It has been a busy several days. I decided to upgrade the fleet to Ubuntu 13.4…and everything that a non-long-term-supported distro involves.
Step 1_: backup data
Step 1a: reevaluate backup regimine
Step 1b: realize backup system is non-sustainable
Step 1c: implement cloud storage solution
step 1d: place eggs in cloud basket
Step 2_: upgrade machines
Step 3_: fix a whole bunch of junk
Step 3*: junk fixing
Step three got ugly. Canonical blacklisted a whole bunch of stuff that ran and runs well. Thumbs down.
post storm calm
The upgrades to my machines were simple, but significant issues arose in updating from 12.04 to 12.10 and from 12.10 to 13.4. The former was mainly in ‘not compiling video card drivers’ and the later was primarily pertaining to neglecting Dell’s primary Wi-Fi drivers. I went manual and had boxes that were mostly functional, but decided to roll the dice on fresh installs…which, predictably, worked well. That gut feeling in doing something of that nature is very Window-y, and I don’t like it one bit.
In short, poorly played by Ubuntu. It might be time to get some real QA going on these upgrades…I spent enough time researching this stuff to be upset, and I debug issues similar to this professionally. There was a ton of noise on forums, so it is safe to assume the user base was significantly disheartened by this process.
On the flip side, 13.04 is slick…Unity is improved a ton…all of that. The marketing is not cool, and I’d be better off with pure Debian if this wasn’t one of my hobbies. Worst upgrade of all time, but still something I look forward to and will likely do again.
My small lab assistant and I tossed our hats in the ring and were invited to compete in the 2013 Red Bull Creation competition. In short, it was great. Team swan tron didn’t make it to the finals, (this year, suckers) but had a great time and learned a ton. Dual hats off to the six teams heading to NY for the last phase…you all earned it.
Team swan tron entered for consideration an Encabulating Photon Emission Interface.
team swan tron
Red Bull’s concept was simple and brilliant…the accepted applicants were given custom Arduino shields, a whole bunch of LEDs, and a path to a git repo containing a library with which to make them crank. That, about four weeks, and a nudge to do something awesome with lights. We did this…
We used all of the PWM channels at our disposal to handle the colors on our Encabulating Interface, and tossed in some analog stuff for good measure. Our software utilized the Encabulator’s accelerometer values as the interface’s interfacing variables, which is nice. Most of the board’s function was exercised, as was my brain, Emma’s brain, and Emma in general. She liked the feedback in a belly laugh way…so that is that. Pretty sure she and I both came out ahead on this effort.
…which I thought would be a slam dunk. As it turns out, the programming phase for team swantron is a laborious thing at best. Code is boring. I knew that coming in, but Emma picked up on my ruse…we do a lot of jumper-ing breadboards in programming phase.
I’m lacking a sufficient power source to push a ton of these LEDs simultaneously, so that is that for now. Power brick and a back-up strip are in the mail, so ambition will dictate how bright we go with this. The physical stuff is largely roughed-out, so now the challenge lies in refining the UI to this thing. Well, the secondary user’s interface is the thing that needs attention. My user is ready to roll.
Time is running short…tune in soon.
*** **PROTIP** ~burn the shit out of the copper contact tabs if you chop a RBG LED strip…the remnant rubber is a solder contact’s worst nightmare~ ***
I’m a bit further down the road as of this posting, and already in a tool crunch. It looks like Lowe’s is the winner of this round…I’ll be back there tomorrow on my lunch break. “You wore that apron yesterday Lowe’s bro! j/k! Throw ‘er on the tab!”
Anyhow, this goal for the weekend is to have the base infrastructure in a rudimentary complete status. I have a bunch of question marks at this point, but a sharpening picture of where Emma and I will end up with this thing. I need to get saws and edible stuff out of the picture, so I’m hoping to be in the hardware / software phase of this thing in a few days. The generally awesome people at Adafruit have a new Arduino heading towards the Rockies, and I have a bunch of LED strip-centric things to study before that happens…tons to do. Sensors to study…screws to drive…Fruit Loops to eat. We’re busy. Need some Red Bulls.