#Makevember

@chickengrylls#makevember manifesto / hashtag has been an excellent experience. I’ve made maybe five nice things and a lot of nonsense, and a lot of useless junk, but that’s fine – I’ve learned a lot, mostly about servos and other motors. There’s been tons of inspiration too (check out these beautiful automata, some characterful paper sculptures, Richard’s unsuitable materials, my initial inspiration’s set of themes on a tape, and loads more). A lovely aspect was all the nice people and beautiful and silly things emerging out of the swamp of Twitter.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 16.31.14

Of my own makes, my favourites were this walking creature, with feet made of crocodile clips (I was amazed it worked); a saw-toothed vertical traveller, such a simple little thing; this fast robot (I was delighted when it actually worked); some silly stilts; and (from October) this blimp / submarine pair.

I did lots of fails too – e.g. a stencil, a raspberry blower. Also lots of partial fails that got scaled back – AutoBez 1, 2, and 3; Earth-moon; a poor-quality under-water camera. And some days I just ran out of inspiration and made something crap.

Why’s it so fun? Well there’s the part about being more observant, looking at materials around you constantly to think about what to make, though that’s faded a little. As I’ve got better I’ve had more successes and when you actually make something that works, that’s amazing. I’ve loved seeing what everyone else is making, however good or less-good, whether they spent ages or five minutes on it. It feels very purposeful too, having something you have to do every day.

Downsides: I’ve spent far too long on some of these. I was very pleased with both Croc Nest, and Morse, but both of them took ages. The house is covered in bits of electronics and things I “might need” despite spending some effort tidying, but clearly not enough (and I need to have things to hand and to eye for inspiration). Oh, and I’m addicted to Twitter again. That’s it really. Small price to pay.

Capturing button presses from bluetooth hands free kits on a Raspberry Pi

Is there anything better than this wonky and unreliable hack for capturing keypresses from a handsfree kit?

sudo hciconfig hci0 down
sudo hciconfig hci0 up
sudo hcidump -l 1 | grep ACL

As the kit connects, I see in syslog

Sep 27 21:17:10 gvoice bluetoothd[532]: Unable to get connect data for Hands-Free Voice gateway: getpeername: Transport endpoint is not connected (107)

Sep 27 21:17:10 gvoice bluetoothd[532]: Unable to get connect data for Headset Voice gateway: getpeername: Transport endpoint is not connected (107)

I can see it appearing as

Sep 27 21:14:29 gvoice kernel: [  827.342038] input: B8:D5:0B:4C:CF:59 as /devices/virtual/input/input6

evtest gives

sudo evtest
No device specified, trying to scan all of /dev/input/event*
Available devices:
/dev/input/event0: B8:D5:0B:4C:CF:59
Select the device event number [0-0]: 0
[...]
    Event code 402 (KEY_CHANNELUP)
    Event code 403 (KEY_CHANNELDOWN)
    Event code 405 (KEY_LAST)
  Event type 2 (EV_REL)
Key repeat handling:
  Repeat type 20 (EV_REP)
    Repeat code 0 (REP_DELAY)
      Value    300
    Repeat code 1 (REP_PERIOD)
      Value     33
Properties:
Testing ... (interrupt to exit)

but there are never any events.

(I’m asking as I have it nicely hooked up to google voice recogniser via aiy. But it needs (and I want) a button press to trigger it. With a bit of twiddling hands free kits and bluetooth headsets work nicely with Raspian Stretch.)

Leaving Flickr

I’m very sad about this, especially because of all the friends I have made on Flickr, but with Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo (and so Flickr) and the consequent sharing of Flickr user data with the new “Oath” “”””family”””” I feel like it’s time for me to admit just how shit Flickr has become and finally leave. I’ve been using it (and paying for it) for 10 years though, so I’ve a lot of pictures, about 13K in number, about 23G. I’ve got all my data and will delete my account tomorrow (which I think it’s their deadline, but they seem confused about it).

It’s been a busy week so I don’t know what I’ll replace it with yet, maybe something simple and static I’ll write myself like the thing I had 11 years ago, with some, I dunno, RSS feeds or something. But anyway, here’s the best way I’ve found to get my data back, and kudos to Flickr that the API is still there to make it possible. I tried a few things and flickrmirrorer looks best. It’s straightforward for pictures; some older videos need downloading by hand with it. As far as I can tell it gets all the metadata for each photo. No comments though, and no notes that I can see.

Because of the video issue I did images first, leaving it overnight (forgot to time it)

mkdir pictures
cd pictures/
mkdir flickr
cd flickr/
git clone https://github.com/markdoliner/flickrmirrorer
cd flickrmirrorer/
 sudo easy_install flickrapi
mkdir data
./flickrmirrorer.py --ignore-videos --statistics /Users/libby/personal/pictures/flickr/flickrmirrorer/data/

Output:

New photos / videos: 12921
Deleted photos / videos: 0
Modified photos /videos: 0
Modified albums: 198
Modified collections: 0

Check it matches the volume of data from your stats page (roughly might be all you can hope for; there’s a problem with flickr’s reporting)

du -sh .

check a couple to make sure we’re actually getting some data

open ./data/photostream/72332206.jpg
cat ./data/photostream/72332206.jpg.metadata

Then video:

./flickrmirrorer.py --ignore-photos --statistics /Users/libby/personal/pictures/flickr/flickrmirrorer/data/

downloading about 50 by hand.

I was worried I didn’t have the metadata for some of them, so I hacked together a script that just got all the video metadata – which is here.

I also wanted a list of my favourites – I rolled my own script for that, here. I hardcoded the number of pages, sorry!

There doesn’t seem to be any way to get notes, which sucks.

To use these two scripts you need to get an api key from flickr here.

I’m really really annoyed about all the cool urls I’ll kill because of this. Oh well.

Update: Matthew in the comments thought that notes were available from this api, and he’s right. flickrmirrorer doesn’t get them (and actually doesn’t get as much metadata as I want) so I grabbed all the ids of my photos using the dump from flickrmirrorer as a starting point:

find . | grep "\.metadata" > list_of_photos.txt

and then use this script to get as much metadata as I can.

I also realised I didn’t have a list of my friends 😦 So, I wrote one more script to do that.

Outline a bitmap in Inkscape

I keep doing this for lasercuts but getting a double outline instead of a single outline, and so a double cut. This is because (apparently) Inkscape doesn’t do “centre line tracing”. For simple shapes there’s a work-around though:

  • paste the bitmap into a document
  • Path -> trace bitmap, inverting the image
  • Delete the image, select the trace
  • Path-> stroke to path
  • delete the square outline of the image

I’ve put a video of this on flickr.