This is not a blog.

New MidiKeys Release!18-Jan-2010

At long last, there is a new MidiKeys release for version 1.8. It took way too long, but I finally found time to finish it up. Major new features are:

  • The application is now a universal binary.
  • New configurable hot key to toggle global hot keys.
  • Support for automatic software updates using the Sparkle framework.
  • New option to show the key caps on the on-screen keyboard.
  • New preferences to control the visibility of overlay notifications.
  • It is now possible to have no modifier key for global hot keys, so you only have to press the key corresponding to the note.

This version requires 10.5 to run. Non-English localizations have been removed for the time being since they are out of sync with the UI changes in version 1.8.

Borderland Youth Documentary Arts Project27-Jun-2009

This is a project that my brother Jason is working on in his role as an assistant professor of photography at Texas State University in San Marcos.

"This new blog will feature photographs, writing, and video by the young participants from the Borderland Youth Documentary Arts Project. There will be weekly updates (on average) showing student work, interviews with the students, and photos/videos of the project in action.

Please subscribe to the blog on the right side of the page to receive auto updates. And you can also become a fan of the Project on facebook."

Jason's own work is available at


Please note that I am not actively looking for work at this time. I'm just about as happy as I can be here in the United States.

For the past several years, I have been transitioning from being solely a Mac developer to becoming a firmware engineer. Most of my focus has been on ARM devices such as the ARM7TDMI and ARM926EJ-S, and I have also worked with the great MSP430 family. My resumé here has not been updated to reflect this change in my role and experience.

SigmaTel USB IrDA Driver for STIr42xx Source27-Jun-2009

Update: SigmaTel was purchased by Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. in the spring of last year, and as been thoroughly absorbed into its new owner. The STIR42xx products are no longer available, nor is the official binary distribution with the Mac OS X installer that contains the required patch files.

Here is the source for the Mac OS X driver for the SigmaTel STIr42xx USB IrDA bridge. Mac OS X 10.2 or greater is required. It is based on the AppleUSBIrDA project that is part of Darwin. It is released as required under the provisions of the APSL.

Download driver source

Note that this archive contains only the source code and none of the other required pieces. It is not a full driver, and does not even have an installer. If you need a Mac OS X (or other OS) driver for your IrDA bridge based on the SigmaTel STIR42xx family, please contact the manufacturer of your device.

Please note: I do not provide support for this or any other SigmaTel device. Please don't write me with support questions; I won't reply. You need to contact the manufacturer of your device if you are having problems.

Stove-top SMD reflow20-Jul-2005

Lately I've been spending a lot of time working on embedded hardware projects. Projects that will (hopefully) eventually become Manyetas products. Some cool stuff, if I say so myself. Anyway, last night I just got my first taste of using solder paste.

Testing with a little RS232 level converter board I already had, I manually sqeezed on the solder paste and placed the components using tweezers. Stencils can come later. Then I put the board in the middle of a cheap, new skillet and turned the gas stove top on. It took a while to warm up, but worked beatifully. Just follow the same basic procedure as for a hot plate. I ended up with the burner on setting 4 of 10 for the highest heat phase. Next time I do it I'll use an infrared thermometer to watch the board temperature during the process.

Watching the solder paste melt and draw up into shiny little blobs on the SMD pads for the first time is almost magical! The whole process is very cool, and surprisingly forgiving.

That hot plate article from Spark Fun also has some info about other home reflow techniques. Read the whole article; it has tons of helpful tips and information, and lots of good pictures. But the grandaddy of all home reflow articles is Have you seen my new soldering iron? by Kenneth Maxon of the Seattle Robotics Society. The cooking profile table in the article is best (clearest) I've seen. Another article that I haven't seen linked in many places is Screen Print and Reflow SMT Boards at Home by Bob Rooks. It's hosted on the site, and is kind of a big ad for them. But it is still useful.

Btw, and this should be totally obvious, but don't really taste the paste if you don't want cancer. Solder paste has a good amount of lead in it. Be careful.

Enhanced Xcode commenting script16-Jun-2005

The comment/uncomment script that comes with Xcode is really great. But it doesn't support Python, and I use Xcode to edit Python scripts quite frequently. So here's an updated version of the script. Just replace the old one in /Library/Application Support/Apple/Developer Tools/Scripts/10-User Scripts/30-Comments.

Sending arbitrary Apple events using AppleScript

Several times I have needed to use AppleScript to send arbitrary Apple events. Every time it comes up I end up spending hours searching the net looking for the syntax, which is hidden piecemeal throughout Apple documentation and other AppleScript websites. So I finally put together a small document that contains a complete description of this syntax. Hopefully some other people will be spared the painful search for this information.




Old projects:

Please note that I currently do not have time to support any of these projects due to my day job. Sorry!