Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving

I'm cooking for just Mommy & me this year.  While I wait for the roast to cook, I set up some new tech.  On the doctor's advice I got an Echo Dot because Mom keeps taking off the emergency button from her neck and leaving it around the house, usually where she is not.  I've been using the reminder & timer function today for cooking.  Every time Alexa talks, Mom asks is that your Auntie?  (Auntie has already called.)  If Mom actually needed help, I don't think she would have the presence of mind to pick up the phone, let alone ask for help from Alexa.  But it is just the first day...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Back from Las Vegas

It wasn't the vacation I hoped it would be, I cut it short and came home early.  Mom's health has been relatively decent this year until September when combination of dementia, diabetes, depression, and poor medical advice hit all at once.  On top of that, I was deep into a project at work that had me burning both ends of the candle. I turned to my accupunturist to relieve some stress but she was out of town for a couple weeks.

She couldn't get in her head that we were there for the full week and that it was a timeshare trade.  She kept ganking everything that wasn't tied down, like we were going home the next morning.  Days were so short.  I couldn't get her to leave the room before lunch, I had to bring her home right after dinner. She can't travel anymore.  Until their sold, I think we'll just have to let the timeshare weeks lapse from now on.  At least she's gotten her use from them over the last (almost) 40 years.

Penny slots have changed.  I used to play nickel & quarter slots, but the fun games anymore are penny slots.  So even though they're "penny" slots, minimum bet is still 30 to 50 cents.  I have a new point-of-view camera that I had fun with on this trip.  Kind of makes my pi cameras moot, they are capable of the same thing but the new camera looks so much better and has better lens.  Still, the pi cameras have come in handy so that I can keep an eye on her while I'm at work and I haven't hand any problems with her leaving the taps open since I put in the motion activated LED strips.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eating Pi(s)

My timelapse camera has not been working well since I repackaged it into the Raspberry Pi case.  The picture has been washed out when I tried to use it outdoors.  I swapped cameras, it worked on another Pi.  I'm sure the camera connector has finally failed.  If it wasn't before, it is now.  So I tried to use the defective Pi Zero W (wifi doesn't work on it) and things were going well until I broke that camera connector, too!  Dammit.

The rest of the board is working so I looked around for a replacement part number, but I know in my heart that after buying the part, shipping, and getting my friend to solder it for me, it's going to cost more than a new board.  So that's what I did, I bought a new $5 Pi Zero without the "W".  Not going to throw away the two broken Zero's.  They still work and I already soldered the 40-pin header, so I'll be able to use them to play with I/O when I get around to it.  Meanwhile I've got them both working headless via USB.  Just waiting for delivery right now...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Too many passions

When I was laid off for a year in 2009-10, I came to a career crossroad:  Should I keep doing what I do or retrain for IT Security by getting a Master's degree?  I decided though I could finish my career either way, I really enjoy what I've been doing for 30 years.  So shortly after I was hired (where I am now) I had another offer to do the same work on the side.  I've always preferred my time off, but the engineer who wanted me would not take 'no' for an answer.  That would test my 'enjoyment' over the next 7 years that ended last December, but yup, I enjoyed it enough to do it 8 hours a day, then at night another 2-4 more hours plus 2-10 hrs/day on weekends.  That totally confirmed I  have the right job for me.

This year I have more time & energy for hobbies in the evenings.  And without that side job now, I've reignited passions for other interests.  It's funny how everything just came together three weekends ago, all at once.

I've finished my security cam project, but the end result is not working exactly as I envisioned.  I'm going to keep looking in that direction, but it's okay for now.  What I want is a notification on my phone when there's an event.  I can monitor from my phone but I don't get an alert.  The other thing is, I have to clear the memory every day.  This is fine for one camera, but it becomes a pain in the a$$ to maintain more than one camera.

While I was on vacation, I tried to use my timelapse camera but the wiring had broken en transit.  I had an extra Raspberry case from the security cam project, so I repackaged it in a "real case," except that case wasn't exactly working for me.  I had to disassemble the thing every time I collect a timelapse in order to get the pictures off the memory card.  So I modified the case.  It's all good now.  The battery/power had to be repackaged, as it wasn't part of the case.

Then I got my electric unicycle.  This is what I chose to replace my old bicycle because I've never like bicycle seats.  So the first weekend I had it, I couldn't get away from Mom and I caught a cold.  So I took naps to kick the cold as fast as I could.  It was actually more frustrating that I couldn't get away for an hour.  So I decided to wait for my helmet.  I've been able to get one training hour on so far.  I rode along a fence while getting used to it.  This is going to take longer than expected.

