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DMI News

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A new game

June 08, 2003 20:02

This one involves the RC Car. It's very simple right now, and I'm still improving the interface, but for now it'll work. The objective is to capture pictures of two markers, one in the office and one in the bar as fast as possible. Go to the RC Car page and click on Race Instructions to learn more.

I tweaked the settings on the Living Room cam a bit to see if I could get a better image. It's.... not horrible. Could probably be better. I'll work on it.


Slideshow Conversationalists

June 02, 2003 22:18

Every so often, someone comes along, looks at the different webcams, stumbles upon the slideshow, see's a girl on there, and starts talking to her. Now, everyone with half an ounce of sense, or anyone that bothers to read the caption right below the picture will know that the slideshow is a sequence of prerecorded pictures, some from as many as 4 years ago. Some of these people will go on for up to an hour, usually with requests to remove various articles of clothing. Now, if it was someone who read and spoke no english, I would understand. But this clearly is not the case. These people either refuse to read, or refuse to accept the obvious. I will agree that some of the girls that visit here, and therefore appear on the slideshow, are somewhat drool inducing, but the site wasn't built around only rocket scientists in mind. People should be able to figure out that the slideshow isn't live. Heck, it's hard enough convincing some people that ANY of the cams are live, but I guess ignorance knows all extremes.

So now I'm pondering, what would be the best, least annoying, yet obvious method of informing those who just refuse to get it, that their comments and requests are falling, literally, upon deaf ears? Sugguestions are welcome.


No Go on Slack 9

June 02, 2003 08:51

Not sure if it's the OS or the hardware, but Slack 9 crashes the machine, complete lockup. Both times it has happened, it seems to be during NFS operations, but that might just be a coincidence. So I've decided to format and try redhat 9 out instead. I'm going to spend the next two weeks giving this machine a test run and moving over the data. If after two weeks everything is kosher, it'll replace spaz and that machine will get put back into circulation, most likely replacing one of the slower computers, or possibly a new setup in the den, kitchen, or bar. I'm going to need a system to capture video and audio from the TV once I have that working, and two weeks might be enough time to do it, assuming I don't need any new hardware.



May 28, 2003 09:29

Samba is working on Slack 9, at least remotely. I'll have to confirm it works locally as well, but that's simple enough. Now for named.


A Number of Developments

May 27, 2003 00:41

I've successfully installed Slackware 9 on a test machine and I plan to upgrade the main server as soon as I have a new system for it. However, I have one nagging problem. Samba doesn't work with my network. It works fine on the Slack 7.0 system, however it will not work on Slack 9 or any late version of redhat, at least, not with the configuration I have. I don't use encryption for smb and I only use a guest account with no password, but it doesn't work, and so far, my efforts to make it work have been in vain.

I'm going to spend some time this week getting old features functional again. The car's working again now, but I also want to fix the FAQ, the doorbell, the barcode scanner, the object of the day, the motion sensor logs, and the # of people watching each cam. I'm also going to start some projects, even if I can't follow through completely on all of them. The universal remote interface for instance. I can rig it up and have it working, although it will be difficult to observe until I place a better positioned camera or video feed straight into a capture card. However, before I can do that, I need more capture cards.

I also need a linear radio amplifier that functions in the 49mhz range so I can give the car some better range. Right now, there are several places in the house that it loses its signal. Once the car can traverse the entire house, I can build a ramp so it can climb out of the living room and create some games involving the car.

I also need to permanantly solder my breadboard job that I currently use for the office lamp, sprinkler, and office cam rotor. A couple more panning rotors would be nice too, now that I have more linux boxes scattered around the house I can probably rig one up in the living room and lab without too much difficulty. A pan/tilt mount will be nice for the future, but right now, none of my cams have appropriate mounts on them that would facilitate attaching them to a surface that can tilt. I've had to resort to superglue to attach the office cam to the rotor, as nothing else will work.


Car's Schedule this Week

May 27, 2003 00:00

I'm going to be away for part of the week, and therefore I'll be unable to change the battery on the car every 12 hours to keep it running, so here's the expected time the car should be operational:

Operational All day Tuesday until about 9 pm.
Out of commission until Wednesday at about 6 pm.
Operational until Thursday at about 9 pm.
Out of commission until Friday at about 6 pm.

Afterwards, the car will be fully operational again 24 hours a day.


Temperature Now Fixed

May 26, 2003 21:42

Well, at least I hope so. I'm now pulling temperature data from another source. It seems a bit flaky, but it should work ok. I still need to be able to grab rain data too, to disable the sprinkler on days that it's raining, but one thing at a time.


