Monday, January 30, 2012

Random idea towards battle mecha

In that ever so fluctuating nature of my brain fluttering across wikipedia, from Android Police, to the Tata Nano, to wing mirrors, to various car and hydraulic topics, something occurred to me...

What if we could combine some type of dual purpose fluid that could serve as both an effective coolant, and as a suitable hydraulic fluid, and use a set of tubing to work it into a system where moving helps provide the circulation of coolant, and develop some kind of nanotubes that can be contracted, by having a computer control the application of electric current...

Thus, big ass robot moves by shocking some hoses, that in turn pump coolant around. I can't help but wonder, if engineers have already tried this, in a bit, something smaller than and less robot like than a Mackie, but still suitable to prove it can be done. Like wise, I can't help but wonder if after a golden age in engineering, could we also achieve some kind of hydro-electric power generation around this, that can be kept going, and just require something like a battery assisted jump start?

I've always had a bit of an interest in figuring out how to make giant mecha actually work >_>.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Curse you irony!

Just before I got up to pee, I was looking at Skinomi carbon fibre skin protectors and thinking, "Maybe later" after I get my new dock.

Guess what? My foot caught the fucking charging cord and slid my Prime off the desk, and me "Snap catching slash pushing" it against the desk to keep it from falling: just gave me a finger nail sized ding in the aluminum backplate.

*groan* nothing like denting $600 because it takes for fucking ever to get a dock shipped here: that extra batter life and keyboard really helps.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Test post

The Big Android Browser Test

There have been a couple of things on the net about various browsers, I'm sure, but certainly nothing comprehensive that I have found. Like wise, over @XDA in the Transformer forums at least, things tend to get muddled up after awhile from all the commentary.

So I thought I would install a shit load of browsers and do some testing! My test procedures can be found here.

It will take a while to do in my off hours and I doubt I'm going to get much done today, stuck home with the parental unit sick, so, I'm pretty much on butler call all day :-/. I'd rather be getting work done, like debugging yesterdays crap near interrupt free.

The trouble with ice cream

I brought some Eddy's ice cream while we were waiting at the pharmacy, because it was the early Grand brand that had Neapolitan. When I opened it this morning, I couldn't help but notice there was only like 15% Strawberry, 1/3 Chocolate, and the rest was vanilla!

On the up side, it is very decent ice cream:).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thoughts on Android Game architecture revisited

A while back, I blogged some thoughts on game architecture for Android. In the time since, I've looked a bit at the Light Weight Java Game Library (LWJGL) and Maven, and am developing a bit of an interest in just how much one could push shader programs to maintain performance.

I'd rather like a Maven setup, and something that will support both PC systems and Android, and it seems that Maven even has an Android plugin :-). That got me to thinking about source tree architecture and the notion of sharing a library between a PC / Android game setup and how that might fit into a source tree. Then it hit me! Break it up into separate sub modules, and create a master project for each. Nice, easy, and simple. Also has a perk that it should work with any decent version control system, not just Git.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Farthest Staar

The will to greatness clouds the mind
consumes the senses veils the signs
we each are meant to recognize
Redeeming graces cast aside
enduring oceans new-found promise
that the end will never come

We live in times when all seems lost
But time will come when we'll look back
upon ourselves and on our feelings
Embrace the void even closer still
Erase your doubts as you surrender everything

We possess the power
If this should start to fall apart
To mend divides to change the world
To reach the farthest star
If we should stay silent
If fear should win our hearts
Our life will have long diminished
Before it reaches the farthest star

Wide awake in a world that sleeps
Enduring thoughts Enduring scenes
The knowledge of what is yet to come
From a time when all seems lost
From a dead man to a world
without restraint unafraid and free

We possess the power
If this should start to fall apart
To mend divides to change the world
To reach the farthest star
If we should stay silent
If fear should win our hearts
Our life will have long diminished
Before it reaches the farthest star

If we fall and break
All the tears in the world
Cannot make us whole again

We possess the power
If this should start to fall apart
To mend divides/ to change the world
To reach the farthest star
If we should stay silent
If fear should win our hearts
Our life will have long diminished
Before it reaches the farthest star

The Farthest Star—VNV Nation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are companies like Facebook Internet cowards?

Some people in this country, still concerned over the whole SOPA/PIRA bit seem to have been mild in their  blackouts, and it makes me wonder, if they are against the bills are they cowards then?

Sites such as Amazon, Dropbox, and TwitPic have added bumper stickers to their U.S. site, Flickr is supposed to be extending users the option of blacking out pictures but has otherwise chickened out on striking. Google is operational but blacked out their doodle, in proper Google fashion, so they're still doing something.

