Ubuntu Update Day

The Dell Mini 9 always draws short straw. The little guy once again gets to play the part of guinea pig, and be the first to upgrade to the new version of Ubuntu.

ubuntu upgrade day

+1 Oneiric

V. 10.11 a.k.a. Oneiric Ocelot

We’ll see if they sharpened Unity up a bit. Preliminary reviews are pointing at a good release. Expect my review before long.

FWIW, ‘oneiric’ is a mouthy way to say dreamy. I don’t care for the word, and neither does my spell checker.

Twitter CLI Teaser

I sort of forget what my original project entailed…something about tweeting via the command line, for Arduino purposes. You can pretty much just toss a bunch of words in a hat, and add ‘Arduino’ and ‘Command Line’ to them, and there you have one of my typical projects.

Anyhow, here we find ourselves. I am missing some dependencies with OAuth, but have managed to get twitter working from an interactive python shell:

cli twitter

command line-y

This section is as much for my reference as it is for public knowledge…I snagged the commands that I ran to snag my comments. It first prints swantr0n (my dev account) and then my primary Twitter feed, @swantron

swantron@mini9:~$ python
Python 2.7.1+ (r271:86832, Apr 11 2011, 18:05:24)
[GCC 4.5.2] on linux2
Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” for more information.
>>> import twitter
>>> api = twitter.Api()
>>> feedSwantron = api.GetUserTimeline(‘swantron’)
>>> feedSwantr0n = api.GetUserTimeline(‘swantr0n’)
>>> print [ x.text for x in feedSwantr0n]
[‘development account for @swantron | tune into http://t.co/SpDFBkK for projects’, ‘hello world’]
>>> print [ x.text for x in feedSwantron]
[‘@vftb …you better believe it’, ‘Twitter Project Teaser : http://t.co/7ZrOLUn | one step closer to tweeting from the #CLI … might take a run at make it tweet’, ‘Might need to implement some sleeves into my wardrobe… @adafruit just flipped the script with open source cuff links’, ‘unsafe at any speed… updating #ubuntu on the road http://t.co/Q8gfc56’, ‘Upgrading Mini 9 to #Ubuntu Natty http://t.co/7yT9w81 | posting to kill time… review here ( http://t.co/RM675lX ) lunch-aft on the morrow’, ‘http://swantron.com/basic-mower-cord-repair/ #DIY lawn mower repair from a #math major. spoiler: it works’, “#arduino no you didn’t http://swantron.com/html-to-python-to-arduino-to-lcd/ #LCD project, stepped up a bit”, ‘working on a python script to dump info from web to LCD http://swantron.com/python-teaser/ #arduino’, ‘http://youtu.be/MpomhE6dgww video of #boc unboxing (for the win)’, ‘#woot bag-o-crap unboxing @ http://swantron.com/woot-boc-unboxing/ not too shabby’, ‘http://swantron.com/compiz-error-in-ubuntu-natty/ still finding some compiz issues in #ubuntu 11.04’, ‘#Arduino project @ http://swantron.com/command-line-lcd-arduino-interface/ | driving LCD screen via command line’, ‘@RobotGrrl… what version are you running? I had no problems with IOIO / Droid 2 (froyo 2.2)’, ‘Easy LCD #Arduino Display | http://swantron.com/easy-lcd-arduino-display/ | feels good to have a warm soldering iron and functional hardware’]

I will keep plugging away until I get this thing hammered out. If not, I can print this suff to my LCD for a real-time Twitter display. Could be cool either way.

Twitter Project Teaser

A while back, I tossed a little concept video out to the nets regarding CLI interface with my site’s comments and an LCD screen. I figured that I could do a similar thing with my Twitter account…spurred largely by Adafruit’s Make it Tweet challenge. Well, it turns out that Twitter has a few hurdles to jump, in regards to posting tweets to an account.

My failed usage from the command line was utilising curl

> curl -u swantron:pass -d status=”command line test” http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

I was getting an error message, that basic authentication was not supported. For the loss.

It turns out that you need a few keys in order to authenticate, which requires registering an app with Twitter… like this

twitter dev account


There we go…keys in hand. Now, I need to figure out how to sew this together using curl or wget. If all else fails, I am pretty sure there is a py library that I can snag. Stay tuned…this one could be fun.

