knows and respects that, and so the conversation is... meandering. We cover topics of general interest, and that's actually pretty relaxing and refreshingly 'normal'.

The next morning, after sleeping in, we went to check out the 'jewelry-fair' at the Jan Massinkhal. This is just across the bridge from us, and the weather was excellent. A pleasant (and slow-paces) bicycle-trip later, we arrived at the hall. There was a spirituality-fair going on at the same time, which made for an... interesting mix of people present.
It was the first time the jewelry-fair was held, but the turnout was (I thought) suprisingly high: lots of people and lots of stands. The stands were also quite professional: these were people who made their living by trading in beads and finished items of jewelry, not just an old spinster who happened to have a few boxes of beads lying around in a backroom that she wanted to get rid of.
There was a noticeble effect of how much finished jewelry was present at a stand. Some two-woman shops were dealing in finished products (not even all of them expensive), but they didn't draw many lookers. It was precisely the stands with the 'raw materials' that drew the largest crowds. Lesson of the day: if the fair is being advertised as a great place to acquire beads, there won't be many people looking for finished jewelry.
We did a quick sweep of the floor (it wasn't that large), and then went on to 'cherry-pick'. klik bought a beautiful strand of beads made out of shell from an exceedingly friendly and polite pair of men, who seemed to carry their collection of beads in a scarf. No fancy stand for them: just a table with their scarf and the strands carefully arranged. The one we talked to was an excellent salesman: he handled the strands expertly, spreading beads across his handpalms and wriggling his fingers slightly so that the shell glistened and shimmered in the (uninspiring) light. It was clear that he had been doing this for a long time, and by the twinkle in his eye you could see that he loved handling beautiful things.
Another hit was the stand of the 'bead brothers': two young guys, wearing hip clothing and tattoos. Not your average bead shop, with a fine collection of both basic material and specialty items. Again, pieces of shell, and a large collection of silver beads that were sold by weight. From the conversation, we understood that they had contacts with producers in Indonesia, and that they got their stuff from there. Next time they order, they'll ask for animal figures being carved from the shell, apparently.
Anyway, klik got carried away a bit, and we ended up with a total amount that was more than we had on us... But wait! These guys also do mailorder, so they would keep it apart and send it after receiving the money by bank transfer.
We circled the floor once more, but after having spent one hour there, we had seen enough of it and headed home.

After a quick lunch, we set ourselves to our various projects. I started work on the casing for the 3-RGB-LED display (after klik helped me design it), and klik produced two pinhole cameras, out of cheap second-hand cameras we bought at the thrift-shop the day before. I also soldered this kit: a parallel port EEPROM programming kit. Alas, there was an error in the packaging: I had one 10K Ohm resistor too many, and one 680 Ohm resistor too few. Now the LED that indicates the programming doesn't work.
Anyway, I was completely amazed at how neat that little kit was. The placement of the components is very tidy, there's only one wire-link and the PCB is as small as it can be. The solder pads were pretty small, but I managed a clean solder -- I should measure these for future reference, as to how small the pads can get when I start designing my own PCB layouts. I haven't tested the kit yet, that'll have to wait.

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