Then, there's a few that are apparently not concerned enough in the the Internet that keeps them viable in business, to risk even that little a public display - Facebook, eBay (and thus PayPal), and Twitter for example.

One could argue that businesses shouldn't take part in such things or politics at all, and that's reasonable enough IMHO, except when the freedom of the Internet is a huge part of their business. Then it's your head in the same noose that all of us are. If Facebook and Twitter are as big as it is reported and they care about this, they surely could have joined the effort...the amount of  suicides and ensuring bad press is obvious enough reason to not go on strike but come on at least a bloody bumper sticker! They make profit off part of the Internet, and provide service that can help people change the world and in Facebooks case probably make higher profits than we can dream of while they are at it. Yet if they have so little back bone over something like SOPA and PIRA now, what would they do if a bill came down the pike, that would mandate everyone censoring free speech off the internet? Write a memo saying we don't like that implementation and count the cash as long as they still make profit out of the deal? Cowards!

I believe that if people fifty years ago were like Facebook is today: people of dark skin would still be getting forced to the back of buses in this country, and nearly two hundred and forty years ago... there would be no United States of America today.

Companies like Facebook, eBay, and Twitter need to grow some bigger balls.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How to make your own buttonhook cheap

When working a while back on my private tactics compendium, I summised that we probably call the Button-hook technique after the use of a real buttonhook. Well, my new work shirts are a pain in the ass to button at the collar, so on the way to the office this morning, I thought about how to make one. Yes I'm cheap and I like solving problems here and there lol.

Unfold a paper clip like so:

And you have yourself a buttonhook for like a penny versus $5-$15 out of a store!

Plus if you push the little end closed, you have an ear clip just like my father would make. Those are the most awesome way to clean ear wax out of your ears—qtips are no good.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Playing with linpack and power save modes on my prime

This is what I'm getting with basically just a few web pages open in Opera:

  • Performance mode: up to 90-125 MFLOPS. Usually in the one hundred and teens.
  • Balanced mode: averaging around 75-115 MFLOPS. Most often between 90-110.
  • Power Save mode: averaging around 50~70 MFLOPS.
Every test was in multithreaded. The first anandtech review of the Prime has a good stack of stuff in it, I'm just fiddling around out of curiosity, not profiling :-).On the TF101 which has no power save settings in the stock ROM, and I believe my notes are recorded here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Argh, sometimes technology just makes me sick!

Recently, I updated my journal about the repairs I tried on Sunday, well yesterday I started breaking in a TF201 and working on the epoxy trick. No luck but hey, ICS is really freaking awesome and my Prime is solid, even if I still prefer the TF101's build.

Now today, I just threw my hands up. I was jugging things getting data transferred and the like, well, I accidentally added an icon on my TF101's home screen and instinctively tried to remove it with my finger, before I could realize which tablet I was touching. Guess what? I got the long tap event in ADWLauncher Ex but couldn't drag it. I got the bloody touch event in the dead area of the screen, where haven't been able to get touch invents without using the docks touch pad! But no dragging or sliding stuff would work and the touch events would only work every few taps...than suddenly the mother fucking thing just started to work PERFECTLY until it crashed toggling the screen. Now it works perfectly.

I guess maybe whatever component got jarred just a smidge loose to cause that, must have somehow got pressed back in without me trying to do it manually, well, trying successfully, since I couldn't get it open again... :-/. All I know is that sometimes technology makes me fucking sick!!!

*kicks the air* I'm really glad it works (for now) but I hate it when stuff like this happens \o/.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My summery of Android versions

