Jun 07

Friday Post: Hardware

Hey All,

This week has been kinda awesome and frustrating at the same time.  We had an issue crop up at work that dealt with some legacy app, and it was a part of the system no one had ventured in for a long time.  Needless to say around 3pm today, after a whole week of digging around, we finally had a fix.  Feels good!

I sent the first draft of the first half of my book to the publisher for editing and reviews.  Feels real good!

My buddy Jacob received his Crazyflie nano quadcopter a few weeks ago and has been having a lot of fun with it.  His latest project has been to control it via a Raspberry Pi.  He has been flying it around the office and it’s a lot of fun to play with.  The thing is whisper quiet until you start turning and then it sounds like a humming bird looking for a kill is coming at you.  Again, its a lot of fun, especially with coworkers and nerf guns.

Another frustrating thing happened this week.  I needed to take screenshots of the Raspberry Pi in action playing some games, so I did some research, and it looks liked the best device is an EasyCap DC60.   This device takes input from an RCA jack and goes into your computer via USB, and appears like a webcam with the video.  It also has Mac drivers, which is a big plus.  Now I know there are a lot of fakes out there, and newer models which don’t support OS X, so I went on Amazon, looked for the proper model, and didn’t care that it was fulfilled by a third party.  It was sent via prime and said DC60.  What I got was a piece of counterfeit hardware.

Now, I buy a LOT of hardware from China.  Over the years I have been very lucky about counterfeits.  I tend to not order anything of enough importance to be counterfeited, or its generic enough that EVERYONE makes the same product.  This time I wasn’t so lucky.  I got an Easee Cap DC-60++ that used a utv007 chipset.  This chipset BARELY supports Windows much less OS X or Linux.  The software it came with was also pirated.  I decided I was going to try to get it to work first though, and see if it had any saving grace.

It took two hours but it finally displayed my video in a window.  I was so frustrated.  If you can get your hands on a genuine EasyCap DC60, its supposedly an awesome video capture device.  I’m still on the hunt for one.

 

Anyways, have a good weekend!

-Shea

Feb 08

Friday Post: Warm Bodies and Instamorph

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  I am going to spend most of tomorrow in bed.  I’m beat.  Grad School is great, but exhausting.  Working full time, school, and hobbies (plus my upcoming wedding) is insane.  And yet, I LOVE every second of it.

Warm Bodies

Tonight I had a well deserved date night with the fiancee.  We went and saw the movie Warm Bodies.  It’s a Zom-Rom-Com, like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.  I highly recommend it.

Instamorph

I forget where I saw this product initially, but once I started reading up on it, I had to have it.  Instamorph is mold-able  reusable, quick setting plastic.  The product comes as plastic pellets which you pour into just below boiling water.  When the plastic becomes clear, you can take it out and mold it into any shape you want.  As it cools, it hardens and turns white.

instamorphcat

Kristene made that in about 5 minutes.  I’m going to use it to make standoffs for my Raspberry Pi within the DeskCade.

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

 

 

Feb 01

Friday Post: Nano Quadcopter

Hey All,

Not much to write about this week.  Halfway through the Python for Kids book, will be writing a full review once I get through it all.  My graduate course is ramping up, but I’m still loving it.  Working out the kinks on the Tankstick, like the fact that when I tried to play SF2 with my fiancee, the second player buttons wouldn’t register in game…whoops!  Now onto the meat of the post!

If you have never been to Seeedstudio.com, you really should take a look.  They are an open hardware manufacturer   If you have an idea, and can make a prototype, they can probably mass produce it for you. They are currently selling preorders for a Nano Quadcopter.

At work, we have a couple of the $20 RC Helicopters that we play around with whenever we need to take a break.  We always wanted to get a quadcopter for the office, but most of the time, they are very expensive, too big, and not a full kit.  The size being the biggest factor.  This new quadcopter comes with everything you need, is open source, inexpensive, and best of all, fits in your hand!

One has already been ordered by my coworkers, and should arrive in April.  I’m excited to play with this thing (and hopefully not break a wing on my first attempt!)

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

Dec 29

Friday Post: Relaxing Week

Hey All,

Very short Friday Post.  I’ve been on vacation since Christmas.  My promotion goes into effect next week, and I start my graduate program the following week.  I am enjoying this vacation because it is probably going to be the last free time I get until the next semester.

Now to sleep until Sunday 🙂

Happy New Year everyone.  Here is to a happy and a healthy 2013!

