chebe: (DearDiary)
2017-04-17 12:33 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

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.
chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
2017-04-14 10:54 pm


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)
2017-03-28 12:24 am
Entry tags:

Pimoroni Pirate Radio tweak; aka 'Talk to me Sweetie!'

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;
(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 (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')


print your_ip

if __name__ == '__main__':

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.)
chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
2017-03-26 10:44 pm
Entry tags:

Pimoroni Pirate Radio

Order the Raspberry Pi Zero W Pirate Radio (get it?) kit.
Assemble. Making sure you put the headers on the correct way around *cough*.

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;

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; raspberrypi

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

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 | 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 (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.)

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 | bash
You can access the web interface at (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!
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
2017-02-26 06:24 pm
Entry tags:

Open Theremin V3

- 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)

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

- 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

Photo by chebegeek

- Start band
chebe: (Default)
2017-01-18 04:17 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

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)
2017-01-06 02:58 am
Entry tags:

Backing-up my LJ ScrapBook pics, redux

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.
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.

for (( c=0; c<=$maxphotonumber; c++))
wget --load-cookies cookies.txt -erobots=off -nd -np -r$username/$usernumber/$c/"$c"_original.jpg

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.
chebe: (Default)
2017-01-02 12:08 pm
Entry tags:


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

chebe: (Default)
2016-12-26 10:40 pm
Entry tags:

33C3; day zero

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)
2016-12-21 01:29 pm
Entry tags:

Apollo, In Place, and Dublin

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.
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
2016-12-19 11:55 am
Entry tags:

Knickers!; Stretch knickers

With the chalky taste of paracetamol in the back of my throat, there's only a small make this weekend. Or should I say, smalls?

I got a book recently, Knickers!, although 'book' is a bit of an exaggeration. There's a quick intro, and then it's straight in to instructions on how to make six (although three distinct) varieties of knickers. Then in the back there are patterns you need to enlarge 200%, or you can download the fullsize patterns from a website and print them (at 70+ A4 pages). Size charts are in UK dress sizes, not measurements. But otherwise, it is beautifully to-the-point, and very clear.

I used some left-over Fushia jersey, about two metres of black stretch lace, and took on the 'Stretch Knickers' pattern. Start to finish in an hour. I'll definitely be making more.

Couple of photos )
chebe: (StepIntoTheLight)
2016-12-14 09:51 pm
Entry tags:

Win10 + Fedora25

Golly gosh gawd darn. I just learned me some things.

I just dual-booted my new(ish) Windows 10 laptop with Fedora 25.
The usual process applies;
- shrink Windows partition using Windows own tool in Disk Management
- create nifty live usb (from new live usb creating program from Fedora)
- boot into live usb

(An aside; in order for the boot menu (F12) to be accessible/work, first I had to go into the BIOS (F2) and enable the boot menu.)

- inside live usb, install to hard disk (Fedora handles all the details, just point it at the empty space)

Then things have gotten a little bit different. No messing with boot sectors, no dd, no MBR editing, no bcdedit. You reboot, and things just work.

(Another aside; Except, when they don't. I tried many things, but it seems I needed to go back into my BIOS, set a Supervisor Password. This unlocked the Secure Boot menu, which allowed me to add a trusted image. Follow the menus down through Fedora to grubx64.efi, and select. Save and exit. Go back into BIOS, to the boot menu order, grub will now be in the list, make it goes to the top of the list. Save and exit.)

On boot you will be greeted with the grub menu; offering you Fedora, or to go to the Windows Boot Menu.

Happy days. I'm dual-booted again!

(On the plus side; everything just seems to work in Fedora 25! From the wlan, to the touch screen, it just, it's beautiful. *wipes tear away*)
chebe: (HandAgainstGlass)
2016-12-12 11:25 am

Quantified Self and Fitbit sleep data

This weekend involved getting to see Placebo in concert, so not much else happened. But that's the great thing about software, you can be productive without getting out of bed.

I recently attended a Quantified Self meetup on sleep, that gave me the kick up the arse I've been needing. (Which was only compounded when I heard about Pebble closing, and that Fitbit would take over their servers, and staff.) One of the presenters talked about how he got his Fitbit data and how he analysed it. (If you're interested, slides are here, and blog post here.) He switched to using the official APIs when they became available, but I went with his original approach, a python program to log in and get your intraday data points instead of the aggregated stuff you get on the dashboard.

I haven't been the most steady wearable user, but there were a few months when I wore it reliably. Simply because I was sleeping terribly and wanted to understand just how badly. Although I never got around to actually analaysing the data, until now. (That's one thing about all these QS talks, typically everyone showing their data is the picture of good health. I'm more interested in seeing what it looks like when it goes wrong.)

I used the website dashboard to find the months that actually contained data. Then I exported csv files, month-by-month, using the official export option. This is the aggregated information, but it will be nice to see if it correlates with the intraday info.

Then armed with dates that contain valid data, I put them into the python program, and grabbed all my data. In short, download and extract the source code. In the same folder as create your own python file, where you will create your own client. (This information is apparently in the example files, but I poked around before I noticed that.) To create your own client you just pass in your email address and password;
client = fitbit.Client.login(email="", password="password")
You grab the specific info you're interested in;
And then dump it to screen/file/whatever you want. Although it's a good idea to format it a little.

Sleep data is recorded as one value per minute.

