Time to gear up some new projects:
I need to make a big push to finish the new studio. The rack needs built, the large-format art storage needs built, the room dividers need built- it’s something like a day or two of concerted effort and I have a fully functional work space.
I took a look at re-purposing an old Mac laptop keyboard as a USB desktop keyboard- and while I’ve not given up just yet, it’s not looking great. The internal interface isn’t USB (what with a 30 pin connector), so I’d have to assume that it is a matrix- that might mean I could hand wire it to a Teensy 2.0 and upload QMK firmware to it, but I’d have to map the entire matrix blind (and probe for each keystroke). That’s not sounding overly fun right this minute.
I’ve been planning longer-term to add a Tandem bike to our fleet. Right now, assuming I buy a new bike, that’s looking like a Salsa Powderkeg. It’s a steel framed MTB tandem with a rigid fork and 29″ wheels. That makes it especially well suited as a gravel-capable bike, but I’m trying to plot ways to take it offroad on New England singletrack. That likely means a suspension fork of some sort (though they publish a travel limit of 100mm, so that’ll be a challenge). The frame has clearance for 2.4″ tires, but I’m always curious about things like swapping the wheels to 27.5″ and running 3″ tires. Who knows?
I’ve been working on some sketches of a cable cam rig to use with a GoPro Session camera. It’s a long run of cord with a powered pulley car that can run along that cord with a camera suspended below. That’s pretty simple from the outside- just a couple of wheels and pulleys, a motor, and a frame. But: I’d like to be able to set a variable speed, and I’d like to have a delay from when I push “go” until it actually takes off. That’s still not a crazy build, but I need to figure out some stuff before I start buying parts.
Extra super busy with the start of the Fall semester, so I’m a day or two behind on this post. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath.
- I’ve moved the Minecraft PE server from a Raspberry Pi to my Mac Mini. It’s way less fickle, and seems to put virtually no load on the Mini at all, so… yeah. Better.
- With my recently free Raspberry Pi 3 B+, I’ve installed RetroPie. That’s a vintage video game emulator, and it’s pretty sweet. I’ve been playing SNES and N64 games pretty easily (though for some reason my Pi froze and struggled to play Doom on N64- I’ll have to look into that).
- I’m moving my newsletter tool from tinyletter to SubStack. I’m not thrilled about doing that- it’s a bother and one more thing to do, but there’s been noise & rumors about tinyletter getting shut down so… yeah. SubStack is pretty nice, it seems- and it supports the ability to monetize. I’m not going that way, mind you.
- I’m looking to carve out some time early this autumn to finally finish work on the studio. The rack needs to get built, and I might as well build two room dividers while I’m at it. It’ll be nice to have the space finished.
- I’m still playing on Mastodon- but I’m not finding it (or twitter, honestly) very compelling right now. I’m toying with the idea of dropping both. Maybe. And with twitter talking about some god-awful thread function and even-worse-awful online indicator? Yeah. We’ll see how that goes.
I’m starting to settle in on the design of some room dividers for the office- I don’t want to wall myself off from the world, but being able to hide the cozy coupes littering my basement might be a good thing. Currently thinking about two of them (one in whiteboard, one in cork). I’d like to have the whiteboard also be magnetic, but that’s a pain to source (according to my research thus far).
I’m back on mastodon.cloud (and mastodon.social and mastodon.xyz, while I’m at it…). It’s still weird, and I’m still not sure about finding people to follow, hashtags, and the like. Trying to read a federated timeline is like drinking from a fire hose, and I want better filtering for it, but… yeah. I’ll need to read up more. Still: twitter is… not great. @jack seems really, really ok with nazis (and whatever horrors invade the platform), and I’m increasingly less sure I need that in my life.
I’ve grown less than thrilled with my Raspberry Pi Minecraft PE server. When it’s working, it’s great. But we lose power here sometimes, and the server would… not behave on reboot. So: looking for a new/different/better solution. Also worth noting: there may not be a better solution.
I’ve been beginning to question if my current use of social media is actually improving my quality of life or not- I left Facebook years and years ago, and I’ve never really regretted it. There are parts of Instagram I still like, but I’m feeling less-than-great about the competitive nature of likes and followers and whatnot. Ditto with twitter, I think- so I’m spending some time thinking about what I actually want out of those platforms (if anything), and what (other) tools I can use to generate those outcomes (on my own terms).
