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Wi-Fi Diagnostics Apps for Android

Sometimes your “Wi-Fi Neighborhood” becomes crowded, congested and sometime unusable. But how can you diagnose what outside wireless networks are interfering with your own connection? You could buy an expensive enterprise handheld Wi-Fi analyzer, but that would be impractical for residential environmemts. Instead, you could just use mobile applications on your Android smartphone that could provide Wi-Fi congestion and diagnostic information. The application that I have used is “Wifi Analyzer” on the Google Play Store.

This app will provide details on WiFi networks located on 2.4ghz and 5ghz spectrums. Data and details provided include:

  • SSIDs or Serivce Set Identifiers
  • Access Point MAC address or BSSIDs
  • Access Point Manufacturer
  • Signal Strength
  • Channels
  • Spectrum Map/Visualizer

This app will help you spot the source of wireless networking interference and allow you to setup your network to work around the interence.

Just a sidenote to those who don’t setup their Access Points on the right channels…

PROPER WIFI ETTIQUITE IS TO ASSIGN YOUR NETWORK TO 2.4GHZ CHANNELS 1, 6, 11 WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. FOLLOWING THIS ETTIQUITE WILL REDUCE INTERFERENCE IN YOUR WIFI NEIGHBORHOOD AND MAKE EVERYONE WITHIN THAT NEIGHBIRHIOD HAPPY.

Restricted file and folder names in Windows

I bet you never would have thought that there were names that could not be given to files and folders within Windows… NEITHER DID I. You’re probably thinking Microsoft wants to limit and have control over everything you do on your computer (which might be true in other cases). But the reality is that this is due to technical reasons within Windows which actually date back to the MS-DOS era. But before I cover any technical details, let me list the names that cannot be assigned to files or folders:

  • CON
  • PRN
  • AUX
  • NUL
  • COM1
  • COM2
  • COM3
  • COM4
  • COM5
  • COM6
  • COM7
  • COM8
  • COM9
  • LPT1
  • LPT2
  • LPT3
  • LPT4
  • LPT5
  • LPT6
  • LPT7
  • LPT8
  • LPT9

I bet you’ve already tried to create a folder with one of these names already, and received an error. Now depending on which version of Windows (or MS-DOS if you can’t run Windows on your 1983 Intel 286 desktop) you are using, you’ll get an error message with a slightly different message. Windows 10 will report an invalid device name, MS-DOS will report a duplicate file name.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 23.52.55

But what is preventing us from doing this? The names listed above are files that actually exist in system. WHAT?? Let me explain…

As an example let’s use the file LPT1. If you were able to get notepad to save data (plain text) to LPT1, it would actually send this data to port LPT1. LPT or Line Print Terminal is a (definitely old) printer port that allowed your computer (your computer is definitely old if it has one) to send bytes of data and plain text to the printer to be printed on paper. See the picture below…

Image result for lpt

Those were the days

Basically LPT1 isn’t technically a file stored on the computer, but is set up that way so that programs don’t have to implement more advanced programming of printer routines. Instead they just print or “save data” to a file and it would print at the printer.

By the way, the numbers next to LPT or COM are there because systems could have several of the same ports onboard (As mentioned earlier, if you have at least one of these traditional ports your computer is old, let alone multiple).

CON is the same thing except anything saved to it would print in the command prompt or just on your screen if your were using MS-DOS (a.k.a the fullscreen command prompt that was before windows). It’s short for CONsole which is what a command prompt is displaying.

Musical Floppy (Moppy) Drive Control Software

As I was researching the Musical Floppy Project, I noticed the control software was quite complicated to setup. It required installation of NetBeans IDE on your computer, which some people wouldn’t want to do. Also, you’d have to run the control software from within NetBeans and not as a portable Java JAR application. I did some tinkering with the program and was able to integrate all required Java libraries into the application itself. Feel free to grab a copy of the pre-compiled application and/or source code.

 

MoppyDesk Musical Floppy Control Software

MoppyDesk Project Files (.ZIP)

Musical Floppy (Moppy) Drives

Who knew that Floppy Drives could make music?

floppy

 

The above video demonstrates the finishing result quite well. The musical floppy drives (Moppy drives) are playing the song Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. They do this by moving the read/write head back and forth. The music comes from a MIDI file, which is what was used in the Arduino MIDI Player project. I’ll be posting how to make this in the near future. Stay tuned!

Arduino MIDI Player

Ever wanted to make your Arduino play music? This project will show you how to do just that. Let’s get right to it…

What do you need?

  • Windows Computer
  • Arduino Integrated Development Environment
  • Arduino UNO Microcontroller
  • Speaker
  • THESE project files

 

Import Playtune Arudino Library

We’ll need to import an Arduino library that can interpret our MIDI file.

  1. Extract the project files

projectfiles

 

2. Open the Arduino IDE

arduino-ide-launch

 

3. Click Sketch > Include Library > Add .ZIP Library

Untitled drawing

4. Select the playtune.zip file from the selection dialog

 

Convert the MIDI file

  1. Move your MIDI file to the project folder or use the one provided.

2. Open a Windows Command Prompt and navigate to the project directory.

3. Execute the following command (be sure to omit the extension .mid from the input fileanme)

miditones -t3 <MIDI Filename without extension HERE>

 

Back to the IDE

  1. Open a new sketch in the Arduino IDE

arduino-ide-launch

 

2. Paste the code from song.c file into the new sketch and save it.

3. Replace the C source comment:

// Paste code _HERE_ from converted MIDI file

with the code from the converted midi file

4. Connect your Arduino, upload the sketch, and disconnect it from your computer.

 

Connect the connections

arduino-setup-midi

Connect pins 10, 11, and 12 into the positive wire of the speaker, and ground into the negative wire of the speaker. Once connected properly, connect power to your Arduino and you should hear music.