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moebius

n00b 4 dummies

23 posts in this topic

The first of all, DO NOT READ any documentation. It helps, if you don't understand written english language.

Be overwhelmed by the size of a MB, complexity of the MB and different steps needed to complete a Midibox project - don't analyse it or break it in the smaller tasks. Start complaining before you even have seen the first problem or taken soldering iron to your hand.

OR

Being all excited about the possibilities MB provides, boldly announce a new project around MB, that will never be finished.

/edit

Just for the reference, You can search for the vx And here´s the list of excuses You can use:

http://www.midibox.org/forum/index.php?topic=8378.msg58309#msg58309

Not that this forum member had written more to this forum, than the application needs code, and "hehe", "haha" and "cool" could be variables!

/edit

As this is a technical project any use of your own imagination is considered harmful - This is especially important when it comes to casing the project - or any step, where decision is yours.

If you have problems, suggestions, anything - Please, DO post it to the forum, on multiple places, under many topics - more the better. If you're not replied right away - send a follow up, this time using rude language - These guys at the forum are just to help YOU - afterall.

In midibox forum we like it simple - If you have a problem, DON'T waste our time by describing the problem, your setup, or anything - Just "My MB doesn't work" is enough and we'll know right away, what's the problem.

Of course, We know everything about everything midibox and MORE, guides "How to learn Soldering without practice", "10 steps to Eagle CAD", "The Meaning of Life" ect. are just hidden somewhere under scattered MB information. Just ask for it - and in the rare case it doesn't exists - demand that it should be written. (not by you, of course)

Do NOT use forum "search" function - Somebody might have asked the same thing before (and before.. .nd ..fore ..d ..re..), but those extensive answers MUST be outdated by now..

Don't learn anything from what your doing, or others have done.

By following these, just too difficult steps, you'll maintain your precious n00b status forever!

HAve fun ;)

version 0.3 - unsupported beta

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Of course, We know everything about everything midibox and MORE, guides "How to learn Soldering without practice", "10 steps to  Eagle CAD", "The Meaning of Life" ect. are just hidden somewhere under scattered MB information. Just ask for it - and in the rare case it doesn't exists - demand that it should be written. (not by you, of course)

Cool, my chance to write some fresh documentation!

The Meaning of Life = 42.

If this answer further confuses you, read this from "Frequently Asked Questions about the Meaning of Life".

Best!  ;)

Smash

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Hi Moebius,

I´m really glad I´m not the only one being annoyed by certain newbie feelings... yesterday night I bit my tongue being not sure if the anger came from me being drunk ;)

The idea of creating some how-tos that explain the single projects is certainly good - I think everyone of us spent some time at the beginning sorting out e.g. which modules are needed for what, what features and controls their own boxes need etc. So these documents could at least help reduce some FAQ traffic in the forum.

On the other side: There are quite a number of people on this forum that have successfully built their MidiBoxes, so the existing docs can´t be THAT bad and incomplete. ALL necessary schematics are on uCapps. Every project has its page with detailed description of what you can do with it and what modules are needed. You can even buy cheap kits with all needed parts from Smash or Mike/Claudia. You don´t have to build on bread board or etch your own PCBs. This is quite a service for a DIY project! The forum search helps a lot sorting out any remaining questions. How to fix switches/encoders to the case? Hundreds of pictures are e.g. in the Midibox-of-the-week gallery where you can get some ideas from.

The MBHP is DIY !!! DO IT YOURSELF !!! This is a good thing !!! You can decide yourself how your box will look, what buttons are on it etc. You can build boxes for Traktor control, for NI B4, for Logic or whatever. This is a feature, not a bug ;) Being this flexible, there can´t possibly be a single right way to happiness - or a single description "How to Build a MidiBox".

When people come here, "demand" the community has to write extensive docs suiting their needs, threatening to post hundreds(!) of newbie questions for two years before even switching on the iron for the first time, I can only say:

It could well be that you are wrong here. Save yourself and us the time and go to a shop and buy a Behringer controller if it has to be cheap. They really have good value for the buck, they have a printed manual and a phone number where you can get demanding when something doesn´t work. If you´re not willing to get at least to the surface of electronics and programming, don´t build a MidiBox! Or first build some running LED or AM radio kits from Conrad/RadioShack/..., there you get IKEA-like descriptions with drawings for every single step...

