02 Oct 2017
This guide is adapted from the Let's split guide.
It is tailored between the Scrooges like me and all the europeans that couldn't find some TRRS jacks.
- PCBs - You will need two of them and you should participated in the group buy.
- 2 ATmega32U4 - 5V/16MHz Pro Micros, you can find them easily on ebay or amazon.
- 36 1N4148 diodes, easy to source, even real world shops has them.
2 TRRS or TRS jacks our source of all problems, this build log will do without.
- Plate, from u/dotdash32 or pjones, 3D printable.
- 36 Switches of your choice
- 36 Keycaps of your choice
TRRS or TRS cable No jacks, no cable.
This is a very cheap build, mine was about 30 € given that I already had the keycaps.
Mount the Diodes
Diodes allow current to flow in one direction only. Mount the diodes with the black (negative, cathode) line facing the thicker line.
Double check your work.
Tip: Lightly tack each diode in from the top. This will keep them snug against the surface once we flip it over and do the real soldering from the bottom. You only need a tiny amount of solder here and you should still be able to see through the hole.
This part is not really needed, but you may want to do it in case you will mount the TRRS jacks in the future.
On the underside of the PCB, right below the TRRS jack, you'll see two sets of 3 pads labelled VCC and GND. Jumper them like this:
VCC [x] [ ] VCC
GND [ ] [x] GND
Do both PCBs the same.
You should have received header pins with your Pro Micro. Insert the short side into the bottom of PCB and solder them in.
Tip: To keep them aligned you can slip the Pro Micro over the pins but do not solder the Pro Micro at this time.
Tack the pins on the end and inspect. If the pins are not quite aligned with the board, heat one side with your iron and press it in. It should make a satisfactory "click".
Solder the rest of the pins (it won't take much solder here).
The long part of the pins should be protruding from the bottom. We'll trim these later after soldering the Pro Micro, but you can leave them be for now.
Mount the Pro Micro
Pay special attention on this step. There are several things that need to be done in the right order and orientation.
Tip: Flash your Pro Micro now before you mount it. You can test it by using a multimeter to measure the voltage between VCC and RAW. It should be around 5V. If it's bad it'll be a lot less headache than desoldering.
Mount the 2 switches under the Pro Micro
- Grab two of your switches.
- Snap the switches into your plate in the spots that overlay the Pro Micro (on the left side that's column 2, and on the right that's column 5).
- Line up your PCB with the switches and solder them between the header pins
Mount the Pro Micro
You'll be working from the bottom of the board for this step.
- On the left PCB the Pro Micro should be smooth side up (facing you)
- On the right PCB the Pro Micro should be component side up (facing you)
It gets easier if you notice that on the Pro Micros and the PCBs there is "RAW" printed. The raw pin must go through the hole with the same sign.
If you made my same mistake, instead of desoldering without the right equipment you can try to just cut the dividers on the Pro Micro and detach it by breaking the header pins.
Mount the rest of the switches
Home stretch. Gently snap in the rest of the switches and solder them.
This would have been easier with a plate, I needed the help of a friend in order to have them aligned correctly.
Connect the Pro Micro
Given that sourcing the trrs jacks (even TRS if you go without leds) is a little bit difficult in Europe (I got mine from aliexpress), we are gonna connect the two Pro Micros directly.
The Pro Micros just need communication between three of their pins.
This means that the Minidox works if you connect the correct pins with a simple copper cable.
The pins are:
- Data pin on the right (pin 6 in figure)
- VCC pin, left side (21)
- GND pin, just below the RAW pin (23)
In my case I have used some old molex cable because raw copper wires tend to be very weak and break apart in a few days.
Column 2 or column 5 doesn't work (under the controller)
If you're having trouble with a dead column right over your Pro Micro it could be that you've got a short from the switch pins. Try to get under there and bend them down.
One side isn't working
- Double check if the copper wires are in working conditions and if you have connected the right pins.
- Check that the wires are insulated and that they do not touch the other pins.
09 May 2017
Recently I decided to change the css of my blog to reflect a vaporwave-ish aestethic.
