Thanks to online shops like AliExpress, DX, Banggood, Wish and countless others you can buy all sorts of random, interesting and sometimes useless shit for very cheap.
Usually I buy from AliExpress and most of the time its some electronic stuff that are way overpriced in my country, or I just can’t get them locally. In this case, I was browsing through as usual and was recommended these seemingly random ICs (integrated circuits) that to me (as a kid that liked to tear things apart and see what’s inside) looked a bit familiar from electronic toys or interactive souvenirs.
So I looked through most of them and got hit by nostalgia and interest to see how they function and what can they do. I ordered a few different types of ICs and most of them are sold in bulk.
All of the modules that I found are bare and you need to add extra components yourself, which mostly are a some kind of an NPN transistor and a 104 ceramic capacitor. Also there are no schematic or any information whatsoever about them, so you either poke the contacts yourself to see how these work or search the obscure code written on the PCB and hope for the best.
In my case, I searched, and if you dig deep enough you can find the relevant information.
At work we have a couple of info kiosks (we call them terminals) that we bought from some company many years ago, but the support has ended also many years ago, so they abandoned them. The kiosks were running some custom software that the company had thrown together, it didn’t seem very professional from an IT guy’s perspective, because those kiosks were lagging and eventually would hang and would need a manual restart. We were living with this for some years until eventually both kiosks just hanged and didn’t properly boot for no reason.
After this we decided to look for a solution and whadya know – there is one free and simple solution with plenty of customization options for our needs. It fits our situation perfectly and it’s called “Porteus Kiosk”
“Porteus Kiosk” is a kiosk edition of Porteus, a portable Linux OS based on Slack and it seems to be popular enough to have a Wiki article for it…
Our kiosks have a “Elo TouchSystems 2515” monitor (meaning there’s no mouse or keyboard) and a “ZOTAC ZBOX ID13” mini-pc which has very low specs like an old Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of RAM.
I quickly downloaded the latest ISO (4.7.0 at the time of writing) and installed it to a flash drive, booted it up on the kiosk to test out and right away noticed some issues that I’d need to fix. The issues were that the system didn’t have a virtual keyboard, like it wasn’t primarily targeted for touch info kiosks (but PK supports most touch devices out-of-the-box) and also in my case, Elo touch screen doesn’t support multi-touch (for scrolling for ex.) and so you’d need to drag the scrollbar, but Firefox scrollbar for that Linux version is very thin and were out of touch bounds, therefore most pages couldn’t be scrolled down the traditional way. I had to find solutions to these.
Oh hello again… man, lately I have no time to keep my blog updated, but I’m glad I can write a post occasionally at least.
This time I’d like to write about how I do backups and a way I automated half of it. It might not be the most efficient way or “the right way”, but as with anything – it works for me, so shut up! :P (j/k, you can bitch in the comments).
Anyway, I have several places to grab backups from and one place to store them – I don’t use mainstream cloud services (maybe I should…?), instead I store those onto my external drive. Google drive gives free 15GB to store stuff, in the future I might use that instead of my external, but the place doesn’t matter, it’s HOW I store those backups that matters.
Last year I bought RaspberryPI Model B at my local electronics store. As for most people, my goal was to have a miniature home server for various things, most of all a local cloud storage and a media server. I learned a great deal doing this and the RPI is very much capable of doing it all with memory to spare, despite what people were saying that it’s too slow and stuff.
Of course, if it’s just a cloud you want and don’t trust Dropbox, then a VPS is probably better (not necessarily cheaper though), but in my case I needed more than that, because I have some things like TVs, sat box and other stuff connected and so a VPS didn’t suffice.
In a nutshell, my RPI has heatsinks on it, is put in an acrylic case with a compatible 6v fan. The RPI is running Raspbian for an OS, MiniDLNA for media streaming, Seafile for a cloud, Samba for network drives, Transmission for the seedbox. I’ll talk about each of these and why I chose them.
There is a huge problem with HP Laserjet (and probably many others) MFP’s when installing full-solution packages on a computer which is newer than the MFP and when they need to communicate through the network. At work we have many HP Laserjet 3090 and 2727 series printers that are able to scan. Normally if you simply add the printer, the computer is able to print without a problem every time. But to make that thing scan – you need to install the full-solution package, which is old and deprecated. Installing such packages on x64 machines doesn’t work, setup is b0rked. Installing it on Win7 doesn’t always work, for unknown reasons the printer can’t be found by the address or hostname or anything.
But enough about that. Another major problem is what to do when the IP of a printer changes and it doesn’t scan anymore. Don’t bother reinstalling the full-solution, it won’t work. So after LOTS of googling, I finally found the solution.
Just recently I finished reading a book titled “The humane interface” by Jef Raskin. I have this book in paper and it was a nice read. For someone that has been programming for a few years it was refreshing… in my time I had to design good looking, functional and understandable interfaces. I thought about writing an in-depth article about my experiences, tips and tricks with some guidelines, but the book proved to summarize pretty much everything I wanted to write. Therefore I will quote some key points, add my thoughts about it, write about how I feel interfaces could be designed. Though keep in mind I’m not professional designer here, and programmers shouldn’t do interface design :P
One of the weirder things to do is resetting the lamp timer when you change the lamp. After about 1500 hours the projector shows this annoying warning to replace the lamp, however the time does not reset when you replace that lamp with a new one, and resetting the lamp time is a public secret (not written in manuals or settings and such). So I found this website where it has instructions to reset it for a lot of projectors, at least the instructions work for Toshiba one.
The website is: http://www.projectorlampexperts.com/LampAdvice-InstallationTips.aspx
Now if you like to have a reference, you might find this image helpful. It’s a screenshot of those instructions :)
Looks straight forward, right? hell no.
I wasted 2 hours yesterday trying to understand dafuq is wrong. My situation was like this: there is an old printer, connected to a windows7 32 bit system and shared. I had to connect a laptop with a 64bit system to use that printer. The laptop could ping the other computer, it could see the printer and everything else, but it just could not connect to the printer. It would show the error code 0x00000214.
Revision 1, first release.
Greetings all. After a long wait I might finally finish this article. I’ll try to keep it as an article, not a walkthrough because I hate that shit. I don’t do this full time and only very rarely, so it won’t be an advanced article :)
There are many “tutorials” written just about this, but hopefully mine will be a bit different :)
If you have suggestions, what to add, what to cover, maybe I missed or left something out, please tell me.
My recent app that I am developing involves bluetooth and I had to do quite some research about the whole thing and the android API. I had to do lots of searching, but in the end it was ok.
Anyway, while I was searching I had to scrape bits and pieces from every corner of the internet and put them together, so I decided I’ll make one general post about ways to send data over bluetooth in android. I’ll explain everything as we go.