alifeee's weeknotes

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Weeknotes 25

A week passes. I procrastinate writing my weeknotes.

Pollen bot has basically been on full red "very high" all week. This has made me on full green "snotty" all week.

This week, the categorisation is "headings that separate the things". There is no common thread.

What did I do this week?

  1. THINGS I'VE CREATED AND COULD GIVE YOU
    1. I spliced an Ethernet cable
    2. I made a collage from DocFest materials
  2. THINGS I'VE CREATED AND CAN'T GIVE YOU
    1. I reviewed a change for gspread
    2. I made a social media post for Sheffield Hackspace
    3. I ordered some stickers
    4. I worked more on Ringram
    5. I set up an Etherpad on my server
  3. THINGS I'VE CREATED AND WON'T GIVE YOU
    1. I got a photo from an EMF photographer
    2. I put a pocket in my tote bag
    3. I made a polycule visualiser
  4. IDEAS I'VE HAD THAT I MIGHT DO
    1. I emailed Pimoroni
  5. IDEAS I'VE HAD THAT I WON'T DO
    1. I could self-host a VPN?
    2. I could draft blog posts
    3. I could organise a repair cafe
  6. THE THERMAL PRINTER
  7. PLACES I'VE GONE THAT I WON'T TAKE YOU TO
    1. I had a Universal Credit meeting
    2. I went to a dinner party
    3. I went to radical pride
  8. THINGS I'VE CONSUMED

THINGS I'VE CREATED AND COULD GIVE YOU

I spliced an Ethernet cable

I wanted an Ethernet cable to connect the skipbook to the Internet permanently, as I didn't want to screw around with WiFi in the weird version of Linux that it is.

I did not have such an Ethernet cable. I did, however, have two, shorter cables. Against almost everyone's advice and guidance (apart from some crazy splice-lovers), I decided to splice the two cables together. I cut the ends off, untwisted all the twisted pairs, soldered each pair to the matching pair on the other cable, wrapped each cable in heat shrink (before soldering), and then wrapped the whole cable in heat shrink.

It's a Frankensteinian abomination of a cable, but it works great (in that it provides "some level of Internet connection"). It could probably not be used for a very fast link, but that is not what I needed.

Perfect.

I made a collage from DocFest materials

I had taken a DocFest booklet when I volunteered there, partly to keep track of the schedule, and partly so I could have a nice thing to flick through to find good documentaries to watch at a later date.

The first of these tasks was made redundant when the festival ended.

The second of these tasks was made impossible when I ripped, tore, and cut the booklet up to make a collage.

The collage looks nice though. And it represents my personal experience of DocFest.

THINGS I'VE CREATED AND CAN'T GIVE YOU

I reviewed a change for gspread

I am still maintaining gspread, and spent some time this week reviewing a pull request for a new feature.

I made a social media post for Sheffield Hackspace

You can see it on Twitter and Instagram. I think social media is great for discovery; I've already been told that it was shared with someone who was interested in, but had never been to, the space.

I'd like to make more posts.

I'd also like to encourage other people to do the same.

I ordered some stickers

I ordered some circular vinyl stickers from an online sticker shop. I ordered four designs.

(to the tune of this little piggy)

One for Sheffield Hackspace who lives down the road.

One for lipu tenpo for the Europe meetup.

And two for me.

I didn't promise to be musical. This is just information.

I worked more on Ringram

Ringram is a puzzle designed by a friend, that I made a website for. I added a how-to-play guide this week, as well as generating a new puzzle every day. I get a notification for the puzzle at 12pm in case I want to change the words, and it resets at midnight. It's running via cron jobs on my server.

I set up an Etherpad on my server

Etherpad is a self-hostable, collaborative document editor. Here is an example hosted version: https://etherpad.mit.edu/.

I first came across it as part of lipu tenpo, and I really enjoy the simple, plaintext, but still powerful and collaborative nature of it. I've been using it on and off to share collaborative bits of text.

This week, I set it up on my server. I originally used Docker, but overloaded my server (scary moment). I eventually set it up by creating a new user called etherpad and creating a systemd file to run it on startup (or restart it on crash).

A part of this was making sure the etherpad user could use node. I had just been having annoyance with this for the below polycule visualiser project, so I kind of knew what I was in for. Read more down there, but here, I made the etherpad user have a shell, and a home folder, so I could install nvm easily.

THINGS I'VE CREATED AND WON'T GIVE YOU

I got a photo from an EMF photographer

Someone photographed me at EMF (in fact, a lot of people photographed a lot of other people at EMF). They asked for my mastodon to share the picture. I never got notified, so I emailed the village that they were stood in, and they tracked down the photographer, who emailed me the photo. They also linked me the Mastodon post where they shared it! But, the @ had broken somehow, so didn't link to me. It's a cute picture. This is a text only medium. Bwah.