Although I don't listen to a lot of electronic music, 2814 has been my go to music when I am programming and I go through a lot of James Ferraro's works during the day.
What is the reason for my recent obsession on vaporwave culture?
A dream that disappeared
The narrative of Western civilization has become a broken record... should we be surprised when a chopped and screwed trip through the cold war period resonates broadly?
Vaporwave creates a language to reflect on the inability to break free from the chains of an Orwellian culture.
Internet gave me a personal space, a community, heck even a lot of fun masked by a sense of purpose for the free software culture.
But from a higher point of view Internet failed us. The Cyberspace has been dead.
John Barlow on the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace wrote:
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
But at a certain point in time the Cyberspace didn't want to be left alone and with its own feet headed to real world. Cyberspace blended with the Meatspace
Every manifestation of the Cyberspace into reality is some sort of virus that eats bites of our existences in the Meatspace and translates that to bytes that are stored in virtual treasure chests.
Real life communication is divoured into digital data by Facebook, Amazon doesn't stop at our doorbells anymore but creeps into our house, and sleeping is no more a function of how much we are offline but some sort of distorted self analytics.
There is no shame when a web giant plays with the emotions of the user of the platforms, or sells them.
All of that was done by drying out the so called Hackerspace and transmuting it into "Dataspace", where experiment are conducted on people by means of data and algorithms.
Data on which platforms are built and people are chained to.
Corporate smooth Jazz
Floral Shoppe traces the outlines of the mental prison in which we now live, it gives us hope of one day transcending it. It reminds us what real freedom, the freedom of the heart, tastes like.
In the novel Neuromance by cyberpunk father William Gibson the Internet is conceived as some sort of "consensual allucination". In the world where that book was written Internet is just a collective delusion.
Vaporwave forces us to recognize our helplessness with the Dataspace and for me it is a remembrace of a cyber-utopia that never got off the ground.
07 May 2017
20 Mar 2017
I am not the kind of guy who goes to concerts. Ever.
I prefer studio recordings because in these, the logical thoughts of the artist emerge as the track comes to life and reaches our ears. I have always been attracted by that, much more than to the sprinkle of emotions that come from venues and theaters.
In my case the exceptions are the live performances of Dale Crover (from The Melvins) and Jeff Mangum. Both of which were some kind of unshaped epiphanic experiences for me.
Milan, December 2015, The Melvins were at the end of their most recent European tour when Jeff Pinkus drops the bass guitar, tunes the effects pedal and kicks the bass with his bare foot until the right repetition of sounds comes out of the speakers. Slowly, each one of the members leaves the stage, sounds are still coming from
the earlier kicks to the speakers up to my ears.
Once home, the performance by The Melvins made me recognize the different stages of communication.
We can think of three stages. The first one is trial, or
experimentation, field test. This first phase is as obvious as it is accidental.
The second stage is about excess. Excess is to acknowledge that what was played today will be different to what will be played tomorrow. A draft becomes a singular work that may not come to an end.
The last one is the most important one if we want to understand the dynamics of the Internet: dissipation. With the act of dissipation, the work of the artist that reached its own way on a tiny and crucial fraction of time, that is the moment, folds on itself, and it is forever lost by an act of absence, the absence of objective memory.
On the internet hounding supersedes dissipation.
Hounding is the reason why thousands of men from different backgrounds congregate in small Facebook groups and share photos of their friends, wives and relevant others.
On the original Italian blog post I reported some Italian references on this phenomenon that don’t have much cultural significance for the English readers. Therefore,
I want to explain the phenomenon in other words.
The discussion about these Facebook groups in Italy consist of an online phenomenon regarding group of males playing what they call the game of "What would you do"
with sexually or less explicit photos of friends and wives.
The game is as far as ever from an online rpg or creative. It degrades every time in vulgar and extremist comments about the body of the girls depicted.
I do believe that one of the many reasons to explain the inception of these online groups is the impossibility to overcome the absence of dissipation in online
Machines do not remember but they never make us forget, they cross our space online with a continuous stream of photos and other people's moments.
