I foolishly had a late night last night, for no particularly good reason, so I slept in quite late this morning. I didn't start getting going until about 8am. How decadent.
I'd forgotten to send Zoe to Kindergarten with her water bottle yesterday, and forgotten to give it to Sarah when she picked her up yesterday, so I dropped it and a fresh set of spare clothes out to Kindergarten after I had breakfast and a shower. I managed to sneak in and out without Zoe seeing me.
I did some more work on my taxes before popping out for lunch to discuss my main start up idea. I also renamed my old shelf company today.
I biked over to Kindergarten for pick up, and sure enough, Zoe was fast asleep. It took quite a bit of work to rouse her. I was pretty sure she was just faking it though. She moved pretty fast when I said I had a surprise at home for her.
We biked home, and I gave her the surprise (some Pop Rocks I'd been saving for a special occasion) and headed out by car to a makeup Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class to make up for the one she missed on Friday.
It turned out that trying to do an afternoon class after Kindergarten and being woken up from a nap wasn't the best idea. Zoe tired out pretty quickly, during the warm up exercises, and was moderately uncooperative for the remainder of the class (she kept going on strike).
I've never driven to or from BJJ classes until today, and I wasn't actually sure how best to drive home, since we've always taken the Norman Park Greenway. Zoe was asking for a "different way" anyway, so that worked out well. We winged it through Coorparoo and the back of Norman Park and tacked onto the end of how we'd normally cycle home.
Zoe had enough time to watch a little bit of TV before Sarah arrived to pick her up.
Today I finished off the last section of garden edging I have been installing. Below is a picture to mark the event.
Now it’s completed I have a list of other tasks I now must commence in the backyard, so it all starts again on Saturday morning. The rain the past week has highlighted some problem areas which I need to resolve before winter comes around, cause I wouldn’t like to have a wet winter and still have water drainage problems.
I’ve also managed to use the new Makita Cordless Jigsaw and completely love it. It’s just so good having a cordless jigsaw and no need to run leads for quick cuts.
I was pretty knackered today. I should have done some Debian stuff, but I just didn't have it in me, and I had a backlog of household stuff to get done.
Zoe woke up at 4am, and I didn't have the energy to try and get her to go back to sleep in her bed, so I just let her sleep in my bed. We both slept in until 7am, which was nice.
As a result, we didn't have as much time to have a slow start, and Zoe was a bit grumpy and uncooperative as a result. I think there was at least one meltdown before breakfast.
It conveniently rained around the time we were ready to leave, so we drove to Kindergarten. Drop off was super smooth. She pretty much waved me off as soon as we got there.
I picked up a couple of packages from the post office on the way home, and then started hanging out the washing before I had to go back to see the podiatrist to get my orthotics fitted in my new running shoes. I finished hanging out the washing and putting away stuff from the Coochie trip and Melbourne trip and had some lunch.
After lunch I started work on making a little step for Zoe so she can turn the light off in her bedroom. I had enough material left over from the clothes lines I made for her to make a really dodgy little "stool".
It rained again around pick up time, so I drove to Kindergarten again, and picked up Zoe. She'd just woken up from a nap before I got there and was in a good mood. Megan's Dad was picking up Megan on foot, and they were going to have a coffee at the local coffee shop, so we joined them.
After that, we went to the post office to check my post office box. I had a cheque that needed to be banked, so we went to the bank and the supermarket, and by then it was pretty much time for Sarah to pick up Zoe from me.
I did a bit more carpentry before I lost the light, and went to yoga.
Final report for DrupalGov Canberra 2013 attached.For subcommittee: DrupalGov Attachments: Summary report.pdf
Here's the slides from the Panopoly talk I gave at DrupalSouth.
Totally missed it, but a friend alerted me to the fact we have a new voice services provider in play. Telecube seem to be a new provider and seem to be making a name for themselves.
I signed up on the weekend, and the immediate thing I noticed was the very nice portal for configuration of the services and the fact you can configure up to 10 extensions which is very handy.