This is the third weekend with the unicycle.  It's too hot to get out and practice!  It normally doesn't get over 80F in my home town, so we don't have air conditioning.  I'm so hot, I'm just slothing next to a personal fan. I can't run the ceiling fan because the breeze makes Mom cold.  The other problem is I've been eating too much watermelon.  Watermelon is a diuretic, so it makes me pee alot.  It's probably washing out alot of potassium from my body, so I'm getting leg cramps in the shin & calf areas.  I need these muscles to function on the unicycle.  Meanwhile I've found elbow/arm pads to replace my ol' rollerblade knee/elbow pads that I had to throw out.  I'm going to have to take a few falls to get over the fear so I can get moving with this thing.  I hope they arrive before next weekend because temps are supposed to be perfect.

I'm letting the video thing happen organically.  I'm not forcing the videos out, but I am filming my progress on the electric unicycle.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Zip Zippy Zip !!!

Back from summer vacation.  Mom never got around to banking her timeshare week so we had to go.  I was expecting a long boring week because it’s in a small town and the cheap shopping is K-mart.  Thinking we’d be in the room most of the time, I brought a project with me – to put together a video of my trip to China in 2004.  I only got as far as the research.  I’m missing pictures of some sites (I lost a couple rolls of film from mis-loading) so I’ll have to dig up the photo CD’s for the pictures that Mom took.

I still don’t have a vision to make not-a-slideshow video of all those still pictures.  Meanwhile, the Movie Maker editor I’m using is obsolete, so I need to find another, hopefully upgraded, video editor that can do picture-in-picture, tracking, and side-by-side.  Maybe I’m dreaming for a free video editor.  Microsoft Story Remix shows promise but it isn’t available until Fall and it’ll work in the cloud – I don’t trust clouds.  Social networks are fine.  You put things up there knowing it will be seen, possibly ganked.  But clouds are supposed to be private and secure—they’re not.  They’re never as private or as secure as your own hard drive.

By Wednesday, Mom had driven me over the edge so I went and signed up for a ZipLine tour!  I was meant to do a zipline in Costa Rica 2011 but I’d sprained my knee badly in Panama.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Probably not as awesome as Costa Rica would have been but I’m scared of heights.  So I didn’t have the presence of mind to point my camera at anything in particular and I had enough to do just to keep breathing.  That saved the week for me, but OMG I had to work for it.  Mom has massive FOMO (fear of missing out). She can’t even step up a curb without help so there’s no way she could do the little hike or climb the steps on the platforms.  She probably would have overcome the arthritis in her hands to hold on out of fear.  I broke away quickly and dealt with about 20 phone calls from her until it was finally too late.  My friends and family are great.  I was a bit guilty but they were so supportive of getting a little “me time.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Life update

I've been busy.  I've been creating. I have not been posting stuff to the internet.  I have not been overworking.  The side job actually ended at the end of 2016.  I got a call a month ago about doing stuff for the company that took over but I haven't heard anything since.

Meanwhile, I've been taking care of mine & Mom's medical & dental health.  I have lost my first adult tooth.  It had a root canal.  It had a well fitted crown.  It cracked down the middle anyway.  There was no more saving it.  It's been a painful 5 months.

So, I've come full circle with the hobbies. Right now I'm back into computers & electronics.  I guess it started with the timelapse camera last August when I had to pull out my soldering iron after 20 years in the closet.  I packed it away in 1997 when I started preparing to sell my Texas house.  I built a small computer around 2003, and I had an idea to make a really small computer as small as a cigar box.  Never got around to it.  But then last year's project got me into it again.  Computers are now the size of a finger.  Just tonight I assembled a computer which is the size of deck of cards, posting from it now!

Mom's getting more forgetful every day.  She'd leave the water running, which in California is more expensive than electricity.  She'd leave upstairs TV on while she spends the day downstairs.  She'll forget she's got something on the stovetop & go out to the garden for an hour.  I'd come home to another burnt pot.  My current project is to automate the house.  These things are now easily obtainable but expensive and they don't necessarily work as easily as my DIY projects.  Right now I'm working on a porch camera & a motion detector for the stairs which I will activate an LED strip or electroluminescent wire (haven't decided yet.)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Another POV camera!

Google Glass, Snapchat Spectacles, move over!  I could never afford them.  I could never find them.  I wear prescription glasses, I couldn't drive and wear those at the same time.  They have very short battery time, like 30 minutes, I heard?    BOOM, look what I made for $40.  That's just the cost of the little thumb drive-sized camera.  Granted it's only 640x480 resolution, but it's light enough to carry on top of my eyeglass frames.  It does still, it does video, it does audio, I can record up to two hours!  I can take it off and be normal.



 The 3D printed (manually) part snaps on to the arm and rests on top of the frame.

Then clamp the camera onto the plastic part.  My first attempt hung to the right of my temple but I found that it obscured my side vision when driving.

