Posted by Deliverator on 18th November 2012
I’ve been forsaking the WordPress blog here for quite some time. Most of my ruminations seem to be too short for me to be bothered with writing a blog entry, so I’ve largely shifted to using my Twitter account. At the same time, I’m also finding Twitter’s 140 character limit a bit too limiting. I am often writing 3 or 4 back to back tweets on a subject, which I am sure does not endear me to followers uninterested in said subject.
There do exist 3rd party services like TwitLonger that work around Twitter’s forced brevity problem/feature, but I like to keep my data in-house to avoid many of the snafus that are part and parcel of using cloud services. Having lost or lost control of data important to me in the past, I don’t like trusting my content/making myself dependent on companies whose operational procedures are opaque to me and whose terms of service, business model, etc. might change with the blowing of the wind. It is one of the chief reasons I’ve yet to join Facebook, Google+, etc.
I am going to start testing various plugins for WordPress that allow me to automatically cross-post to Twitter as well as archive my tweets here in case Twitter’s business model becomes too onerous (the promoted tweets are already getting obnoxious).
Posted in Blogging, General, Mobile Blogging, Rants and Raves | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 5th March 2007
So, I’ve been meaning to check out the Terra Bite Lounge in Kirkland for a while now. Today, thanks to a rare break in my schedule, I finally got the chance. Terra Bite is a cafe which has no set prices and payment is strictly voluntary. They have a drop box near the counter in which you can contribute anything you choose, and can also pay online via paypal. Payment is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Supposedly, Terra Bite started out as a bet as to whether, in the absence of compulsion, people are inherently good or evil and the cafe is the means of testing the proposition. I really like the fact that I can pay whatever I like, pay online, pay weekly, etc. The atmosphere is really nice and low key and the service is better, as the Barristas aren’t spending half their time making change and processing credit cards (although you can pay by card as well). I am really intrigued by this experiment, as it is really similar in philosophy to much that is at the heart of the DRM debate.
The cafe itself seems to have good food and drink, music and nice furniture. I am sitting here relaxing on a big plush leather couch while watching someone play “Gears of War” for the XBOX 360 on a big plasma screen. Needless to say, and as evidenced by this post, Terra Bite has free WiFi as well.
I highly recommend you check it out. It is at the corner of Kirkland and State street.
Posted in Mobile Blogging, Wireless | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 7th February 2007
Since the recent release of the N800, Maemo related development has really taken off. Nokia has really helped foster this development with the sourceforge-like development site Maemo.org, well documented SDK´s and even a preconfigured dev environment released as a VMWare virtual computer image. They have also given away some 500 N800´s to select OSS developers. Whatever the reason, the dev community seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few tidbits of dev news:
-Quake 2 has been demonstrated running on the N800 at quite acceptable frame rates. This really demonstrates the drastic improvement the more modern 330mhz Omap chip in the N800 offers over the older OMAP chip in the N770.
-Dual boot from a SD/MMC card is now available for the N800. This really makes it possible for developers to muck about with the OS internals without worring about needing to reflash or possibly brick their device.
-Probably as a direct result of the previous news item, some people are fooling around with full blown windows managers and producing windows manager switching scripts. The Hildon UI is well adapted to the constraints of a mobile tablet, but it also requires existing applications to be tweaked to work properly. Having a full window manager available to run unmodified applications will allow the use of a much wider range of OSS without anything more complicated than a recompile.
-Developers discovered that the N800 contains two previously undocumented chips on the motherboard, hidden under metal RF shielding. The first is an FM radio tuner. A desktop applet to control the FM radio was released by Nokia shortly after the discovery. The radio works quite well, using the headphones as an antenna. The applet has the ability to switch the sound between the internal stereo speakers and headphones when using the headphones as an antenna. With the new alarm framework, this should make it easy for a FM radio alarm clock to be developed.
The other chip discovered in the N800 is a USBOTG power controller. While currently unsupported, many people hope that this will allow for powered hostmode for external devices. Currently, plugging in things like USB keyboards requires the use of a powered USB hub or the construction of a USB power injector.
-Nokia released an updated version of their Mediastreamer application, which supports streaming of various forms of content such as pictures and music from uPnP enabled media servers. The new version adds support for video as well.