I use more than one computer at home- that should be no surprise if you’ve followed along with the manifestations of the studio. But: I really only have one keyboard I like right now, and I hate unplugging/plugging to move stuff back and forth. So: I found a four-port USB2 hub that does switching- there are four “ins” on one side and two “outs” on the other, and a button to toggle between the “outs.” Now I have my keyboard and mouse (and a webcam or two) that can easily bounce between the two desktop computers. Totally worth it if you have a complicated-ish computer rig.
Rested! I should point out that I never do these in any sort of order, so don’t read into that or anything.
- I’m spending some time looking into a rack solution for bikes on one of our cars. I need to be able to carry 5 bikes for now, with provisions for a tandem eventually. Likely a combination of roof and hitch mount.
- I’m looking at moving my mountain bike drivetrain from 8spd to 11spd. It was last meaningfully updated in 2004, and 8spd was old then. It’s likely time- I’ve just done the cranks/bb/chainring, so it’d be chain, cassette, shifter, and derailleur. Likely Shimano XT, for any bike dorks reading.
- I’ve got a stack of clothes that need altering/updating/repair, so it’s time to get the sewing machine out and get working again. You’ll be shocked to hear I’m thinking about shoulder bags again.
- Working on some sketches/plans for room dividers for the studio. It’s a bit room, and being able to partition it a bit would be pretty useful (and also as backgrounds when I do web calls…), so I’m putting a bit of thought in here with these. I’d like them to be useful, too, so likely two: one whiteboard and one cork board. I’d like the whiteboard to be magnetic, too.
- I got to spend some time playing with some Adafruit goodies while I was away- they’re super neat. I’m starting to have some ideas about what I can do with some of them, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming projects.
Whoops! I managed to blow up my bandwidth for last month, so this site was inaccessible for a few days. I’m back, now. Updates!
- I’ve gone through the media files for this site and thinned things out a bit- I foolishly left some photos at pretty high resolution (and thus larger file sizes…), so I’m hoping that’ll do the trick and keep bandwidth under control this month.
- I’ve been ill, so my riding has been pretty much nil for last couple of weeks- and now the weather is super-duper hot-and-humid, so… yeah. Biking is frustratingly on hold for a bit as I recover.
- As always, I’m an adaptor away from greatness: I was recently gifted a vintage NAD amp/receiver with some Boston Acoustics speakers, and those have becoming my new office sound system- but, as would always be the case, I’m short a pair of slightly obscure adaptors to make the final connections work. Typical.
- My kids are starting to play a bit more Minecraft- and now they want to play together in-game. That’s pretty easy at first- they all play on iOS, and the can see local games. But it’s fickle and requires the host to always be in the game- they’d like to share a game a be able to work on it whenever. So: I’ve a Raspberry Pi inbound to be built up as a local Minecraft server. Should do the trick.
- I’m still writing my newsletter. I just sent out #93 a couple of days ago, and (as per usual with newsletters) I had a few people immediately unsubscribe. That’s how it is- I get that. It’s just a drag to see your subscriber count creep slowly down every time you actually send something out. I’m trying to figure out what my goals for that newsletter are (or even what my purpose for it is). Am I writing it for me? Am I writing it for some imagined audience?
It’s been a long hard week. I’ve had to make some difficult decisions, I’ve gotten sick, and the wind-down of the school year for my family is always rough. Regardless, it’s officially summer now, so let’s do an update.
- The studio is starting to break in nicely. The overall design is one thing, but it’s when the space reacts to heavy use that the details start to come out. The SD card reader mounted to a shelf, the USB switch to move some of the peripherals from one machine to another easily, the mounts for the webcams… all that starts to solidify. An finer example- I’ve got a birds-eye view webcam over my analog desk. That camera is mounted (via a Manfrotto plate system) to a SuperClamp that’s gripping the overhead shelf. It means I can either use the webcam there, or with a flick of a lever, swap the camera to a proper video camera (or still, for that matter) to shoot higher end video. Fast, easy, and versatile.
- I’ve begun some work on a proper update to my most popular YouTube videos. Years ago, I made a short series of videos about Lord of the Flies, and it’s time to update them. It will be a project for the next couple of months- and after those videos, I’m hoping to make a set for Catcher in the Rye. After that, who knows. But my better half and I are starting to break down the segments and outline the topics, so it’ll still be a while until you actually see any of them. But I’m working on it.
- This site has been eating through it’s bandwidth this month- there was a pretty hefty spike in viewership, and at the same time I put up some uncharacteristically media-heavy posts. I’ve redone the media for those (a bit smarter with the jpeg compression is all), so that should help.