Logitech Pro 9000 and Artoolkit

I’m doing a little augmented reality work for my day job, using ARToolKit. ARToolKit works, and is documented, which is a combination of features that appears to be unique in open-source augmented reality software.

I configured my build to use GStreamer, and set my ARTOOLKIT_CONFIG environment variable to v4l2src device=/dev/video0 use-fixed-fps=false ! ffmpegcolorspace ! capsfilter caps=video/x-raw-rgb,bpp=24,width=640,height=480 ! identity name=artoolkit ! fakesink

That gives a good tradeoff between resolution and speed, and works just fine with the simpleLite demo program that comes with ARToolKit.

Augmented Reality is like normal reality, but better

Me Showing off at Maker Faire RI

Hacking LG Phone Chargers

I have an LG Lotus phone. It charges over a USB cable, which plugs into a USB-like port on the charger. I recently wanted to be able to charge my phone in the woods of Vermont, where outlets to plug a charger into are few and far between. To fix this, I built a simple regulator that draws power from a 7.2V RC car battery and provides 5V DC to a USB jack.

My cell phone charger

Unfortunately, when I plugged my phone into it, the phone displayed a message that said “Please use only genuine LJ accessories”.

To figure out how the phone identified the charger, I opened the charger up. I had visions of LG using an I2C EEPROM to store a unique identifier or some sort of crypto chip performing a handshake with the phone based on a shared secret that was baked in at the factory.

The bottom of the charger PCB

In reality, it’s nothing that complicated. The data lines of the USB port are connected to each other. This means that anything the phone sends down one data line will show back up on the other one, so it can detect the connected pins by driving one line high and seeing if the other line also goes high. I connected the data pins on my homebrew charger, and the phone started charging from it.

Help Maker Faire RI!

The Rhode Island Maker Faire, which I will be presenting at, is looking for a few kind souls to pledge financial support. Help your local DIY crowd and encourage innovation and tinkering!

Plasma cutter rectifier heatsinks

This evening, I added heat sinks to a couple of rectifiers that I’m planning to use in the power supply of a DIY plasma cutter. The rectifiers will each be handling half of the power load of the device, so I have beefy 35A/600V rectifiers. Each rectifier has a square metal case with a hole in the middle, so I drilled and tapped a hole in a the centers of a pair of CPU heat sinks and bolted the rectifiers to the heat sinks. This picture may help to make the assembly clear.

Rectifiers and heatsinks with fans

I had high hopes for the original fans that were on those heat sinks, but the lubricant that was in them had turned to gum, and so they didn’t spin. The new fans are from laptops, and run on 5V.

I’m planning to get the 5V from the low voltage filament windings of the microwave oven transformers that I’m using for the isolation transformer of the power supply. There are two sets of two transformers, wired “back-to-back” to act as isolation transformers. I’m going to post a complete schematic as soon as the power supply section of the cutter is fully assembled.

Exhibiting at Maker Faire Rhode Island

I just applied to exhibit at the RI Maker Mini-Faire. This is kind of a last-minute thing, so I’ll just be showing Cnidaria Hallucingena and whatever I have done of the various projects kicking around the house. I should probably also get business cards together by then, but having them done in 10 days strikes me as unlikely.

The Faire is August 28, 2010, at the Bank of America Skating Center in Providence RI from 3pm-11pm.

UPDATE: I’m in!

Conversation Initiation

A friend of mine said that she felt that she started AIM conversations more than other people started them with her. This made me curious about my AIM use at work, and whether I start more than half of my conversations. Fortunately, I keep logs and have useful tools for log analysis. I googled up some sed oneliners and spent a couple of minutes slapping shell scripts together to get this:

ams@temperance:~/.purple/logs$ find ./ -iname *.html | wc -l
ams@temperance:~/.purple/logs$ for file in `find ./ -iname *.html`; do sed -n 2p $file | grep ">AIM_handle|>GChat_handle" ; done | wc -l

The first command line finds all the files in my log file directory that are .html logs and counts the number of them with wc -l. This is how many conversations I have had. Before I ran that command, I deleted all the automated messages from AOL about being logged in in two places, which reduced the count by about 200.

The second command line finds all the files where the second line of the file (after the header) includes either my AOL handle or my GChat handle. That would indicate that the first message of the chat was a message from me, rather than anyone else.

These scripts are not great, as the files may have a second line that isn’t the first sentence of the conversation, but a quick look over the output of ams@temperance:~/.purple/logs$ for file in `find ./ -iname *.html`; do sed -n 2p $file ; done shows no weird second lines.

According to the scripts, then, I start about one fifth of the conversations I have at work. On my home computer, I have 401 log files, and 101 of them are conversations I started, making the ratio closer to one forth. This makes sense, as I am more likely to start talking to people at home than at work.

It would also be interesting to graph which people I start conversations with more, and which ones start conversations with me.

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