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2018/07/13 AnimatedGIFs for SmartMatrix or NeoMatrix (Neopixel/WS2812B) from SDcard or SPIFFS, on Teensy 3.x, ESP8266, or ESP32
π 2018-07-13 01:01 in Arduino
This is about https://github.com/marcmerlin/AnimatedGIFs

Louis Beaudoin published a gif decoder for arduino, which was designed for SmartMatrix and Teensy, and used for the Aurora Project. It also required an sdcard since Teensy does not have onboard flash.

With his encouragement, I took his code, and ported it to my FastLED::NeoMatrix library which allows using neopixels as matrices.
I also added support for the SPIFFS on ESP8266 and ESP32 (built in flash memory filesystem on ESP chips, which allow working with any sdcard at all).

Here is the resulting code: https://github.com/marcmerlin/AnimatedGIFs

If "I just want to to display a GIF on my NeoMatrix", then I direct you to SimpleGifAnimViewer.ino which is a mere 60 lines of code if you remove the comments.

And it looks like this:








Enjoy, Marc

2018/07/07 Helen's 40th BD around Golden Gate Park
π 2018-07-07 01:01 in Public
Going to Golden Gate park on a saturday was a disaster, but we eventually found a place to park and walked through:







We eventually made our way to the botanical gardens with 20 pianos sprinkled through the park, and later the picnic location to meet Helen and Brian:










We then went to the beach for sunset and bonfire











2018/07/06 Jordan Suckley, Alex Morph at Great Northern
π 2018-07-06 01:01 in Clubbing
Nice lineup at Great Northern, good night:










Alex Morph did a powerful set
Alex Morph did a powerful set






2018/07/01 Overdue Drive Around Skyline
π 2018-07-01 01:01 in Cars
Some of our cars were dusty, it was way time for a drive, glad to see familiar faces again, and we didn't get too unlucky on the roads despite the day and time.









See more images for Overdue Drive Around Skyline
2018/06/30 Super8 and Tab, Halcyon SF
π 2018-06-30 01:01 in Clubbing
Halcyon was a new venue for Trance Family, and my friend Chris Le/Triode was opening, so I couldn't miss that. He also won a track contest from Super8 and Tab, so it was great to have him open for them.

Jennifer was able to join me this time, provided I put some lights on her, which I was happy to do :)


Triode:







Triode then handed over to Super8 and Tab who took the evening:






See more images for Super8 and Tab, Halcyon SF
2018/06/30 DC charging with DC to DC conversions when off the grid
π 2018-06-30 01:01 in Bm, Electronics
When you're off the grid (for many, still true at burning man, or Ephemerisle, you can:
  • bring big batteries (Li-Ion USB packs and/or big Lead Acid Batteries (AGM is better than car battery)
  • use solar panels to help recharge the batteries, but most people don't quite realize that panels need to be sufficiently big (and heavy) to charge sufficiently. You also need a charge controller.
  • use a generator. Generators are quite efficient and cheap for occasional use and make way more power than solar panels per unit of weight. Sadly, they are noisy and not environmentally friendly.
  • The ideal solution is batteries only if your event isn't too long and you've done the math that the batteries have enough Wh for your needs
    Next, is usually batteries + generator that you start as needed. Solar is really the best solution, but it requires more complicated hardware and setup (charge controller, MPPT charger, etc...), but more importantly for any non trivial power need you actually need pretty bulky and heavy panels to handle the load (of course this also relies on you being able to count on enough sun during your event at that location, not an issue for burning man, but potentially an issue for a spring festival in some place that could be overcast or maybe even rainy).

    12V Charging

    Anyway, back to charging, your best bet is to use 12V lead acid (marine, or AGM are even better), and use DC to DC converters to power all your stuff. For 12V, well, you're done, just plug into that using the appropriate cabling with fuses. You will likely be happy with those two:
  • DC 1 Female to 8 Male Power Splitter Cable for CCTV: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JAM6KDY

  • SoulBay 34pcs Universal Laptop Notebook Input DC Plug Set Jack Tips for Lenovo Toshiba Dell HP Asus and most Laptops: https://www.amazon.com/SoulBay-Universal-Notebook-Toshiba-Laptops/dp/B01HORSXZ0 (sadly even some simlar looking barrel connector are not actually the same)

  • Plenty of chargers work off 12V, you may just need to use some barrel adapters:

  • Socket Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter DC Outlet Splitter + 2-Port USB Car Charger: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003RQBKLC
  • small 12V lipo charger for 1S to 4S lipo: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FGWY54 (cheap but slow)
  • AccuPower IQ338 Fast Charger and Analyzer Tester: Li-Ion + C/AA/AAA battery charger https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013HP4N70 (fast)
  • XTAR Xtar-VC4-Charger-T VC4 Li-ion/Ni-MH Battery Charger Premium USB: Li-Ion + AA/AAA battery charger https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U26ONVE (slow)
  • Powerex MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer for 4 AA or AAA NiMH Batteries: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NLUSLM
  • 20V and other higher voltage high amp charging

