Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Design and innovation: make time to try something new - combine technologies from different fields

So, Ian in here in Openmind Networks posted and interesting thought about how the Hardware Hackathon is effective about stimulating new inventions because it crosses the disciplines of software and hardware. 

That reminded me of a certain somewhat unexpected design and innovation company. Key things being:
 * crossing/combining disciplines, breaking out of one area
 * making some time to explore different areas and try something new
 * accepting failure - :-) perhaps :-) , I hear it can  get pretty competitive at the hackathons.
Have you ever heard of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company? :-) I think anyone studying Design comes across their story.
Known for design and innovation. The rest of us engineers/scientists/whatever who don't study design but end up doing it in different forms may or may not stumble across it.

They have a few inventions of note. They seem quite simple but involve a mix of materials and combine technologies that come from different fields. (e.g. put a farmer and a software developer and a mechanic together for a while and see what happens). Read the story linked below about the invention of the Post-it.
* accidental invention of weak adhesive
* at first no use for the new invention - shelved for a few years - a few ideas tried but didn't work out (i.e. FAILed)
* when a use was thought of - difficulty in bonding adhesive to paper make the simple invention not quite so simple
What could that MMMystery company be called?
Hmmm. I wwwonder? :-)

Pretty funky stories pages:


A different invention - more of an evolution story:
Duck cloth soaked in different adhesives for different purposes over the years.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I want to go to bed but must wait for something to finish on my computer - ~/bin/sleepandsuspend.sh

If I'm doing a big upload or download or sending a big email or doing some other lengthy task but I wish to GO TO BED. Then can I allow it time to finish the task but make it suspend after say an hour?
Yes. This is working for me. (ubuntu linux)

Easiest method:
sudo bash -c "sleep 1h; pm-suspend"

OR a more protecting script to avoid basic mistakes like NOT RUNNING AS ROOT. or NOT HAVING pm-suspend. duh. Good for sleepy users who want to go to bed.

cat >> ~/bin/sleepandsuspend.sh << EOF

# to run it optionally give it amount of seconds to wait
# e.g. two hours 7200, e.g. 10 mins 600
echo e.g. invoke: sudo ~/bin/sleepandsuspend.sh 7200

[[ "$USER" != "root" ]] && echo must run this as root. && exit 0;

#3600secs = 60min * 60sec = 1 hour
[[ "$1" != "" ]] && SLEEP=$1

which pm-suspend
[[ "$?" != 0 ]] && echo "Oh dear, I cannot run pm-suspend. This script will not work :-7"

sleep $SLEEP && pm-suspend
# pmi action suspend

# make the script executable
chmod 755 ~/bin/sleepandsuspend.sh

# to run it optionally give it amount of seconds to wait, e.g. two hours 7200
sudo ~/bin/sleepandsuspend.sh 7200

Thanks to askubuntu.com users for the suspend commands

# If you knew a certain process will finish (e.g. a top-level make process) then you can use ps -elf // pstree -anp // whatever to get the pid of the process which is taking a long time. This is not possible though with some things like a google chrome window sending a big email. You can use wait to wait until the process exits. 
# PID is the  pid number OR %jobid of  process you think will exit
# Invoke like this:
sudo bash -c "wait && pm-suspend"

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Fashion App Stylechat and Openmind Netowrks Golgi. And Polyvore User/CEO Jess Lee.

The Stylechat app is using Openmind Netowrks Golgi communications engine.http://blog.golgi.io/golgi-partners-with-fashion-app-stylechat
"StyleChat will use Golgi’s intelligent delivery engine to enable in-app messaging, actionable notifications and real-time updates."
Interesting :)
I work in Openmind.

And the following is interesting. Jess Lee while working at Google started using Polyvore - a fashion online picture+link clip set making tool and sharing network. She sent in detailed description of bugs and feature reports. Moved to work on Polyvore and has now become CEO.

How One Startup Found Success by Making an Obsessive User Its CEO

Makes sense. Power users themselves are the best developers and designers for any app or product.

Some other Jess Lee and Polyvore links:





Polyvore started as a home improvements clip-set app/tool.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Two kids on time, existance, music, writing, other stuff and education. And PARKLIFE songs.