-There are now instructions available to get Mono, a OSS implementation of the .NET Framework, running on the N800 and N770. There are still no MAEMO specific bindings in MONO yet, but this is a good step towards having applications that can run on the desktop and on the Nokia Internet Tablets without recompilation.
Posted in Linux, Mobile Blogging, Operating Systems, Portable Computing/Gadgets, Tech Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by site admin on 26th April 2006
Ryan and I are on the plane and will be headed to Atlanta, shortly. I am
doing a last minute check of my email (via t-mobile edge) before we take
off. I will be gone till Sunday, but will be checking email and
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Posted by Deliverator on 4th March 2006
Since my last update, a lot has happened. Ryan arrived late last night.
Even after a long day of school and many hours stuck in traffic he pulled
out his laptop and got to work updating the autonomous code. Almost
everyone got up extra early this morning and helped out with the testing
the last minute code revisions. It was really nice to see everyone turn
out to be supportive of the few people who could do the coding work. Ryan
managed to get a lot done in a very short time and we are now scoring 8
or 9 of or 10 balls during autonomous, again.
We have been performing very well, individually, but we have for the most
been paired with poor performing partners. In our last match,TRC scored
all of our teams 38 points and both of our teamates were tipped over or
immobile for almost the entire match. Ian managed to play strong defense
against 3 very good offensive bots (including 254, one of the best teams
in the nation) for the entire match, holding them to 58 points.
It is disappointing to have won soo few matches while playing very well.
I haven’t taken a look at or seed ranking for in a while, but my guess is
it has taken quite a nose dive. I hope the seeded teams have been paying
attention, so that we get picked for a strong alliance during the
playoffs.Still, I am very pleased with our performance thus far,
especially given the lack of practice time before coming to the
competition. I am very pleased with the team involvement this year. Many
more students have dug in and made significant contributions to the club,
hopefully learning a thing or two along the way and having fun and making
friends. The TRC may not defend its back to back titles this time around,
but I think we have made a very strong showing and will be even stronger
this next year.
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Posted by Deliverator on 2nd March 2006
Made it down to Portland this afternoon. It is 1:30 AM and we are still working hard. Have to get up at 6 tomorrow to uncrate the robot at 7:45 tomorrow. We will be very busy with autonomous programming for much of the day. Here are some brief thoughts on the day:
-Mobile SWN nodes are cool! Had two passengers online almost the whole way to Portland. Students in Larry’s van were using it too, but they had to stay pretty close to get good reception. Might consider a roof mounted antenna in the future.
-Took my annual trip to Powells, although I only got to stay for an hour. Bought some books by Alastair Reynolds and Elizabeth Moon. Kept it to 4 this time around….a personal best.
-Brad Moore’s snores are likely to result in another federal disaster mismanagement probe in which everyone points at someone else
-The Courtyard Marriot is a big step up from the place we stayed at last year, but their wifi is abysmal and only availabe in a very small area of the hotel. They do provide wired jacks in the rooms, but I don’t bring ethernet with my PDA. Will have to investigate some of the portable wifi access points on the market. It couldn’t hurt to get a Socket Low Power Ethernet card, either. I am using my EDGE connection atm, so am very bandwidth limited. Will upload pictures from today when I get a chance.
Posted in CarPuter, General, Mobile Blogging, Titan Robotics Club, Wireless | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 1st February 2006
Eric Butler and I showed up to Hacknight a bit early and were waiting close to an hour before anyone showed up. Hacknight has been canceled at the last minute a number of times in the past, but this usually results in a flurry of emails to the listserv. Between the two of us, we found Casey’s phone number and found out the story.
Turns out the new tower node, Node Atoys had gone down for some unknown reason. Matt, Rob and Casey did troubleshooting for most of the day, swapping radios, settings and testing various theories. In the end, a spectrum analyzer hooked into a directional antenna revealed a high power source of interference coming from the tower. It looks like it may have been a harmonic from some TV gear on the tower. The main transmitter on the tower outputs something like 16KW. That is huge when compared to the 400 mw output by Node Atoy’s Senao card. With the right antennas, sensitive receivers and favorable atmospheric conditions, Hams have been going hundreds or even thousands of miles on similar power. There is even a subculture devoted to the art of long distance RF communications on ultra low power, known as QRP. Of course, some people take different approaches.
