First week of the semester is done! Can’t say everything went off without a hitch. Ran into a nasty timezone issue between servers that I just couldn’t figure out. One image, two servers cloned from that image. When pulling the info from Python one reported UTC, the other Eastern. Tried a bunch of different ways to force Eastern, but eventually used this:
from datetime import datetime
from pytz import timezone
fmt = "%m/%d/%Y %I:%M:%S"
# Current time in UTC
now_utc = datetime.now(timezone('UTC'))
# Convert to US/Eastern time zone
now_eastern = now_utc.astimezone(timezone('US/Eastern'))
So yeah, that was a fun couple days trying to make sure our data wasn’t 4 hours off 🙂 Also, we might be getting hit by a Tropical Storm / Hurricane on Monday. Yay.
Onto the cool stuff! Maker Faire Orlando!
I am working on two projects for Maker Faire. The first is with Factur and FamiLAB. We are making the worlds LARGEST arcade cabinet! It is so awesome. I can’t wait for the electronics to come in so I can help wire it up. I’ll be posting more details as we get closer to the Faire!
The top panel was recently added on, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it because it is about an inch from touching the ceiling of the warehouse, and I just couldn’t get a good angle on it. This thing is massive! It’s a beast!
My personal project is a new modular arcade cabinet.
This is a 3 piece cabinet that breaks down into sections for easy movement, transporation, and customization. My main requirement was that it had to fit in my PT Cruiser, everything from there was negotiable. This is what it looks like so far:
1/3 Model. Cat for Scale.
Team working the ShopBot CNC Machine.
3D Printed a Bulbasaur using glow in the dark filament!
I apologize for not posting last week, I just needed to take a small break. Brain has been pretty fried.
This weekend is the Orlando Maker Faire. This year marks the beginning of us being a full fledged Maker Faire, rather than just a Mini Maker Faire. It’s kinda cool. I will be showing off PiPlay and Pimoroni’s Picade inside of FamiLAB’s booth. The Maker Faire is at the Orlando Science Center. If anyone is in the Central Florida region, you should stop by!
The next update of PiPlay is coming along nicely. 2 player control setup is in, a wireless config utility has been added, the rom listing menu has been heavily optimized for much faster scrolling, and some other general bug fixes. I’m hoping to release this over the weekend after Maker Faire.
Happy Friday! I got an email this morning from Packt giving me the stats for my book sales from October to December of 2013. I’m happy to report that I have sold over 200 copies. Thank you all so much!
This weekend I will be doing a last minute presentation of PiMAME with FamiLAB at the Orlando Science Center. I will then be preparing for PyCon in Montreal, where I will be doing a poster session on how PiMAME was built in Python. I will also be attending Instructurecon in Utah and speaking about LTIs and how we program and implement them at UCF. It’s going to be a fun two months of traveling 🙂
I have gotten some great feedback on PiMAME 0.8, and I am going to be working on some fixes this weekend (these are my two low hanging fruit goals to complete):
This has been a fun week. Trying to fight of the germs going around now that everyone is settled into classes. This is usually when the colds start going around. A few coworkers are already coughing. I may need to put up a fort around my desk. On the plus side I am seeing Yellowcard this weekend!!!
The PyCon call for proposals deadline passed. I put in 2 talks and a poster session. I am volunteering this year as part of the program committee, and I am really excited about going. I hope one of my proposals makes it.
I caught all of the Pokemon NFC figures. Yeah, I have a problem. The Gamestop near me allowed me to bring in my Wii U and scan the Pokeballs before buying them so I could pick out the ones I needed to complete my collection. Some Gamestops really are awesome.
In exciting news, I saw the final pdf of my book, and it is being sent to the printer now!!! In a few days I’ll have the Amazon link to post.
The laser cutter at FamiLAB bit the dust. The controller board’s heatsink fell off causing a short and frying the board. I had some prototypes I wanted to cut so I ended up uploading my SVGs to Ponoko.com and getting them cut there. They quoted me $18 to print out a prototype DeskCade, which isn’t bad considering the amount of space I had left free on the material. I could probably have printed two for the same price if I spent more time rearranging the parts. On the plus side, they said it would take 10 days for cutting and 5 days for shipping. I ordered it on Thursday and it was shipping by Wednesday, so I’m really happy about that.
I can’t wait to see the quality of the parts!
PiMAME update should be soon. This will be include a custom kernel for the Xin-Mo controller.
I have one week until the Fall semester starts at UCF. Everyone in our department is rushing to make sure we are all ready, everything is updated, and everybody’s happy. I’m excited. I think this semester is going to be wonderful.
Over the week I bought a Leap Motion device. Ever since I saw the preview of it, I was awe struck. This device has the ability to make a huge paradigm shift in the way we provide input and controls to our computer systems. It makes me even sadder to say that I returned it. I had such high hopes for the device, but, there were just too many things wrong on the software side.
The hardware is top notch. It just works. The software was crummy at best. It requires a lot of CPU power to run. I tried it on a Core 2 Duo, and the input lag was horrible. On a Core i5 it was fine, but I shouldn’t require that much CPU power just for an input device. The app store was also disappointing. There were a lot of apps available, but the vast majority cost money. The third party free mouse driver software wasn’t top notch. It made using the computer a chore. In reality, the software made it feel like a poor man’s kinect. 🙁 I am willing to give it a second chance, because the hardware is top notch. They just need the dev team to put some polish on the UX.
Raspberry Pi Pip-Boy
This is really cool. Panda from Hardware Libre posted this in the comments and on the PiMAME forums. This is a homemade Raspberry Pi Pip Boy.
Raspberry Pi Camera NoIR
So, last week at FamiLAB, Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Software at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, paid us a visit and talked to us about hardware, software, and a cool version of the Raspberry Pi camera that is being released.
It’s called the Pi NoIR, and it’s the Camera Board without the IR filter. Without the IR filter, you are able to capture part of the infrared spectrum, which you can test out by pointing your TV remote to the camera and pressing a button. What is invisible to your eye will show up on the camera sensor, and on your screen. A flashing beam of light coming from the remote control. There is a whole genre of IR photography, and this will allow you to get started in it.
That’s all for this week, I hope you all have a good weekend!