-Shea

Dec 21

Friday Post: PiMAME bandwidth and DeskCade photoshoot!

Happy Friday All!!!!

I am off work until the New Year!!  I think I’m going to sleep until Sunday 🙂

First things first.  Happy Holidays and an early Happy New Year to all my readers.  All of you have been awesome.  Thank you for all the comments.

PiMAME Updates

I have used up over 100GB of bandwidth in a week.  That’s AWESOME.  I have never used so much bandwidth ever, yet alone in a week.  Luckily I have generous bandwidth allotments between my two hosts, so hopefully I won’t have to scramble for mirrors again.

Expect PiMAME updates over the weekend.  I am doing a lot to it.  The next update should be great.

Photoshoot

We had a secret santa in my department, and my co-worker was given a really cool light box since he is a freelance photographer.  He did a little photo shoot of my DeskCade units.

-Shea

Nov 30

Friday Post: Push It!

Hey all,

This has been a LONG week.  Wednesday we pushed to production our new code base that we had been working on all semester.  This is an internal productivity app that is used by everyone in our department, so it’s kind of a big deal.  It was exhausting.  Did some long shifts back to back to make sure it was pushed after hours, and that I was available during all working hours in case of any large issues.

We only had a couple major bugs show up that we missed in testing, and as usual, search is hard.  I am thinking about migrating our search system to Whoosh or Solr next week as a proof of concept.

Now that this has been taken care of, I have a lot more time on my hands to work on my own projects.  That means more compiling and more debs to come.  I had an epiphany about getting something to work, so I’m going to try it this weekend.

On an AWESOME note, My Fix It Felix Jr. DeskCade arrived at Disney Studios.  I was sent these pictures of Rich Moore, Director of Wreck It Ralph, playing with it!

Nov 09

Friday Post: Exciting News to come soon!

Hey All,

It’s been an exciting week.  Pushed new code to our QA servers which has taken up most of my time.  Been doing late shifts and weekend shifts to make sure everything works.  I’ve also been tapped to be a Technical Reviewer of a book, so that has taken up some time.  And I also have an exciting project that I can’t talk about just yet, but it’s really cool.

I have so much on my backlog, I promise I will get to it.  After tonight, my plate should be a lot cleaner and I will actually have time to do more than just eat, work, and sleep.

Have a great weekend.  Go see Wreck It Ralph.  I’m going to enjoy my first Saturday off in a month by sleeping till Sunday 😉

-Shea

Nov 02

Friday Post: Wreck It Ralph!

Happy Friday everyone!

I just got back from seeing Wreck-It Ralph and here’s my verdict:  Go see it right now. Not only was it a great story, it was a great homage to the entire gaming industry.

Today I also got an iPad Mini. I have an iPhone 4S and love it. At work I use an iPad 3 and have found it to be too big and bulky. This iPad Mini is amazing. It’s light, has a great screen, and fits my hand(s) perfectly. I’m even typing this whole post on the mini right now.   So far it’s totally worth it.

I got AdvanceMESS compiled with sound but I have yet to test it. I have an issue where check install doesn’t like installing both mame and mess because they have some of the same executables (advcfg, etc.). If anyone knows much about Debian package creation I would love some help and advice.

Have a great weekend!

Oct 06

Friday(ish) Post: Hanging out with Eben and Liz

Hey all,

Sorry for the late post.  The past two days have been jam packed and I had limited internet access.

Friday and Saturday I was at Magic Ruby.  It was a Ruby conference at the Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios park. I’m still decompressing from the conference, so I’m not ready to make a full review about it.  Some talks were amazing, some were downright crappy.  I’m just exhausted.

Right after the conference Friday night, I had to run straight to the FamiLAB Hacker Space in Longwood, Florida because they were hosting Eben and Liz from the Raspberry Pi foundation!

We spent the first part of the night hanging out with Eben and Liz, showing off our projects.  Liz loved my arcade cabinet, and I need to get a kit out to her ASAP 🙂  Eben and Liz then did an interview with the Orlando Sentinel (as did I regarding my projects).  After the interview, Eben did a presentation to a standing room only gathering of people regarding the Pi, as well as a QA from the audience.  It was a great event!

Eben and Liz are both really humble and genuinely nice people.  I’m really glad I was able to spend some time with them.

Also, on a side note, my little Color Picker test app for Windows 8 passed certification, and is now in the Windows App Store!  Go me!

Have a great weekend!

-Shea