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November 04, 2002 11:35
For the last couple days, the office cam has been dead, or on for only short periods of time. My primary workstation in the office decided to suddenly quit working. Either the motherboard or the CPU, but I can't replace either, so I can't test which is the problem. So I happen to have another MB+cpu of a different brand here that works, but is flaky. It works for a few hours then dies. So that's where I stand right now. Until I get a more permanant solution working, the office cam + live audio feed will be offline. However, all the other cams work fine. I'm currently pondering a more permanant non-windows based solution for the office cam and perhaps some of the other computers in the house to get away from windows entirely. I'm also considering setting up a mirror server here to take over or loadbalance when the primary server goes down or gets overloaded. It would be most helpful to have a dual setup in place.
October 29, 2002 20:33
For those of you who knew her, Lauren Reilly (Lolly) died in her sleep this morning of congestive heart problems. Although I've only known her for little over a week, I've gotten to know her quite well in that time and she will be missed. Her picture is on the visitors page, along with a place to leave comments should you wish, or to read what other's have said. I will probably update with more information later, including contact information for the family if anyone requests it.
October 28, 2002 16:04
October 27, 2002 00:16
Met her today. Things hit off nicely. More news on this as things happen.
October 24, 2002 14:43
Although nothing that is directly controllable via the internet, I have a working on a voice recognition system to control my lights and other appliances by speaking. Right now I'm using Sphinx on linux to convert spoken phrases into text, and then feeding that text through Jeeves's natural language parser to perform the requested action. Right now all I have is a working example, and not a fully functional system, but as soon as I can device a reasonable way to distribute mics around the house for this purpose, I'll do so.
October 23, 2002 11:40
Its somewhat a staple of life, that you generally tend to feel the need to protect those that you care about. When the boy shows up to take someone's teenage daughter out on a date for the first time, the father will usually make a point that it would be in the boy's best interest that his precious daughter makes it home safely, unmolested, and as early as possible. Sometimes the manner is subtle, sometimes "I have a 45 and a shovel" is typical. Hair length and the number of tattoos and piercings might affect the severity of that conviction. Despite that, I've heard everything from "Have fun and be careful" to "If she's not home safely, I'll slit your throat".
So when a girl starts talking to a guy her friends, with or without her approval, might take it upon themselves to size up the new guy. And this makes sense. If the guy is a total jerk or has an undesireable past, its easier to observe these things from an unbiased perspective. Sometimes guys won't show their true colors immediately while conversing with a girl they just met, but will act like themselves around anyone else. So sure, check him out. But learn where to draw the line.
For instance, you are a "friend" to some girl you're attempting to "protect" from some unlikely potential harm from some guy that lives half a world away. Don't start up a conversation with this guy by demanding he betray the trust or good will of the girl he just started talking to. And then, when he fails to do so, lie about who you are and give death threats if said girl is ever "hurt". Of course, this seems noble, even if excessive, until you look at how things work out.
First off, by misrepresenting yourself, you've immediately informed everyone that you're not to be taken seriously. Whatever potentially noble point you were attempting to convey will be completely lost in the fact that you'll be taken as a liar/fraud/troublemaker.
Secondly, also by misrepresenting yourself, you cast the person you're protecting into a bad light. The guy knows only that you're not who you claim to be, he'll figure that the girl either put someone up to it, to act under false pretenses, or is acting that way herself, either to attempt to trap someone in a precarious situation or to attempt to provider herself with some domineering sense of control. This might work against some of the weaker minded of the male race, but anyone with half a clue will see through it and develop a very poor impression of the girl they've just met. Remember people, first impressions mean a lot.
Which leads to my third point. Friendships and relationships are tenuous things. They increase with strength over time. If you've known someone for a long time, you'll let a little thing go, you'll be willing to take their word for something, and you'll believe them over someone else so long as they've been trustworthy. When you've known someone a few days, you have no history to base assumptions on. Therefore, whatever you observe you're forced to take at face value. Many people are trustworthy, wholesome, decent people. And there are unfortunately many who are not. You cannot assume a person is decent just because they act decently at first, but you can immediately identify bad natured behavior and reflect on that immediately. Is it fair to do so? In most cases yes. And if I'm going to end up spending a lot of time with someone I care about, I'm going to make sure that they're good people from the onset. And any event that betrays that impression of them will be taken very seriously.
