Sunday, June 30, 2013

My letter to TSA...


I’m attending and speaking at PyCon Australia (actually in Tasmania) and this box contains all my hardware and backups for a live demonstration of my Home Automation project.  I need these pieces of hardware to present my project on stage.

Specifically, there are 2 RaspberryPi’s, 1 Beaglebone Black, 1 Arduino Uno R3, 1 Proximity sensor on a breadboard (tied to the Arduino).   There are also various USB cables, Ethernet cables, power supplies/adapters and a USB hub.

Just wanted to let you know that these are all harmless toys and would truly appreciate your gentle handling.
Otherwise, I won’t be able to do a live demo and will be really bummed.  And a ballroom full of engineers in Australia will also be really bummed.

Thank you for understanding and have a great day!

Rupa Dachere

One more down, several more to go

Woke up this morning with a start and the awful realization that my project won't work in Australia !!!


So, spent most of the morning implementing a secondary solution that should work there.  Tested it and it looks like it'll work.

Gotta update slides again - have I mentioned how much I dislike slide presentations?  A necessary evil.

It's about 100 degrees outside at this time and looks like it's going to hit 110 today.  Phew.  Even with A/C running constantly, it's about 80 inside.

Chris Neugeberger tweeted to say that Aussie/Tassie TSA equivalent is more down-to-earth than the USA's super-hyped, trigger-happy counterparts.

Downloaded movies and tv shows to my tablet for the flight.  And bought a bag of Kerala banana chips to eat if I feel too indian-food-starved.

I wonder if there's a good Indian restaurant somewhere in Hobart.  I've become so used to eating Indian food every few days in the bay area.

Gotta charge up my power bank - thanks VMware - finally something I can use.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ping from Puerto Rico

So, Felix J. Di Cristina-Rivera's (yes that is his full name) wife attended my talk at Usenix and asked if he could follow up with me on some issues he's having with his Rpi.

And, so, I got an email from Felix a day or so ago with a description of the problem (Atrix laptop setup etc) and sent him back some suggestions to try.

After my last talk at PyCon US, I got pinged from places as far away as Brazil.   And this time, it's Puerto Rico.

I'm so thrilled to see that electronics and, particularly, the Rpi is changing the education landscape around the world and providing opportunities for regular folk to learn, build and contribute.  And, most importantly, form connections globally.

Gotta play with the Beaglebone Black once I free up a little (hah - famous last words...)

Good grief....

It's been insane the last two weeks....

  1. Had 2 PiDoorbell presentations (Twitter, Usenix) and a presentation at work on some tool evaluation stuff as well as some design stuff which required testing out a bunch of different things and discovering inconsistencies.
  2. Impromptu train trip to Seattle and back over the weekend (birthday surprise) during which time I discovered that my drivers license was missing and was worried sick that I couldn't fly back home on Sunday night.  Contractors were scheduled to come on Monday, Tuesday to re-route water heater etc.
  3. A customer issue needed to be dug into and I spent too much time hunting for information and then when I got some of it, my auto-deploy setup died - network adapters on a private/public LAN just wouldn't give me a public IPv4 address and so I wasted too much time on that.  Anyway, finally got a debug build that I could send to the customer - should tide them over till I get back from Australia.
  4. Got pinged by someone whom I had been hoping to hear back from on regarding my BOD - I'm so excited that she is interested and can't wait to chat with her about CodeChix.
  5. Water heater re-route went ok and then the plumber stole some new plumbing equipment that was in my garage.  I recovered some of them and, after complaining to the company, was told they will compensate me for the remaining item.  Like I need more stress with that.
  6. Mold contractors couldn't start work this week as scheduled so had to coordinate with them to see about getting them to do demo, decon and recon once I'm back.
It's 105 degrees (F) outside and I'm thanking my lucky stars for air conditioning.  

I still need to work on my slides and my presentation.  But first, gotta figure out all the gadgets to take on the long flight and then download loads of stuff.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And so it goes...

Got the first version (base) of my Rpi project working reasonably reliably last weekend.  Updated some of the slides, but, need new snapshots now.

And my water heater erupted and now dealing with wall damage, replacing water heater, draining, corrosion etc.

C'est la vie...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Working on my Rpi project.... again...

So, I'm back on my Rpi project, working on capturing a video recording of who's at my front door and sending myself an alert on my cell phone with a link to the video of who's standing there.   I sort of got this to work (not end-to-end, but, the essential bits) last week.   This is similar to the project I presented at PyCon USA, with the additional video feature.

And then I felt great and got *ambitious*.  Hah.  So, I went through all the video encoders that I could find that would run on the Rpi - ffserver/ffmpeg, avconv/avserver, motion and got nowhere.  Just couldn't get things to work - ffmpeg comes back as "unsupported - use avconv".  avconv is a pain to setup and had issues with my cheapo webcam.   Motion - configuring it was taking a lot of time and that is something I have in *very* short supply nowadays.

So, I tried mjpg-streamer which I came across and got that to work.  I can now get a nice live stream on my Rpi and it looks great.  But, I need this to be on a public server so I can have a decent demo at a talk.

So, I've been looking through reams of C code trying to determine what I can tweak/hack to get it to stream to a public site.  And got nowhere.

Then I took a break - went and hung out with some cool geeky types and listened to a talk on Python validations for converting PDF files to HTML5 and chatted with new folks, made an announcement about CodeChix and that our Tech Talks and Workshops are open to all etc.

On the drive home, I just figured out a way to do what I wanted to do.... now I have to write some code and do a bunch of testing.  And if it works, then I can start stressing about presenting it  - which is far more stressful than the entire project.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Requests for updated photos of me

Several people have mentioned that I don't quite look like my photos anymore.  My hair isn't curly or long.  It's straight and much shorter.

I've been trying to motivate myself to get another photo taken and then updating all the old photos, but, that seems to be rather low priority on my to-do list.

So, please hang on - I'll get around to it soon...

Preparing for my first talk on "Jumpstarting your Developer KB" at VMware

One would think that having spent a considerable amount of time on presentations at CodeChix events as well as at conferences, that one would be able to get more efficient at producing presentations.

Unfortunately, in my case, that definitely seems to be rather slow.  I've been working on the slides for this presentation for several days now and finally got done with them today.  The presentation is on Tuesday.

I'll be talking about the CodeChix mission to educate, promote and mentor female engineers and developers.  Our workshops, technical talks and hacking sessions will provide a way for busy engineers to refresh their skills and catch up with the rapidly changing landscape in languages, tools, frameworks and domain-specific knowledge.

Last weekend, the hacking session was great.  Even with the last minute call, Julie and I made pretty good progress on our RaspberryPi's.  I think I need to order some more kits.