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December 05, 2002 02:45

I'm in the process of recoding the lightserver, almost from scratch. This is the program that handles all active device activity. Lights, sprinkler, rc car, cam rotor, etc. I'm cleaning the code up, adding a configuration file to make it easier for others (and myself) to maintain, and redesigning some things to make it more efficient and therefore be able to handle more connections. As it is, more than about 15000 users a day will cause it to do funny things as it gets more than several requests per second to handle various devices, not to mention all the state requests. Since the X10 lamp commands take up to a second to complete, simple math tells us that when I get 5 such requets per second, it won't take long before something breaks. New revisions should help some of these problems. I'll also be adding a relay feature so a server can relay a specific command to a server on another computer, allowing a single server to handle all incoming requests and farming out those that belong elsewhere.

I've taken a preliminary look at the RC car. Since one of the transistors is smoking, I'm quite certain that it accounts for at least PART of the problem. Now its just a matter of fixing it. The PE200 and PE201 transistor part #'s seem to be hard to come by and although I can reverse engineer the schematic to figure out the pinout, I have no idea what the other specs on those transistors are. Since they drive the motors and have heatsinks attached to them, I'd imagine they're designed to handle quite a bit of power, but internet searches on those parts reveal nothing useful. I'll probably eventually buy a few $0.50 transistors, plug them in there and see what blows up and in what order. Hopefully luck might be on my side and I'll get it working again. If not, I might see if I can't find another car of the same model. Its been two years since I got this one though, and Rat Shack certainly isn't stocking it anymore. I could always pick up another one after Xmas and mod it instead. Gotta wait for the clearance prices first though.

Got the phone tap working, and it works well. Right now its output only, so the computer can stream both sides of the phone conversation, but it can't feed audio back into the conversation. That should be a simple modification however. Once I have a computer in a decent position with a decent soundcard and drivers that work right, I'll try getting it permanantly connected so I can easily stream certain calls.

I've modded the camserv source code slightly to allow for displaying a caption dynamically from a file. This will allow me to easily update the caption on all cams (at least those using camserv) at the same time, so when someone sends a message to me, they can read it no matter what cam they're watching. This will also allow a select group of people to be able to control the captions as well. I am presently the only one who can answer questions to people who refuse to join the chatroom, despite my pleas to do exactly that. This will make things less combersome. I might hack further and fix it so captions can be directed to a specific user, nixing the common problem of answering one person's question then having 19 others wonder why I said some obscure statement to them. Now... if only I could selectively flip off only one person.... :)

I've currently got one set of Xmas lights outside. I'm planning by this weekend to have some lawn ornaments on the lawn that are also controllable. Not certain how many yet. Its tough getting more than two modules on a single power strip. Not quite sure what I'll do about another external camera. I found a nice inexpensive black and white camera that would work perfectly outdoors, but its b&w. That's not a huge crisis though, and a limitation I'm sure everyone will be willing to live with. Things will show up better at night besides. Color cameras don't work as well in the low light.

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