# The different values for sleep are:
# 0: no sleep data
# 1: asleep
# 2: awake
# 3: very awake

# data will be a similar list of tuples, but spaced one minute apart
# [
# (datetime.datetime(2010, 2, 20, 23, 59), 2),
# (datetime.datetime(2010, 2, 21, 0, 0), 1),
# (datetime.datetime(2010, 2, 21, 0, 1), 1),
# ....
# (datetime.datetime(2010, 2, 21, 8, 34), 1),
# ]

And then, we are left with the task of analysing the data. Which is a much bigger one.
chebe: (WhoWouldHaveThought?)
2016-12-05 02:16 pm
Entry tags:

Sewing miscellaneous

No make to report this week. But the past couple of weeks I've been on an organisational binge. It started with getting the Colette Sewing Planner. It not only enabled me to collect all my projects and notes in one place (that conveniently fits in my handbag), but it also forced me to think about what it is I actually wear, and what I want to focus on.

But of course, it only lead onto other undertakings; like sorting all my patterns (upgrading to clear envelopes because I had a right pain opening up all the opaque ones when looking for the right pattern), and finally taking on sorting through my fabric stash. Every length is now measured and tagged. ... But then, I figured it would be beneficial to create my own swatch book. So I found a PDF template, customised it, and now I've sent it off to get printed on some nice card stock.

I've also ordered a bunch of needles I'm missing (like twin stretch), some nifty tools (like twin pattern wheel), and some new cases/boxes to help me tidy up my overflowing sewing box. It's a deep rabbit hole, but I think I'm close to the end. And I've rediscovered quite the collection of projects that I already have all the fabric and thread for, so hopefully I'll be able to tackle the really long list swiftly. ... Oh, ribbons and elastics! ... Tidying up, who knew it was so helpful?
chebe: (Spools of thread)
2016-11-28 11:52 am

Simplicity 1429 pull-on knit shorts

This weekend I began the journey towards trousers. I'm taking the long route, so I started with some pull-on knit shorts. Simplicity 1429, view E; long (knee-length) shorts, with acres of material. I can't quite figure out why this pattern is knit-only. Nothing stretches (except the elastic wasitband). I could have made this in a lightweight non-stretch woven and only the drape would have been affected.

Otherwise though, cute lounge shorts. There are soft pleats in the front, darts in the back, and a blind hem, of which I will only say that I need more practice. A lot more.

I also added the waistband to the wrong side, and had to unpick it. A narrow zigzag stretch stitch on a thin rayon. It took a very long time. And then, I put it back on inside out, and could not face unpicking it again. Most people don't go around inspecting each others wasitbands though, so it should be okay.

I made it in a featherweight jersey called Fushia Dakota knit, 95% rayon/5% spandex. (Which made machining the blind hem extra fun.) Comfy, light; I can see the full length trousers working well in hot weather.

Loungey )
chebe: (GirlDayDreaming)
2016-11-21 11:34 am
Entry tags:

Seamwork Oslo cardigan

This weekends make was Seamwork's Oslo; an oversized, slightly boxy, long cardigan. I made it in a Medium, and there is still oodles of room there. Definitely comfy.

I left off the buttons. And went with sleeve option 2 (the non roll-up kind) because when working with computers I find it easier to have my wrists accessory free. Although they are still long enough to cover the knuckles. I did have the seam ripper out for this one. It took me way too long to understand the cuff instructions. (Turn half inside-out to right side out.)

I made it in a nice polyester Ponte de Roma (quickly becoming my favourite fabric) with just a touch of spandex (4%). The colour is officially 'Petrol', which is like a darker, more blue teal? I'm pretty sure it will go with almost everything in my wardrobe.

Slouchy )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
2016-11-15 03:16 pm
Entry tags:

Seamwork Aberdeen v-neck top

Seamwork's Aberdeen is a v-neck, batwing sleeve, t-shirt. The front is one piece, so no need to worry about matching patterns. The back is two pieces, and also features a v-neck, which I think is a nice touch.

I need to practice adding v-necks. There's a little bubble at the front point, and the back ones didn't quite line up. Also, because I hate hemming, I half-assed the hem with just a single turn and zig-zag stitch.

But, it's cute and comfy. I made it up in a light t-shirt weight stretch jersey. I picked up this fabric as a remnant while on holiday in Vancouver years back. The print is busy, but monochromatic, so sufficiently moody for my tastes.

Ta-da! )
chebe: (Spools of thread)
2016-11-14 03:30 pm
Entry tags:

Seamwork Manila Leggings, version two

Version one were made up in the green-blue spotty fabric. I told you you'd seen the last of that fabric, and I meant it. This version is done up in a plain plum-purple, medium weight stretch jersey. Otherwise; I tweaked the pattern to widen the calves, and take out some fabric from the stomach.

These are deliciously comfortable. The lower legs fit great. This material is less stretchy than version one, so has shown that adding a bit of length to the rear would be good as well. Next time Gadget.

Couple of pictures )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
2016-11-13 06:20 pm

Slip Sew-Along; version two

I'm feeling a little despondent over things I have no influence over. So I'm distracting myself with blogging. Here's something I made earlier in the year.

Remember the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along? (Here's version one.) Well, I finally got around to making it up in the kit fabric and notions.

It's straight forward, easy to put together (even with the slippery fabric). The lace straps are a little fiddly, but otherwise it's a joy to make and wear.

Photos )
chebe: (WalkSign)
2016-08-15 09:32 pm
Entry tags:

4x4x4 LED Shield

You know the story; you go into Maplins for solder, and you walk out with an LED Cube Shield. (It can't be just me.) Anyway, building one of these yokes seems to have become a kind of rite of passage for the makery sort. So, I made one!

Couple of photos )

Not so straight LED Cube, completed
Photo by chebe