I´m sorry if this post gets a bit off the otherwise very friendly style of this forum, but "the tone makes the music"! I´m sure few people are willing to spend time to help people who are not ready to switch on their brains and read the EXISTING docs that are there BEFORE complaining.

This is not meant to turn off people with seemingly simple questions - everyone was at the beginning some time, everyone has different electronics/IT background, we´re here together to learn from each other. But some healthy attitude is needed for this project to work - noone gets rich from being here, so you can´t expect everything pre-chewed...

just my (way to many, thanks for reading this far ;) ) cents.

Seppoman

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Hi, and thank you both!

I really apperciate your extensive "answer" Seppoman. Your anger came for a reason -  only the aggression from being drunk ;) This started as I saw these two topics - and after all the thoughts I just felt incompetend to post any resonable reply. This can be seen merely as letting out some steam. (But I still would like it being sticky ;))

I don't see need for uCapps to be a complete electronics resource - there are other sites for that and Google, that's how I ended up here in the first place. Too much documentation can create new problems - People who anyway prefer the easy way, probably take documentation too literally - "My wires ain't color coded - is that why it doesn't work?"

As Seppoman suggested, doing some electronic kits are really good practice to beginners. I'm not yet to heard about the baby that was born with the soldering iron in hand.

One of the things I must say, is that I AM more than pleased with http://www.ucapps.de - I do a lot of posting to forum and yes: I don't KNOW those things ;D - but I can really fast dig up the answers. Only very few things are "missing" - ie. needs to be read from the sources ;)

This also makes me wonder - How much better would newbies be prepared If they just daily browsed the http://www.ucapps.de and read the forum, say for a month?

Still, Have FUN! Moebius

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Several thoughts about documentation:

It takes usually ten times the amount of time to document something in a way that everyone will understand than it originally takes to create it.  

Don't believe me?  Pull any schematic from the net, and tell me what the components do.  Start with a graphic of the schematic, and write some text about every component.  Naturally the parts of the documentation that you fully understand how to explain will take almost no time, but the remaining few things that are harder for you to explain or simply more difficult to conceptualize will take the rest of your time.

That said Thorsten has done an amazing job of documenting the MIDIbox, and most people who are eager to learn walk away with a much greater understanding of electronics than if there were a bunch of PDFs attempting to explain every detail.  He has given up loads of his own free time to give us what is here, and nothing should be said to even hint that it's not good enough.  I'm sure there are a few guides that could be written to make it easier on some people, but I would rather we spend development time on new apps and hardware than on trying to learn how to teach basic electronics.

People needing a snap-together solution should be at the local Guitar Center store looking at the fader boxes, or shopping with doofer (who cares how it's really spelled) ;D

One of the things I must say, is that I AM more than pleased with http://www.ucapps.de - I do a lot of posting to forum and yes: I don't KNOW those things ;D - but I can really fast dig up the answers. Only very few things are "missing" - ie. needs to be read from the sources ;)

This statement should be included with any future discussion about more documentation, it's important to know that there are a lot of builders who have never posted a question, they found all the info needed to build their box from the same sources of info that we answer questions with.....and for the parts that aren't so easy to learn (different for each builder) we have this nice forum where Moebius is gracious enough not to flame the n00bs as they poke their heads up asking for a complete hand holding and answer the same question over and over again........Dude I hope to buy you a beer some day.  ;)

On a related note, I have been telling many of the people who email me tech questions lately to make sure to set the forum search for 2 years back instead of the 7 day default.  This seems to be where a lot of the new kids get derailed when we tell them to search the forums.

Best!

Smash

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Hi,

there's another point I want to say in this manner:

It's not only the time you need to write any documentation. It's also the fact that your are responsible on what you write in your documentation.