    Now, some laptops may charge from 5V USB if you're lucky (but that will be slow). Some will charge from USB-C which may allow 12V charging or even 20V charging, but finding such a charger that works from 12V may not be trivial. In the case of my thinkpad, it just plain requires 20V, and not only that, it requires 20V at 5.5A or it will power itself, but it not charge (yes, it is stupid).
    I wrote this page on how to hack a 20V power connection to look like it's at least 135W so that a thinkpad will charge, however I need to upconvert 12V up to 20V with more than 10A from the 12V source. I used a discontinued version of this boost converter, and I also have a 100Wh Li-Ion battery pack that can output enough power to sustain my laptop, but not to charge it. That one also requires 20V to charge (sadly it won't charge from 12V):
  • 16A DC Boost Voltage Converter 12-60V to 12-80V Step-up Power Supply Transformer Module Regulator: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8D7XYG
  • RAVPower 100Wh USB battery pack, 20V charging, 9 to 20V output for laptops (plus USB): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HFMUBYG
  • this battery pack can output 9, 12, 16, 19, or 20V
    this battery pack can output 9, 12, 16, 19, or 20V

    You can see the 12V being split and going into the little white box with the step up boost converter. It shows that it's taking 3.5A at 12V and the red display next to the laptop shows it's turned into 1.7A at 20V which goes both into the already charged laptop and the almost charged ravpower battery pack:


    it might not look like much, but this is my new 160W laptop power supply :)
    it might not look like much, but this is my new 160W laptop power supply :)

    5V USB charging

    Now, let's look into 5V charging, i.e. USB devices. There are plenty of ways of turning 12V into 5V, that's what all car phone chargers do, but most don't deliver many amps, and don't allow full speed charging for more than 2 or 3 devices on a good day. As a result, I'l recommend this 14 port anker USB hub where you'll ignore the USB part and simply use the fact that it has 80W of charging capacity from 12V input:
  • USB Power Hub that will provide 14 outlets at 1A each (works off 12V power): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GSLMTQ8
  • you can see the anker 14 port USB hub next to the powerex battery charger for scale
    you can see the anker 14 port USB hub next to the powerex battery charger for scale

    Then, I personally use this for my trips when I want a lot of USB (5V) power:

  • RAVPower Battery Packs 26800mAh Total 5.5A: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012NIQG5E (can charge and discharge at the same time)
  • USB C RAVPower 26800mAh: with USB-C support at higher voltage for fast charging: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LRQDAEI/
  • And here is the end result, lots of different chargers all from that same 12V source (including all the adapter tips in the upper left)

    2018/06/21 2 days at Thunderhill with BR Racing
    π 2018-06-21 01:01 in Cars
    We joined a private track rental for an LMP car that was testing, and came up with 8 cars or so. Thunderhill was starting to get a bit too hot, but it was nice to have 2 days of clean laps.



    getting a fresh set of tires
    getting a fresh set of tires

    The first day, I only got down to 1:50 (with the bypass), due to a combination of worn brakes, hot track, and lack of more skill.
    The 2nd day, thanks to my coach, Matt Belle, I improved my driving, but the track got even hotter, so I also only got down to 1:50:xx too before the track got even more greasy and my times started to go back up. Still, it was good fun.

    A nice 488 challenge that joined us:



    2018/06/16 Ruben de Ronde and Armin Van Buuren at Bill Graham
    π 2018-06-16 01:01 in Clubbing
    It had been a bit of time since I last saw Armin play, so it was geat to fix that :)

    As usual, found some friends:


    I arrived a bit late, but just in time for Ruben de Ronde to take the decks:



    Next, was of course Armin, and he played a very nice set:




    being in the pits is nice, but doesn't work well for all pictures :)
    being in the pits is nice, but doesn't work well for all pictures :)


    Higher up is nice for laser shots:


















    Video summary:

    2018/06/15 Acid Rain, Summer Drop at DNA Lounge
    π 2018-06-15 01:01 in Clubbing
    I can't believe last time I was at DNA Lounge was in June 2002, some 16 years ago, for the Mozilla (now firefox) browser source code release party (some old bad pictures here.
    I even have an old (now embarassing) picture with JWZ, the owner of DNA Lounge from 2001.
    In my defense, DNA Lounge doesn't play the kind of music I normally enjoy (although I'm sure I missed some days I'd have liked), but this time was different: psytrance is fun to listen to from time to time, and if you add regular trance with my friends Blurr and Sonic Fuzion, that seals the deal :)

    DNA Lounge sure changed a lot since last time I went. I was much amused by the ATM machine JWZ likely hacked:



    4 different rooms, including happy hardcore, which I had never heard in a club so far (but used to listen to eons ago), was fun:

    Blurr and Sonic Fuzion at the decks
    Blurr and Sonic Fuzion at the decks


    Triode playing his Castles in the Sky remix
    Triode playing his Castles in the Sky remix


    A few other pictures:






    Short video:

    2018/06/13 Seoul Airport and Nice 1st Class Seats on Korean Airlines
    π 2018-06-13 01:01 in Flying
    To fly back from Cebu, Philippines, we flew home with Korean Airlines. Sadly the first flight was a shit red eye that only lasted 4H, so no matter how comfortable, it sure didn't last long enough.
    On the plus side, we ended up in the Seoul international terminal with access to the first class lounge, which did not suck:




    The Terminal was also quite nice:






    They even had a room doing cool VR demos:





    We then boarded our plane, we had the first front seats ina 747, they were second only to Singapore Airlines:

    nice wooden table
    nice wooden table

    only 6 seats
    only 6 seats


    seats were big enough to allow 2 people to share the table
    seats were big enough to allow 2 people to share the table

    Food was not united food, it was good:


    sure, I'll have the caviar, thank you
    sure, I'll have the caviar, thank you


    The flight was almost over too soon :)


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