- How Aborigines could solve Australia’s bushfire problem http://t.co/v3jShrr1Fb 17:27:00, 2014-03-02
- Tories lie about NBN cost & coverage http://t.co/BotuOxXRqO #auspol 15:33:04, 2014-02-28
- Abbott’s wars against women and the judiciary continue in earnest http://t.co/dVmKTqec3Z #auspol 13:19:09, 2014-02-28
- Bernie Ecclestone puts F1 in pole position for the homophobia race to the bottom http://t.co/XaLm5PW5Ps 22:59:02, 2014-02-26
- @checkouttv NSW Fair Trading said I had a case, but were completely unhelpful when I needed to act. Consumer law is a paper tiger. 19:36:15, 2014-02-26
- Under Abbott, political principles at federal & state levels have hit all-time lows http://t.co/xt3C7Os27I #auspol 13:19:04, 2014-02-26
- Exxon Mobile CEO Sues To Stop Fracking Near His Texas Ranch http://t.co/tK1edXesIL 19:32:11, 2014-02-25
- Coal mining drains & contaminates Sydney’s water catchment http://t.co/51oCKG3PTo 17:27:02, 2014-02-25
- The food ratings system the govt didn’t want you to see http://t.co/YMGfrRooK7 #auspol 15:33:01, 2014-02-25
- Australian govt puts war criminal in charge of concentration camp http://t.co/OFtzDxfq9I #auspol 13:19:04, 2014-02-25
- What’s the world’s most popular tool? Skip to the end for some simple entrepreneurial tips. http://t.co/df1EbNtZrl 22:59:08, 2014-02-24
- The “end of entitlement” seems to apply more to manufacturers than to farmers or formerly govt-owned airlines http://t.co/ah90kI6hb3 #auspol 20:42:01, 2014-02-24
- Chevron offers free pizza in compensation for fatal fracking explosion http://t.co/n5S7IGys15 19:32:07, 2014-02-24
- Stupid things fundamentalists say http://t.co/wgkuRjERqi 17:27:02, 2014-02-24
- We need a royal commission into deaths in Australian concentration camps. Release the cabinet documents! http://t.co/MWUJwqr58I #auspol 15:33:00, 2014-02-24
- the weight of the average Australian adult has increased by more than 5.7kgs over the past 25 years http://t.co/yXE00F1C7H 13:19:01, 2014-02-24
Over this time I tried using a 5 way joystick for input as well as some more unconventional mechanisms. The Blackberry Trackballer from SparkFun is my favourite primary input device for the player. Most of the right hand side board is to make using that trackballer simpler, boiling it down to a nice I2C device without the need for tight timing or 4 interrupt lines on the Arduino.
The battery in the middle area of the screen is the single 16850 protected battery cell that runs the whole show. The battery leads via a switch to a 3.7v -> 5v step up to provide a clean power input. Mid way down the right middle board is a low dropout 3v3 regulator from which the bulk of the board is running. The SFE OLED character display wants its 5v, and the vs1063 breakout board, for whatever reason, wants to regulate its own 3v3 from a 5v input. Those are the two 5v holdouts on the board.
Last blog post I was still using a Uno as the primary microcontroller. I also got rid of that Uno and moved to an on board 328 running at 8Mhz and 3v3. Another interesting leaning experience was finding when something 'felt' like it needed a cap. At times the humble cap combo is a great way to get things going again after changing a little part of the board. After the last clean up it should all fit onto 3 boards again, so might then also fit back into the red box. Feels a bit sad not to have broken the red box threshold anymore :|
Loosely the board comes out somewhat like the below... there are things missing from the fritzing layout, but its a good general impression. The trackballer only needs power, gnd, I2C, and MR pin connections. With reasonable use of SMD components the whole thing should shrivel down to the size of the OLED PCB.
Without tuning the code to sleep the 328 or turn off the attin84 + OLED screen (oled is only set all black), it uses about 65mA while playing. I'm running the attiny84 and OLED from an output pin on the 4050 level shifter, so I can drop power to them completely if I want. I can expect above 40hrs continuous play without doing any power optimization. So its all going to improve from there ;)
So far I am very impressed, as I was able to plug in the Obi202 and ObiLine with minimal setup. The ability to do basic configuration via the web portal on Obitalk is good, but if you want some serious tweaking and configuration you can use Obiexpert mode via Obitalk portal or the web interface on the device itself.
If you have no VoIP providers configured soon as you setup the Obi202 or similar products you could do free calls between devices. i.e setup an Obihai device say at your own place and grab another one at a relatives. Once these are both configured via the Obitalk portal on each account, you can do Obitalk free calls between them by dialing the Obitalk number that each unit is assigned.