I've got to get my kids to read that interview see what they think. :-)
Maybe they won't want to goto school anymore!! 😮

Will Smith's kids give an interview on time, existence, music, writing, fashion, values, breathing and education.
I think you could set their interview answers nicely to the parklife song. 

WILLOW: "There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing."

JADEN: "The only way to change something is to shock it. If you want your muscles to grow, you have to shock them. If you want society to change, you have to shock them."

WILLOW: "I went to school for one year. It was the best experience but the worst experience. The best experience because I was, like, “Oh, now I know why kids are so depressed.” But it was the worst experience because I was depressed."
Two kids on time, existence, music, writing, fashion, values, breathing and education. PARKLIFE.
You can hear other voices coming through in some of their comments. PARKLIFE.
Brainwashed - as everyone is by their parentstheir teachers and everyone, . . . but in a good way. PARKLIFE.
Ugh-inducing or cute or refreshing or amusing or eyebrow raising or face palming depending on your . . . PARKLIFE.


What is that are reading? 
Quantum Physics. Good.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajneesh = Osho, an Indian mystic and guru.
Whooo. Somewhat slightly la-la. But all good :-) Actually looks quite interesting.
Subject to having a pinch of scepticism and a medium dose of critical thinking.

What's that parklife thing?
I have come late to the Russel Brand being slagged on parklife meme but at the point where he has put out this:
With the rubber bandits no more no less.
"Verbal dexterity plus estuary accent is what leads to parody of
But words used efficently can be a dangerous tool that slices through propaganda like a
We can’t get our heads around the fact that five families have as much dough as 12 million Brits, that can’t be right in any accent
You can’t be polysyllabic or talk about important things unless you went to school in a top hat and tails"
Lovely job.

The original . . . 


Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as (parklife)
And morning soup can be avoided if you take a route straight through what is known as
John's got brewers droop he gets intimidated by the dirty pigeons
They love a bit of it (parklife)
Who's that gut lord marching... you should cut down on your porklife mate... get some


Know what I mean
I get up when I want except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen
I put my trousers on, have a cup of tea and I think about leaving the house (parklife)
I feed the pigeons I sometimes feed the sparrows too it gives me a sense of enormous well
Being (parklife)
And then I'm happy for the rest of the day safe in the knowledge there will always be a bit
Of my heart devoted to it (parklife)


Parklife (parklife)
Parklife (parklife)

It's got nothing to do with vorsprung durch technic you know
And it's not about you joggers who go round and round and round
Parklife (parklife)

[Chorus x 2]

Monday, 20 October 2014

New bike lights for myself and for Kate. Moon Mask and Comet Rear and Knog Blinders. LED and USB rechargable.

Bike lights arrived today.
I especially was in need of a front light so good to have that sorted.
Charged up and ready to go . . . road test on way home.
Moon Mask and Moon Comet Rear. 
Glowey blue and orange charging lights. Mini-USB.

Also got red knog front and back for Kate.
This is the place I got them from, good price and v. good selection AND good website where can sort lights by category: 

This morning on cycle in at the junction of Baggot St. Upper, Haddington and Lemsip road just before going over the bridge on canal there was a rear bike light on ground. Totally run over and smashed. I picked it up (compulsive rubbish picker-up) to get it out of the way. It has red duct tape on it. In case someone is wondering where their rear light has gone to! It's in the bin :-7

Selecting bike lights . . . 
There is a very big selection out there.
LED lighting and battery tech has been improving every year.
But what are good lights to buy for bike?

We got a pair of knog blinders for Daire at start of September. 
They're so small and handy and also neat/cute/cool!
I borrowed one a couple of times.

Bike shops in Dublin have some lights but there is really a much better selection at better price on the internet.
Bike Light Database . . . compare features and look at reviews.

Lights needed for James, Kate, ?Maeve, ?Fionnuala . . . 

Knog frog, cheap - coin batteries.
coin or AAA batteries in Halfords Knog style silicone lights . . . 
coin batteries
city cycles 1 AA 10 euros

There are alot of very simple Knog frog style lights now from generic/any manufacturers.