  • 1.0.
    • September of 2008.
  • 1.1.
    • February of 2009.
    • General software refinements, which I'll usually omit below.
  • 1.5 Cupcake.
    • April of 2009.
    • Third party (custom) keyboards are now possible.
    • We got widgets!
    • Bluetooth A2DP and AVRCP profiles (think stereo).
  • 1.6 Donut.
    • September 2009.
    • Voice I/O.
      • Voice input (Speach to Text).
      • Multi-lingual voice output (Text to Speech)
    • Apps can make their data available to search results.
    • Better support for gestures.
  • 2.0 - 2.1 Eclair.
    • 2.0 in October of 2009, 2.0.1 in December of 2009, and 2.1 in January of 2010.
    • Support for multiple accounts in sync.
    • Exchange account support for email.
    • Camera app sucks much less.
  • 2.2 - 2.2.3 Froyo.
    • 2.2 in May of 2010, 2.2.1 and 2.2. in January of 2011, 2.2.3 in November of 2011.
    • Dalvik VM gains Just In Time (JIT) compilation.
    • Exchange support becomes USEFUL.
    • USB and WiFi tethering. (Use your phone as a bridge between your laptop and your data plan.)
    • Now have the option to DISABLE mobile data.
    • Apps can now be installed to external memory (e.g. MicroSD card).
  • 2.3 - 2.3.7 Gingerbread.
    • 2.3 in December of 2010, 2.3.3 in February of 2011, 2.3.4 in ???, 2.5 in July of 2011, 2.3.6 in September of 2011, and 2.3.7 in ???.
    • Native support for SIP VoIP.
    • Selecting text to cut/copy/paste actually works.
    • Text input cursor can now be precisely positioned.
    • Ext4 replaces YAFFS(2) as standard file system.
    • Native support for more sensors; gyroscopes, barometers, etc.
    • NFC support.
  • 3.0 - 3.2.2 Honeycomb
    • 3.0 in February of 2011, 3.1 in May of 2011, 3.2 in July of 2011, 3.2.1 in September of 2011, 3.2.2 in August of 2011.
    • Notification bar moved from top of screen to bottom corner.
    • On screen software buttons (back, home, multi-task, menu, ...) and the action bar.
    • View of recent apps can be snap shots (multi-task button) or existing icon view (long press physical home button).
    • Browser UI becomes more like Google Chrome.
    • Browser can now sync bookmarks with Google Chrome.
    • Apps are now commonly multi-pane, e.g. message list and message body on one screen.
    • More hardware acceleration.
    • Support for multi-core CPUs.
    • Encrypting user data.
    • USB devices now work as expected, e.g. flash drives, game pads.
    • Proper support for Bluetooth keyboards, gamepads, etc.
    • Stock launcher now allows widgets to be resized.
    • WiFi performance can be maintained when screen is off (WiFi locking).
    • Apps designed for small screens can be zoomed or stretched to fit.
      • this Android 2.2 feature is a really good thing and makes many reviewer's complaints about Honeycomb less of a big deal for normal people.
    • Screenshots (or was this just a TF101 thang?).
      • Previously required a custom ROM like Cyanogen Mod.
    • Pasting integrated with 2.3.x selection UI.
  • 4.0.1 - Ice Cream Sandwich.
    • 4.0.1 in October of 2011, 4.0.2 in November of 2011, 4.0.3 in December of 2011.
    • Small screens get traditional (1.0-2.3.x) UI, large screens get tablet style (3.x) UI from Honeycomb.
    • On screen software buttons (from 3.x) now work on phones.
    • Stock launcher catches up to common features of custom launchers.
    • Access apps from lock screen.
      • Previously required custom ROM/UI (e.g. Sense; Cyanogen Mod).
    • Unlock your phone by taking a picture of your face.
    • New Roboto font.
    • Can now monitor data usage without requiring third party apps (or custom ROMs).
    • Camera app sucks less.
    • Basic photo-editing.
    • Much stronger NFC integration, alternative to Bluetooth data transfer.
    • Yet more work on hardware acceleration.
    • WiFi Direct, a form of Ad-hoc WiFi networking and bridging.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Attempting to fix my ASUS Transformer TF101's blank screen

Been a while but finally I've got a moment to update my journal, lol. Saturday night, Andera (my TF101-B1) slid off the mattress and ended up with a blank screen, and briefly some green garbles. The backlight was still working and my tablets survived the same and worse landings unscratched so, plus I know what kind of guts these things are made out of, so I knew it couldn't possibly be hardware failure. The photo's I took are all captioned and in an Album here.

Determined, on Sunday I went out in search of a torx screwdriver. As it happens, Fry's didn't have any T5's left, just T6's and the threads over at xda-developers said T5. So I spent the worst $10 of my life, on one of these. It's a real piece of shit beyond the driver bits. Turns out though that some joker decided to stuff a Phillips PH000 in place of a Torx T5, and not include the T5 anywhere \o/. Fucking bastards! But on the upside that was the right size for the Phillips screws I had to work with.

So I ended up undoing the torxex on the bottom (by the docking port) with a T6, and left one of them stripped by the time I was done. After that it was time to pry off the bezel, which I did a dandy number on; when putting it back on resulted in a barely working power button,I pryed it  up and used gravity to fix the power button before snapping it back in. What I found was that it's a lot easier to pry off from the back end, YouTubest be damned.

There are three screws on top and bottom, and two on each side. I kinda missed the top three taking off the back plate so it might be good that it's just cheap plastic.

