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Lego Panorama

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I’ve discussed panorama robots in the past, and here is a new creation. James Catan has created several Lego robots to do timelapse and and pan/tilt pictures. One of them were recently presented in Gadget Review, and shows holding a Canon Rebel XT with a kit lens. So not quite 5D, 200mm f2.8 as with Jeffrey Martin’s rig. Yet still a good and simple setup.

Another interesting pan & tilt product comes from Sparkfun. It is a robot arm, consisting of servos and and a claw. It will definitely not hold a SLR, but possibly some smaller pocket cameras or phones. As far as I understand, the complete robot arm comes in several parts which you’ll have to add to your order separately.

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Monome as Tone Matrix

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The Tone Matrix by Andre Michelle is making its rounds. It seems this shouldn’t be too difficult to implement in hardware, using the 4×4 button pad. Or in other words, a 16×16 Monome.

Jesus was not a pirate

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Best take on the pirate analogy so far. From md65536 on Slashdot:

We obviously need new terminology. By labeling people who let’s say “back up” data as “pirates”, the word “pirate” has come to mean something harmless, even cool. Yet the word is still used in the traditional sense to describe people who attack at sea, and destroy rather than create, and kill viciously, and actually take something away from people.

The pirate analogy is a bad one for copying data. The jesus analogy works better I think… he made some copies of fish and bread and distributed it free of charge.

People who copy data should henceforth be referred to as “miracle workers.” Now try to paint them in the same exaggeratedly bad light with that name.

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More Small Fonts

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As an update to the MiniFonts post, here is an even smaller one from Adam Borowski. At 4 pixels wide and 6 high, it probably does not get much smaller.

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WordPress for Android – Privacy Edition

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I like WordPress, and I like Android. However, I do not like the attitudes some of their developers have towards privacy. It seems to be “everything goes, as long as it benefits us”. In particular, the phone-home, and remote kill features, which many developers feel entitled to include, rub me the wrong way. Sorry, but it doesn’t fly on my device. I like your application, and want it to do its job well. Nothing more, nothing less.

Luckily, the WordPress for Android app is open sourced under GPL. It means I have right to access the source code, modify it, and distribute the modified version as long as I also reveal my code changes. So I did just that, fixing a few issues in the latest version (1.3.8) of WordPress for Android. The changes include:

  • Removing the location based permissions (fine and course grained).
  • Removing phone-home features to wordpress.com by which they collect a lot of identifying information, including the unique device ID.
  • Removing the EULA. The GPL is not an EULA! (More on that in a later post).

The patch is available here, and the APK installer binary built to the Android 2.2 platform (API level 8). However, I would encourage you to download and build the source code yourself. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Download the source code for WordPress for Android:
    svn checkout http://android.svn.wordpress.org/trunk
  2. Download and apply the patch:
    cd trunk
    wget http://hblok.net/blog_resources/wordpress_android/wordpress_android_1_3_8_p_1_privacy.patch
    patch -p0 -i wordpress_android_1_3_8_p_1_privacy.patch
  3. Build the application in Eclipse. If you have not installed the Android SDK for Eclipse, here is the starting point of the download and install instructions.
  4. Search through the code and look for further privacy violations.
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Small Fonts

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With small electronics and a LED matrix, you never know when a small font can come in handy. Here are some small pixel fonts and icons.

From Best Flash 2.2, there’s several freeware fonts. And over at Brainstorm and Raves, they spotted the Itsibitsi icons from MiniFonts. They also have several other tiny fonts, including Atom, with a cap height of only 6 pixels.

Gardena products

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I got some questions about how to put together the automatic watering system I posted about yesterday. Here are the links to similar products on Amazon. I could not find the exact same product, however they should do the job just fine.

It turns out there are very many different “water computers”. The simplest I could find is the “Gardena 1860 Classic 3-Cycle Water Timer T 1030 Plus – $83“.

Gardena 1860 Classic 3-Cycle Water Timer T 1030 Plus


Then there is the drip systems. These includes a thin supply pipe of 5 meters (which you will cut to fit your needs), the drip heads (usually 15-20 pieces) , and small plastic pegs to stick into the soil in the flower pots. There are very many boxes for this as well, and some of them even claim to include the watering computer. On Amazon, the product description says all of them do, however, I suspect that is a copy/paste mistake, and that only the most expensive of them (USD ~100) includes a computer as mentioned above. At least that would match the pictures on the boxes.

