My blog now has one reader! whohooo!

Had my first appointment with a psychologist today. Being the first time I saw her we didn’t really talk about much more than my life history. But the advice that she did give me seemed to hit a nerve. I’ve paraphrased what she said below.

When your trying to make yourself do something you don’t want to do, you’re going to feel

      • Angry
      • Irritable
      • Frustrated

 You have to  keep fighting those feelings. You aren’t going to feel motivated. You’ll have zero motivation. You have to tell yourself that you’ve made a commitment to doing this and that you’ll see it through.
It’s going to be harder for you, so you’re going to have to work harder- but when you succeed it’s going to really be an achievement, and really mean something.

It would be nice if we could go through life without those feelings (anger/frustration), but life isn’t like that.

Shortly after this she wrote “Life is suffering” on her whiteboard.

I’ve seen a few counsellors before, and the advice they’ve always given me- has always made sense, but hasn’t really made an impact. There’s never been any light bulb moment, where I have some sort of major realisation. But this time it felt like there was.

I think it was two things. First that she acknowledged just how angry and frustrated I do feel whenever I try to force myself to stay on task. And second that you don’t need to be feeling motivated in order to get things done.

Using Arduino as an ISP to program brand new microcontrollers

Was just about to buy a $5 Atmel AVR programmer from China, and was freaking out about having to wait up to month for shipping. I should have realised this before, but you can program an Arduino to act as an ISP ( In circuit programmer).

The microcontroller I plan to use in my project is an ATMEGA48, which costs  $2.69 from Element14. It runs at 10 MHz, has an ADC and I2C, SPI, USART connectivity.

Using this guide, you can use AVR dude (free software) to turn your code into hex format, and then upload it via SPI using the Arduino as a programmer.

Using an Arduino board to program an ATmega,with external crystal and associated capacitors (18 or 22 picofarads).

I bought $40 worth of electronics from Element14, and they sent it to me via four  couriered packages arriving between 1- 7 days. I didn’t pay anything for shipping, but surely that must cost them a fortune. I know they were shipping parts from different warehouses and I do like that they ship as soon as the parts are available. On the site it tells you how long each of the parts should take to ship. I really like Element14, they seem to be really well run and I even got a call from them saying that if I ever needed any technical help they had people on staff I could talk to. Which is nice.

I ordered the wrong sort of chip, DIC instead of DIP, and it was an instrumentation amplifier too! and cost $11. Urgh, the most expensive part – I’m hoping I won’t actually end up using it, and can substitute a cheaper maybe $5 instrumentation op amp, with similar specs, but since for the amplifier stage of the EEG I am using someone else’s design, I should stick to that- since analog circuits are definitely not my area. Will detail my plans for an EEG shield in the next post, and maybe put it in front of this one.