Rob had a print copy of his new book, Wireless Networking in the Developing World. The earlier problems with Lulu’s interpretation of the PDF format have been corrected, so get your copies now! The book comes just in time for Rob’s trek to Trieste, Italy for a conference at which he has presented the last couple of years. It looks like he will be gone for about a month. Trieste sounds like a fun place to kill some time. Rob loves good coffee and his favorite brand is grown there. Last weekend at the ROV conference, I saw the submarine Trieste that went some 35,798 feet deep in the Atlantic and came back to tell the tale. By contrast, most military submarines can go something like 800-1000 feet deep, I believe. Don Walsh, one of the two men to make the record setting dive is going to be speaking at the Naval Undersea Maritime Museum in Keyport in a few weeks.
Eric and I are going to grab a 24 db parabolic dish from Casey and do some site surveys from the Eastside to see if we can connect to the tower. If anyone has a house that can see the towers on Capitol Hill and would like their home/biz to be a node on the Network, put yourself on the node map. We are happy to drop on by and see what we can see.
Posted in Mobile Blogging, SWN Hacknight, Tech Stuff, Wireless | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 31st January 2006
Got my Nokia 6620 back from iunlock. They upgraded the firmware to the
latest “uncustomized” version. I have already noticed a lot of subtle
improvements to the user interface and the system feels quite a bit more
responsive. I am glad to have all the undeleteable garbage that AT&T
includes in their firmware version GONE. iunlock was very responsive in
the handling of my order. They flashed the phone and sent it back the
same day they got it. I would highly recommend them for all your phone
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Posted by Deliverator on 16th December 2005
I recently purchased a 3 watt LED flashlight from AXShop. It arrived
today and my god is it bright! The 1 watt emitter absolutely pales beside
it. I took the cone shaped reflector assembly off, exposing the Luxeon
emitter beneath. The emitter is hex shaped with a thin layer of non-
conductive circuit board material on top of a predominantly metal base.
Even at an LEDs high efficiency, a lot of heat is produced, so the metal
base isn’t for show. These hex emitters are just begging to be chained
together to form an array of super bright LEDs. I am going to contact
lumileds and see how many of these emitters they can send me. I would
love to cap these with acrylic to waterproof them for use on the ROV, but
I worry about the ammount of heat these put out. Perhaps I can mount
these to the back of a big heatsink, then do an acrylic pour so that only
the fins of the heatsink extend out from the acrylic? These emitters may
be robust to survive the pressure already, so I think a trip to Silent
World to use their pressure test equipment is in order.
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Posted by site admin on 11th December 2005
I have been becoming a very active (read obsessive) eBay user of late. I
have been looking for some rare items for quite a while. There are about
a dozen or so word combos that I search for on a near daily basis. This
weekend one of those terms hit paydirt. I managed to find a short
duration “buy it now” from some company that seems to buy out and resell
spare parts stocks. I managed to win forty-four brand new ram/rom
daughterboards for the Jornada 728 for a mere $200. Buying this now was a
bit inconvenient given the outlay I have made on Christmas gifts, but it
was just too good an opportunity to pass up. The Jornada 728 has twice as
much ram as the 720, has a very slightly different OS build and different
case coloring, but is otherwise identical to the venerable 720. The 728
was released shortly before HP canceled the whole series, so far fewer of
them ever made it to market. As a result, the 728 has tended to sell for
quite a premium. They are usually found on eBay in the $400-450 range.
One the flipside, the market has recently experienced a glut of 720s,
with some eBay sellers doing buy-it-nows in the $135 range. With these
rom/ram daughterboards I just acquired, one can effectively upgrade a
Jornada 720 to a 728. Daughterboards rarely show up on the market in any
real quantities, usually being pulled from dead units. Although I could
make a total killing of these units, I don’t plan on doing so. I plan on
offering them up to the very supportive and delightfully fanatical HPC
community for around $75 each. I already have about 10 confirmed buyers
after making a post on HPC Factor. After fullfilling those orders, I will
probably start selling them off on eBay. The package containing the units
has been shipped, so I should have them shortly. I am really excited to
be able to upgrade my own personal 720 unit and the prospect of a 10
times return on my investment is nice too :)
Posted in Mobile Blogging | 5 Comments »