Category Archives: Brains!

Mixed success at #EBMF19

So the East Bay Mini Maker Faire was a mixed success. A few people were able to get the phones to work fairly well, and even played a few games, and the wifi worked reasonably well so I was able to administrate and monitor the phones. However, the phones mostly were mishearing people in very […]

More chip computers

I wrote last year about the demise of NextThing.co, the maker of the CHIP computer inside the gruephone. I thought that meant that all future gruephones would be based on the Raspberry Pi series, mostly the Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+. So I was astounded to discover that you can still buy chip computers, though […]

Getting the keypad working.

So, if I’m going to have 3 working phones for the Maker faire, I better get to building them. Today’s project is to get the keypad working. Oringally this keypad used a touch-tone signaling mechanism, but that wasn’t necessary for my purposes, so I just cut out all the DTMF hardware to get at the […]

Goodbye Nextthing.co

This is only tangentially about the GruePhone.  It appears that NextThing computer company has folded (probably actually ceased operation months ago)… apparently it has closed up shop and left a lot of people with outstanding (paid-for) orders unfulfilled.  This is sad on many levels.  It certainly sucks for people who are out the cash, but […]

New games

I’ve gotta be better with these updates.  It’s been about 10 months since my last post. Work on the new phones is slow to non-existent, but I finally spent some time getting the old phone in better shape, both hardware and software. First, the phone is now back in one piece after sitting disassembled for […]

Maker Faire round up

The Maker Faire was excellent, even if there was a significant hardware failure that took the phone off-line for part of Saturday and all of Sunday. It was too noisy to even attempt to play Zork, so I had prepared the framework so it could run a much simpler game called Moonglow, written by Dave Bernazzani […]

More choices for TTS engines

Here is a mostly complete list of offline text-to-speech engines I have at my disposal.  I have cleaned up the text somewhat from the last time, so they should be easier to understand.  Let me know what your favorite is in the comments. Espeak is a very robotic, but relatively lightweight engine: Festival is a quirky, […]

GruePhone Lives Again!

Wow, it really has been a while, but improvements in technology have given me an idea of how to improve upon the original Dial-a-Grue phone. The idea is to use a small embedded computer, this time a $9 “chip” computer and actually embed it into a gutted phone.  From there I can use text-to-speech (tts) and […]

Brains too small, make bigger…

I supposed I should have figured this out earlier, but there just isn’t enough SRAM for the zip interpreter to run the Zork I story file.   It is trying to malloc() approximately 30KB of ram for various data structures, and the poor little Arduino Mega only has 8.   It might be possible to […]