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What was once will be again!

July 18, 2011 18:17

Fielding complaints from many users, both those who complain about all the stuff that used to be here that isn't anymore, and those who complain that there isn't anything (obvious) to play with except the lights, I have decided to resurrect, to the best of my ability, many of the past features of this site. However, this project will be met with some significant challenges. Here's a list of the things I plan to work on in the next couple of weeks.

Marquee signSometime during the time I was on our roadtrip, the marquee sign's computer crashed and refuses to boot. The sign itself is fine, but the controlling computer decided to apparently have a bios puke or something, so it won't boot up. Attempting to just stick that HD in another computer somehow resulted in the HD corrupting its own partition table. So I attempted to get one of the older boxes I have sitting around here working and I have since discovered, to no great surprise, that of the 6 fully assembled computers I have sitting around not doing anything, none of them are fully functional. I have one computer here that IS fully functional, but I had been using it as my travelling computer. Since I got the laptop, I don't REALLY need it anymore, so I'm likely going to install linux on it instead. The rest of the computers will get gutted of all useful and working parts, and the rest will get thrown away. At least a few of the cases are still good.
Controllable MusicI haven't had this feature since I started using DMICMS, mostly because I just haven't added that particular database function yet, even though it's not necessary and I could easily do it manually to get it going again, which I intend to do for the time being. Another reason I haven't put much effort into reinstating it is because I hardly ever have the music playing over the speakers. Both Gertie and I listen to whatever we're listening to on headphones. I will likely set this up on a different computer than the ones we're using, so you can still hear the music, but we can still listen to our other stuff. The upload music feature has been defunct for far longer, ever since I first moved to the hosted server, in fact. The reason for this is because the computer that plays the music is not on the same network as the hosted server, and therefore I'll need to implement some type of automated transfer. All uploaded music will need to be moderated prior to being played as well, so the gratification will not be instant as it was before, but I can still get it functional again.
CritterThe critter suffered from one major problem. It couldn't steer worth a crap. This was unfortantly a design flaw, but an unavoidable one with the parts I had available. I recently tried to adjust the critter to use a one axle differential drive, but that created a new problem I hadn't anticipated, mainly the utter inability to drive straight. To make that work properly, I'll have to use endcoders on the motors to ensure that both wheels are turning at the same rate and make adjustments if they're not. I need such encoders for odometry and speed control as well, so they were both planned for a future release of the critter, but my efforts to work on that have hit a number of roadblocks. I can, however, get the critter as it was working again, and people will just have to deal with the horrible turning ability. I'll also need to get WIFI with AES working on it as well, since I was running unencrypted wifi on it before. Not a big deal, just another issue to address.
DoorbellFirst, it needs to be said: You could NEVER actually RING my doorbell; at least, not unless you physically came over here and pushed the button. This will be no different. What it DID do, however, was send a signal to the network to perform a few functions. First off, it played a WAV file, so yeah....custom chime. Secondly, it snapped a series of pictures of my front porch. This is an issue at the moment since there's no cam on my front porch, and no easy way to mount one such that it can capture the face(s) of the people/persons ringing the bell. Even though I could solve the camera angle problem, I have another camera issue, mainly the fact that I can't have itviewing the people that work at or attend the public building next to my house.
More roomsThis is one of the big differences between being a bachellor and being married with kids running around. There's more of a privacy concern now than there used to be. There's also the cosmetic concern, mainly that we don't set up cams in areas that look like they're half under construction, which most of this house is in one form or another. Obviously, there are also fewer rooms available, since the entire upstairs is off limits. That leaves my office, the kitchen, the living and dining rooms, and part of the hallway which can be covered by public cams. Right now, the living rooms are out of the question, mostly because they're full of my dad's old stuff that I brought over recently. It will take some time to fully organaize and store all of it. I'm also working on some storage solutions that will help hide a lot of stuff. Of course, adding more rooms means I can add more lamps, cams and toys, since keeping everything in here is a serious constraint.
Motion sensorsIn addition to the doorbell, I also had a motion sensor on my front door that would trigger capturing a series of pictures. The motion sensor was X10 and would send a signal which the ppower server was able to capture and issue a command to grab pictures and update the page. Assuming I can FIND my cm11a unit, I also need to work out some of the issues I've been having with X10 lately, mainly the fact that signals don't seem to always get received properly. As with the doorbell, this would need to be combined with a cam or cams to be useful.

That SHOULD be sufficient for the near future. If there are other projects people wish to get ressurected, please let me know. There is no point in mentioning any of the old (broken) RC cars, the Tank, or anything that was specific to any of the houses I used to live in, such as specific rooms, or the pool, or the water tower, etc.