I don't wear beanies or headbands.  Those would be good options for future travel.  But if I'm awake, I always have my glasses on.



Oh...no real art goals for 2017.  I just want to keep creating.  I'm considering replacing my Flickr photos with short videos. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Last art of 2016

Oi, where did 2016 go?  My side job has fizzled after over 7 years.  I haven't had any side work for over 2 months, so I'm trying to figure out where my time went.  I did work over a weekend for my regular job in which I received comp time, which I used when I caught a cold.  Awesome - must be my fastest recovery ever.  I never liked coloring books when I was a kid.  Life is so much more fun when you don't stay to the lines.    But I was missing art, so I got a little one dollar 4in x 6in coloring book.

I had a cheap set of felt tip pens.  They didn't even last one page, I threw it away.  So I tried sharpies.  But sharpies bleed through and they smell, and I only have 12 colors.  I tried water soluble Neocolors.  The paper is thick, so it didn't warp with water, but it's hard to start & stop at the lines --- those damn lines!  I must break free.

 OMG, I've had prisma colored pencils for ages.  They were never any good to me for anything because I don't have the patience to burnish or blend with these things.   But OOO, they're great in adult coloring books.
 So that's what I've been up to.  Colored pencils in a coloring book. 
Other than that, my house is falling apart, so that's where my time and money have been going.  I had a leak in a fire sprinkler.  That happened on a Friday night, so I had to pay the weekend emergency price to fix it.  Luckily no water damage to the house.  Still got a hole in the ceiling to fix.  Then I couldn't turn on the heater when it got cold because the thermostat died a horrible death.  18 year old batteries corroded in the unit.  I didn't even know it ran on batteries.  So it got updated :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Another Milestone in Life

In addition to this....


I still want a 3D printer.  We got one at work a month ago, but the asshole who got management to buy it hogs all the time on it.  I opened it up to look at the documentation and basically got yelled at.  Ha, Karma's a bitch and he's had nothing but problems with his prints.  Yea, I have no hands on experience with a real printer, so anything I say is just theory from all the videos I've watched since January.  That and whatever is applicable that I learned on the 3d pen.  Unlike  him, when something isn't going right, I don't have to be told to MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT.


There's also a new camera I wanted, it just came out.  But it looks like deliveries are going to take a while.  I think I'm closer to buying the 3D printer than I am the electric bicycle.  I've got to get rid of a few things first to make room.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

DIY camera

I dun it :)  Yup, I set out to build a camera based on the little raspberry pi zero and then make an enclosure with my 3D pen.  I did have to buy black filament because if you use any other color, it may tint the photo.  I started out packaging it as they do but it was too thick for my needs.  I repackaged it so that it's thinner, though I had to sacrifice length.
 Front (above)
 Back (above)  Kinda hard to see, but this is the camera side.
 Side view (above)  So the plan is to have the control part in my pocket, with the camera sensor outside the pocket.  The cable is protected from the top & bottom.
 The electronics is mounted to the bottom "plate".  And the cover slides over the top.  Could be thinner, it's like a skinny handheld remote.  Tough to make thinner though, as I'm making the plastic enclosure by hand.
 This is the camera sensor.
The LEDs are covered with clear filament because they're a bit too bright.  I was trying to diffuse the light. 

Before I enclosed the camera, I tested out the battery.  It lasts exactly 2 hours before the camera died abruptly.  I risk corrupting the the SD card that way, in fact I did.  But I've learned to recover it, HA!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Nothing new in a month

That's not to say I haven't been creating.  I'm gathering materials to make my own camera.  Why?  Why do I draw when I can just take a picture?  Because I can and because it's fun and I hope to learn something from it.  Then I'm going make my own enclosure with my 3d pen.

Meanwhile, I've been creating short videos, aka vlogs.  The content is private & emo, so they'll probably never be shared.  This is how I'm learning the technical side of editing video and audio.  I thought I'd have to wait until I made my own camera, but I was counting all the retired cameras in the house which are capable of video: 4 Canon ELPH point-n-shoot, Canon 50, GoPro 3, Polaroid Cube, iPhone, iPad, 2 laptops.  Maybe capable, but not necessarily practical.  Then I discovered that I already had Movie Maker on my Win10 laptop and I have iMovie on my iPad.  I didn't have to buy anything to get started.

Now I want to go somewhere, but I've sent away my passport for renewal.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Getting the Roku box off the table

Last month I cleaned off my desk by mounting my monitor up on a pole  (aka dual monitor mount).  One of the things that stayed on the desk was the Roku3...until now.  So two layers was good enough to hold it like a shelf.  I thought it would need tie wrap to keep it from falling off but, amazingly, it stays up on the pole.

Here it is in in place

So now I want to get the power bar off the desk but it hast to stay within reach.  No ideas yet...