Monday, 14 September 2015 19:36


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A little about Algis Salys and

A small glimpse of what made me make this website...

Electrifying results

Starting back on the south west side of Chicago, back in 1975, well at least that's when Algis Salys (me) began its journey.  At a very young age I've always had the desire need to take things apart in an attempt to see how they worked.  Anything from your basic analog table clock to small kitchen appliances.  Anything that had a back cover with a few small screws typically was taken apart at some time or another at my house.  Usually put back together in working order, but sometimes had a few spare parts left over after my exploration.  One of my earliest memories was being totally confused on how a garbage picked black and white TV set, that wasn’t plugged into an outlet, can shock the hell out of me as I poked around with a screwdriver.  From that moment on, my obsession began.  Mechanical devices still intrigued me (and still do to this day) but the respect for electricity that was zapped into me that day, and seeing all of the electronic parts fit like a 5000 piece puzzle to create something as awesome as a TV, has led me to tinker with electronics ever since.

New hangout: Radio Shack

Soon after at a holiday family gathering, I was telling my story to a friend of the family, he was 10 years older, so he understood how a TV set could shock me, and also had similar hobby interests as mine, said "hang on, I have something in the attic you might find interesting".  It was a radio shack 150-in-1 project kit.  I remember spending day and night, week after week, stringing the wires together under the springs, making little leds blink, creating weird sounds from the small built-in speaker, and running a 25' wire from my bedroom to my bathroom drainpipes in an attempt to get a louder signal from the am crystal radio I had just put together.  A few of the components ended up burning up and releasing some of the magic smoke when I also tried to mod everything I built, making it bigger, louder, brighter.

9600 baud, watching the pixels of the jpeg scroll by

Some time in my early teens, my sister got a computer.  I remember, before even touching the keyboard, partially due to the intimidation, partially do to my obsession of fully understanding what this beast can do, I read from front to back, the MS-DOS manually it came with.  Learning first and foremost, how to reformat and reload the operating system.  I probably reformatted a few times a week, learning, what happens if I delete this file, or change this to that...most of the time it was a similar outcome, the thing wouldn't boot up any more.  It did at times boot up after my "mods", and very few times found interesting things had changed along the way.  One day soon after I found a BBS magazine, what the hell is a bulletin board system?  Well not long after, my parent's phone bill grew to know what BBS's were.  Late night exploring, calling strange phone number's found in the bottom of txt files, and "secret" message areas where I can "talk" to people who had similar interests, and now not only taking things physically apart and learning how they worked, but exploring the bytes streaming across then the phone lines to see how computers worked, and learning things you just "weren't supposed to know".

Why don't you get a job

Prodigy, aol, shell accounts, to what we have today.  I've been exploring it all.  Computers and all they had to offer always went along with my interest in electronics.  At the age of 18 or so I decided to make electronics my full-time career.  I received a 1 year degree at a trade school and was on my way.  It didn't take too long, in fact only about 6 months after graduating and landing my dream job in electronics (bench tech at an alarm factory, a little noisy) that I quit and was wanting out of electronics.  It was boring!  I was too young to be at a bench 8 hours a day, not for me.  I also wanted something involving computers or similar technology.  Commercial Audio/Video engineering and programming is what I fell into (starting out as an installer) for the past 20 some years.  It's been exciting, I travelled the world, learned along the way, and made me who I am today.  Even though the A/V world lets me explore some leading edge technology, I'm starting to crave my computer and electronic roots.  What was boring 20 years ago, seems perfect for me today.

Slice of ham

Ever since hearing the voices coming out of the tiny speaker in my 150-in-1 project kit, radios have also been a part of my obsession.  Crystal radios to shortwave receivers to scanners to ham radios.  I enjoy tinkering with any and all radios.  I'm not as interested in the talking part, but more on building, modding, and getting new things to work.  Anything from building a homebrew antenna to exploring new ways of digital communications over the airwaves.  Ham radio, computers, and electronics all seem to work side-by-side with one another.  My workbenches can attest to that as well.

I have been reborn

I've been planning on creating this website for as far back as I can remember.  With all of the standard responsibilities we all face, publishing a website was continuously shuffling further and further down on my 10,001 project list, until 2014 when I finally spent a few weekends learning new ways to manage and publish content online, and was born.  A screen full of animated gifs and typing in notepad with basic HTML like in my actual first website I created (~1997??) has long since past, point and click content management systems such as wordpress an joomla have since paved the way for easy management of content and changing the entire look and feel of your site can be done in just a few clicks.  I choose to use joomla as it seemed to be fairly easy to learn while having a large following, and most important to me, being very customizable.

I don't necessarily know what my overall goal for is at the moment, other than it being a constant work in progress, documenting a few of the 10,001 projects I have sitting around both at my workbench and in my head, and hopefully being able to give back a little to other people exploring similar idea's.  The web today or "google" as I like to call it, has given me about 99% of what I know today.  Projects mostly involve electronics, radios, computers, security and even woodworking.  I'm not sure how many I will get too, and of those how many I will get to document here, but it's a start.

More... you want more?

My entire life hasn't only been about zener diodes, standing at a gas station payphone playing a tape recorded sound of a quarter into the mouthpiece, listening to static on the am radio, or compiling, re-compiling, and re-compiling again until 4am. I've had many other interests, hobbies, and experiences that got me into trouble along the way.  I've had my share of good times, many so good, I can't remember.  But all of that isn't what led me to create this website.  My passion for knowledge, learning how things work, and figuring out undocumented features did.  That's what is.

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Feel free to reach out, using the Contact page.

Read 7340 times Last modified on Monday, 05 October 2015 21:57
Algis Salys

Creator and owner of  Linux enthusiast, electronics tinkerer, and likes to spend time in the workshop building and creating new projects.