The Jimternet


James Stewart - Making Stuff

The Pythonic Staff of Enlightenment

Introducing... The Pythonic Staff of Enlightenment:

Pythonic Staff 1

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Bike Helmets Decorated with Electroluminescent Wire

Back in October my daughter and I went along to the excellent EL Wire Wearables workshop hosted by our makerspace SparkCC.

Purple Helmet Unlit

We had a great time going through the process of first designing our creation and then making it a reality. The result was a helmet decorated with a very cute purple flower on top and a pair of purple eyes at the front.

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YOW! 2015 Sydney Day Two

After an interesting and informative Day One, YOW! 2015 Sydney day two got off to a geektastic start with Anita Sengupta and Kamal Oudrhiri talking about their fascinating work on the Curiosity Rover. It was quite humbling to be in the presence of engineers involved in such a groundbreaking project and we heard about interesting problems the team had to solve including how to slow an entry vehicle from 30,000 mph to 0 mph in 7 mins and the infamous Sol 200 anomaly.

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YOW! 2015 Sydney Day One

YOW! Sydney 2015 got off to a great start yesterday. The timing of Australia's leading Software Development conference could not have been more apt given our Government's recent focus on technology and innovation. Likewise the setting of the Australian Technology Park evoked the sense of possiblity inherent in Engineering disciplines, Software comfortably juxtaposed against real Hardware...

atp entry

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Inexpensive Garden Boxes - Variations on a Theme

Previously I authored a post describing how to build inexpensive garden boxes from fence palings. In it I mentioned that the basic design could be altered to create boxes of different shapes and sizes. With Spring well and truly underway our garden has been a hive of activity and I've been busy creating new beds to fit in various spots around our backyard.

The size and shape of the first of these boxes was dictated by the raw materials. In this case timber salvaged from an old pallet:

pallet

Not having to pay for the timber made these boxes very inexpensive indeed! Some short work with a wrecking bar and a drop saw resulted in a solid square garden box:

pallet box

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How to Build Inexpensive Garden Boxes From Fence Palings

Spring is almost upon us and all around Australia garden beds are being prepared for the coming season.

Garden boxes built from fence palings are inexpensive and easy to make. They also look great and best of all they will last for years.

watering boxes 1

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SparkCC is Open For Business

Posts to The Jimternet have been a little thin on the ground in recent months. Of the myriad reasons behind this shortage of missives, one of the most exciting is the birth of SparkCC.

sparkcc logo

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Open Source: The Journey from Project to Product

In their seminal work Getting Real, 37 Signals talk about scratching your own itch when looking for a new project. Well I was itching to brew consistently tasty beer. And brewing consistently tasty beer requires reliable temperature control.

Sure there were thermostats for sale on Ebay for 100 bucks that could keep fermentation temperature consistent. But I could see the limitations of these and knew that a software-based solution would provide the flexibility to do so much more.

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Introducing Braubuddy - A Temperature Management Framework

Today I'm very pleased to make available the first beta release of Braubuddy.

Braubuddy Dashboard

Braubuddy started as a simple Python script to monitor the fermentation temperature of my home brew using a Raspberry Pi and a USB thermometer.

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Boost Your USB WiFi Signal Strength for Next to Nothing

In my workshop I have a Raspberry Pi whose primary function is to control the temperature of my home brew using Braubuddy.

Said workshop is part of a detached garage, so I planned to employ a USB WiFi adapter to connect the Pi to my home wireless network. This would allow me to:

  • Update software on the Pi without unplugging and taking it inside.
  • Monitor the temperature of my home brew remotely.
  • Stream music while I make beer and build things.

But as it turned out, the WiFi adapter's tiny internal aerial wasn't capable of maintaining a reliable connection to my Wireless Access Point. On the rare occasions that it did manage to connect, data transfer was hideously slow due to packet loss. Inevitably the link would drop out altogether as Linux' WiFi connection manager gave up in utter despair.

I had resigned myself to buying a USB module with an external aerial until I stumbled across this article in my Twitter feed. The author describes a similar predicament to my own as well as his solution: a home-made, foil-covered dish mounted behind his Wifi adapter.

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