I was also confused in the beginnig. But if you read carefully all information for your project and all posts in forum depending on your questions you'll soon find all the answers.

And for the rest: Use the forum !

I think it's much more easy to answer a lot of newbie questions again and again, instead of writing documentations and correcting them again and again.

It makes our community not so "inpersonnel" (don't know if it's the right word) and unfriendly to new users.

greets

Doc

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Ok, I understand the frustration here. However, the idea of this new section of the forum is to THOROUGHLY document the midibox specifically as a teaching tool. I assume Thorsten thinks that's a good idea or he wouldn't have made the new section.

Sure, lots of people have made midiboxes, and the documentation is definitely good enought to make a midibox that works. My interest is in documentation good enough to teach one how to hack on a midibox. I mean good enough that you could comfortably alter the circuits, swap in and out peripherals, alter MIOS accordingly, and actually extend the MBHP and MIOS. Now I realize this is really not going to be of interest to the vast majority of people here, they just want to make a midibox, which is totally cool. That's why I suggested a new section.

Anyway, I have been crazy buzy this weekend, but tomorrow I wil start on the first stage, documenting the circuitry of the core.

iain

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Just contribute in a way that brings you satisfaction.

That way at least  one (and probably more) people will be happy!

For many of us who tinker a little deeper "than just building a box", we had no midibox (or maybe not even midi) as a context for our learning. Yet we did, and thats because electronics is inherently fascinating. Especially when there is another creative agenda (for us, music) driving it.

What I'm saying is that doesnt matter what the application is when learning the art. When the art starts to jell in the mind then it can be applied very fruitfully.

What I'm saying is there are other places (very many places) that deal with the art of PIC assembler or basic electronics.

If you feel moved to create a wholly midibox context for learning basic electronics and programming then go for it, but I think it may actually service a very small subset of the people that visit this place.

One approach that could be taken (that gets used frequently on the internet) is to make a document containing links to sites all over the web that each contribute towards the body of knowledge with a few sentences that direct the user as to why the resource is useful. This kind of contribution is most welcome at the WIKI and would be a handy way of documenting your jouney as you go.

cheers

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I assume Thorsten thinks that's a good idea or he wouldn't have made the new section.

Thorsten seems like the kind of gentleman who will make a new section if you need a new section to properly develop an idea you have. Thorsten is completely selfless. He welcomes contributions of all sorts to the MIDI Box project. He does not hold himself out to be the master overlord of what the direction of the project should be. Good luck with your project!

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Ok, I understand the frustration here. However, the idea of this new section of the forum is to THOROUGHLY document the midibox specifically as a teaching tool. I assume Thorsten thinks that's a good idea or he wouldn't have made the new section.
Hehe maybe I need to step off my rant box for a minute here....I think that any new docs are a good thing, and I totally understand the desire to always make things better.  My ranting is more about poking fun at the whole situation more than anything.  If you search back through the forum you won't be able to count the number of unfinished (but announced!) documentation efforts with both hands.  

That said I'm ready to help with whatever I can, just let me know.

I would be happy to make up whatever 3D board images you need (like the ones on my site) etc.

Also on this topic......what software is used to make the LCD "screenshot" type images here on ucapps?  

Keep in mind too that the video production part of my production company could be used to create a DVD showing soldering/desoldering technique and other things that can be instantly understood on video but are hard to explain otherwise.  

It's all up to how far you want to take it, just know that I would not have opened my big mouth if I were not willing to help.  :)

If you can enlist Jim Henry and a few other's help we will no doubt end up with something that is fun to read and not just educational.

I need to get "in the zone" for writing some docs soon anyway. I have been collecting testing/measurement data from various apps for some time now, and I would like to do some destructive/failure mode testing at the start of the year.  All of this needs to be written up and related to real failure modes/symptoms.....

Best!

Smash

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What about making the schematics? Is there a decent piece of linux software for making them?