If you ever find yourself doing a bit of technical support for relatives over the phone, there's nothing like actually seeing what they are doing on their computer. One of the best tools for such remote desktop sharing is vnc.
Here's the best setup I have come up with so far. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment!Basic vnc configuration
First off, you need two things: a vnc server on your relative's machine and a vnc client on yours. Thanks to vnc being an open protocol, there are many choices for both.
Since I have ssh access on the machine that needs to run the server, I simply login and then run x11vnc. Here's what ~/.x11vnrc contains:noxdamage
That option appears to be necessary when the desktop to share is running gnome-shell / compiz.
Afterwards, I start the client on my laptop with the following command:ssvncviewer -encodings zrle -scale 1280x775 localhost
The scaling factor is simply the resolution of the client minus any window decorations.ssh configuration
As you can see above, the client is not connecting directly to the server. Instead it's connecting to its own vnc port (localhost:5900). That's because I'm tunelling the traffic through the ssh connection in order to avoid relying on vnc extensions for authentication and encryption.
Here's what the client's ~/.ssh/config needs for that simple use case:Host server.example.com: LocalForward 5900 127.0.0.1:5900
If the remote host (which has an internal IP address of 192.168.1.2 in this example) is not connected directly to the outside world and instead goes through a gateway, then your ~/.ssh/config will look like this:Host gateway.example.com: ForwardAgent yes LocalForward 5900 192.168.1.2:5900 Host server.example.com: ProxyCommand ssh -q -a gateway.example.com nc -q0 %h 22
and the remote host will need to open up a port on its firewall for the gateway (internal IP address of 192.168.1.1 here):iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 5900 -s 192.168.1.1/32 -j ACCEPT Optimizing for high-latency networks
Since I do most of my tech support over a very high latency network, I tweaked the default vnc settings to reduce the amount of network traffic.
I added this to ~/.x11vncrc on the vnc server:ncache 10 ncache_cr
and changed the client command line to this:ssvncviewer -compresslevel 9 -quality 3 -bgr233 -encodings zrle -use64 -scale 1280x775 -ycrop 1024 localhost
This decreases image quality (and required bandwidth) and enables client-side caching.
The magic 1024 number is simply the full vertical resolution of the remote machine, which sports a vintage 1280x1024 LCD monitor.
Dell (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages
This is an older book now, and I read it many many years ago but re-read it this last couple of weeks. I enjoyed this book. Its believable (if a little dated now), and interesting. It certainly made me think more about the first amendment and how it affects dangerous products like cigarettes than I would have otherwise.
Tags for this post: book john_grisham court law jury litigation cigarette
Related posts: Brazilian police to old lady: "Please sue us!"; Please report to the municipal hall of justice; Kynan's going to be in trouble... Comment Recommend a book
Chris Anderson interviewed Elon Musk about the Tesla cars, SpaceX, and his new venture Solar City . Elon has a lot of great ideas for improving humanity while also making money.
Maryn McKenna wrote an interesting article for Wired about what happens when the current anti-biotics stop working . Unfortunately she lists increasing food prices as a consequence, really the unreasonably low price of meat is due to the misuse of anti-biotics that is causing this problem.
Linda Walther Tirado wrote an interesting article about being poor titled “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts” . It gives a real insight into the situation of people who are trapped in poverty. When someone who is as obviously intelligent as Linda feels that it’s impossible to escape poverty there is a real problem in the system. While Australia doesn’t suck nearly as badly as the US in this regard (higher minimum wage and better health care) we still need to improve things, I know people in Australia who’s experience bears some similarity to Linda’s.
Maxwell Neely-Cohen wrote an interesting article about peer pressure . Some of the conclusions are dubious, but the ideas on the way the Internet changes peer relationships in high school are interesting.
There are some decent people in the Liberal Party, Liberal MP Warren Entsch attacks Cory Bernardi on ‘gay obsession’ . AFAIK we haven’t yet had a gay sex scandal involving a homophobic Australian politician…
-  http://tinyurl.com/ovwctme
-  http://tinyurl.com/cz93dpq
-  http://www.ted.com/talks/elon_musk_the_mind_behind_tesla_spacex_solarcity.html
-  http://tinyurl.com/jwcyomu
-  http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_piff_does_money_make_you_mean.html
-  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/11/end-abx/
-  http://tinyurl.com/nucpwg2
-  http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/everybodys-doing-it/
-  http://tinyurl.com/qxptgvd
-  http://tinyurl.com/k69mqo9
Wow, today was pretty crazy in terms of the travel we managed to pack into one day.