I put a pocket in my tote bag

At craft night at Sheffield Hackspace this week, one thing I did was to put a rectangular pocket into my tote bag. It's an idea I've had for a while, and really not a difficult thing to do, but my tote bag is quite a treasured item, so I didn't want to ruin it.

I had the confidence this week, so I put the pocket in, and now it's in. It's great!

I made a polycule visualiser

I thought it would be neat to make a website that could display a polycule, which you could share with members of said polycule who could add/remove/connect themselves as they pleased.

So I made one!

Looking for graph layout tools, I found SpingyJS, which seemed nice to use partly because of the philosophy (it is simple and not complex), and also they've got neat little pictures that remind me of the old Flask logo.

I wrote an SVG renderer in JavaScript, built on top of Springy's layouting, which renders nodes and edges.

I also wrote a CGI script which would accept nodes and edges to add/remove, and edit a JSON file representing the graph accordingly. After a bit of trial and error with duplicate edges/etc, it works pretty well!

I wanted the script to:

I struggled with the third step, because the CGI script was running as the user www-data on my server. That user does not have npm installed, because I install npm using nvm. It was very difficult to try and use nvm as www-data because my www-data is a "system user", and does not have a shell or home folder. Not wanting to change this, I would have to install npm globally, or place an executable in an accessible place.

In the end, I didn't solve it at all, and just made the CGI script copy the JSON file into the built website folder (_site), which has the same effect.

I would like to figure it out, as I like the combination of CGI scripts and static site builders to make an interestingly simple website. I like interestingly simple websites. One thing I can't really do with my workaround is make something like an RSS feed, as that is much more easily done by triggering a site rebuild.

Maybe I will try it next time.

You can see the code for the polycule visualiser here, along with an example. You cannot see mine.

IDEAS I'VE HAD THAT I MIGHT DO

I emailed Pimoroni

Pimoroni is a hobbyist electronics company in Sheffield. Being quite into hobbyist electronics, and a member of a hackspace, I thought it would be neat to combine all three and ask Pimoroni to meet up. I did, they said yes, and this week I may go and pay them a visit and say hi. It should be neat!

IDEAS I'VE HAD THAT I WON'T DO

I could self-host a VPN?

I thought about using a VPN this week. I don't use one currently. Then I thought: I already have a server. I could route my traffic through there as a VPN!

I probably won't do it, as I don't have a strong need for it. I guess the other negative is that the server is not moveable, so would only be a VPN to one place.

I could draft blog posts

I have created my blog as a very "finished" area. Every blog post is quite "finished". It would be nice to have a place that is not the case.

I could create a section which is "drafts", which is more of a list of ideas. I could have buttons on each draft to say "please write this!". Maybe that would be nice. I probably won't make it.

I could organise a repair cafe

I have seen a few times a repair cafe at Hitchin Hackspace. It is a very interesting idea! I asked them about it, and they shared my email with the organiser. I may ask them more questions, and eventually think about organising something similar near me. It seems like it might be a lot of organisation, which I may not currently have the time for, but it's still a neat idea.

THE THERMAL PRINTER

I am thermally printing benches from OpenBenches. -> watch a GIF! <-

It's a fun project, and people seem to think so too.

I have had several people say they added benches to the site after seeing pictures of GIFs of my thermal printing, which is very fun! I hope to see more.

This week I updated the code so that when I turn on the printer, it catches up since it had last been turned on, and prints all the benches since then (slowly, every 2 minutes). This is different to before, where it printed only the newest bench. This means that now, if someone tells me they uploaded a bench, I don't miss it, and can even catch it come out of the printer! I think I may see quite a few tomorrow when I turn it on for the first time in a few days, after such a sunny weekend.

Finally, in printer news, I streamed a terrible quality stream of the printer on Twitch for a while, for a bit of fun. It was a bit of fun.

PLACES I'VE GONE THAT I WON'T TAKE YOU TO

I had a Universal Credit meeting

I haven't received money from them in many months, as I have been earning enough not to. I may remove myself from the roster soon, without the need.

I went to a dinner party

🥗

I went to radical pride

I think Sheffield has an interesting history of Pride events. I don't know too much about it, but I do know that Radical Pride was today, and that I went. It was extremely nice to exist in a Pride devoid of corporations.

THINGS I'VE CONSUMED

I watched Mad Max: Fury Road.

I played Mahjong. I like Mahjong.

I played Slapshot Rebound. I like Slapshot Rebound a lot.

I played Darkest Dungeon. I like it too.

It is time for me to go.

I am going to play some Slapshot Rebound.

Encourage your friends out of discontent.

Eat well.

Travel to Enceladus.

alifeee

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