I just picked up a micro:bit, the little educational microprocessor board originally from the BBC. It’s a nice little unit, though like all educational resources, it’s sometimes hard to access resources as a non-edu type.
I landed upon MicroPython, a Python language subset that runs directly on the micro:bit’s ARM chip. I rather like the Mu editor: To give the old microcontroller grumps something real to complain about, MicroPython includes a bunch of very high-level functions, such as a powerful music and sound module. Getting the sound out is easy: just croc-clip a speaker onto the output pads:
(MicroPython warns against using a piezo buzzer as a speaker, but mine worked fine â€” loudly and supremely annoyingly â€” with a large piezo element. Some piezos have a fixed-frequency oscillator attached, but this simple one was great.)
This trivial example plays the Nyan Cat theme forever, but every time it loops it gets faster. The beats variable starts at the default 120 bpm, but is increased by one every time:
# nyan but it gets faster
beats = 120
beats = beats + 1
This starts out as merely irritating, but quite quickly becomes deeply annoying, and in mere hours become vastly vexing. I’m sure you’d only use this power for good â€¦
It’s been so long since I’ve programmed in Perl. Twelve years ago, it was my life, but what with the Raspberry Pi intervening, I hadn’t used it in a while. It’s been so long, in fact, that I wasn’t aware of the new language structures available since version 5.14. Perl’s Unicode support has got a lot more robust, and I’m sick of Python’s whining about codecs when processing anything other than ASCII anyway. So I thought I’d combine re-learning some modern Perl with some childish amusement.
I would like to describe a new and highly impractical method of transferring data between computers. Modern networks are getting more efficient every year. This protocol aims to reverse this trend, as RAFTP features:
Slow file transfers
A stubborn lack of error correction
The ability to irritate neighbours while ensuring inaccurate transmission through playing the data over the air using Bell 202 tones.
Figure 1 shows a test image before it was converted into PGM format. This was then converted into an audio file usingÂ minimodem:
This file was then transferred to an audio player. To ensure maximal palaver, the audio player was connected to a computer via a USB audio interface and a long, minimally-shielded audio cable. The output was captured as mp3 by Audacity as this file: RAFTP-demo