Posts Tagged Improvements

Monthly Science: Weight

After another two months:

Weight Chart 2019-10 - Ed
Weight Chart 2019-10 – Ed

The trend is definitely not uniformly downward, perhaps due to my increasing ability to accelerate (small) masses against the local gravity vector and, definitely, garden harvest season. My pants still fit fine, if that’s any indication.

I’ll add a skin-fold caliper dot to the weekly record after I can get repeatable measurements, perhaps by marking the test spot with a Sharpie.

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ID3 Tagging From File Names

The Forester can play MP3 files from a USB flash drive and, given the utter craptitude of radio stations around here, I dumped a bunch of CD tracks onto a drive. For historic reasons, very few of the tracks had ID3 tags, so the Forester’s display showed only gnarly file names for the last few years.

This burst of Bash line noise runs through the directory of album directories, extracts the relevant information from the directory and track names, then pops the tags in place:

for d in * ; do for f in $(ls $d) ; do art=$(echo $d | cut -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g') ; alb=$(echo $d | cut --complement -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g') ; t=$(echo $f | cut -d- -f1) ; s=$(echo ${f%.*} | cut --complement -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g') ; id3tag -2 -a"$art" -A"$alb" -s"$s" -t$t $d/$f ; done ; done

It’s (marginally) easier to see this way:

for d in * ; do 
 for f in $(ls $d) ; do 
  art=$(echo $d | cut -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g')
  alb=$(echo $d | cut --complement -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g')
  t=$(echo $f | cut -d- -f1)
  s=$(echo ${f%.*} | cut --complement -d- -f1 | tr '_' ' ' | sed 's/-/ - /g')
  id3tag -2 -a"$art" -A"$alb" -s"$s" -t$t $d/$f
 done
done

What’s going on:

  • cut – extracts track number and song title
  • tr – convert underscores to spaces
  • sed – put spaces around hyphens

The id3tag program can install either ID3V1 or ID3V2 tags on each pass, so I just recalled the command, edited the -1 to -2, and ran the whole mess again.

After a bit of manual cleanup, things looked pretty good.

Although the id3ren program seemed as though it could do the trick, it’s really intended to rename files from existing tags. Making it go the other way rapidly became a steel-cage death match; I gave up.

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Manjaro Linux VNC Setup

I installed the XFCE flavor of Manjaro Linux (beside Win 8.1 Pro) on a new-to-me Dell Latitude 7250 serving as our new Token Windows box and carry-along-able Linux laptop.

Manjaro being an offshoot of Arch, they have plenty of guides and references, with How to Set up X11VNC Server being most useful at the moment. This box needs only a VNC server and apparently works with ‑xdamage for faster updates.

With the laptop plugged into an external display and Manjaro set up to use both displays, the X11VNC server feeds both to the client with the proper positioning, producing a truly panoramic, albeit scaled, view:

WinFlip - X11VNC dual screen
WinFlip – X11VNC dual screen

TightVNC on Windows does much the same thing, although (AFAICT) Windows doesn’t allow different background pictures on the two screens; that’s irrelevant to my mmmm use case.

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Monthly Image: Spider vs. Marmorated Stink Bug

Fortunately, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs haven’t been as catastrophic as predicted when they arrived a few years ago, perhaps because native critters have learned to deal with them:

Spider vs. Marmorated Stink Bug
Spider vs. Marmorated Stink Bug

Looks like a week’s worth of spider chow!

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Pride Lift Chair Control Dimming

For reasons not relevant here, we recently decontaminated a second lift chair, this one in bariatric size (so it doesn’t suffer from fuzz-shaving struts) with a six-switch control pod:

Pride lift chair control - dimmed LEDs
Pride lift chair control – dimmed LEDs

The green LED-lit buttons were so bright I took it apart to see what could be done; the picture shows the considerably dimmed result.

Start by prying outward on the tab at the USB charging port:

Pride lift chair control - USB port latch
Pride lift chair control – USB port latch

Done right, you can then release the latches along the sides:

Pride lift chair control - side opened
Pride lift chair control – side opened

It’s impossible to photograph the PCB with the LEDs active, but here’s what it looks like without power:

Pride lift chair control - PCB overview
Pride lift chair control – PCB overview

The eight (!) SMD LEDs align with light pipes around the switch openings:

Pride lift chair control - button keys
Pride lift chair control – button keys

The black dots come from Sharpie ink daubed in the shallow recesses intended to nestle around the LEDs. Note that the four switch caps have unique keying, so you can’t put them back incorrectly without some effort.

While we’re inside, here’s a closer look at the cable entry point, just in case I must replace the industrial-strength coily cord:

Pride lift chair control - cable entry
Pride lift chair control – cable entry

Unfortunately, it has a five-conductor cable, so a cheap phone coily cord (remember when phones had coily cords?) won’t suffice.

The PCB sports a pair of PICs, one of which seems to handle the buttons. I betcha the cable dates back to the days of hard-wired power switches, with the PIC now handling the intricate logic of deciding which motors to actuate for each function, then controlling MOSFETs as fake switch contacts.

The other PIC snuggles against the USB interface, which the manual describes as a charging-only port. It might also serve as a programming interface for the main PIC; admittedly the notion of a firmware upgrade for a lift chair seems far-fetched.

Reassembly is in reverse order with a resounding snap at the conclusion. It works fine and you (well, I) can now look at the control pod without sunglasses.

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CNC 3018-Pro: HD and CD Fixtures

I actually had this in mind when I laid out the hard drive and CD engraving fixtures:

CNC 3018-Pro - HD and CD fixtures
CNC 3018-Pro – HD and CD fixtures

The fixtures are centered at X±70.0 mm / Y=0.0 from the G54 workspace coordinate origin dead-center in the middle of the platform, with G55 centered on the HD fixture to the left and G56 on the CD fixture to the right.

So the engraving workflow amounts to homing the CNC 3018 when I turn it on, taping a platter in a fixture, selecting the corresponding WCS, loading a suitable G-Code file, and firing it off. It seems bCNC returns to G54 after completing the file, so verifying the WCS selection every time is Very Good Practice.

The friable lacquer coating on some CDs fills my world with glitter whenever I engrave a pattern on their label side. I didn’t plan on a dust shoe for this thing!

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Makergear M2: Octopi Camera Mount

Octopirint / Octopi works wonderfully well as a controller / G-Code feeder for my Makergear M2. After putting up with an ungainly mass of tape for far too long, I printed Toddman’s Pi Camera Mount:

Pi Camera - M2 Mount - Slic3r
Pi Camera – M2 Mount – Slic3r

Which snapped together exactly like it should:

Makergear M2 - Pi Camera Mount
Makergear M2 – Pi Camera Mount

A strip of double-sided foam tape attaches it to the Pi’s case, which is Velcro-ed to the M2’s frame. The cable may be too long, but avoids sharp bends on the way out of the case.

The whole lashup works fine:

Pi Camera - M2 Mount - Octopi timelapse
Pi Camera – M2 Mount – Octopi timelapse

That’s a second set intended for the CNC 3018-Pro, but it didn’t fit quite as well. The B brackets are slightly too long (or their pivots are slightly too close to their base) to allow the C plates to turn 90° to the mount:

Pi Camera - M2 Mount - Config 2 diagram
Pi Camera – M2 Mount – Config 2 diagram

Nothing one can’t fix with nibbling & filing, but I long for parametric designs …

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