Gardena 1399 Micro-Drip Multiple Application Drip Irrigation Starter Set – $40
Gardena 1399 Micro-Drip Multiple Application Drip Irrigation Starter Set


Gardena 1402 Micro-Drip Starter Set For Flower Boxes – $40
(I think this might be the one I got).

Gardena 1402 Micro-Drip Starter Set For Flower Boxes


Gardena 1398 Micro-Drip Watering Starter Kit With Timer – $100

Looking at the picture and the price, this is mostly likely the only kit which actually includes the watering timer / computer as well.

Gardena 1398 Micro-Drip Watering Starter Kit With Timer


Gardena 1403 Micro-Drip Starter Set For Greenhouses – $90
Gardena 1403 Micro-Drip Starter Set For Greenhouses


If your system is outside, there should be no problem plugging this into your garden water supply, and you’re done. However, if you set it up inside, you want to limit the amount potential water spill. So you’ll need a water container of some sort. 10 liters should be fine, and make sure it has a tap as shown in the picture below. Also, make sure the nozzle on the tap is long enough, so that you can attach it to a hose or quick connector.
containercontainer nozzle


Finally, to connect it all together, I used a garden hose between the water container and the computer, as seen in this picture. I needed three of the orange hose quick connectors: One for each end of the hose, and one (in my case the larger version) for the water container nozzle.
Gardena 36917 Garden Hose Quick Connector


And very finally, to connect the hose to the water container, which now had two orange “female” quick connectors, I needed a male-male piece. I cannot find the exact product right now, but it was something similar to the picture below, but in grey.
quick connector

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Automatic Watering System for Our Plants

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For our last two weeks holiday, we wondered how to save the plants while we were gone. Asking somebody to look after them was an option then, however might not be in the future. Thus started a quest for watering system. The Gardena T1030 fit the bill perfectly. It runs on four AA batteries, and can be programmed to water on specific intervals, duration, and time of day. Perhaps the best feature, is how the programming is implemented. You slide some small plastic levers, which covers holes in a hard plastic card. Once done, the card is inserted into the watering unit, read and programmed. In effect, it is old punch-card technology making a robust, waterproof and easy to use solution.

And here, some pictures of our set up. Oh, and the Heineken keg? Turn out it had a useful form which fit the watering unit nicely. Also worth noting is the attachment to the water tank. It was not purpose made, and was leaking on the first try. Some Sugru took care of that.

First post!

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This is my first WordPress blog post.

Windows infected in five minutes

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Slashdot is reporting on a study from SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Center which shows that an unpatched Windows XP box will be infected after about five minutes on the Internet. German researchers found that it took slightly longer, however the conclusion still holds:

“While the survival time varies quite a bit across methods used, pretty much all agree that placing an unpatched Windows computer directly onto the Internet in the hope that it downloads the patches faster than it gets exploited are odds that you wouldn’t bet on in Vegas.”

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BPM beat counter

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Simple is beautiful! Who needs fragile BPM software when you can do the counting yourself!? Here’s two online BPM (beats per minute) counters where you hit a key for each beat. The form will give you the average BPM.

For the mouse:
http://www.b-boys.com/classic/beatcounter.html

For the space bar:
http://web.forret.com/tools/bpm_count.asp
This also comes with a “tempo calculator” if you hit Submit.

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Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

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“You are right that people did not trust us   have you checked windows
update   I assume you found no drivers there either??  Thanks”

- Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

February 18, 2007 11:40 AM (page 4)
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/library/vistaone3046.pdf

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Warning! May contain traces of Microsoft SQL Server

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http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Classics-Week-Chocolate-Covered-SQL-.aspx

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Windows RG – Really Good Edition

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http://bambusratte.com/Fun/flashs/winrg.swf

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Vista bug causes Internet blocking

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A bug in Windows Vista is causing people who use the new OS in the city of Lund, Sweden, to be without Internet connection. The local Internet provider refuses to do Microsoft’s laundry work, while a spokesperson from MS says “they could probably fix the problem”. The issues is caused by a network incompatibility between Vista clients and Linux network servers, introduce in the Vista code.

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=42043

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/7081/

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