Also, in reply to the points about there being a lot of PIC documentation on the net, yes that is true. But is there a lot of well written clear documentation on doing midi with pics on the net? No. I've looked. There is scattered stuff, mostly for basic stamps and other toy-making solution, but Thorsten's is the ONLY serious good code and hardware for midi DIY with PICs, and the rest is either aimed at building robots, or written for engineers, or just not good enough to do what we want. That's why I think it should be made even more accessible to the PIC hobbyist community as well as those who just want to build boxes.

Thanks

Iain

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When people come here, "demand" the community has to write extensive docs suiting their needs, threatening to post hundreds(!) of newbie questions for two years before even switching on the iron for the first time, I can only say:

It could well be that you are wrong here. Save yourself and us the time and go to a shop and buy a Behringer controller if it has to be cheap.

Seppoman

I think this point refers to my ironic comments about bombarding you with a myriads of questions but I think you rushed to a quick conclusion by only thinking the facts with your highly capable brain and your extensive Midibox skills and your apparent superioty with regards to dummies.

I have been lurking around this forum for over a year now and yes I have done hundreds of searches in here and moreover got a brief idea on some peoples attitudes in this forum (I don't blaim you, midi ppl r bizzare by their nature)

It will take me two years if not more because I simply don't have the necessary time available to complete the project due to my current workload and exams.

With the information already scattered around, I think I would be able to build a midi controller without even asking for your help if that is what you want. The only problem is that I won't achieve the optimum results and I am likely to make errors which could be avoided by just asking simple questions.

If you got a problem with newbs or if anybody else then keep it for yourself like I do when other ppl come and post in my forums. OR EVEN BETTER JUST IGNORE THEM , my ID is neodjandre , stick it on your black list , I dont care ...

no need for the fuzz but I got a bit drunk as well today  8)

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Hey, I'll throw my bit in - having watched and participating in this forum for over 2 years, I know that moebius has helped more newbies than most everyone else. Check the top 15 posters - he's there(woohoo I made the list!) Usually he helps by cutting and pasting the answer from Thorsten's webpages - to show that if the person had read the pages carefully - they would have found the answer themselves.

The only problem is that I won't achieve the optimum results and I am likely to make errors which could be avoided by just asking simple questions.

As other's have said, if you want optimum results the first time out you're better off buying something. And everyone knows that you learn best by your mistakes.

If you have waited a year to get started, I think that's your problem there. A core module only costs $23.95 if you buy the kit from SmashTV. Add some other stuff and you're still under $50. Dive in and get started! You will learn best by doing. This is a "Hands-on" project. It won't take you as long as you think. And once you are done, you can start helping others as we try to do. That is the best contribution we can make - to give Thorsten the time to let his genius prosper!

Good Luck

Justin

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I think this point refers to my ironic comments about bombarding you with a myriads of questions but I think you rushed to a quick conclusion by only thinking the facts with your highly capable brain and your extensive Midibox skills and your apparent superioty with regards to dummies.

Thank you...  :-* I admit the content of my posting was less hidden behind irony and/or politeness than some others, but there´s no need to get insulting.

[...] and moreover got a brief idea on some peoples attitudes in this forum (I don't blaim you, midi ppl r bizzare by their nature)

funny - you accuse people of being arrogant and in the next sentence tell not just me but the whole MB community they are strange nerds...

It will take me two years if not more because I simply don't have the necessary time available to complete the project due to my current workload and exams.

With the information already scattered around, I think I would be able to build a midi controller without even asking for your help if that is what you want. The only problem is that I won't achieve the optimum results and I am likely to make errors which could be avoided by just asking simple questions.

Justin (and others) already wrote about "learning by doing" etc. so I´ll skip that part. This whole thread definitely is not about anyone not wanting newbie questions on the forum. But it´s simply better to discuss problems when they occur, and not two years before so you don´t even know now if there will be a problem... If you take half of the time you spend writing forum posts for building a few small commercial electronic kits for practice and afterwards for a MBHP core module you´ll have finished that in 2 months. Even someone without too much electronics experience can build a core module on one weekend. Then we´d have a basis to discuss problems and what to do about housing etc.

If you got a problem with newbs or if anybody else then keep it for yourself like I do when other ppl come and post in my forums.

just read the last paragraph of my previous post again, this is not the topic.

