Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Best Lightning connector.....

....by far is the Apple Lightning to Micro USB adapter

Retail cost is $19, but I usually get them from vendors on eBay. I usually pay about $7 to $8. Be sure to get the Apple ones...the knockoff ones don't work and may mess up your Lighting jack. If it costs less than $7, it is likely a non-Apple adapter. How to tell the difference...

The best feature of these is that they don't wear out like the traditional Apple Lightning cables. If the cable gets damaged, swap it out for another. The biggest problem is losing the adapter -- it is quite small. I usually leave it on a cable. Using a short (less than 6 inch) cable makes it very compact.

These are especially nice for folks that need a Lightning cable and a regular Micro USB cable.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EEG and creativity

Since my last post about EEG devices, a lot has happened. I purchased the MUSE headset for $300 and the data was significantly more useful than with the NeuroSky. Not that I am necessarily finished with the Mindwave...I now have 4 of the MindFlex headsets in store for a good project. Not ony does the MUSE provide useful data, their SDK has become quite reliable and includes useful visualization tools. I used the MUSE with PureData running on a MacBook Pro for a music composition class. In one piece, I controlled the levels of various insect sounds based on brain activity. In another, I used EEG data to generate live accompaniment while I watched a video.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The State of mobile device printing

Decided to try printing some of my GameBoy Camera photos from my iPhone via Flickr. First, Walgreens. Their iOS app allowed me to order pictures without creating an account or signing up for anything. Downside is that they only offer 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 sizes. Their system also reformats non-rectangular photos by cropping. There is likely a way to fix that on the device before sending, but still, an extra step. Target has a photo center in their store, but no way to access via an app. RiteAid was interesting (in a not good way). I downloaded the app, selected the photo center. I was immediately prompted to create a Plenti account before I could do anything. The signup on the Plenti site was graphically intensive and very slow. Selecting the photo center generated a pop up that the site was not functional and that I should go to a specific URL for more info. No link to click or automatic redirect. Rite Aid has shut down their online photo processing due to a data breach. At least they were up front about it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

More on BCI, waiting for OpenBCI

Continuing to experiment with the NeuroSky Mindwave. Using Mindwave OSC on a Nexus S (Thanks Carrie!) which communicates with my iMac over OSC. PureData grabs the OSC stream and presents the data in my pd patch. Getting some interesting results -- the biggest problem is that the data stream seems quite erratic, which makes it difficult to correlate my thoughts with the results. 

Missed the Kickstarter for the OpenBCI interface, but looking forward to trying it out. All of the interface software is open source, which should make it easier to experiment with the different brain wave types. As a bonus, the Open BCI interface is capable of processing EKG (heart) and EMG (muscle) sensors.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI)

Commercially available, relatively low cost Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) and related software

Is it possible to create music with brain waves? It's a work in progress.

You can find all of my links here : http://delicious.com/tkarches/search/EEG

An incomplete summary :

Mindwave Mobile (Neurosky)

  • Retails for $99 (Brainwave Starter Kit)
  • Works with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
  • A number of iOS apps (search iTunes store with "neurosky") - most cost $$$
  • Brainwave Visualizer (Mac, WIndows) shows all brain frequency bands - almost too much data
BioZen software : http://www.t2.health.mil/apps/biozen
  • Neurofeedback software
  • Free
  • Developed by the military to help soldiers
  • Runs on Android devices
  • Most input devices supported are based on Neurosky headsets

MindFlex and MindFlex Duel - Toys by Mattel that use the Neurosky electronics. Only uses Attention parameter. Headsets can be modified for full EEG output. These are available relatively cheaply on eBay and Amazon (around $50)

Muse - no product has shipped as far as I can tell - currently taking pre-orders

Melon - another EEG headband, shipping Summer 2014

Bitalino - not for EEG, but is a set of physiological sensors for EMG, EDA, ECG along with a light sensor, an accelerometer and an LED. Can be split up into individual modules. Cost is $150 Euro.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I miss record stores

My son and I went to the local mall yesterday where a new FYE store had opened. While the selection is not great, it was just good enough that I noticed that one of my favorite bands, "Los Amigos Invisibles" had a new album. Actually, they have had 4 albums since I last paid attention.

While the internet is a great resource for finding music, being in a record store provides a much better experience for serendipity. I really miss record stores. I used to stop at the old Record Exchange at least twice per week. I loved their $1 bin. You can take a chance on a $1 CD like you would never would for a $15 CD. Some I bought because I liked the cover.

I need to make the effort to go down to Schoolkids records once/week and buy something there at least once/month, or pretty soon it won't be there.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Switching from AT&T to T-Mobile

I recently switched my phone service from AT&T to T-Mobile. I did not have any particular problems with their service. Other than the typical crazy business practices that only mobile phone providers can get away with. I have 3 iPhone 4 devices on my account, and two of them are out of contract. Since T-Mobile has separated the phone subsidy from the service costs, I was able to reduce my phone bill from $190 to $90. This did involve paying the Early Termination Fee for one of the iPhones, which was $145. This was a no brainer as I can make back the savings in under 2 months.

I investigated the differences in coverage, and AT&T's 3G coverage is slightly better than T-Mobile's. Interestingly, T-Mobile's Edge (2G) coverage was slightly better than AT&T.

Having done this, There are other carriers (MVNOs) that will let you "bring your own phone", so your options are not limited to T-Mobile. Understand that these MVNO carriers use the infrastructure of AT&T and T-Mobile, so your coverage will not get any better than it would be with either of those carriers

I have some observations and suggestions for those that may want to consider changing carriers :

  • If you are planning to use unlocked phones, make sure you can get them unlocked. AT&T policy is that they will unlock iPhones that are out of contract with no outstanding charges (including ETF fees)
  • Carefully calculate your ETF liability. Payback is much longer if you have a substantial amount of contract remaining.
  • As contracts on your phones expire, get them unlocked, then test with a non-AT&T SIM to confirm the unlock
  • If you wish to keep your existing numbers, initiate the change process at the destination carrier. If you cancel service for your existing phone lines, the numbers will go back into the pool of available numbers
  • As for timing, I would switch less than a week before your billing date. This will minimize the time you will have to wait to close out your old account. If you will need to pay ETF fees, the unlock process may be delayed until the final bill was paid. I mistakenly switched a few days AFTER my billing date, and had the potential of having that third phone unusable for 3 weeks. Fortunately, AT&T was cooperative and performed the unlock once I called them to explain the situation. I did have to call them twice, but everything was very cordial.

So far so good. The only thing I miss so far is being able to forward emails to SMS. Setting this up in GMail involves typing in a confirmation code to verify that the destination address is valid. Unfortunately, T-Mobile's gateway cuts off the message after 160 characters and the confirmation code does not make it through.