Algorithms do not follow our placid flow of continuous time online and they snap it in collages of instants.
In my first online experience, the interactions I had did not have the quality of recollection.
I divided my time between irc and mailing lists. I felt the obligation to archive every tiny succession of words that gave some light to me.
(I still do).
Then web caches arrived, the Wayback Machine, Reddit, social networks. Nowdata can hardly ever disappear.
It seems to me that it is just a worthy form of tenacity, not remembrance in any form.
For the joy of archivists and the ones with a wistful gaze. And still unpleasant for someone.
(This translation is for Madeline, thank you for still taking the time to read my blog)
07 Mar 2017
Non sono una persona che va ai concerti.
La registrazione in studio esplicita i processi logici che l'artista segue per arrivare al processo di consegna e questo mi ha sempre affascinato, in maniera assai maggiore della carica emotiva sprigionata da un concerto di notte.
Ma ci sono due artisti, Dale Crover dei Melvins e Jeff Mangum le cui performance live sono state per me, come spettatore, in qualche modo epifaniche.
Milano, dicembre del 2015, i Melvins stanno concludendo il loro più recente tour in Europa quando Jeff Pinkus lascia cadere il basso sul pavimento, regola gli effetti sulla pedaliera e lo prende a calci finché non produce la giusta ripetizione di suoni. Lentamente ciascun musicista si allontana dal palco, il basso insistente, ancora a terra.
Quell'esecuzione mi fece riflettere sui processi di produzione che dominano la nostra comunicazione.
Possiamo immaginarci delle fasi. La prima é quella di sperimentazione che é tanto più ovvia quanto immediata e involontaria.
La seconda é quella del superamento. Superamento é la consapevolezza che il brano composto oggi verrà suonato diversamente domani, é la ragion d'essere delle bozze, anche quando infinite.
La terza e quella più importante per comprendere le dinamiche di rete é la dissipazione.
Attraverso la dissipazione l'opera, che fissata nel momento aveva acquisito una propria dimensione di senso, é costretta a ripiegarsi su se stessa, vana si perde a causa dell'assenza di memoria.
Le dinamiche della Rete
In rete l' accanimento si sostituisce alla dissipazione.
L' accanimento é il motivo per cui qualche migliaio di uomini di qualsiasi fattura sociale si riuniscono in gruppi e condividono foto delle loro mogli, fidanzate e qualche amica. Non c'é nessuno scandalo nella foto in sé, sono scatti quotidiani spesso "rubati" dagli stessi profili delle donne riprese.
Ne ha parlato Repubblica, se ne é parlato su reddit, perfino Mentana nella sua ridicola posizione da cavaliere bianco di Facebook ha urlato contro questo fenomeno.
Fenomeno che dal mio punto di vista nasce da una difficoltà di alcuni abitanti della rete ad affrontare l'assenza di dissipazione nella comunicazione online.
Le macchine non ricordano eppure non smettono di ricordarci, anzi invadono il nostro spazio in rete con un continuo susseguirsi di foto e momenti di vita delle altre persone.
Gli algoritmi non seguono il pacato moto del nostro tempo online e anzi lo spezzano, lo frammentano in attimi che hanno il ritmo di un giro della rotella del mouse, lo scorrere di un pollice.
Nei miei primi anni le mie fugaci interazioni virtuali non avevano la qualità della memoria.
Bulimico degli ascii, passavo da lunghe e sostenute conversazioni su irc al lurking di qualche mailing list, saltuariamente 4chan. Mi sentivo (e mi sento tutt'ora) obbligato ad archiviare qualsiasi riga che suscitasse un minimo di interesse o potesse avere qualche valore futuro.
Poi sono arrivate le cache, Wayback Machine, Reddit, e sembra che i contenuti non scompaiano più.
Eppure mi ci é voluto un po' per capire che questa non é memoria, solo una forma nobile di accanimento.
Piace ai nostalgici, agli archivisti.
Spaventa a chi di Internet non vuole farsene una ragione.