Getting the base plate on/off was easy. Also under the metal plate that goes over the battery, is an empty space that looks like it is where you would install the 3G modem on a TF101-G.

Most of the connectors are the ugly ribbon goes into stupid pin slot with flip holder kind of Flexible Flat Cable thingy. I hate those and don't know why they are so popular, but alas, I didn't build the darn thing or design it. So next up I had to figure out which one is the one I needed, I tried all of them that were readily accessible just to be safe (bad idea).

In my poking around xda-developer's I found a link to somewhere that sells replacement screens, that told me where to find it. There is even a YouTube video on the whole procedure (I'll edit in a link from my browser history later). I personally found it easier to remove the power connector so I could access the video FFC better:

To be sure I was right or would more likely figure out what it does (in case of gross ID10T error on my part), I pulled it and reseated it very firmly.

Fired it up and voila! The touch screen was working. So I studied how much I fractured my bezel and put it back together, note carefully that the holes nearest the docking port are for the TORX screws that go in LAST!

On boot up, everything went perfectly well until I noticed that back and home didn't work. A little bit of testing showed that entire portion of the touch screen is not getting any touch events :'(. I'm not sure if it's another ribbon out of place or just that I missed a couple screws on the back plate (d'oh). But since I  have the dock, I'm pretty much able to use it. The one torx is now too stripped to drive, so until I figure out a solution to that, Andera is missing touch input on the left most (view able) inch of the screen.

I don't have a drill or I would just hit the hardware store for a drill bit to get the sucker out, and trust me,  my trusty awl doesn't seem to one to carve a slot in it. Don't have any rubber bands good enough to try, so I'm thinking about grabbing a tube of epoxy on the way home from work and see what happens....if I can fix it, I'm gonna fucking fix it! In the mean time, I've ordered a Transformer Prime / TF201-B1, because the best I can get here is a TF101-A1; and I'm already using over 10GB on my TF101-B1, so $400+whatever memory card Best Buy has, is not worth it. Like wise, if I'm getting stuck spending so much money, may as well buy the prime instead of a later version of TF101-B1 (mines a B50 with no Q/C issues). I'm very partial to my mid-generation TF101....

Oh, btw don't forget to put the screws in the back plate if you try this at home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Well, I suppose all awesome footwear must wear out eventually, such is the nature of the clothes you love. On my way to visit my girl friend and her family over the break, coming through security in Calgary, while I was putting my boots on I noticed a nice hole in the lower port, inward side. It's about large enough to put a finger through. I don't know when the breakage happened, never noticed it before; leaving Atlanta I was a tad to pre-occupied with getting to my gate to notice.

While I was in Canada, I showed this to my Firefly and she noticed that the outsoles were also dead on arrival.

I should probably have noticed this myself, once I started to note unusual traction loss and "Sliding" around the past few months. I looked up what it would cost for having them resoled with vibram

My boots outsoles are pretty cheap, clicking through the picture in this journal entry links to their page at Rotcho. Actually, I think everything they make is pretty cheap but the quality to cost ratio is reasonable enough in all the cases that I've tried. These boots are Pretty Damn Comfortable and the material is sufficent for my environment, now if I was jumping out of air planes for a living or a park ranger, I might decide otherwise.

If it wasn't for the hole in my port boot, I'd likely try to have them resoled. That would probably cost more than my boots are worth, or at least with something like a vibram outsole. Maybe that'd still be like putting lipstick on a pig, but I really like my boots lol. Bet a decent shoe repairer could even fix the hole.

So, bit of a debate: just buy a new pair or invest in something better. I'm thinking that if I bought a new pair of Rotcho 5057's, I'd may as well buy a new pair every 8-14 months; however long it takes to wear out the outsoles. I'm not really convinced that even e.g. a vibram outsole is going to offer /that/ much greater life, but hey, if you're gonna spend the $ to resole boots, may as well have a quality boot worth more than the resoling cost, eh? In looking around, I'm thinking about Belleville 790's or 795's. The former is unlined like my Rothco 5057's, where as the latter has almost half a pound of insulation. My feet don't really get very cold, at least not under socks and inside my boots, even when we were walking out in -8C/+18F kind of temps with ice/snow, I was perfectly warm of foot. In particular I like the look of the Belleville's construction versus the Rotcho. What I don't like, is there is NO one here that sells the darn things, so the only option is online.

Of course, if it doesn't work out, I could always get up early one Saturday and take a drive over the Bear Paw Army & Navy in Griffin, and see if they've got anything I could use.