Archive for August, 2010

Dragon Populations Holding Steady

Comparing 2008 to 2009, we've seen catastrophic declines in castles, glowy magic and swords. Unicorns have seemingly disappeared, and even formerly sizable populations of elves, wolves and horses are in sharp decline.

Dragons, obviously made from sterner stuff, remain unscathed.

Context? Fantasy novel covers. This news courtesy of Orbit Books (via Making Light). Their handy comparison chart is reproduced to the right, but really: go read the original article. Sample quote: "The number of dragons on covers held steady this year. The dragon population seems to be in perfect balance – but we can’t tell if that’s because new dragons are being born to replace old ones, or if last year’s dragons are just really healthy."

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Cheap Self-Programming AVR Proto Board

There are lots of proto boards for the AVR microcontroller, and lots of programmers. This post presents my approach, which features easy assembly, off-the-shelf PCB, extremely low parts cost and a built-in USB-based programmer. Circuit, PCB and firmware are all completely Open Source. Read on after the jump for details.

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AVR Dragon: Fixing Bad Fuse Settings

This post isn't about the usual kind of dragon (if there even is a "usual" kind). The AVR Dragon is a gizmo made by Atmel, useful for programming their AVR line of microcontrollers. It's relatively cheap (around US$50 at the time of this writing) and does many useful things. The specific application I'm going to talk about here is using it to "fix" parts when you've set the fuses in such a way that said parts won't talk to simpler programmers. Details after the jump.

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