NETGEAR G54/N150 Wireless USB Micro Adapter

NSD 2005 Dalek build – First sanding of skirt

I filled the corners with bondo and did my first pass at sanding. It is getting closer to looking like a skirt. Also, you may notice some wood on the top of the skirt toward the front and two blocks on either side. This is because the bottom of the base for some reason lifted up and the top isn’t level. These blocks are to make the next layer start from a level position. I’m probably going to put some sort of filler between the skirt and shoulders. the front came out okay so I should be able to salvage this skirt.

2005 NSD Dalek build – Skirt assembly

I’ve taken two pictures of my 2005 NSD Dalek build. The first pcture shows the x-factor twist that goes in to the Dalek front panels. I think this x factor twist makes a Dalek look like a Dalek.

dalek x-factor twst NSD 2005 dalek build
dalek front panels x-factor twst NSD 2005 dalek build

The second picture is the rear section of the Dalek skirt. Notice there are large gaps between panels. This is probably due to not accounting for the thickness of the panels. I’m not too worried about it, I plan on fiberglassing the joints anyway. I’ll fiberglass from the inside and then use some wood filler on the outside to fix all the gaps.

NSD 2005 dalek build rear of skirt

NSD 2005 dalek build rear of skirt

2005 NSD Dalek build – Finally got the base mounted and tested.

First test was pretty good. We found that the front wheels might need to be downsized since they rub against the front wheel openings. I will probably go with 6″ to replace the 8″. Also, the front wheels have tubes and were practically flat. I’m going to get sold tires. I don’t know if you could tell in the video, but my lawn isn’t exactly flat and the fact we could move at all on the law bodes well. We expect we we will be driving mostly on pavement or floors, but it is nice to know we can go across the lawn if needed.

Video of test drive

Finally working on Dalek again!

We had stopped working on the Dalek after I crushed my toe. Well the toe is long healed. We stopped at the point where we were trying to figure out out to mount the base to the frame. Well, I got the right side almost mounted. I need a longer bolt but it shouldn’t be too much more work to get it finished.

Dalek skirt - right side

Apple magic trackpad and the linux carputer

I was convinced by a co-worker while on a busness trip to purchase the Apple Magic Trackpad. I had the idea of using its multi-touch functionality for controlling my carputer with it. So far it is exceeding my expectations.

I’ve already got app switching working with just the swipe of my hand, and I have a 5 finger touch bring up the on screen keyboard. For now it is doing what I expected. The more I play with it, the more ideas I get on what I can do with it.

It was a little rough getting started as I needed a fairly recent kernel so I upgraded to Ubuntu Natty 11.04. This caused some issues as my preferred window manager is icewm and natty runs gnome bu default. I had an issue with Natty not saving my default session and that hung me up for a few hours. It turned out to be a permissioning issue on one of the files.

I was also experimenting with some other music players and decided there was still nothing out there that worked the way I wanted so I decided to keep my own. this led to another issue. The program I wrote tends to not pass through key presses so when I get to that app the key presses simulated by the magic pad just get absorbed and not sent to the window manager. This is a bug in my code, and I’m going to tackle it next.

After that bug is squashed I’m going to move on to controlling the audio volume using the rotate controls sent from the magic pad. I’m not sure what else I’m going to use it for, but as I play with integrating it into the system I have no doubt I will find more useful things for it to do. The Apple magic touchpad seems to have a lot of potential.

speechlion with cmu sphinx doesn’t seem to like open jdk – gives SEVERE can’t open microphone error

I found that once I installed SUNs java6 and ran
sudo update-alternatives –config java
it started working

Note that I’m using ubuntu and the instructions on speechlion say to run update-alternative. I don’t know if that was a typeo or not on their part.

So, with speechlion running I am one step closer to controling the system by speech. I had it working on the test bench but never in the car.

I want to make one more comment on CMU sphinx and java. Make sure you run the update-alternative(s) command because I found that even though I did an apt-get install in ubuntu that it wasn’t using the sun version until I did. I suppose if you never installed a different version of the java runtime it might not be a problem but better to make sure it is using the right one than to make an assumption.

I can’t tell you how hard it was to figure this out because no one bothered to document the issue with openjdk and cmu sphinx and the “Can’t open microphone null error”

Car Battery protector low voltage shut off

After much looking I finally found this CAR BATTERY PROTECTOR 12V-12V / MAX. 10A

The battery protector prevents appliances from draining the battery of your car. The device continuously monitors the voltage and charge status of your car battery.


input voltage: DC 12V
connected voltage: 12.5V ± 0.3V
cutoff voltage: 11.2V ± 0.3V
maximum operating current: 10A (protected by 10A fuse) (PSPC10BP)

car battery protector low voltage cut off

I want my carputer on as long as possible but the problem is that my power supply won’t cut power until the battery goes to 8 or 9 volts. Hopefully this little thing will prevent a dead battery.

More work on the carputer

I drove down to Baltimore for a day trip to go to ARK Fest and meet up with some online people I knew through Seeing some cool setups and talking about car computing really energized me. I’ve been playing with a lot of stuff.

1) working on voice commands and stuff using simon again.

2) tweaked my traffic screen a little

3) worked on fixing my weather.

I think I made lots of progress in the last week or so. I haven’t tested some of the stuff I did this weekend yet but if it works like it is supposed to my car computer should be one step closer to being where I want it to be.

Documenting projects and things I find interesting in my life