(no subject)

2017-Apr-17, Monday 12:33 pm
chebe: (DearDiary)
Aaaaaaand done! My LJ is wiped down, all images moved. After 13 years, 1 month, 1 day. So please let me know if you stumble across any deadlinks.

LovelaceSpace

2017-Apr-14, Friday 10:54 pm
chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
Ahem. Hi. Yes, I'm still around. (Only four more years of posts to go through and relocate the images, and I'll be LJ free!) I was at MakerFaireUK a couple of weeks ago, helping some of the tog guys at their stand. It's always a great trip, to catch up with people from other spaces. (And this time I even got to drool over a laser cutter I really, really want.) But things were a bit different this time, I was wearing a different hoodie. This year I was representing for LovelaceSpace.

A while back I made a post about why I needed to leave tog. In the meantime, as I whined to anyone who would listen, people started making suggestions, and dropping hints. This coalesced into something. Something truly wonderful. A working group, of passionate, hard-working, truly kick-ass humans, to set up an intersectional feminist lgbtq+ inclusive secular space, for hackers, makers, educators, and feminists, in Dublin, Ireland. It's a massive undertaking, we know we're unlikely to get everything right, but we really, keenly, want to try.

Our first event was last month. A cross-stich event, held in a very congenial pub. We'd expected maybe 20 people, 30 people tops. Turnout was more like 65-75. Some people even dropped in just to pick up kits. We could barely cope with the volume. At the busiest we had taken over more than half the pub!

We can't take all the credit. The event was a charity fundraiser, a rather popular one, and it was just before International Women's Day, and the protests that were planned to coincide. We raised €360, which bowled us over. The money went to ARC, an organisation challenging the restrictive abortion laws in Ireland. They are just one of many groups campaigning for change, to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

Our event idea was simple, take the symbols of these organisations, this iconography of the movement, and create cross-stitch patterns that people could turn into pins/badges/anything they wanted. We just didn't realise it'd be so popular! We had people from the other ends of the country asking us to run the workshop down there too. We had people in England wanting in. The solidarity, the love, in these communities, is so strong, so raw. Especially coming from a mostly techie background, it was a surprise for me. It was beautiful.

Well, our next event is somewhat similar, but completely different. The Science Gallery have a 'Humans Need Not Apply' exhibition on at the moment. They have an AI, Hoopla, that designs embroidery patterns. They've asked us to run a workshop to show people how to turn these designs into actual physical objects. This event is free, but also much smaller. It should be fun.

From the organisational side, we have another meeting tomorrow. We're working on finalising our Code of Conduct, planning even more events, and trying to get our documentation in place so we can become a legal structure. And then, find a physical space so we can house this amazing community 24/7.

It's hard work. For a group of people who are already over-worked. But the need for this kind of space, the passion and dedication of the people we interact with. It's a tonic against so much going wrong all around us. It is my primary source of hope right now.
chebe: (VintageMoon)
You know what's super annoying? Not knowing the ip-address of the server you're trying to access. I could scan the network and find the right machine. But, I'm lazy. And, the server knows its own ip, it should simply tell me.

This is something I believed my Pirate Radio could manage. When the pHAT BEAT bonnet gets installed it sets itself up with a daemon in /usr/bin. Technically I installed it twice (once for spotipy as well). I don't know if the code differs, but as I installed vlc-radio last, that's the code I will play with.

Think it through. I've just booted up the server. The volume and power buttons do very necessary jobs, so we'll leave them alone. The fast-forward and rewind buttons start playing a station/cycle through stations. Very useful if you can't be bothered finding the ip-address. That leaves Play/Pause, which doesn't do anything until a station has started streaming. And if I have access to the web interface, well I can do that very job there. That's it, I'm sacrificing Play/Pause!

In the end I simply replaced line#204 with a call out to my script;
myip.read_ip()
(making sure to import it at the top of the file. Let's hear it for the wonders of Open Source!)

What script you ask? A simple one, to parse the wlan0 ip from ifconfig, and then a call to text-to-speech to actually read it out loud to me.

You'll probably need to install the text-to-speech stuff;
sudo pip install pyttsx
sudo apt-get install espeak


Then save this as a file named myip.py (or whatever) into /usr/bin

#!/usr/bin/env python

import os, pyttsx, time

def read_ip():
f = os.popen('ifconfig wlan0 | grep "inet\ addr" | cut -d: -f2 | cut -d" " -f1')
your_ip=f.read()

engine=pyttsx.init()
engine.say(your_ip)
engine.runAndWait()

time.sleep(3)
print your_ip

if __name__ == '__main__':
read_ip()


And sure, give it a reboot to make sure the changes are picked up.