OR EVEN BETTER JUST IGNORE THEM , my ID is neodjandre , stick it on your black list , I dont care ...

One good thing about the MB community is that normally we don´t need blacklists...

Seppoman

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I kinda like this quote -> reply structure , I use it myself :)...

I guess what I have been taught to do in my profession

40% Planning - 20% Doing - 40% Reviewing

doesn't apply in this situation

you are suggesting that I should get my hands dirty and start playing with these things before considering all the possible things that might go wrong and take the appropriate actions for each of them in advance.

OK, talking in real terms now... I will be able to devote about 8 hours in weekends and about 1 hour a day for this project. Do you think this is adequate for finishing off sth decent?

sorry for becoming a bit of an agro earlier on..  

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OK, talking in real terms now... I will be able to devote about 8 hours in weekends and about 1 hour a day for this project. Do you think this is adequate for finishing off sth decent?

It should be plenty of time to do something decent within a month.  I've only had about 6 hours to put in towards my Midibox SID so far, and I have the core & SID modules finished and most of CS B.  Depending on what you're doing, even one or two weeks should be enough.

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I kinda like this quote -> reply structure , I use it myself :)...

Didn´t work ;)

I guess what I have been taught to do in my profession

40% Planning - 20% Doing - 40% Reviewing

doesn't apply in this situation

you are suggesting that I should get my hands dirty and start playing with these things before considering all the possible things that might go wrong and take the appropriate actions for each of them in advance.

Right, just jump into the water and have fun :) There´s nothing to be afraid of - this is no nuclear reactor :) Worst thing that can happen is that it won´t work on the first try. The forum is there to help you then. Of course some planning will be necessary at some point, but Thorsten has created a very stable and well-thought system so you don´t have to worry too much. The modular approach helps to keep things simple. Just build a core module, you´ll need it in every case. I don´t know Traktor, but looking at the previous traktor controllers I assume you need a DIN and an AIN module (the later for the faders). The cost for these things is very moderate. Now you can start to experiment: buy a few switches, pots, faders or whatever you like, connect them, explore the possibilities of the system. Take a piece of card board, cut holes in it and put the switches on it. This way you can find out what controls are needed for your purpose, and what layout of the surface suits you best.

When it comes to the case/front panel, some considerations are due - if you build everything by hand it´s a lot of work, and if you order the panel from e.g. Schaeffer, the cost is significant. So in both cases you need to be certain what you want or you´ll waste quite some time or money.

OK, talking in real terms now... I will be able to devote about 8 hours in weekends and about 1 hour a day for this project. Do you think this is adequate for finishing off sth decent?

This is absolutely sufficient. Just take your time and do one step after the other.

If you think some practice with soldering is necessary, you could build some simple kits as said before. Don´t know which country you´re from - here in Germany Conrad sells quite a lot, ranging from simple LED running light thingies, small 5 W amplifiers etc.. Search google for soldering guides, I´m sure there´s dozens of pages with explanations and photos of how to solder.

Instead of kits you could also buy a larger piece of bread board and a pack of resistors (100 pieces/1-2 Euros/Dollars) and solder all to this board. You won´t get something useful, but it´s really cheap to get some practice.

When the solder points start looking better, buy kits for a core and DIN/AIN module and some switches. A cheap LCD would be good (e.g. from eBay) because you can directly see what´s happening and don´t need to interpret strange MIDI messages :). Build the core module and connect the LCD - after some soldering practice this should be possible in max. one week of your schedule. So after some weeks you can get the first feelings of success and start exploring what is possible and what is needed. This is the real fun :)

Just try not to think about too many things at once and everything will clear up with time. Perhaps Thorsten should put a "don´t panic" sign on the home page like on the cover of Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy ;)

sorry for becoming a bit agro earlier on..  

Alright, peace, love and happiness :) :)

Seppoman

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thanks for the long post ! really helpful indeed. I am based in London as you have asked and I ve been looking around for some good shops with switches and faders etc that deliver here (farnell perhaps).

