Monthly Archives: October 2009

New look for the Super Transcribe Website

SuperTranscribeNewWebsiteBea did a neat new design for me. This is a lot better than the previous design.

I like the more prominent DOWNLOAD and BUY buttons, plus the news items are better separated from the main text. The Silicon Sparrow logo has been included in a big way which continues on the theme of drawing all my products under the one brand. It is looking good.

You can visit the site at

What on Earth is Ka-Ching Pal ?

screenshot-popupI was setting up some eCommerce websites recently, maybe it was a combination of not enough sleep and too much coffee but I thought to myself, I wish that whenever I got a payment through PayPal, my PC would make a Ka-ching! noise.

So then I spent a couple of hours making a Windows Tray App to do just that.

Then I thought maybe other people might like this too.

So I spent an additional two days setting up a website and polishing the app, making an installer and sorting out all the other little details that are needed to make it usable by non-nerds.

So here we have my new product called Ka-Ching Pal. The website is up and taking orders at

Serial Bit Rate Converter Revision 3 Released

RS003I’ve just built the first of my new revision 3 RS232 Bit Rate Converter. It has the following improvements:

  • Cleaner, more stable RS232 output signal
  • Can accept a range of power supply voltages from 5V up to 12V
  • Has a professionally designed and printed vinyl label instead of the rather amateurish ones I was making myself

The design is mature now. I am impressed by the device’s reliability. I’ve been selling these things for almost a year now and haven’t had a single unit fail.

I’ve also put the Silicon Sparrow logo on the label. I’m going to do that to all my products from now on to try and gather them into a common brand.

Why not pop over to to read more about this device or even buy one!

You can Hire me

I’m looking for a little bit of freelance work at the moment, if you are interested in someone to help you out with digital circuit design, embedded systems design or programming, application development or even web sites or server back end work, drop me a line at I’ve put my Resumé online for you to download if you are interested.

Sort by Price on DigiKey

Would you pay $98 for this ?

Would you pay $98 for this ?

Being in the electronics design business, I am often ordering parts in small quantities and the best place to do that is Digi-Key. But it really annoys me that Digi-key can’t sort by price. When I’m looking for, say, a 470µF capacitor, it gives me 100 different ones to choose from, of course I just want to order the cheapest one but I end up having to read through a dozen pages to find it. Now I can use Alex Leone’s neato DigiKey Sort By Price FireFox plugin. Thanks Alex, that’s a real useful tool!

PS. I actually searched for a 470µF capacitor just now, there are 491 different ones ranging from $1.34 right up to $98.10 – that last one must be gold plated with gem-quality emerald as the dielectric!

UPDATE: Digi-key now has sort-by-price on it’s website. I guess they must have listened to their customers.

Pricing change for Serial Gadget

After looking at my sales figures, it seems the majority of my RS232 Rate Converter sales are going to America. I’ve only sold two into Australia ever, so it seems to me that pricing it in Australian dollars is not appropriate for this product, especially since the Australian dollar has been moving quite a lot in relation to the greenback in recent weeks.

The new price is US$ 89.00.

Super Transcribe 1.0 finally released!

SuperTranscribe-1.0-screenshot-smallIt’s taken me a little while to fit this in around my freelance work and family obligations but finally I have put out a version 1.0 of Super Transcribe. This is transcription software for Windows. It allows you to load up a media file (most common formats supported) and slow down the replay so you can keep up without having to be the world’s fastest typist. It can slow down the replay up to 5 times without changing the pitch of the speech. It’s just perfect for transcribing podcasts.

It also has a lot of handy-dandy features like keeping track of multiple participants in a dialogue and lots of shortcut keys so you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard much, and it has a beautiful new look & feel thanks to Bea. Why not go along to and download the demo. Tell me what you think of it.

Part Substitution a-go-go!

One of my peeves about the electronics business is the poor availability of parts. I’d found this brilliant AP1115 power regulator from Diodes Inc. which I’ve been using for months in my RS232 Rate Converter but now, you can’t get them anymore. I haven’t found a supplier who stocks this part since June and my own stock has run out.

Fortunately, I have found the MCP1703 from Microchip which is compatible and will do as a substitute. But now I can’t get the particular Atmel microprocessor I use, well not in small quantities anyway and I am not ready to order 1000 of them based on the sales I’m getting at the moment. So I’ve had to go up a model and get a more expensive microcontroller which is pin-compatible but I’ll have to change the firmware to make it work. This is the third time I’ve had to tweak the design of this product due to unavailable parts in the last 12 months. Such is the fun of the electronics biz!