This morning, Zoe woke up at about 5:30am and jumped into bed with me for a snuggle and another half hour nap. After that we got up. Zoe had been eyeing off the egg cups in the house, and so I'd wanted to do soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. So we doused ourselves in mosquito repellent and raided the chicken coop.
I don't think I've ever cooked soft-boiled eggs in my entire adult life, and today wasn't an exception. They came out hard-boiled. Zoe still ate them anyway, she just couldn't do the toast soldier thing. I need to buy some egg cups for home and we can try again. I hear the Thermomix can do boiled eggs.
After breakfast and a shower, I got stuck into packing up and cleaning the house, and Zoe watched TV. At 8am she turned off the TV and declared she wanted to play in the yard. It was nice to see that she wanted to do something more than just veg out in front of the TV, without prompting.
I had us all packed up by about 8:30am and we were only 5 minutes from where the barge docked, so we drove over to the other end of the island to take a look at the place at high tide. It was quite different from the two days before in the afternoon at low tide. The stick that we'd walked out to was barely above the waterline.
Then we drove back to wait in the queue for the barge. The barge journey back was uneventful and we made it back home by 10am, which was about the time I was expecting, and rendezvoused with my girlfriend, and did a fast unpack and repack. We then headed to the airport, arriving comfortably with enough time to check our luggage and get some lunch to take onto the plane.
Zoe was great for the flight down. She watched Brave on the in-flight WiFi entertainment on my phone, and got to fit the whole movie in before we landed, but this meant she skipped a nap.
By the time we got to Melbourne Airport, she was in the post-tired manic state, but we weren't in any particular rush, so we had a very roundabout trip to baggage claim, and then after we'd acquired some Myki cards, caught a taxi to our accommodation in South Melbourne.
After we'd unpacked and settled in, and I'd gotten some supplies from the local convenience store, we caught a tram into Bourke Street to go to Chinatown for dinner, after checking out the view from the observation deck on the 28th floor.
We found a great dumpling place, and Zoe really enjoyed the pork dumpling and noodle soup that I ordered for her. She kept alternating between eating the noodles with her training chopsticks and the broth with one of the big spoons. She was getting really over-tired and over-stimulated by this point, so it was quite a bit of cat-herding to get to Chinatown, and more so getting back to a tram to come back.
We got home, Zoe had a quick shower and went to bed without a peep. Her room is nice and dark, so I'm hoping that she'll have a bit of a sleep in tomorrow. (Wishful thinking).
I'm really quite pleased with how smoothly today's travel went. Everything went off without a hitch.
If there’s one phrase in client services that irritates me, it’s “what the client expects.” Clients come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types of experience. If a client has previously worked with a designer, then they’ll likely base their expectations on that process. If a client hasn’t worked with a designer, they may base their expectations on the second-hand experiences of friends and colleagues. In both cases, the process may not be the same this time around.
During a project, we build relationships with our clients while we learn how best to work together. Through talking to them, we establish what might be the best deliverables to help them understand our mutual goals in the design process.
It’s difficult to decide upon the most appropriate deliverables before the process begins. The concepts may become easier to describe in different ways at different times. You may want to create a document in lower fidelity when sharing rough ideas with a client. Or you might want to show design work in higher fidelity to help a client visualize exactly what you intend. They’re working documents, part of a working process.“The client expects PSDs/wireframes/templates”
It’s part of our job to decide the most appropriate way to share our work with a client. If the client has already established what they believe to be the “right deliverables” based on their work with a previous designer, it’s our job to respectfully nudge them in the right direction, while explaining our reasons behind those decisions.
