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18 May Ivette – Build Log 2 – Case Build

In the interest of actually getting this done, I will try and keep this as brief as I can. I might, however, elaborate at a later stage.

Day 0

After much waiting the day had finally come, when the parcel collection card for my screen showed up in my mailbox, meaning I could finally start the build. I picked it up from the post office straight away, and un-boxed it on my lunch break at work.

I also tried out some ideas for possible internal component layouts, using the provided cables. In doing so, I found that I had to have the HID USB cable sticking out of the case in order to have the rest of the RPi’s ports be accessible from the outside. While this was inconvenient, there was not much I could do about this without doing some heavy modifications to the ports, which I was not ready to do. So I would have to live with that slight issue for the time being.


23 Apr Taters gonna tate

After a long day of project organising, coding and general cleanup, taters is finally pushed out to github and is now officially available to the general public.

So before I go into a bit more detail about the project, Check it out Now!

Taters is the result of years working as a web-developer where common tedious tasks quickly got automated with scripts to make life easier and allow me to focus on actually making websites. Tasks like building source files into assets and then getting those assets onto the clients servers where the most common ones to get automated with scripts. These scripts then grew in complexity and eventually became very difficult to extend and maintain. Other similar systems like grunt and gulp inspired me to rewrite my scripts from the ground up in a more modular fashion, dealing with many of the issues I had encountered along the way, improving on shortcomings I perceived with the other systems, and incorporating many of the ideas and concepts I had wanted to try out, with the final goal being to have something that could be useful for more than just web-development work.

I have been using taters in my work for a while now, and have always wanted to share it with the public, but it needed a bit more TLC before I felt it was ready. And with changes at work meaning that more people, other than just myself, where going to use it, there was a bit more incentive for me to actually get it to a better state. Initially, it was simply called deploy, since that was essentially it’s primary function. But I felt that name was a bit too generic and also somewhat limiting in it’s scope, so I eventually settled on taters. Now, exactly why I chose taters is not entirely certain, but it most likely has something to do with my general fondness of the tuber as well as my general Hobbit-ness.

Getting the project onto github is of course only the start, as there is still much work to be done before it’s actual version 0.1 release, and even more work still before the illusive version 1.0. The next big thing that needs doing is documentation, which is a difficult and big task but also a very necessary one.

So anyway. I am quite excited!

09 Feb qr-send: a simple image-based transmission method

Long time no post. So to make it easy for myself to get things started for this new year, I will post about something small and simple. Namely, qr-send.

qr-send is a solution to the problem of “How do I get short bits of text from my computer to my phone?”

Sometimes there might be a URL or a short bit of text you need to get onto your phone for whatever reason. Maybe you find an article you want to read later on your way home from work, maybe you have a bit of text in a document that you want to text over to a friend, or if you are a web-developer like me, you might want to open a website in your device’s web-browser to make sure everything works on the smaller screen.

Sure, you could just type it out. But unless the text is really short then that might not be that easy. You might have a long and complicated URL or other bit of text which contains a bunch of random looking characters, like a hex-encoded hash. Then it would be both tedious to type it out by hand, and there would be a high risk of making mistakes. So manual typing here is not an option.

Now, depending on your device, you might have a whole range of other options available. You could send it via Wifi, but what protocol would you use, and what about security? You could use Bluetooth, but you would need a Bluetooth dongle in your computer. Also many of these options requires a fair bit of configuration to get working satisfactory. You could also download some App™ to both your computer and your device which sends the text via The Cloud™ somehow, but personally I try and avoid those sorts of solutions as much as I can.

qr-send, however, is a very simple solution to this problem (At least compared to some of my examples above). All it does, is it takes the text you wish to send as it’s input, encodes that text into a QR Code image, and then displays that image on your screen. And then all you have to do is open up your QR Code scanner of choice on your device and scan the code, and the text will appear on your phone ready to be copied opened with your browser or copied to wherever it’s needed. Simple as that.


20 Sep Keep bootstrap from taking up space and time in projects

If you are anything like me, then you probably have a bunch of web project’s git repositories in a folder on your computer, each with their own copy of bootstrap on them setup as a git submodule. That is all good and well, but you might not know that all of those bootstrap copies (as of writing) take up 104.8 MiB each! Which if you manage lots of sites like I do then it easily adds up to a few GiB. This article will go through a method of limiting the space that these copies take up as well as save you some time when you setup new projects.


16 Sep Ivette – Build Log 1 – Hardware

After much anxious waiting I finally received the last piece of hardware for Ivette, my DIY tablet build, and that part was the LCD Touchscreen. So, with all the parts on hand, I excitedly started building the case that weekend. I continued building whenever I had any spare time and only just finished it a few of weeks ago. And now that I have tried it out for a bit, it is now due time to document the build process. But before I that though, I would first like to go through and document the hardware in more detail and outline the general hardware design of Ivette version 1.


23 Aug LCD Control script for Chalkboard Electronic Devices

Last weekend while working on Ivette, I needed to be able to control the backlighting on the screen so I spent Saturday afternoon to very late in the night with a bottle of merlot coding away on a script to enable me to do this from the shell. I implemented it with the help of the somewhat inaccurate but still excellent official documentation on the subject.

I released the results of this effort onto my github account. There are still a few bugs and some minor features missing but the script works really well on my device.

To checkout this script just go to it’s github page at https://github.com/Nimdraug/lcdcontrol

Any help with testing the script on other devices or general bug testing would be highly appreciated.

25 Jul Ivette – Build Log 0

This series of articles will cover some of the details and build of a Raspberry Pi based Tablet Computer I call Ivette. The first instalment will serve as an introduction to the project and go through how and why I started it and also detail the first iterations of the device.