Archive for January 2009

So here’s me fettling the Mitochondrion, mark 3. I’m not as happy with it as I could be, coz it’s good, but it’s not as good as it could possibly be, given bleeding edge technology and a rocket scientist’s sense of maximising performance, coz that’s just what we do. In the time it’s taken me to get it to this stage, NXP brought out another LED driver chip, the PCA9635, with added shininess. I have bitched about this before.

ffs, I have yet to finish getting the old 9532 to dance like a monkey. And now, they’ve gone and done it a second time, relasing two more driver chips, faster, better, shinier, stronger. Curse you, NXP, for making so many awesome chips that I can’t keep up!

Serious geeking out

Final consent for the house

As tieke mentioned, the second half of the paperwork for the house consent is sorted. This is the paperwork:

Yes, it’s more than three inches thick. Yes, that’s just the second half, not all of it. Ok, we can get on with building it.

And, as mentioned before, Wellington City Council says “We are committed to dealing with climate change and are providing incentives to encourage greater use of energy-effcient design and renewable energy technology in residential dwellings” (WCC Annual Plan). Gee, thanks, WCC, for making our lives so much easier.

The new Model T?

It’s a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, lithium batteries, 130 km range, twice the torque of the petrol version and able to break any speed limit in the land. It’s dinky, but four seats and the inside looked surprisingly roomy for something that easy to park. Charge it from Meridian’s power and you’ve got zero-carbon transportation, right there. Even some Yanks driving it thought it was pretty decent.

This one was parked outside the cathedral this morning. They’re planned to be on sale in NZ next year. Welcome to the future*.

* Maybe. It’s got the performance of a Citroen 2CV and costs a lot more. How much more? Don’t know yet. It’ll get you a day trip to Levin or Martinborough and back, but can’t make it as far as Palmerston North, let alone get you back from there. Here’s hoping that it’s a success in the marketplace, but still, petrol technology remains hard to beat. And it’s got a stupid name.

Further incorrect cat labelling

Isn’t this what every house-wife has hoped for? But no, it’s a cruel trick. This cat is entirely unwilling to perform the advertised service, leading to widespread disappointment.

Remember – make sure your cats are correctly labelled.

It’s been a weekend of learning how to avoid heartache and trauma, of learning how not to put myself in situations where I feel trapped and vulnerable and like I’m letting everyone down. And my main learning? Everything should have a power switch. Not one controlled by software, a big red one that cuts out the electricity and resets everything, in fact gives everything a damn good, hard, long reset.

I’m not being metaphorical here. Having a proper power switch is the key to happiness. The Mitochondrion does not have one. Howwever, it now has two external reset pokey things, one for computer and one for LED driver chips. Poking it makes it start working again.

This weekend’s other lessons are that:
a) All logic needs regulated power
b) If you’re going to blame someone, blame someone in a different time zone
c) Don’t stick your neck out. Stick it up.
But we all know those ones, right?

Secret mission – success!

No, I’m not telling you.

Things that are making me swear today:

Nanny-cut

On friday evening, the 4 kb of program memory on the Mitochondrion was 98.9% full. I’ve had a weekend of rewriting code neater, tinier and more flexible. Squeeze code down, write more patterns, fill up memory, squeeze down again. I’m trading off between program space, limited numbers of variables and limited other storage space. But brain is in programming zone at last and I’m getting better at this low-level, procedural, bit-banging on registers code malarkey.

Then there was pfaffing with the snooze mode. Now the program memory sits at 99.5% full.

The Avenue is currently one sixteenth done. But I’ve been spending the time sorting out production processes. Taylorism FTW!

Discovered that Media Monkey supports Milkdrop visualisation plugins! *drools*

Leveled up my bean-baggery skillzors.

And for bonus points, discovered the sminky minky blanky is great for cleaning dust off laptops.

Finally, as requested by many, a picture of me, n3kkid

If global warming is real then why is it cold?

Dog Stakes

Does anyone have a dog stake or two that I can borrow for Kiwiburn? By “dog stake”, I mean one of these:

Or indeed any other means of making a fixing into earth that can take a substantial vertical load? Tent pegs, even big ones, are great for horizontal or low-angle loads, and can be bodged for vertical loads but there’s better ways to do it.

Gibbering

There will be stealth missions with the Mitochondrion. Umm… yes, carrying around a five-foot long, 600 lumen, colour changing strobe that can be seen from a mile away is not that stealthy, but I reckon we’ll brazen it out.

I’m getting the hang of this procedural code thing! There will be more shininess.

People took vids. Vids looked good. I will get vids.

There are plans afoot. Bwahahaha!

Products that don’t exist, but should, part 56 – the Swiss Army butt plug.

Interesting things by people with silly names
Ho noes! Even the financiers’ financier thinks finance may have taken a wrong turn, somewhere along the way – Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

The Quivering Upper Lip – an article on the English character, that could only have been written by someone called Theodore Dalrymple (though anyone who holds up Kitchener as an example needs spend a year with trench foot and gas lung).

“The Dynamics of Adverse Selection in the Market for Slaves”, from a Kiwi at Stanford. No PhD yet, so we can’t quite call her Dr Sin.

Cut for f-list-space-taking-up-media

Narcissism

There was general dissatisfaction about the number of pictures of me last year. So, in a general challenge to myself, this year there will be more.

Here’s number one:


Pic by tieke

The more astute amongst you will notice the travelling overhead crane in the background, two tonne SWL and worth drooling over, as all cranes are.

Curse you, unstated chain of dependencies

Back on the Mitochondrion head-banging trek. It was doing weird stuff, as usual, but when it’s doing really weird stuff then there’s probably a problem deep, deep down in the code. Spend the day looking, and trying to sort out other things.

Power regulator still exploding. NFI but I have a backup plan.

Can’t reproduce the Canaan Downs bug, grr…

Yup, pointer bug in the lowest level of the code. Took till 9 pm to find it, but find it I did, and then a whole bunch of pretty lights just started doing what they should. I’m getting really fed up of having to deal with BASIC, it’s like giving a fire-spinner nothing but petrol – it might be okay, but it’s just so easy for everything to go horribly wrong. Next project will be an Arduino, coz then I can use C (sort of), and have such delights as:

  • functions
  • passable function arguments
  • local variables
  • libraries so I don’t have to write my own linked lists
  • header files
  • and other programming advances from the 1970s

In other news, “Coal firm pays for emissions report”. Well, what do you expect? A company’s entitled to defend its business position. What disappoints me is that the report (“The impact of the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme on New Zealand’s economy”, briefer summary) was given so much credibility when it first came out, given that’s it’s a transparent and egregious attempt at producing the numbers that the client wanted, rather than numbers that anyone might believe. At least the Minister of Climate Change at the time called it just plain wrong.

Anyway, as mentioned, speed gospel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQdIiEUFtqk

And gabbatubbies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_F5Jjr7vaY
Includes Rotterdam Terror Corps, all good gabba should.

2008 in numbered questions

Gotten round to it, finally. This holiday was not a time for reflection, it was a time for getting stuff done. And then heading off into the wilderness, where they were playing dubstep. That’s my kind of wilderness.

(Last year)

40 questions