We can’t sit still and wait for clients to dictate the best process to us. The web is not a constant, and the solutions we offer are continually evolving. Some projects might require a working prototype so we can show a client exactly what we mean. Some areas of a project might just need a quick sketch to convey the basic idea to the client. We can’t expect to keep up with changing technology if we’re keeping our processes, and the work we create, exactly as we and others have done before.Setting out specific deliverables in estimates and proposals
Detailing “I will deliver 1x Photoshop file as a final design” in your estimate or proposal is setting yourself up for failure. We can’t ever know how many deliverables we’ll need to convey our ideas effectively, or what fidelity will work best at each step of the design process. We need the flexibility to create the deliverables that best convey our ideas whenever we need them. Without creating deliverables as needed, and sticking to a pre-defined schedule and structure, we run the risk of wasting our time and the client’s budget by creating deliverables just for the purpose of fulfilling the proposal, and without any real meaning or value.Design is the journey
In web design, the deliverables we create are rarely the final product; they’re rarely the thing we’re going to “put live” to any users. They’re throwaway documents, a history of the design work that evolved into that final product.
Often designers speak about their Photoshop documents, wireframes, or prototypes as if they are the “designs”—but they’re not. They’re a form of communication between us and the client. The act of creating these deliverables is the design. The decisions we’re making, the solutions we’re lining up and checking off, selecting and rejecting: this journey is the design. The deliverable is just a vehicle.
We need to stop acting as though deliverables are the be-all and end-all of web design, and treat them as the communication tool that they are. If designers are seen to be just the producers of design artifacts, we’ll be treated as technicians, not as the professionals that we are.
Last night went pretty well. Once I got Zoe to sleep, she slept well, with only a brief wake up around 2am. Any mosquito bites she sustained didn't seem to give her any grief. She woke this morning at 6am. It makes me think the blackout curtains at home aren't really contributing to her sleeping in.
We had a lazy start to the day. Zoe watched some TV after breakfast, and after I had a shower, fed some bread crusts to the chickens and then we played with the box of dress up costumes for a little while.
After that, we jumped on the bike and went down to check out the trademark of Quirky Cottages, a bunch of converted rail cars and "zoo". There were chickens, geese, guinea pigs, a sheep and a donkey. The rail cars weren't anything much to phone home about (much like the Cow House). In fact the whole affair looked a bit dilapidated.
Then we continued on the bike down to the local playground, where Zoe had a swing for a bit. We walked over to the jetty and watched the passenger ferry arrive, and then bought a loaf of bread at the store and biked back to the house.
It was too early to have lunch, so we just pottered around in the yard. We inspected the chicken coop, and Zoe played on the swings and swung from the rope swing. We tried and failed to catch a chicken, because Zoe wanted me to pick one up.
We had lunch, and then Zoe had some fabulous self-directed imaginative play indoors with the various props the house had to offer, while I put my feet up. Then she declared she wanted to take a nap anyway.
After her nap, I wanted to go back to the beach. I'd gotten myself all organised so that we could try and jump on the bike as soon as possible once Zoe woke up, but there was the requisite amount of stuffing around. I'd put Zoe's water shoes on, so she could ride in the trailer in her swim gear ready to go, but she had a mosquito bite on her foot that was giving her grief, so I cut my losses, and took the water shoes off and put her sandals back on, and promptly left the water shoes behind. We got all the way to the beach before I realised, and so we had to go back and get them.
Once we finally made it back to the beach, I chose a different location than yesterday, just so we would not have any memories of the mud crab incident to deal with. It turned out to be a good choice, because we had a fabulous time exploring.
The tide was even lower than yesterday, and the water was a bit silty, so we didn't do much paddling around in it, instead we explored the rock pools.
We found some tiny (1 centimetre and smaller) hermit crabs. These didn't seem to freak Zoe out, and she was even prepared to hold them. We saw some really small mud crabs. Once we were still for a little while heaps of soldier crabs started coming out, right near us. That was pretty cool.
On the walk back to the bike, I found a crab claw on the beach, so Zoe got to take that as souvenir. I showed her how the claw opened and closed. I think we'll have to eat a crab in the near future, just so she can get a good look at one up close.
I most liked how as the excursion progressed, Zoe became more and more confident with the rocks and the tide pools. Initially she was apprehensive of everything, but starting with the soldier crabs, she'd become more and more comfortable with everything. I'd poke at stuff, she'd poke at stuff. It finished with her being comfortable wandering off to explore on her own.
We got home, Zoe had a shower and then I made dinner while she watched TV. We read some stories and so far bedtime appears to have gone pretty smoothly, which is good. I'm feeling quite exhausted. Tomorrow morning we have to pack everything up and be on the 9am barge out of here so we can race home, and repack to fly down to Melbourne for the weekend.