Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year's Eve frolics

Up early today - we're going down to London to  see the fireworks from the vantage point of daughter.2's flat.

First, some fun with computers.

I tried to access the URL I always go to, to do some admin. It wouldn't load, and some investigation showed that it thought that the security certificate had expired. A) it hadn't and B) it took me a few minutes to realise that this wouldn't affect customers, as they don't have access to that anyway, so I could stop panicing.

I don't know what the problem really was, or how to fix it, but the problem seems to have disappeared for now. Computers.

Then down to the dentist. A couple of weeks ago a big lump fell out of one of my back teeth; it turned out to be an old filling, from back in the days when they'd drill out most of your tooth before ramming in the Polyfiller. Mr Dentist had a look, and said he could fix it, so I leaned back while he poked around inside. And then I leaped out of the chair when he found something *really* sensitive inside the tooth. After coming down from the ceiling and receiving an apology, I settle back while he used half a bucket of filling to fill the hole, and it feels great now.

Next, I found a program (fim) that lets me, from a remote login, throw up a graphic to the display. I'm planning to use that in the forthcoming "Son of geocaching robotic arm". The idea is that, when you do the necessary thing, the Pi displays on a little 3-inch screen and gives you some information that lets you proceed. But you can't see the screen until you use the interface to pan (and/or tilt) the webcam. I need it to be a graphic, because the webcam isn't high resolution, and a 3 inch PAL-based screen is very low resolution. But if I put a large letter up on that screen, it should be readable.

The other thing I wanted to do, is detect when a button has been pressed. I can do that using the GPIO ports on the Pi, so I've ordered SP Yang's kit for making the Pi do neat things in hardware. I'm primarily a software hacker; messing around with hardware is a bit adventurous for me. But if I can get that working, and using fim, I think I can make a pretty nifty "Son of geocaching robotic arm".

So then down to London on the Railway; cars will be impossible today. First stop (not counting Marylebone) was Selfridges, and specifically the Brass Rail, which does excellent salt beef sandwiches. Then on to daughter.1 so ladysolly can do cookery-stuff before we go on to daughter.2.

Using daughter.1's broadband, courtesy of BT. I find they have a really unpleasant feature - occasionally, when I try to go to, for example, Google, I get diverted to BT Yahoo. Yes, I know that's a rebranded google, but I strongly resent my accesses being redirected. It even decided, for a while, that this blog didn't exist and that what I really wanted to go to was ... BT Yahoo.

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