Friday, February 26, 2021

die trying

I'm still around, making stuff.  I switched back to OpenSCAD to complicate things and because I like starting over. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

cyberdesk: my cyberdeck inspired raspberry pi terminal

This build was inspired by movies like Blade Runner and various projects and articles featured on hackaday.  It is a desk-bound Raspberry Pi 3 and tiny monochrome crt monitor.  Salvage items such as door hinges and light switches found a new home.  A moving VESA mount adds some mobility.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Mowbot 4.0!

The last mowbot was a hack.  They all were.  The future for the mowbot is something that will hopefully last much longer.   I'm using FreeCAD to design what I hope will become the last major iteration of the mowbot frame.

mowbot isometric view
Things will be different this time... Maybe. 

Maybe a roadmap will help keep this project on track.  A timeline would probably be a good idea too.

  • better balance 
  • improved traction
  • adjustable and removable mower
  • rake attachment
  • striping bar
  • unified power system (gas engine charges main batteries or fully electric)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

android vr still sucks

I've been anxiously awaiting decent VR tech since long before the Oculus Rift.  I had hoped that after so many years the technology would finally become usable.  The current technology is close, but it still sucks.

There are plenty of other reviews for the available VR options on Android so I will try to keep this brief.

The Google Cardboard knockoffs are probably the best bang for your buck.  They can be more comfortable than the Daydream View and benefit from the large-ish ecosystem of google cardboard apps.  My face hurt after only a few minutes of trying the Daydream so I didn't spend much time in it.  The carboard/daydream apps still suck, by the way.  If you like looking at cartoons through screen doors you might enjoy all that.

Samsung GearVR is the most comfortable headset that I've tried.  The headset fits well, keeps light out and is quite immersive.  The Oculus apps suite is still maturing and there are many experiences to choose from.  I liked this headset the most but still couldn't wear it for more than 20 minutes at a time.  And, of course, you still get the terrible "screen door" effect.  Perhaps pixel density on Android devices is still too low?

Focus is a common problem for all three headsets.  As I look to the edges of the "screens" things get blurry.  Only the center is in focus, so I have to move my head around a lot instead of just looking left or right.  For example, try reading the menu at the bottom of Oculus home without pointing your head at your crotch.

There is currently no realism in Android VR.  All apps are "low poly" or "lo fi", presumably due to processing limitations on mobile platforms.  VR on PC might be a different story today, but when the Oculus Rift Developer Kit came out it was the same thing.  The comfort and focus issues might be close to resolved but the visual quality has a long way to go.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

mowbot reboot

I'm working on rebuilding the mowbot.  One of the main problems with my previous design was that a lot of weight was placed on the front caster wheels, eventually causing them to fail.  My next iteration of the mowbot will position most of the weight over the rear drive wheels.  With less weight on the caster wheels (and perhaps sealed bearings?) they should last much longer.

The first step for the new frame is the motor mount plate.  I designed this in OpenSCAD, exported to Inkscape and finally printed on paper to use as a template.  A good friend allowed me to use his plasma cutter (thanks Chris!) to make this plate.  

Next I will start mocking up placement of the mower deck and batteries. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

AustinROV @ 360 Bridge

Check out our latest AustinROV adventure.  We saw fish!  Lots of things went wrong, some things went right, read more on the team blog.

Monday, April 18, 2016

TinyCore NAS on Raspberry Pi

One of the major drawbacks of the Raspberry Pi is that by default you are running the OS on an SDcard.  Eventually this turns into a corrupted SDcard where you lose the OS and everything you didn't back up.  One solution is to use BerryBoot and install the OS to a USB flash drive or HDD.

The TinyCore solution is to run the OS entirely in RAM.  This frees the SDcard from the barrage of reads/writes by the regular Raspbian system (or most other OSes) thus extending the lifetime of your project/OS/data/happiness.

Is it more reliable?  I don't know yet.  If it works for a year then I'd say yes it is indeed more reliable.  For now I'll just assume it is and hope for the best.

By the way the Raspberry Pi is a terrible NAS.  I was already aware of this.  Don't build something like this unless you already understand the limitations.  For my next NAS project, possibly many years down the road, I'd like to do something with gigabit ethernet and sata.

Here are the steps for installing and configuring your very own piCore NAS.

  1. Install piCore 6.1 to an sdcard and expand the filesystem. 
  2. Run tce-ab and install ntfs-3g.tcz and samba4.tcz.
  3. Configure networking
  4. Configure samba.