What is crucial for me is to get very high quality linear faders and perhaps a decent quality of knobs because i will be using these a lot and a very high accuracy is needed.  

Perhaps I should had mentioned this earlier but I know exactly what I want , a Midibox64

And I know exactly from where to order my stuff

http://www.mikes-elektronikseite.de/shop_englisch/k001u002s001.htm

I can just get myself the Midibox64 complete set and bob's your uncle ! I am also thinking accessorising myself from this guy's shop !

I also used soldering before when I was at junior high school at the age of 15 ! if I could do it back then, I don't think i will have a problem now.. and it was lots of fun .. I had built a light sensitive alarm and remember using something called photodiode (?) ... lots of fun, once I got it working, great feeling! I remember the only thing that our teacher did for us was to dip the PCB boards in some machine (?) old memories spring into mind ..

anyway, I will probably giving this a go quite soon after my bloody exams are over .. thanks again ;)

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You <might> want to consider ordering your new boards from SmashTV's shop when it gets online again (might be a week or 2). To be blunt: his new boards are far better than Mike's. No more bridges, no more oxidation of copper tracks, better planning of component placing, and last but perhaps the best feature: preparation for easy cabling of your other modules/veroboards with DIL sockets.

Cheers,  Alex.

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neodjandre, if you need some help with Traktor+MB Let me know.

If you have some "ideas" let me know. If you need ideas...well, you are on the right place.

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Thanx, Seppoman,

who wrote:

[Now you can start to experiment: buy a few switches, pots, faders or whatever you like, connect them, explore the possibilities of the system. Take a piece of card board, cut holes in it and put the switches on it. This way you can find out what controls are needed for your purpose, and what layout of the surface suits you best].

Now I don't feel so weird, setting up templates of foam coreboard and running wires all over the bench to verify what I'm doing. I ask myself does IT make sense?  Does THIS make sense ... does THAT make sense ...

So thanx Seppoman - some of us do need to play "what if."

In this culture of buying everything completely assembled and planned for instant obsolence, I love the fact I can do my humble experimentation to actually create something with stuff from Tim at Smash TV and pieces of discarded electronics and who knows what else from Radio Shack that otherwise would never exist.

My organ project is more than overwhelming ... at first glance. And it requires more time than I have at my disposal to devote to it ... at first glance. And I have no skill to create it ... at first glance.

But with the patience of those who post to this list, it is possible to achieve success, and that is what it's all about. We have hindsight that Davies and Tesla and Edison and others who have electronic terms named after them never had.

And thanx to the Internet, we are connected in the timeframe of an instant to a day or two to find somebody has solved our problems and posted it here.

Sure, my workdesk may resemble a discombulated Christmas Tree, but by golly, I'm gonna figure it out one way or another.

After all, I'm doing something that isn't just waiting on a shelf at an electronics mart somethere for me to pick up and check out at the counter.

And those ten most important words:

If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me

gain significance because of guys like TK and Tim at Smash.

Doesn't mean I don't grind my teeth or read the same posts over and over again hoping and praying for the proverbial light to click on, but hey,

I'm creating something specifically for me, to serve my needs in a unique way that would never otherwise exist.

And more specifically, in the cause of serving the King of Instruments, to create a touring replica of the local WurliTzer that resides in our home town theatre is becoming a reality.

I have been told outright by many braver and more knowledgeable than myself that what I seek to accomplish is not feasible, practical, or even necessary.

Hah! Just watch me!  I can't do it alone, but the fellowship of this list opens up potential beyond all imagination. And when I finally solder and stuff the final piece, I'll be ready for my next project ... and a heck of a lot smarter.

As I wrote last week, Mark Twain commented that anyone who's ever had a tiger by the tail knows a whole lot more about a tiger than somebody who hasn't!

pk

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Hah! Just watch me!  I can't do it alone, but the fellowship of this list opens up potential beyond all imagination. And when I finally solder and stuff the final piece, I'll be ready for my next project ... and a heck of a lot smarter.

Amen!! my bra-duh!! I was in the same boat few months back!! ;D ;D Very well said!!

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