Happy Chap Goh Mei

Today is Chap Goh Mei, which marks the second week of Chinese New Year. Traditionally, young girls would throw mandarin oranges into the rive in the hopes of getting a good husband. Pshah!

Nowadays, you can't do this anymore because chances are, you could be fined for attempting to pollute a river and also, for being a litterbug. Not only that, whoever caught these oranges could be a target. For all you know, some overly-excited girls would implant GPS transceivers and bombs into the oranges and start tracking them. If they ended up in the hands of a not-so Mr. Right, the mandarin orange can be remotely detonated. So, be careful when someone gives you a mandarin orange out of the blue before running away......

But with the advancement of genetics, it is possible that in the near future, a mandarin orange that has been encoded with the girls DNA finds itself in the hands of a genetically compatible Mr. Right, will expand itself into a bio-cage trapping the unfortunate male until he has been visually inspected by the said girl. If he is handsome and all, the cage will disintegrate to open the prize and if not, well, suffice to say, that man will be all meat and bones. Literally. The cage is also another way of preventing other suitable girls from getting to the male since there is a very high chance that he is also compatible with other females at large. And what if he is married? Well, I am sure there would be a small competition between the Wife and the girl in a game of good old fashioned catfights in the mud where the winner gets the man. And so, Chap Goh Mei would be a very dangerous time for males, who will always 'disappear' for a day or two until things cool down.

Yeah, I know, its midnight and I need to sleep.

"Daddy, why are you doing this?" (Preparing the Yee Sang)
Asked Kristine. "I am helping Mommy.", I replied. And so,
Kristine summarised, "When I grow up, I will ask my
husband to do this too." [Alamaks]

Lou Hei! Lou Hei!

Kristine has heatiness

This just happened right after Mommy
was about to take Kristine for a bath.
After calming down, and making some
calls, we realised its not measles. So, it
might have something to do with the
heat or maybe the prawns she ate for
lunch. And she is still recovering from

But could it be the 'chuk makk'?

Boba Fett Chest Display

I did this in just one sitting last night, after a few days of though. But actually, its not that difficult because from what I saw in the video clip, once I see the '4017' chip, its a no brainer. This is because the 4017 is a decade counter where you just give it some clock pulse, (even tapping the clock connection pin will do) and it will drive the LEDs, pin by pin. How fast or how slow, the clock speed is up to you. Being a lazy guy (for not wanting to calculate as simple RC timing), I got a '555' set up and connected it to the 4017. This two ICs are a very common combination for a lot of props, especially in Star Trek.

The '555' is often used where clock pulses are needed and its a versatile IC. Heck, since the 70's (I think) its still being used today compared to the LM3909 which was also (now) very highly sought after as its both a timer and single LED driver, all in one small IC chip.

Anyway, this circuit was done because Kal pointed me to a video-clip from the Internet. And so, after looking at the pictures and the video for a while, I sussed the whole thing out. But I did not want to use the resistor and capacitor combination, as I do not have the time to figure out the actual timing. Looping the video again and again, I think the timing was about 700ms but I am not so sure since I am hopeless at this. Moreover, I did not get the response if this video is taken off from a movie or an actual prop and so, I did the next best thing: guess.

If I were bored, I could have set up a alternative chest display which could scroll the 7-segments to read things like, "Ooh, I'm hit", "Shields at 70% Chestiness", "Chest hair loss ratio at 40%.", etc. But I was not bored. So there. And besides, Uncle Ho could not get me any copies of "The Empire Strikes back" and "Return of the Jedi" except for the Family Guy's "Something Something Something Darkside" which I doubt could help me on this.

To me, this is something completely new as I have never noticed that Boba Fett as a display inside his armour. I mean, the only 'electronics' I have ever seen on a Star Wars character, apart from R2-D2 and C-3PO, was Darth Vader and Lando Calrission's PC, Lobot or something. And so, there are two ways to do this, which the first was a cheap LED Bike Light (and after you have seen the video below, you will know why it does not work) while the second was through a 'proper' circuit, which is more convincing.

Anyway, Kal, see if this is the correct one or not, do not be taken by the fact what I have done it. Just look at it from a discerning prop guy. If its accurate, then its good. If its not, well, you'd need to tell me what needs to be improved. Plus, how big do you want the circuit to be since we have established its thickness is more or less, well below the half-inch requirement. And it needs to be credit card sized, it will have to be a custom designed PCB and not the normal stripboards.

One good thing about prototype boards is that you
can rip out the old circuit (but take notes first) and
do a new one. Took me some time to get the small
RED 7-segment LED Display, though.

Unfortunately, due to the way the prototype board
and the 7-segments were designed, it was impossible
to put them the right way up. But on the left, the
7-segments are shown left to right but with 90ยบ clock
wise. The other 5 rectangle LEDs are of the correct
orientation. Don't worry if they do not flash in
sequence as that is how they looked in the video.

And oh, here is the video. Don't know why but when I place my Nokia 5800 on top of the table magnifying lens, as a tripod tingy, it (the video) became clearer: