My First Web App! (work in progress)

I created my first web app! (http://tiempoparacruzar.appspot.com/

The app gives basic information on the USA-Mexico crossing borders like operation time, number of open lanes, and more important, estimated crossing time (very useful for people living near the border or for those who like to do our shopping in the US).

It uses a simple python script to gather information from the cbp.gov website. The website has a publicly available xml file that I download to my server, then my app strips all the useless information and organize all the data that I want to display.


I made the HTML print outs thinking on mobile devices, so it may (and will) look a little weird on a computer, but it is still usable.

You can compare my site with the original (http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/), the information is the same, but I present only the information that most people look for. 

Next step would be to optimize load times, but I’ve been thinking about writing an Android/iOS app that does all the work instead of relying on a server but my free time has practically dissapeared between german lessons, online courses and some very good books that I’ve been reading lately, but it’s definitely in my list!

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Music in the Shower!

I’ve been working on this for a long time but I had some trouble geting it out of the breadboard and then iTunes changed the APIs so I’ve been trying to get it working again but for the mean time I’m leaving this video from the initial stage:

I’m using an Arduino to send the commands to the computer via bluetooth (next track, prev, play/pause, volume, random playlist). The computer is running a python script to get the commands and send the appropriate signal to iTunes, and getting the song info back to the Arduino.

The python part changed recently due to the APIs update and it doesn’t seem that I’ll be able to get it working back in the same way.

Right now I got it working again with the API changes with some workarounds with some .app’s created with AppleScript that only send the play/pause, volume, etc., one for each command, but I don’t like this approach so I’m trying to get it working as a service again.

I also want to have a good case for the board but in the mean time I only tossed the circuit inside a ziplock to avoid the water.

I hope to give an update soon.


Program Converter

I made a very simple program when I started my job as CNC Engineer more than two years ago. It simplifies the process of adapting a program from switching the working table.

We used to do it by hand searching for the G54 (table 1) or G55 (table 2) and changing it manually, so I wrote this software on C# to do it automatically.

It is so simple in it’s design that I didn’t though they were so dependable on it untill I saw that it was installed on almost all of the computers in the areas that have this CNC machines.

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New Phone, New Craddle

I recently upgraded my cellphone from a Nexus One to a Samsung Galaxy S II and I realized that the craddle that I had designed didn’t fit the new phone, and I couldn’t find the old .prt files to edit it (they had to format my computer because the hard drive was failling constantly).

This is the design I came up with:

It is much more simple than the last one, consisting of only two parts instead of three and I used powder coating instead of wet paint for the finishing.

I’m using it every night to charge my phone while I sleep and keeping the cable secured in one place.


Some stuff I made at work

This are some simple things I designed at work to keep some timers that we use for production secured from thieves.

This is the first design I made for the timers that we had in stock:

and this is the final product:

And this is the one I made for another timer model that we bough:

And the final product:

They seem to be working well, or at least no one has been able to steal them.


Design time!

Last month I was looking for a dock for my Nexus One and then I got the idea of designing one myself.

I started learning Pro/Engineer during my free time at work and I decided to use my new acquired skills to do the job.

This is the result:

It’s made of aluminum. I had to do it in 3 parts due to some manufacturing restrictions but it still works like a charm.

More renders after the break.

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My account was suspended!

Sorry if I haven’t posted in a while but my account was suspended due to suspicious activity.

It took a little longer than I would’ve like but I’m finally back into action.

I made a couple of nice projects in the mean time, unfortunately I had some problems with my mac when I upgraded to OSX 10.7 and had to format my drive. I could have sworn that I had everything on my dropbox but apparently that was not the case so I’ll se if I can rebuild said projects.

I have also been learning how to program for Android, so if I don’t post is because I’m working on this.

See you later!



For the Mechatronics Projects class on the last semester we had to build a functioning robot.

Me and my team came with the idea of automatizing a restaurant with a waiter robot, but we figure it out that we could very well automatize the whole experience of ordering food in a restaurant.

We started creating a web app for ordering (and paying) the food that could work on any smartphone or laptop.

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Project for the signals processing class.

The user creates a JPEG file with a certain pixel by pixel size, divided in 64 squares. Those painted different than white will be showed in a LED matrix.

Created using Processing and Arduino.


Full Rotation Servo

Last time I wrote I told you that I had new toys from sparkfun. Two of those were full rotation servos (also: buttons!).

When I bought them I though they were 360º servos but instead they are servos that rotate indefinitely, so they don’t have position control, but they have speed and direction control. Also, they feel very strong.

This is a little program that I did to test the servos:

Two buttons are used to control the direction and the speed and it is displayed in the LCD display.