Therefore, should someone come along and make some girl look bad, a guy who's only known her a few days will probably just walk away and look elsewhere. He has invested very little and when he perceives a potential control freak, or a throng of friends who will be constantly threatening/abusing him, why would he want to walk into a situation like that?
Advice is important. If someone asks for it, provide it. Be honest. Hold nothing back. But just remember that the decision is not yours to make. So that being said, if I had a "friend" of mine who went behind my back to attempt to scare someone into treating me differently than they otherwise would, that person would be my friend no longer. In fact, I would not be speaking to that person any longer. I'm an adult and I can handle myself. And sometimes in life you get hurt. Sometimes the pain is malicious, and sometimes its just the facts of life itself. Things don't always go the way we want them too. In fact, things regularly don't go the way we want them to. To deny someone the pleasures of life because of the possibility that they might get upset is nothing short of criminal. To do so to someone you call a "friend" is betrayal to the worst extreme. If you're really a friend, you need to be there as a shoulder to cry on when needed, recognizing that the temporary pain they feel will make them stronger in the long run.
October 19, 2002 10:14
These are the pictures from the paper that weren't included in the online version of the article. May the copyright gods look down on my favorably. :)
October 18, 2002 23:54
For the first time, a local media source has covered my site. The Dallas
Morning News for Saturday has an article in the Plano Section, however
its already available online here:
October 15, 2002 21:28
Well, the car has issues again. It won't go in reverse. Not sure exactly why yet. It was going slowly backwards for a bit.. then I heard something break and now it won't go backwards at all, although it still works fine otherwise. Hopefully its something I can fix by unscrewing it completely and messing with something. not sure what, but..... something.
Anyway, I disabled the RC Car link for now until I figure out if it can be fixed or if I just need to get another car. In the meantime, it saves me the trouble of buying a video transmitter, although this only adds to the cost involved in getting the whole show going again. *sigh*
In better news, a Dallas Morning News reporter is going to interview me about the site soon. Local coverage at last. Yay! :)
October 13, 2002 12:36
To give a brief history on the RC Car. Back in early 1999 I bought a $20 radio shack toy RC Car and hacked the remote control unit so it could be controlled via computer, and therefore was controllable via the internet. A month or so after getting that working, I bought a video transmitter and receiver and a small B&W camera along with a battery pack. Wired together, it functioned exactly as I would have hoped, except for one small problem, the car dragged on the carpet and couldn't move due to the excessive weight of the batteries. I solved this problem by wiring the camera & trasmitter directly to the car's batteries so they both ran off the same powersource. This worked much better, but I only had 3 hours worth of runtime, and the recharge time for the batteries was about 12 hours. Needless to say, the best I could do each day was about 6 hours of runtime with 2 sets of batteries. I also had the problem that people wanted to play with the car, but by the time I got it set up and working, they had given up and left, then the car would sit there, draining batteries for 3 hours until it was dead, without anyone playing.
So I devised a solution. I bought a new RC Car, actually a large pickup truck model that would be able to handle a lot of extra weight. It also had sufficient clearance, so carpet wouldn't be such a drag. I bought a 12V 4 Amphour gelcell battery, which has sufficent power to run the camera and transmitter for 21 hours and will recharge in less than 2 hours. This will ensure that the car will be functional most of the day, if not all of it by purchasing a second battery and running them in 12 hour intervals. Only problem is, while I was moving the cam & transmitter over to the new car, I managed to kill the transmitter.
Since there was no reason to continue moving over the interface until I got a new transmitter, I simply sat on it for a while. People complained about not being able to play with the car, so for a while I ran the old car in the living room and repositioned the camera in there so people could play. Of course, as usual, people will bitch about it, then play for 20 seconds and leave, and now the cam is in the wrong position and people complain that they can't see the lights. Eventually all the old batteries gave out, so I just junked it and told people it was completely dead, which for all practical purposes it was.
Lately with all the renewed interest in it, I've gotten the new rc car fully converted over to be computer controlled now, so it is in the state that the old car was before I added the camera. I will tomorrow attempt to obtain another camera so I can have a cam dedicated to watching the car. It still won't be as much fun until I get the transmitter replaced, but at least I'll have something people can play with until then.