Thursday, July 9, 2009

Teh build is fail!

Just to complete the gallery:

The responsible one has left the building but it's been pretty effective so far in getting people to fix the build a.s.a.p. :)

Also, the latest version of BuildBotIcon has optional sound, and currently we have Homer Simpson going 'DOH!' or 'Woohoo!' (rather loud). This makes everyone aware of it instantly.

(And yes, I've been reading lolcats too much lately..)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh noes, the red light is on!

This is how it looks before things get really bad. The build was fixed before the lamp was running at full speed though. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lava lamps - up and running!

One picture, 1k words, etc:

We've also added a timer to turn them off during the night, along with the status monitor (which you can't see), to be nice to the environment.

Again, the USB board can be bought from Active Robots who were very friendly and helpful shipping the package to me, in spite of the efforts of our local post office. ;)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lava lamp USB board assembly pictures

Here's some pictures of the assembly process. It went reasonably well, but making sure you have big enough drills beforehand helps a bit. :)

Here's how the board looks before assembly:

First, check that the circuit board fix in plastic box. Tight fit. :)

Drill holes for 230V mains (in/out) and USB cable: (Had to use a knife to make the hole for the USB-B connector fit, as it is slightly asymmetric. Luckily, the plastic was very easy to work with.)

Drilled for circuit board with USB connector in place (avoids misalignment):

Prepare cables:

Do the wiring (and remember to pull the cables through the holes in the box first):

Fit the wired circuit board in the box, make sure all cables go inside and put tie-wraps on the cables to secure against mechanical stress:

Here's the box with the lid on:

Ta-daaa. :)

As you can see, I currently only use one relay. It's of course possible to use all four, but that requires more drilling and wiring, and more lava lamp shelf space. :)

Always leave room for upgrades, I say. ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lava lamp - 99.5%

Here's a tech-porn picture. :)

It's connected at office and it works, but I didn't have time for lavalamps.

Instead, I connected it to my office stereo system and set the computer to constantly play something from Tribute to Vengaboys when the build has failed.

Forget the carrot, it's all about the stick. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lava lamps - 99% there

The usb-board and wiring is finally connected and safely encased inside in a box!

I'll go shop for lamps tomorrow and have pics up in a week or so. (Got much to do this weekend, as it's Midsummer holiday in Sweden.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lava lamps - soon

I just added Lava Lamp support to BuildbotIcon using the Phidgets USB interface kit. (Bought from Active-Robots UK)

Can't wait to have it going in the office. I've got the code running, but I need some casing and wiring for it to be safe to connect to the 220V outlet.

If you like it, click here:

Of course, it's nothing compared to Last.FM's setup but you have to start somewhere. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Smartphone retro gaming!

Wohoo! Smartphones with touchscreen can run games properly!

Morphgear is an emulator platform for (amongst other) Windows Mobile. There are modules for NES, SNES and more available. You'll have to pay for it to play more than five minutes, but hey, it works and with this amazing skin I've got myself a little gameboy thingy.

And ROMs are amazingly small. (Super Mario Bros is 40 kb! I can add 200 000 of those on one SD card). The music brings me back.

Woot woot. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two good links

Just for fun, but you really ought to read SinFest. My favourite webcomic keeps getting better and better. New comic every day since the start.

Also, Broken Picture Telephone is a very fun take on the old whispering game of miscommunication. Describe a picture, draw the description, repeat until satsified. See results. (The site has some problems, so you can't even connect to donate some times. Best to try it when the US is sleeping. :)

Making the smartphone smart, only €19.99

My HTC Touch HD (a.k.a. Blackstone to you guys across the pond) is my first "Smartphone", and was reputedly an iPhone killer.

It hasn't lived up to that. Not that I've owned an iPhone.. yet.. but it feels a bit clanky to use. And no games has worked well yet. Bah!

But, since it's got 0.5 GHz, ~300 mb ram and 8 gb flash, it ought to be good at something. And I just found out that with WMWifiRouter it becomes an excellent 3g modem + wireless router (that can also play youtube videos in 800x480 :).

This is an excellent piece of software. It installs smoothly, asks for some options, then gives me 6 buttons to start mapping between wifi, 3g, bluetooth and usb whichever way makes sense.

It also monitors the battery's temp in case it overheats... Oookay. I suppose it's a good thing that it does, but it's like having a warning light + engine shutdown in your car in case the rear wheel nut is coming loose.

Can't blame the program for that, though.

I ended up with this because Vista fails to reco'nize my HTC as a PAN supporting bluetooth device. Pfft! My old GSM-only Nokia worked amazingly well (connect to network - bluetooth pan - presto), although it was hideously slow. Well, since it worked for the Nokia, I'll blame HTC this time around.

Anyway, I'm glad that I can now access the net from my laptop _anywhere_. Very nice when on some trains that don't yet offer WiFi. (Most budget trains don't, and the only ones running to my parent's part of the country don't either... although they do have power outlets.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My BuildBotIcon app now hosted on BitBucket

I've uploaded my BuildBotIcon app to!

It's a small java app that polls a buildmaster and changes the color of an icon in the java tray depending on the status. It also alerts when statuses change so you notice it a bit more.

I wrote it 1,5 years ago and published the jar-file on BuildBot's mail-list, but I decided to put it up as a proper project tonight, just for fun.

Bitbucket and Github are both greats hosting sites for open source projects. Very easy to use, very fast (compared to SourceForge) and they use DVCS:es both. I like Mercurial more, so I opted for Bitbucket.

On a related note, my work with patches for BuildBot on Github is apparently going fairly well, as I was just promoted to contributor with commit rights to the current 'official' BuildBot repository. (Dustin Mitchell's master branch).

On a related related note, Github's network feature is cool, if you like graphs. See mine here.

Oh, I also hang out a bit at

Friday, March 6, 2009

Slow Django-dev in FireFox

This has been bugging me for a few years, and solutions have only recently crept up on Google, so to further spread the word, here is the solution

Disable IPv6 in FireFox (via about:config -> network.dns.disableipv6) or use to access via IPv4 directly.

Then it's just as fast as IE on localhost. Whee!

More details here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disabling Visual Studio's debugger heap

Most of you probably know that when compiling release, and starting the debugger (F5) you get different default memory allocation than when just running.

This is the debugger heap. It is not the Debug CRT heap.

It's actually quite nice, but can be slow if you're allocating/freeing a lot of memory. This is something OpenSG's 3ds-importer does, and the difference is a 3-5 times slowdown when debugging.

Usually I haven't had performance problems, but rather Heisenbugs that disappear when debugging (since allocated memory is 0xbaadfood instead of pseudo-random), which I've solved by attaching the debugger afterwards. Those are not many, so it's been ok to do that at times.

However, our current app was very slow to load when starting with the debugger. We finally managed to prod Google in the right direction, and ended up here.

The solution is to set _NO_DEBUG_HEAP=1 in your environment. (A user-specific setting on the startup project is probably the best.)


Friday, January 9, 2009