Project updates

Here is a brief summary of project progress over the last couple of weeks:

  • Robot car: finally ordered ultrasonic HY-SRF05 sensors. Initial testing shows stable accurate output, even without averaging. One interesting point – there are (at least) two different SRF05 sensors, with different chips and different pin-outs!
  • Spent some time thinking of ways to help Treecycle, the discussion is at the Xinchejian group.
  • Ordered some ATtiny85 for Safer alarm project next steps, thanks to a bulk order through Xinchejian.
  • Desktop chaos – my dream desktop workspace.
    • Testing continues to show promise, despite the misuse of CodeBlocks (C::B) for this purpose. Even when using very fragmented work habits 5, 10, 15 minutes chunks of time (forced due to my chaotic availability) and some unexpected testing of C::B behaviour after it’s process was terminated by a likely Ubuntu bug which closes the user session when logging back on after a suspend!
    • Search (Recoll) and Sync (Unison) – both look promising, but some effort is required to create workable implementations, and especially to make more generic for wider public use when integrated with C::B.
  • Spending way to much effort on site upgrades, spam and reacting to vandalism from many different IP addresses. If anyone has good tips in addition to the official / common ones for Mediawiki, phpBB and on analysing Apache logs and good Unix automated site and MYSQL database backup, please use the about email to drop me a line (the site is still locked down as I do not have time to deal with vandalism at the moment).

Desktop Chaos!

ChaosMy desktop has descended into chaos yet again, partly through my own habits, but mostly from working several times every day on multiple locations on computers that do not have “my data, custom configuration and tools” and with unreliable or no Internet connection using the cloud is not the solution.

 Every attempt to sort out the chaos results only in partial temporary improvements. Each new approach and set of tools is good and can do a lot, but does not work well enough for me to keep up the productivity and keep the chaos at bay. Sometimes it seems like someone is aiming this remote control at me at repeatedly pushing that button!

Struggling with ways to overcome this chaos, has triggered the creation of several long requirements wish lists, which are distilled into this scenario: “go to any device, open up any of my workspaces with all the current projects and files laid out as desired, ready to edit”.

Loosening the requirements as shown below and restricting most editing to text files has provided a passable solution as shown.

Requirement Current “workable” solution
Core save-able workspace functions mostly in one tool Code::Blocks with custom personality, custom command line to the launcher loading selected projects and open files.
Remaining functions mostly in a couple of tools Search = Recoll, LibreOffice,synchronisation is manual at the moment.
mostly portable Working on Windows + USB driveLinux = work in progress (true portability = challenge)Mac – no access at present.
current working data set only USB drive
not reliant on Internet USB drive

I have enormous respect for all the desktop environments and tools that are available and the current ability to share between, but what is the point, if all we get is more chaos and no easy way to productively GTD (Get Things Done), let alone better ways to GTD.

Do I have an answer, no I don’t, but I do have a passably workable solution, that will get better with some tweaking, but this post is already too long, so more on that in next post.

What I do have is a challenge all those involved in creating these tools that are meant to help us do stuff, to always think beyond your own product, think of all the devices, desktops environments and data formats, if your product can smoothly interact with a broad range and provide it’s view of each users desktop with the users core tools and configuration, then not only is it much more useful, but it will be a lot more popular!