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2011/08/27 Linux 20th Anniversary Picnic
π 2011-08-27 01:01 in Linux
While SVLUG is smaller nowadays and les volunteers to help organize things, there was still a core group (mostly old timers I've known for 15 years now) who organized the event. I had missed most previous ones since I was away, so it wsa nice to go back and reconnect with old friends I hadn't seen in a while.


that's cute :)
that's cute :)




See more images for Linux 20th Anniversary Picnic
2011/08/20 Paragliding down from Grouse Mountain in Vancouver
π 2011-08-20 01:01 in Flying
After hiking up Grouse Mountain in Vancouver (as part of my few days visit of Vancouver following linuxcon 2011).

This was my first time trying paragliding, it looked kind of cool :)





So, I signed up for a tandem flight:













This turned out to be a very nice long flight, awesome way to start this:

2011/08/17 Vancouver Aquarium
π 2011-08-17 01:01 in Aquariums
Vancouver has a nice little aquarium in the park, so I went to check it out:










See more images for Vancouver Aquarium
2011/08/17 Visiting Vancouver
π 2011-08-17 01:01 in Canada, Trips

Welcome to Vancouver Airport
Welcome to Vancouver Airport

I went to get a few pictures from Prospect Point at sunset. The only problem was getting a ride back to downtown was hard since cabs didn't quite want to come there to pick me up, but oh well, the view was worth it.





Jennifer was supposed to join me friday night for the weekend, but unfortunately United screwed up with her plane, so she never made it. As a result, I went to visit stuff on my own during the weekend, and started with Capilano Park and then went up Grouse Mountain.

they're known for their long suspension bridge
they're known for their long suspension bridge

they also just finished a fully suspended path on the clifside
they also just finished a fully suspended path on the clifside






I then took a quick cab to the bottom of Grouse Mountain, and instead of taking the gondola up, I climbed up the grind in about 1h, which is a respectable time I'm told (but it does kick your ass, it's pretty straight up).




the top
the top

Grouse Mountain is a ski resort during the winter, but they have lots of attractions during the summer, which are worth the visit (on top of just the view of course):








They had a nice bird show:






Their bears seemed pretty happy:



Their lumberjack show was quite good too, those guys knew their stuff and competed on multiple skills for our amusement :)




their tree climbing skills were impressive too
their tree climbing skills were impressive too


balancing on a log until the other guy falls off
balancing on a log until the other guy falls off


When I was done, I took the fun way down, parasailing. It was way way overpriced (a lot of money goes to the mountain for the privilege), but it was definitely fun and a great view.




then it was my turn
then it was my turn










we landed in a park in the end
we landed in a park in the end





From there, I took a bus back and a ferry across back to downtown to have dinner at the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant.

you can see the restaurant
you can see the restaurant

I got day and night shots while having dinner
I got day and night shots while having dinner






The next morning I took my rollerblades to go around downtown's waterfront path via Stanley Park.






They had a nice little aquarium in the park, so I went there.








I then continued the rollerblade tour:





went to the Grandville Island Market:






back to downtown:




and on my way to the airport, I went to see the very nice Bloedel Conservatory, which was small, but a lot of fun:



I love the colors on that one
I love the colors on that one





And just like that, the packed 2 day weekend was over, and the tram back to the airport.



That's all folks...

See more images for Visiting Vancouver
2011/08/17 Linuxcon 2011
π 2011-08-17 01:01 in Linux
This year linuxcon had moved to Vancouver, making it a north american (not US) conference, which considering that Craig Ross is from the fine country of Canadia, isn't too surprising :)

Vancouver if a nice city to go visit, so that was not a bad thing at all :) and I was invited this year to talk about power monitoring. Outside of a small issue where I was so busy before the conference that I forgot which day I was suppose to fly there, and missed my flight to Vancouver, I got there the next morning on some very early flight and things worked out (putting aside the resulting poor sleep).

My talk on power monitoring, while having taken way too long to write, went well. Here is the link to the slides on the Power Monitoring with Linux talk.

A few keynote pictures:



A couple of random slides:



The 20 year party I was very underdressed for :)






And the random picture:


Despite the travel mishaps, it was a good conference.

See more images for Linuxcon 2011
2011/08/12 Visit of the Computer History Museum 12 years later
π 2011-08-12 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
In May 1999, Dave Babcock, back when we were at SGI, was nice enough to give me a private tour of the computer history pieces other volunteers and he were able to gathered, and that were stored at Moffett/NASA back then. I had a crappy camera back in that day, but still got some pictures which are fun to see for posterity (in picture link at the bottom of this post).

Throughout the years, that collection moved to visible storage in the Computer History Museum, and through the help of many volunteers, eventually turned into the current Revolution exposition that has now been available for display for almost a year. I use the opportunity that my dad was visiting to take a good tour of it with him. Obviously it's an impressive improvement from where it was 12 years ago.