Makeshift Linux Heads-Up Display

Per my last post, I began upgrading my Dell Mini 9 last night…from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04. Well, at some point, it tossed a fit about not being able to snag a package, and hung on a dialogue box all night. No worries…I’ll finish this install on the way to work.

ubuntu linux netbook on my silverado dashboard

check the speedometer...

Who said netbooks are passe? Looks like that guy was designed to ride on the dash of a Silverado if you ask me.

For the record, I was not doing 110 MPH by the MSU campus. I have an issue with my speedometer. I was doing 90 MPH, tops.

My install was a success for the record. I will see if all functions are fully functional soon, and put together a post.

HTML to Python to Arduino to LCD

Last week found me standing tall upon my shell script soapbox, shouting command line praises to all who would listen.

Thou ought direct thine output aftways, to-wards thine USB port of thee. And that is well and righteous.

Well, that still is the case. My latest project has made it glaringly obvious that sometimes a little Python script will render a whole bunch of shell scripting moot. Namely, parsing HTML. Let’s see a picture…

outdoor hacking

bad lab mobile

Lunch hour project: parse the comments from swantron.com; feed said comments to an LCD screen.

I was horsing around with wget from a CLI a few days ago. I found myself trying to smash through the resultant file via pure regular expressions…which is incredibly clumsy. Well, as luck would have it, my go-to after my main go-to is Python, and this type of thing has been issue enough to warrant a library. BeautifulSoup. It acts to parse the HTML info into items, that can be smashed around as I see(med) fit.

My setup was simple: py script to snag my comments and write serial, Arduino sketch to drive a LCD and read/write serial. And a source of shade. And a WiFi signal to snag.

mobile mobile

bad lab mobile-mobile

Check, check, check, etc. Video time:

Pretty slick…hit the fold for the code, as promised, and a summary.
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Compiz Error in Ubuntu Natty

For the most part, I have had good luck with Compiz, Unity, and Ubuntu 11.04 in general. I have said it before, but worth a repost…if you do a vanilla install of Ubuntu, the first thing you should do is get the Compiz configuration tool…I’ll even spell it out.

1) Open a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+t)
2) Run this command: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
3) Hit enter…done. Nothing to it.

Anyhow, I have seen the following bug a few times…so I finally snagged a screenshot:

compiz fail

wobbly fail

It appears that the workspace switcher and wobbly windows have some sort of issue with one another. I don’t see this when I use keyboard shortcuts, and I have been employing those nearly extensively to pop around. Super Key+S (Windows key / Apple key) to open the switcher…or bypassed with Ctrl+Alt+left or Ctrl+Alt+up for instance. It works slickly, once you spend some time poking around.

I suppose it would be prudent for me to enter this bug into the Ubuntu QA system…I am not in the mood to search for duplicate tickets. I do that crap all day at work…enough is enough.

Drop me a comment if you have seen this one in action. Or, if you have any workspace suggestions, send that over too.

Command Line LCD Arduino Interface

Liquid crystal displays are pretty awesome. Command line interfaces are very awesome. Hmm…

I started daydreaming at work about how to go about making hardware interface with an RSS feed. I have seen some projects that use Arduinos with ethernet shields to check Twitter, for example, but they seem unnecessarily bulky. Or clumsy. I spend a lot of time working on the command line, and love to put together dirty little scripts to solve problems. It sort of goes along the lines of ‘when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail’…I figured that the same thing could be implemented with a little shell scripting and my trusty Arduino, sans anything complicated.

So far, so good.

bad lab mobile

bad lab mobile

I put together a sketch (after the bump) to drive my LCD, writing serial output to the screen. After verifying that the sketch worked via the Arduino IDE’s serial monitor, I popped open a CLI and got to work. FWIW, I am using Ubuntu 11.04 still…ctrl-alt-t pops open a terminal window…unity has me all over shortcuts these days. Anyhow, I was able to verify that I could echo text and direct it to the USB port that the Arduino was mounted to. No sweat.

As a proof of concept, I decided to display the number of times that I had the word “awesome” on swantron.com. Once the LCD was shown to work, the sky is the limit…see some regex, pipes, wget, and so forth in action:



Survey says:

+1 awesome

+11 awesome

Eleven “awesome”s. Awesome.
(Hit the bump for some code, an oddity, and more fun…)
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