Introducing Chrome Memory Checker
By Netopya on May 28th 2017

The Google Chrome web browser is a program notorious for gobbling up your computer's RAM. Chrome Memory Checker is a simple program to see exactly how much RAM Chrome is using. Since Chrome uses multiple processes it is not as simple as opening up task manager and observing how much memory some Chrome process is using. Chrome Memory Checker sums up all the memory that the various Chrome processes are using and gives you the grand total! By continuously monitoring Chrome processes Chrome Memory Checker keeps track of total RAM usage in real time. For heavy Chrome users like me with over 40 tabs open on a regular basis, the number certainly surprised me at 8.26Gb, with usage sometimes peaking at 11Gb. Yikes! Chrome Memory Checker can help you diagnose RAM usage issues and determine whether Chrome is in fact at fault or not.

Download Executable Windows (for 64-bit Chrome) only

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Improving JavaScript Code Quality
By Netopya on Aug 27th 2016

Coding conventions and code quality are practices of programming that are often ignored by many of us software developers. However when working on a school project with 6 other peers, I was responsible for setting up a program called SonarQube to analyze the quality of our code. Not only did SonarQube detect multiple quality issues with our code base, it also provided many useful suggestions to improve code readability, increase robustness against bugs, and every prevent security risks. The following blog post is based off of an e-mail that I wrote to the team explaining many common software quality issues that were arising in our code along with suggestions on how we could improve. I find that many of these tips can be applied to any JavaScript project and I am personally always taking them into account when I program web applications.

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Show images with an Arduino on a RGB LED Matrix
By Netopya on Jul 10th 2016

The Adafruit 1484 is an absolutely fantastic 32x32 LED matrix. Each one of the 1024 LEDs is an individually controllable RGB LED that allow us to display beautiful pixel art. First Robotics Competition team number 296, The Northern Knights, obtained this display to spruce up our robots. As a mentor on this team, I worked with students in order to develop a system with an Arduino to read images off a MicroSD card and display them on the LED matrix. Join us to learn the system inside out.

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$4 Computer Backlighting System
By Netopya on Oct 8th 2015

Computer monitor backlights are cool. Solutions such as Philips Ambilight are available, but many people opt to design their own system. I wanted to see just how much you can save and what you can get by making the cheapest backlighting system possible. By salvaging parts from previous projects and getting free samples, all I need to buy where some RGB LEDs for only $4.00. Join me as I experiment and create the most basic computer ambient light solution.

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OPUS en ligne Review
By Netopya on Aug 17th 2015

The various transport agencies in Quebec have been using the OPUS card for contactless fare verification. Seven years after it was released, OPUS en ligne has now been introduced and allows the purchasing of fares online through a card reader connected to your computer. I decided to get one of these required $14.49 readers and give it a spin. Does it work? Is it a trip into the technological Stone Age or will it revolutionize the way we purchase bus passes? Join me on this journey to find out!

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Recycling a Laptop LCD Screen into a Raspberry Pi Test Bench
By Netopya on Dec 15th 2014

This project started off when trying to find a use for a broken laptop. The screen was perfectly fine so I decided to integrate it with a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a fascinating computer great for small multimedia projects. I had such a project in mind, but first I wanted to test out the Pi to see what it was capable of so I create a test bench. The arrangement was fairly simple with the Raspberry Pi, a laptop LCD display, and a LCD controller to connect the two together. This setup was a great way to tryout the Pi and to recycle an old computer into a new one.

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Audio Virtual Reality
By Netopya on Sep 1st 2014

Here is a video demoing my latest project called Audio VR. Virtual Reality is quite a hot topic nowadays and many devices aim to augment the experience of content on your computer. My idea was to augment the experience of the computer itself by moving the computer into your actual reality. Audio VR works by measuring the head's position and adjusting the audio output channels of the computer accordingly to simulate the location of the computer with respect to the head. By modifying the channels in the left and right ears of your headphones, you get a similar experience to using speakers. Read on to learn more about this project.

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Introducing IP Planner!
By Netopya on Aug 3rd 2014

I created my latest project after playing League of Legends and asking the question how long will it take my to unlock Champions? Champions can be unlocked using the the in game currency, Influence Points, which are earned by playing matches. I found online other people who were wondering the same thing as I, but many people chose to estimate the answer based on the playing statistics of popular players. I wanted a solution that could calculate an answer based on my own play history, and that's where IP Planner was born! It uses the publicly available Riot API to load a summoner's history and calculate the rate at which they earn Influence Points. Check it out here!

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Controlling Multiple I2C Devices with Arduino
By Netopya on Jun 22nd 2014

A project I was working on a while ago encountered a problem when we decided to use multiple I2C color sensors. The I2C protocol relies on the fact that each device you connect as a unique address. But in the case of the sensors we were using, the address is hard wired into the device, so connecting multiple identical sensors with the same permanent address would creating a conflict. This problem was easily solved with the use of an I2C multiplexer. Not much information was available on the web regarding this solution, but after doing some research we learned that the implementation is very easy. Read on pass the break to see what we learned and how you can use multiple identical I2C devices in your Arduino projects.

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LED Matrices with Arduino, Netopya's Way
By Netopya on Jan 17th 2014

One of the great things I learned working on my previous project, the AEMD Alpha, was using the Arduino to control an LED matrix. The Adafruit libraries for the device took care of the multiplexing and other complexities and all that was left was controlling the individual LEDs from their x and y coordinates. But this led to the next challenge of how exactly to get images and graphics on the Arduino. First I’ll describe a logic solution, but I’ll show how this method falls apart. The alternative solution requires arrays of bytes (or integers) which is where my previous post introducing Bytety comes in. This little web app that I created presents a mock matrix that you can play around with to create your own graphics, and the program generates the necessary array for your Arduino code. Continue reading on to learn my easy solution to display images on a LED matrix with an Arduino all while improving the memory footprint of your program.

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Introducing Bytety
By Netopya on Dec 16th 2013

After creating byte arrays by hand a couple of times for my previous project, the AEMD Alpha, I decided to create Bytety! Bytety is a simple app that allows you to draw graphics onto an array and produce the coded array for you! This is great for creating graphics for single colored LED Matrices powered by controllers like the Arduino, and probably many other things. First enter in the dimensions of your LED matrix, and then click on the boxes to toggle the state of the LED they represent. You can also hold down any key to then hover over the boxes to change multiple LEDs at once. If things get too big, you can also change the zoom. The code is generated in real time in the box below. You can have an infinite amount of rows (y) but you are probably limited to 63 columns (things might get funny after that). If you need more, or you encounter any bugs, let me know. Enjoy!

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The AEMD Alpha
By Netopya on Aug 25th 2013

Here's my latest school project that I worked on with some friends, the Arduino Entertainment Multimedia Device. It's a completely portable Arduino powered LED matrix with a bunch of bells and whistles allowing it to live up to its name. Checkout my video above or continue on for more information and a gallery of shots.

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DIY Charging Station
By Netopya on Jul 20th 2013

Let's start off with something a little different that has nothing to do with the programming or technology that I'm used to. All of us have encountered the dreadful spaghetti of wires while charging our devices. I've seen many people's solutions to taming the situation on the web and thought I'd try my own take to the problem. Continue reading and join me as I tread for the first time into the art of woodworking.

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Hello World!
By Netopya on May 29th 2013

Hello everyone! I'm Michael (aka Netopya) a university engineering student from Canada and this is my blog. I have a few projects I work on that I'd love to share with you along with other discoveries I make from the work of technology and science. Whats that device in the picture? Stay tuned and I'll get to that and more as my blog comes to life!

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