alifeee's weeknotes


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Weeknotes 11

This week I did some things! I liked the categorisation from last week, so it comes back. This time with slightly altered categories!

What did I do...

  1. ...outside
    1. I went to a robot fight
    2. I did some more handstands
    3. I visited a paternoster
  2. or relating to the hackspace
    1. I got my blog post published on the hackspace website
    2. I brought a train station LCD clock display back to life
    3. I helped someone with their laser cutting
  3. ... in code
    1. I started monitoring CO2
    2. I tried to fix a bug with a Factorio map generator
    3. I did some more maintaining of gspread
    4. I took another step towards tracking trains in the UK
  4. ...on the big screen
    1. I watched Fallen Leaves
    2. I finished season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender
  5. ...on the Internet
    1. I played Factorio for the final time (of this session)
    2. I used my Diplomacy knowledge
    3. I released the lipu tenpo website
    4. I created a script to remove all styling from my website
  6. a miscellaneous sense
    1. I started a proposal for an anvil emoji
    2. I was invited to do a talk at Front End Sheffield


I went to a robot fight

This week there was an event on in Sheffield called BattleSCAR (Steel City Antweight Robots). As the acronym would not suggest, the tournament was a "Beetleweight" class robot fight. I spent several hours watching 1.5 kg robots fight to the death or disqualification.

The tagline on BattleScar's website is "Live Robot Fighting, In Sheffield, For All.". I think this is very apt. It was free for spectators, and very easy to attend, pop in, or stay for all of it.

If I can keep up to date, then I'd love to go to the next one. Their website was quite difficult to find, so I don't know how or where I will find out about another event, but we can hope. (I don't think they have an RSS feed...)

I did some more handstands

I'm getting better. No more news.

I visited a paternoster

I visited Europe's tallest Paternoster lift. It's just in Sheffield. It is a lift that is continuously moving, so you have to step into and step out of the cars to be transported up or down levels. It's slightly scary but a very interesting piece of engineering. Also fun. or relating to the hackspace

I got my blog post published on the hackspace website

It's live! It's more or less the same blog post. There had not been a blog post in four years on that website, so I was happy to provide some content.

I brought a train station LCD clock display back to life

There are a couple of large LCD signs at the hackspace, which have been sitting around for a while. Having tackled large transport signs before, I wanted to see if I could also get these to work. Thanks to the fact that: people had tried already, I managed to quite easily, using their code. I put my attempts on GitHub so that anyone in future could have an easier route into playing with the signs, rather than tracking down who had code on their laptops and how to share it.

I helped someone with their laser cutting

Really, I just verified their settings seemed okay, and gave them a thumbs up to start the laser cutter. After a few tries I trusted them enough that me giving them the thumbs up was just down to the rules, since the laser cutter requires someone who has been laser cutter trained to begin it, but anyone can set it up.

This was a nice circle of something vibular, because a few months ago, I was in their position, setting up the laser cutter with my settings, and having to ask someone to come into the room to verify it and set it off. Then, I got trained by a member of the space, and now I can help people like I enjoyed being helped.

... in code

I started monitoring CO2

I programmed the aforementioned CO2 monitor and microcontroller, and started monitoring CO2 levels (and also temperature and humidity, which came as bonus metrics on the CO2 sensor).

I left the device in an office. It broke, and I haven't been back to the office yet, so I haven't figured out why. It could be a WiFi issue, a sensor issue, or an issue with InfluxDB which I use for logging. I might have to reprogram it to blink its LED a different number of times based on which issue. Or, I might have left the Serial logging on so I can attach it to a computer to get Serial logs. But it seemed to die after several hours, so it might be a memory issue. I have no idea. It's debugging time.

I tried to fix a bug with a Factorio map generator

L0laapk3's "FactorioMaps" mod is a cool tool. It lets you turn a Factorio save into a scrollable-around map which you can view online. For an example of this see the map on

It also has a timeline feature, allowing you to switch between versions of your save, to see how things progressed over time. This is very neat. However, for my saves for our multiplayer game, the save after 5 minutes generates wrong. It is sort of 'embedded' within the most recent save. I am not sure why.