Now, when I press play the Pirate Radio reads out its ip-address to me! So handy.
(Note; if you press play with monitor and OTG cable attached, it'll probably crash and reboot. So don't do that.)

Pimoroni Pirate Radio

2017-Mar-26, Sunday 10:44 pm
chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
Hardware
Order the Raspberry Pi Zero W Pirate Radio (get it?) kit.
Assemble. Making sure you put the headers on the correct way around *cough*.

Software
Download the NOOBS installer. Extract archive. Copy contents to microSD card of 8GB+.
Put microSD card in Pi, supply power to boot. (You will need a monitor (micro HDMI), OTG micro-USB adapter to plug in keyboard and mouse.)
When boots into installer connect to wifi. (Have the details handy, you'll need them again later.)
From the network install list select Raspbian Jessie Lite.
Lite boots into console only (you can do away with the mouse now). Default login deatils are; pi/raspberry. You'll need to edit a config file to connect back to wifi;
sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
And add;
network={
ssid="YOURSSID"
psk="YOURPASSWORD"
}

Once online, install all your favourites (*cough* vim *cough*). Now is also a good time to set up the Pi as you want it. For instance, change the hostname;
sudo hostnamectl set-hostname new_host_name
You'll also need to update the hosts file;
sudo vim /etc/hosts
And update the line that says;
127.0.0.1 raspberrypi

You can test the speaker with;
aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav

Spotipy
Okay, so far so good. But, it's supposed to be a radio yeah? Do you have Spotify Premium? Then you can hook it up, with a convenient one-line installer;
curl https://get.pimoroni.com/spotipy | bash
It will install a whole load of things (details here), asking for your input (including Spotify login details), and then reboot.

From another device you can access the web interface at http://192.168.0.2:6680/iris/ (run ifconfig on the Pi and take the ip address from the wlan0 interface). You'll need to go to the Settings tab and Authorize your Spotify account. Ta-da, that's it, rock out.

(But, it seems the installer doesn't actually remember your Spotify details properly, so open /etc/mopidy/mopidy.conf, down the bottom check that the [spotify] section contains your username and password. It had forgotten my username and mangled my password, so definitely check.)

(Also, your session will timeout regularly, just log back in, no worries.)

VLC
But, I was not content with just Spotify. I wanted actual internet radio. So I installed the vlc-radio as well.
Again, just one line installer;
curl https://get.pimoroni.com/vlcradio | bash
You can access the web interface at http://192.168.0.2:8080 (default login details; blank username/raspberry).
If you want to queue up your own internet radio stations save them as playlist.m3u, and scp over to /home/pi/.config/vlc/. Then reboot.

(SSH server is off by default, you can turn it on through sudo raspi-config, more details here.)

Other than warning you that the default volume is very high, that's it. Enjoy!

Open Theremin V3

2017-Feb-26, Sunday 06:24 pm
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
Gather:
- active/powered speakers with a 3.5mm stereo audio jack (bonus points if the power plug is grounded)
- camera tripod
- Arduino Uno, from wherever it has been gathering dust (and USB/power cable)

Acquire:
- Open Theremin Arduino Shield
- 1m of aluminium round tube; 6mm external thickness, 1mm wall thickness, 4mm internal diameter, from your local hardware shop

Do:
- Cut tube in half, and bend (or get bent) each half into the shape described in the diagram
- Solder shield together. (The button and LEDs are surface mounted. I scorched a leg pad of the yellow LED, so no blinky yellow for me.)
- Program Uno
- Plug all the bits together. The whole lot should be grounded, but both my speakers, and the Arduino, are powered over USB, and I could not find an earthed USB-converter plug. So, at the moment, they are plugged into my laptop, which is plugged into the mains. (There is a ground pad on the shield that I should hook up in future.)
- Power up, leave to warm up, trigger auto-calibration
- Make ALL THE NOISE



Theremin!
Photo by chebegeek



- Start band

(no subject)

2017-Jan-18, Wednesday 04:17 pm
chebe: (Default)
You may have noticed a lack of updates. That's mainly because finding, and updating, all the image links in my blog takes a very, very long time. Did you realise I've had this blog nearly eight years? I certainly didn't.

In other news, I'm falling down the Quantified Self rabbit hole. I'd like to have a blog to reflect it. So that's another project on the backburner.
chebe: (OlympusCamera)
You are Good People, right? You just want to get what's yours (albeit in the laziest way possible), right? You don't want to misuse any tools to cause any damage, right? Okay, great, listen up.

A while back I came up with some cmd line calls using wget to back up my LJ Scrapbook. This method stopped working as LJ restructured Scrapbook a few times. Me, I kept using them as free image hosting. But, for some reason, I've been remotivated to get a backup.

They use Flash. Flash does not play nice with, well, anything. So I am left with the not so elegant brute-force approach.