Cycleways on Parnell St.

Knog Blinder 1 LED Front & Rear Twin Pack
NOW€46.99   out of stock until 17/10/xxxx

Wow. A shop that allows you to categorize on rechargable lights:

all good! But moon meteor/comet front rear prob good for me    ?or mask(better and on sale :-P)+comet?
Knog red front & rear blinder for Kate

also looks good: moon shield rear


Fun/prezzies:    POV.    KITS      BIKEPOV for ME?Kate?Daire?  LilyPad for Kate?  And For Maeve?    
There are some cool POVs commercially available.
- SpokePOV from adafruit industries (and its i'ble)
- Monkeylectric's m132s
- Monkeylectric's recentely announced m464q

http://www.adafruit.com/products/5     SpokePOV Kit - v1.1 $37.50  + DONGLE NEEDED 
https://www.adafruit.com/products/46   USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit (USB SpokePOV Dongle) - v2.0 $22.00

http://www.adafruit.com/product/535   V1.1 blue mini usbtiny dongle + magnet needed 
MiniPOV 3 Kit - V 3.0 PRODUCT ID: 20 $17.50

2 images


LilyPad Wrist Band POV by quasiben

colouring book

Saturday, 18 October 2014

weekend log 17 oct 2014. cycling. run. puncture fixing. clothes washing. it's windy!

fri 7:30 flight tracker EI108.  
2014-10-17New York (JFK)Dublin (DUB)A333 (EI-EAV)01:0001:1607:40Landed 07:19
 Breakfast.  Head to airport to collect mum and dad. Rav won't start. Orange jump starter does job. Moist morning. Windscreen slow to unmist. Traffic slow at our estate exit across bridge. M50 grand. Park. Wait maybe 10 mins. Two sleepy parents appear. Good form. Bring them back to our house for rest. Mum tells me lots about holiday. I leave them to breakfast.

Cycle to work 10.6k nice weather. Wind with me somewhat.

Working on clearwater enum file and dns route to IMS hub with Shaila. we get an OPTIONS to go to hub from clearwater by end of day. Also more documenting.

fri 18:20ish bike home from work. 10.6k
  Epic windy driving rain From south but soft, warm.
Cycle home fri evening epic wind, driving thankfully soft sleety rain. Great fun! :-D Windy and sunny all saturday.
Kids good watching soccer (epic conditions Bray vs Dundalk) and that 70s show. They have eaten lots of grapefruit. I drip on floor, mop, shower then cook savoury curried turkey mince with leek carrot tomato kidney beans ginger and rice. Nom. White wine w sugar!? for me.

Bedtime for girls. Wrap Maeve's finger with vinegar in cotton wool in sellotape anti wart.
Films on tv and fix puncture fionn's bike (rm failed patch, add round one, awkward spot beside valve top doesn't stick add patch around valve) and put on uniform wash. I'm reading Girl Genius cute steampunk graphic comic these days, great fun :-).

Sat 8:15 up, hang wash, banana plus pint water, cycle gear and runners still damp, bye to kids - Maeve making loom band snakes - cycle to Marlay park. 5k.  beautiful sunny day. Breezy. I was thinking it would be wet! Stretch and join in warm up exercises. ParkRun 5k. 4:26 at 1k. Results run#82 will be up once laptop problems sorted. Mapmyrun result 24:51. Stitch on r side shortly after earlier than usual probably the banana plus water. Catch Derm at last 500m. Meet JamesCarroll and Derm & family. They're both off to IBM now factory moving from Sandyford. Cycle home 5k.

Map of route

james coleman rode 6.13 kilometers from home to Marlay Park.

james coleman ran 5.17 kilometers in 24min:51sec

james coleman rode 5.35 kilometers from Marlay park back home

Hang clothes. Put on light wash. Maeve plays a tune on piano onto google now and after a few goes and moving down an octave we find it is Beethoven's Für Elise. Breakfast straggled with kids. Daire has toastie. Maeve grapefruit. I oats currants museli. Daire off to gaa. K porridge. Cupcakes. Blog diary.