It's impossible to give it justice in just a few pictures, but if you're interested in the field, hopefully those few will wet your appetite until you can go yourself.



eh, I had one of those intel bunnies and most of those CPUs too
eh, I had one of those intel bunnies and most of those CPUs too

the real first micro computer, which was french, was the micral not the altair
the real first micro computer, which was french, was the micral not the altair

plenty of european micro computers, including the Amstrad CPC 464 we used to have
plenty of european micro computers, including the Amstrad CPC 464 we used to have

They missing the MO5, but they had the TO7
They missing the MO5, but they had the TO7

I had a NeXT cube for a while
I had a NeXT cube for a while

Ok, I never had a PDP-1 :)
Ok, I never had a PDP-1 :)

2011/08/08 Anniversary Dinner at Alexander's Steakhouse
π 2011-08-08 01:01 in Dining
For our 2Y anniversary, I found a fancy steakhouse to have a nice dinner at. It was a good dinner, although I'm not quite sure that Wagyu beef is worth $130 a plate, but eh, it was worth trying. Verdict: I either can't appreciate it, or it wasn't worth the price. Jennifer had some in Australia and found it better there. Eh, figures...

Yet, it was a good dinner, and the white truffled fries were good :)

They had a nice display at the entrance:




that was my fancy beef sample plate
that was my fancy beef sample plate


sugar candy to help with the check :)
sugar candy to help with the check :)

2011/08/05 Hacking a Lipo Voltage Meter on a Ladyada Breadboard Power Supply
π 2011-08-05 01:01 in Electronics
Ok, maybe this is my first successful project (not counting flashing LEDs in sequence off an arduino). The Ladyada breadboard power supply sorely lacks a voltage display when in adjustable mode.

I found a device called 'LED 1s-6s Lipo Battery Voltage Indicator Checker Tester' on Ebay. Here are links that might work in a few weeks still :)

  • http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/603538/210478792-433940875/1S-6S-Lipo-Battery-Voltage-Indicator-Checker-Tester-free-shipping.html
  • http://www.amazon.com/NEEWER%C2%AE-Voltage-Battery-Indicator-Checker/dp/B00D7AHMWO
  • http://www.amazon.com/Vktech-Voltage-Battery-Indicator-Checker/dp/B00CQEKL3O
  • http://www.gearbest.com/rc-quadcopters-parts/pp_138061.html
  • It is a better choice than the more expensive 1-8S tester with low battery alarm because it will work in 1S mode without flashing voltages. Now the trick it is powered by the voltage it's measuring, but the voltage cannot drop below 3V it won't work.
    You can however measure down to 1V (or maybe even less) if you apply 3V or more on one other pin, but you don't want to apply that voltage to the other pins before the unit has initialized. If it 'boots' with only one voltage, it will nicely just display it and then you add voltage to pin 3 and it will measure pin 2 voltage down to low values without shutting off. You just don't want it to boot with voltage on pin 3 or it will alternate between showing voltages on pin 2 and 3, which is what you want for a lipo battery, but not for this application.
    Maybe I could have done something complicated with a capacitor or a timer, but I just put a switch that turn off and only turn on to apply power to pin3 when I need to measure small voltages. It's a bit hackish, but it cost $5 for the digital voltage meter, which is hard to beat :)

    End result pictures below:


    measuring just 1.42V
    measuring just 1.42V


    2011/08/03 Weather Monitoring with Oregon Scientific WMR968
    π 2011-08-03 00:00 in Linuxha
    A fair amount of people get weather info (wind, rain, and others) using 1-wire equipment, which is a pain both for having to run 1-wire to places outdoors (although I already was doing that), but more specifically because the mast the wind sensor is on is a lightening rod which has fried many people's home computers and networks.

    The simplest way to avoid this problem is simply to go wireless so that lightening does not reach your inside computers and networks. As a side note, the WMR968, while far from perfect, is cheaper than 1-wire equivalent solutions (only $200). The equivalent functionality with 1-wire is about $500

    The kit comes with solar panels that recharge your device batteries, so they're supposed to run forever (i.e. until they eventually die), and you get:

  • Indoor temp / humidity / baro pressure
  • Outdoor temp / humidity
  • Wind speed / direction
  • Rain gauge

  • wind sensor on the roof with the portable receiving console
    wind sensor on the roof with the portable receiving console

    rain sensor on top and hygro/temp sensor in the shade under the roof
    rain sensor on top and hygro/temp sensor in the shade under the roof


    little 'hack' to make the rain sensor more sensitive
    little 'hack' to make the rain sensor more sensitive

    The main thing that is nice with that kit outside of the fact that it's cheap, is that you can buy more receivers than there are in the kit (like multiple indoors BTHR receivers to get humidity in different rooms) and while the main console will not receive more than one, the rfxcom receiver I have plugged in my PC can receive as many as you can have (even your neighbours' :) ).
    This allows for having the console in the kitchen for instance, and not have to run a cable to your computer in the closet by having it use its own receiver with a bigger antenna and processing ability for many more devices (see list).

    Here is a link to all the WMR 968 graphs received from the rfxcom via XPL, with a couple of samples below:



    The only caveat is that it's a bit cheaply built, some of the outside sensors are not super water proof, so I slightly modified mine to make sure I had good water seals, and so far so good: can't beat the price and it hasn't failed for me yet :) Not having to climb on the roof to change batteries every so often is a nice bonus :)


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