What’s new?

I used to run my blog at https://web.archive.org/web/20140108052843/http://www.anythingtheycando.com/blog/index.php but sadly forgot to pay the hosting fee and it was wiped off the server that was hosting it. I started this up a few years back hoping that I would get back into blogging or building cool stuff and open sourcing it. Sadly being a one man army of coders leaves little free time to build stuff just to make something cool.

In 2012 I moved to Nicaragua with the goal of building a software company that makes systems for small casinos at a super affordable price. My plan was to spend 2 years working on to get it up and going then reevaluate and see what I wanted to do next. I am now still living here 7 years later and the company while not likely to make me a billionaire or even a millionaire anytime soon is stable and profitable.

Living in a country like is amazing for having an amazingly high quality of life on the cheap. I make way less money than I did living in the states but live WAY WAY better here than I ever did in the states.

Currently I am still the only coder in the company and have to do full stack apps on both the client devices and the server platform. Doing so is a massive time suck as anyone that has done so in the past can I’m sure relate to. But this year I want to try to have a bit more balance in my life. To that end I am hoping to set aside some time to build some cool stuff. I am planning to release some cool tooling in the code gen space and likely also something using the WPF core stuff that I think has AMAZING potential.

Apart from work I am renting a totally amazing house and trying to spend time with friends. Also I am on a year long trek to get really and truly in shape. I am down so far this year about 50lbs and while that is not even the halfway point for me I am sticking with it.

Open sourcing my c# WBE card reader drivers

In the last 4 years I have gotten to work with all sorts of cool hardware and a lot of those devices really only came with documentation on how to work with them. As a result I had to build an interface that would get them to work. I have decided to start open sourcing these interfaces one at a time.

To that end today I am starting out with the interface drivers for 3 different serial magnetic card readers. All 3 of them are made by Shenzhen World Bridge Electronics Co., Ltd http://www.wbe.com.cn

We have used two of these readers the 98xx and currently the 5000 reader. These are magnetic card readers designed for use in kiosks & ATM machines. The 5000 series is really pretty cool and is fully motorized and even has a tamper guard. The 98xx series is the non-motorized version simplified version of the 5000 series.

The third device the 1370 series partial insertion card reader we install in slot machines as part of our player tracking system. When I have time I will be releasing a more updated and feature complete version of this driver that we use in our android application that runs embedded in the slots. That driver is written in java and leverages the android serialport api for serial communication for an android device with an accessible UART.

So if this is useful to you feel free to head over to github and grab the code and do with it as you please. If you are considering using these devices but have questions about it (the manufacturer a rather random blend of helpful/clueless about their products at least the English speaking people at the company) I have been working with them for almost 4 years now.

Below are pictures of the devices:



My new Blog

So I somehow let my old blog’s (internet archive) hosting lapse due to the craziness of my current workload. I was sad about this… and while I still own the domain name and could just turn it back on, I am at a different point in my life personally and professionally.

I now live oversees and there are not a lot of speaking opportunities here where I live about the cool stuff that I am building. When I started my old blog it was an outlet for my creative energies as I was in a job that didn’t really tax my creativity at the time.

Since then I have worked in two different companies that both offered a great deal of fun problems to solve. Now I am the founder and general make stuff work programmer dude for my own company. I have built a lot of really cool stuff over the last 2 years and have a lot of really cool tidbits that I would like to start sharing. I decided to start trying to blog again and that is why I launched this blog.

In the future you can expect me to post related to:

  • Android application development, custom rom building, and generally how to go about using it as an embedded platform to build a (non tablet/phone/wearable/TV) product on top of.
  • Database related goodness – SQL, MySQL, mongo, or other
  • NET – I still use it to build the server side of my application
  • Knockoutjs – cause it is awesome and I love it.
  • Adventures in owning & running a 3rd world tech startup
  • Cool hardware related stuff!!!!

For the next month or two I will be pretty busy but after that I am hoping to open source VERY simple no external dependency required HTTP server for android that also has a dumbed down MVC application framework (it is pure Java and allows you to serve up a mix of static html, JSON data, and html with knockout models.) to bring you all the CURD goodness that MVC applications are so good at building.