Car works again

May 26, 2003 21:21

Turned out one of the sockets I soldered to the PC board in the car had come loose and that was the cause of the downtime. Of course, the constant abuse is most likely the cause.

For that reason, I'm going to permanantly ban from the site anyone who abuses it in any way, accidental or otherwise. If you don't think you understand how to drive it, DON'T TRY.


Follow the Patterns of Thought

May 22, 2003 01:32

Last night I "purchased" a 30 pack of CDRs, which meant today I had the opportunity to do some much needed housecleaning on my server's harddrives. Of course, no sooner than I was burning my second CD, I suddenly noticed this huge gap of recently liberated free space. Well, as nature abhors a vacuum, I abhor a hard disk with blank space, so I proceed to begin filling it, with the typical large swath of usenet downloads.

And as I play the game of trying to burn faster than I download, I start thinking about how much of my downstream bandwidth goes to waste. My upstream is well utilized, obviously, but I doubt I even take advantage of 10% of my downstream overall. Of course, part of the reason for this is that if I WAS using 100% of my downstream and saving everything I downloaded (which I am apt to do), I would need to burn a little more than one CD an hour. About 26-27 CDs a day. But what if.... I didn't actually have to download from usenet. What if all the groups I regularly access are already fully downloaded, up to date to the last minute, ready for me to access as I wish. It's hard to keep on top of these things, but if I could spend short bursts each day just copying off what I wanted as I wanted it, and burning it as needed, that could make sense. But to do that, I'd need a lot of spare HD space, and in light of recent events, that's one thing I don't have...... or do I.

See, the 120 gig HD crashed on me, although it still works. I just don't trust it. However, and fdisk and format of the drive, this time into more reasonable sized partitions, might just fix whatever weird problem I had with it. Of course, I wouldn't want to use it for anything even remotely important, but using it as a newsserver cache COULD work. Worst case, I just trash it and pull down stuff off usenet as I did before, no harm done. So all that's left to do now is to format the drive. But I can't do that until I've finished cleaning stuff off the last partition on that drive that was still accessible.

So I find myself going through some old mp3's that I had stored on there, and had set aside because I enjoyed them. Bands called Helloween, Falconer, Blind Guardian, several different Les Miserables recordings. And another directory containing the musical Urinetown. It's an interesting musical, that I recommend you listen to at least once, especially if you like musicals. One of the songs, "Don't be the bunny" has elements to it that reminded me of the Myth novels that I was reading during, and slightly after a relationship that kinda failed to ever get started. Brought back a few weird feelings just tracing through the pattern of thoughts in that, because that musical I listened to over and over again while I was getting over some things. Why, I don't know. It had nothing to do with us, or with her. But it was timely, and it had a very very loose connection to the books she'd introduced me to, and therefore I was reading.

So I continued to search the partition and I stumble across another directory, and in this directory there are more mp3 files, downloaded more recently. Like, in late October, and early November of last year. And instead of the stubborn feeling of regret for things that would never be that was tickled by the first musical discovery, the latter selection bought back memories of the first night I met someone. Someone very special to me. Feelings of joy. I knew there were some good memories on that evil HD somewhere.

Oh, and Weird Al has a new album out now. My favorite song from the new album is "Ode to a Superhero", a song about the Spiderman movie set to Billy Joel's Piano Man. Wonder if he's making a video for it... that'd be cool.


Free CDs

May 21, 2003 10:06

So I'm shopping late last night at the grocery store. Although I went in there for exactly two things, I ended up with an armful of stuff by the time I got to the cash register, too many things I suddenly couldn't live without. Included in that was a 30 pack of CDRs. There was a bin full of them with a sign that said $7.99. Now, this isn't the cheapest price available for CDRs; I can get 50 for the same price at Fry's, but I needed them badly, and Fry's is a bit of a drive, so I figured it's worth the little extra cost, so I grabbed a spindle of them.

Got up to the register, and after all the items were scanned and the bill was totaled, I figured it seemed a bit high, but I handed over my money anyways. Then I glanced up at the screen and noticed the CDRs were marked at $12.99. So I pointed this out to the cashier and she called in management, and someone went to retrieve the sign and they unscanned the CDRs and everyone who had the capability to do an override left. It was confirmed that the sign said $7.99. Although the REAL price was $12.99, they said they'd give me the printed price, only fair after all. But suddenly nobody was around who had keys to do the override on the register, so the cashier couldn't rescan the CDRs or enter a new price for them, so she just quietly stuffed them in my bag and told me I'm getting them for free. Cool way to end the day. :)