Log in to LJ. Go to your Scrapbook, view a photo, click on the little share icon. Grab your $usernumber.
Format:
http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/$username/$usernumber/$photonumber/$photonumber_original.jpg
Have a look at your newest upload, note the $photonumber.

While logged in, export your cookies.txt (see previous post, basically find plugin for your browser).
Plug $username, $usernumber, and a number greater than the $photonumber into $maxphotonumber.

Run script.

#!/bin/bash
username=your_user_name
usernumber=your_user_number
maxphotonumber=your_max_number
for (( c=0; c<=$maxphotonumber; c++))
do
wget --load-cookies cookies.txt -erobots=off -nd -np -r http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/$username/$usernumber/$c/"$c"_original.jpg
done


The script simply checks every single number between zero and your maximum number. If there exists an image, it will save it, with the same name. It only checks for the _original images. It saves everything in the one directory. It is not optimised, but it should get everything. Most of the flags aren't needed. But I think they show well just how much patience I lost with this whole thing.

*edit* About 14 hours to get over 1,000 pictures in a 280,000 number range.

*edit2* If you get a few unopenable files, try different format extensions.

33C3

2017-Jan-02, Monday 12:08 pm
chebe: (Default)
Congress is an experience. Having an Assembly to hang around is a major plus. Like other conventions, the main purpose seems to be meeting up with people you don't get to see every often. (And complaining about how tired you are.) There were enchanting displays all over the place. I'm sure I didn't even manage to see everything. It never really stopped either. There was dancing in the snowglobe at 6am. There was hanging out in the sci-fi console area of the purpose-built-technically-outside lounge at 7am. I still haven't quite got the hang of the toilet and elevator parties. I wish I'd been well enough to do more, see more. But I certainly have ideas for next time.



Congress; 8am Day 4
Photo by chebegeek

33C3; day zero

2016-Dec-26, Monday 10:40 pm
chebe: (Default)
Agent chebe reporting from 33C3; day zero. Although I've been to hacker camps before, like OHM and EMF, this is my first Congress. Plus side; no tents. Negative; hotel is far away, and there's winter rain. We got our wristbands, set up the Assembly next to the lovely Scottish Consulate. Got on the wifi. You know, the essentials. Had a quick look around as people were setting up. It already looks amazing, I'm sure tomorrow will permanently warp my sense of reality. I am a bit worried about how crowded it will be. 13,000 people, one venue. But there is that feel in the air, the one of creative minds working away.

P.S. I am probably Patient Zero.
chebe: (Wild)
So this thing is happening. A large, ugly, derelict, office block called Apollo House was taken over by squatters five days ago. But not ordinary squatters. These people have turned the building into a homeless shelter. Many internationally known musicians and actors are supportive, some actively taking part. It was announced on the largest, oldest, talk-show we have (clip on twitter). They are clearly owning that it is an 'act of civil disobedience'.

Brief background; Ireland's property market collapsed in 2008/2009, like many other places. A 'bad bank', NAMA (National Assets Management Agency) was set up to take on the bad debts of the other banks we were bailing out. It's still around. Initially it was sitting on its portfolio to avoid flooding the market with incredibly cheap property, and further destabilising the economy. But now it's sitting on it until the properties become valuable again. Until then all these properties are empty. During the largest homelessness problem we've ever had as a nation.

As was to be expected, they got the letter to vacate the premises, and are in court today. The Government says there are enough beds for all the homeless. Clearly they haven't walked through Dublin after 7pm recently.

An aside; soup kitchens have been popping up all over the city. They are always extremely busy. But the mobile sort, with no permanent premises. I saw a sign at the beginning of the year on one building; 'Soup Kitchen opening June", then July, then August, then soon, and still there's nothing.

The activists are maintaining that since we, the taxpayers, bailed out the banks, bought those bad loans, that those buildings belong to us, the people. That having them vacant, and crumbling, while people die on the streets in winter is a disgrace.

In some ways it's complicated. The use of nationalist language, and involvement of nationalist groups, worries me especially. But at the end of the day, 30 homeless people have had somewhere to sleep this past week. That is a good.

What I don't see mentioned is that Apollo House is right beside the literally-falling-apart building of the Department of Health. Which I think is just a beautiful irony.

Also, across the narrow one-way street, is another initiative. In Place. It's a collective of artists, doing things in a very hackerspace way. They are temporarily using the building, partly fixing it up, and have been for a few months now. The difference being, they did it with the permission of the landlord.

There is a lot of empty space around Dublin, people have been building maps of it. There's an app in the Android store that allows you to point your phone at a building and the app overlays if it is owned by NAMA. Meanwhile Dublin is heading into another property bubble, with record high rents, and little to no protection for renters.

It's all very interesting. Something is changing.
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