Today I spend a while trying to figure it out, and fixing a slider. The slider is fixed, but that was not the ultimate problem. I think the problem might be a bit harder to fix. At some point I will give up.

I did some more maintaining of gspread

I help maintain gspread, a Google Sheets Python API, with one other person. Every week I do bits: issues come through to respond to; bug reports; planning for the future. This week I responded to a few issues, made a few pull requests, and reviewed a few others.

I think it's rewarding and fun to maintain an open source project. It helps alleviate the idea that software is all "payed for", as open source is (mostly) a hobby for people, and coding "for fun".

I took another step towards tracking trains in the UK

For a while I have been trying to set up something to track trains in the UK, so I can set up something to tell me what train is outside the window at an office. I forked [openraildata's repository] and I am able catch messages about trains.

These messages have no information about the trains, but reference them by ID. You are expected to track the trains yourself by setting up a database, and listening for the "train created with ID..." or "ID [...] no longer in use" messages. I have found some GitHub repositories that have done this, but I also might set up my own database. Time will tell.

Once that is running, I will have my own live database (that I may share with friends or run as part of the hackspace), I can write an API which will let you ask for information about stations, trains, or track segments, which I can THEN use for my intended purpose of tracking trains.

It's a lot of work, but it is a large series of small steps, so it seems manageable.

...on the big screen

I watched Fallen Leaves

I watched Fallen Leaves at a local cinema. It was a nice experience.

I finished season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender

I started watching this with a loved one last week. We finished some episodes today, and now have one season left.

...on the Internet

I played Factorio for the final time (of this session)

The final weeknotes mention of Factorio! (maybe)

This week we played our tenth session. We focused on ingredients for rockets, and managed to construct ten of them. We had a final tour around, and then launched all ten of ourselves in the rockets simultaneously. It was a great end to the playthrough.

The playthrough was a great showcase of the proximity voice chat mod I made. It worked (mainly) seamlessly, and made a game that would have had a very chaotic voice chat work great.

I may also write a blog post about the game, but in brief: while Factorio was a fun game for it, the infinite scope of the map did mean that it was easy to isolate yourself, and thus not speak or hear anyone, if you didn't try to remain near other people.

I used my Diplomacy knowledge

I haven't played Diplomacy in a long while. But, I still think it is a wonderful game. I spent way too long learning how to play, and all the rules and edge cases, which have been resting in my brain unusefully, until this week when someone on Mastodon was looking for how to verify moves. I helped with my knowledge.

Maybe I'll start another Diplomacy game soon...

I released the lipu tenpo website

I've been making a new website for lipu tenpo for a while.

This week, we changed the old website to the new website!

View it on!

I created a script to remove all styling from my website

"CSS Naked Day" is an event run by some people, which promotes web standards by revealing what websites look like without styling. In theory, they should still be perfectly useable, if people have written the websites 'properly' with HTML, and not relied too much on strange JavaScript or CSS interactions.

I didn't participate last year, but this year I've caught it happening, and I think it's interesting enough that I want to.

Most people seem to have "well-thought out", "designed", or "put-together" websites, so they only have to make a small change to their build system to remove their styles. However, my website is a bit more... slippy.

So, I made a script which 'manually' removes all styles from a HTML file, that I will run on every file in my website come CSS Naked Day. Then, I can revert the changes when it's done. a miscellaneous sense

I don't know how to categorise these

I started a proposal for an anvil emoji

I think there should be an anvil emoji. It surprised me to learn that there wasn't one.

I also found out the Unicode Consortium has a well-thought out proposal guide for new emojis.

Putting two and two together, I am making a proposal with a friend. The deadline is around the start of April.

Hopefully in a few months to years, we will be able to properly represent heavy things with our favourite pictographs.

I was invited to do a talk at Front End Sheffield

I have been to Front End Sheffield (FES) a few times. I've also been considering doing a talk there.

After doing my font workshop, and telling people about it, someone dropped out of talking at this month's FES event, so I was asked if I wanted to do my font workshop talk. I said "absolutely!".

I will reword some of it, and make it into less of a workshop and more of a talk, and then give it, at the next event. Should be fun!

Thank you for skimming. See you never, alifeee.


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