We look for Cathy's cat. Maeve and I collect dried grass, leaves, sticks, haws, blackberries and dandelion for gerbils.
Offering dandelion and blackberry. Red haws and grass seed heads.
Basket of stuff collected for gerbils. Plum woods and leaves. Whitethorn/hawthorn. Grass with seed heads. 
Maeve goes visiting. I hang light wash. Start cooking lunch. Pasta in crab soup with green beans - curried! Maeve comes back. We eat. I grab Coffee also.

Great drying out today. Windy and sunny.

Girls and I cycle to stage school. I give Maeve a backer. Kate brings ukelele. We go straight down over Bearna motorway roundabout, Kate follows us. 2.6k to school. Wind kindof with us. I meet teachers, parents and kids.

I cycle to Benildus. I act suspiciously and a very nice Polish school caretaker man opens doors and gates for me to get Daire's bike. I fix puncture at school. Rm two sharp bits of glass from tyre. Rode 4.11 km on my bike bringing Daire's bike back from Benildus after fix puncture. tough work! :-P especially up Sandyford hill. Couldn't change gears while holding other bike.

Daire and myself at home. Glance at newspaper. I go meet Kate, zoom down to school with wind. Maeve goes off on visit. Kate and I cycle home. I demonstrate front wheel wheelie and do a somersault crash! Whoops. Bounce up. Nobody saw it but Kate. Right arm got a little graze.
Map of route

james coleman rode 2.80 kilometers to St Olaf's with Maeve on backer with Kate

Map of route

james coleman rode 4.11 kilometers WITH Daire's bike AGAINST the wind
and up Sandyford Hill. Phew.

  1. Map of route

    james coleman cycle/zoomed 5.72 kilometers down to St Olaf's wit h wind and back against wind with Kate

Kate and I grab a bite to eat. Venture Scouts hike is on, Daire grabs lunch, clothing, map, money and heads off on bike. Kate & I take in clothes, do ironing, empty dishwasher. Fionn comes home. Tea. TV. Computer. Bedtimes. 

TODO star maps for cubs.

DONE orange jumpstarter not charging - found another 12V DC transformer.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

boldly going where no man has gone before . . . perhaps . . . with Android Studio . . . and a review of Android Sensor graphing/recording/visualising apps

A nice list of resources for getting started with Android Studio by Peter/Golgi: http://blog.golgi.io/get-started-with-android-studio

I have tried Android Studio out for a few things now. And generally found I can get an app built and working easily enough (usually after a bit of updating of SDK and libraries in the studio). As updates come out Android Studio is getting better.

My last experiment was importing and building the cute Android Tricorder which is not available in play store for some time now. Source code here: https://code.google.com/p/moonblink/. Import code. The Tricorder depends on hermitLibrary and hermitAndroid and the import took care of each module. Build errors gave helpful clues to what was needed to be done to solve them. Update SDK versions needed. Edit build.gradle a little. Needed to find junit test libraries. Fiddle a bit. And tah dahh. We have an .apk and lovely beepy tricorder on my phone again.

There is a-lot going on under the hood. I am gradually getting used to not knowing about every tiny detail of the build process. While it works it's all good. We can certainly work with this for a while :-). I'm sure we(the royal we) shall learn more as we use it and go under the hood when required.

As usual with Android if you want a Tricorder-like app on phone there are a good few to choose from. It took a while to find one which would record the values. 

The AndroSensor app wins. Very usable interface though it looks a little clunky and with ads. Perfect for recording data. You can select which sensors you are interested in.
View and record data from sensors. View numeric or graph for different sensors. Record to csv. Nice and simple. I want to send this up in a bottle rocket!

Sensor Box - Nice visual widgets 

Open source, Apache licence - Clunky but simple and ready for hacking. Graph sensors one at a time. Zoom/scrollable graph after stop sampling.

Display data and graphs for sensors. Log and share files. Interactive graph while sampling. $ for file sharing and data but good app without it.

Shows values for Sensors WiFi Telephony GPS Battery Multi-Touch-Test-Graph System-Info

Just a couple of sensors work without $$. Nice interface. but UNINSTALL

An Audio Spectrum Analyzer grand . . . but :-P UNINSTALL

Sensors - text values shown from sensors. Can take a snapshot of values. Neat. But UNINSTALL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.danms.LCARSScanner&hl=en  SciScanner
$$ Very Nice GUI, Solar, Geo, Weather, Audio, Magnetics, GPS(free), Gyro(free), Device(free), Camera

$$ looks nice
LCARS star trek next generation various apps

Friday, 26 September 2014

How to add references / edit formatting on stackoverflow/segfault/...

I had to go looking for this today and couldn't find it immediately so I'm putting it here so I might find it faster next time. http://meta.stackoverflow.com/editing-help

How to add references:
Here's a link to [a blog on Linux networking namespaces][nsblog]. And here's another link to the same thing: [opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and more beautiful].

  [opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and more beautiful]:http://www.opencloudblog.com/?p=42
[blog]: http://www.opencloudblog.com/?p=42

See also introduction to linux virtual networking: [blog.scottlowe.org: Linux networking namespaces intro], [opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and more beautiful] and [opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and even more detailed with beautiful diagrams]

[man ip netns]: http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man8/ip-netns.8.html
[LWN article on network namespaces]: http://lwn.net/Articles/580893/
[blog.scottlowe.org: Linux networking namespaces intro]: http://blog.scottlowe.org/2013/09/04/introducing-linux-network-namespaces/
[opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and more beautiful]: http://www.opencloudblog.com/?p=42
[opencloudblog.com: Linux networking namespaces shiny and even more detailed with beautiful diagrams]: http://www.opencloudblog.com/?p=66

Friday, 2 May 2014

Why _does_ a full hard disk result in slow or badly behaved OS? And does defragmentation help with SSD disks?

* More disk i/o done due to fragmented files in the small disk area.
* ALSO more cpu+memory work managing more seperate pointers in the fragmented file-allocation table.
* Defragmentation doesn't help and doesn't make sense with SSD disks.

In Windows and Linux as well as other OSs a full main disk will result in OS behaving slowly/badly in my experience. 

It makes sense that when your main disk has limited space then things flail around a bit more. But I had not ever thought _why_ _PROPERLY_. It seems obvious that all processes have to do more work and file fragmentation causes things to go slow and this causes bottlenecks on disk as well as memory/bus and cpu load. What I realised today after a brief google + think was that with increased disk fragmentation comes more memory usage (a bit but in important part where disk drivers manage disk file-allocation-table) and more cpu work managing pointers to each fragment and more disk work (more (but smaller) i/o operations) writing smaller file fragments to disk.

Laptop and computer at home sometimes go without maintenance until there is a noticable problem. So have encountered and recovered from this problem several times on linux+windows. 

Thoughts about this triggered by this question.


Why? Fragmentation on disk (and resulting increase of processing fragments in memory as well as number of disk read/writes). The remaining small area will be fragmented on disk, probably spread over different areas on disk. There is no space spare so de-fragmentation will not be able to help much until more space is freed up. All processes need to write temporary files (e.g. internet browser cache). These files will be fragmented. For magnetic disks the disk heads have to travel further which means slower file read/writes. For SSD disks I was not sure, this is a little bit boring but explains it well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfYkJoqfG-k "Why Fragmentation is Still a Problem with SSDs". In memory (in file-allocation-table in memory) fragmented files take up more space and result in more cpu and bus activity dealing with different fragments. On the video he ends up with a sell for diskkeeper which is claims to improve the problem for SSDs. BUT allowing enough spare space on disk would probably be the best strategy.

This is good: Investigation into effect of de-fragging SSD.http://www.pcworld.com/article/2047513/fragging-wonderful-the-truth-about-defragging-your-ssd.htmlConclusion: There is no point in running a de-frag tool with SSD.

"There is limited benefit to reading data sequentially (beyond typical FS block sizes, say 4kB), making fragmentation negligible for SSDs.[100] Defragmentation would cause wear by making additional writes of the NAND flash cells, which have a limited cycle life.[101][102]"


NOR and NAND Flash Memory Floating Gate