Archive for August 2008

SWARM Progress, Off to Burning Man

Tomorrow morning I’m on my way to the desert for a week of craziness. Be back next Tuesday.

I’ve been working a lot on SWARM.

In the last few weeks I:

  • complied the audio tracks for the sound system (a mix of editing, creating, and working with a novel sound playback system)
  • fixed up the 6 sound modules… swapped out a bad amp, adjusted volumes on all of them, installed new firmware drivers for the mp3 players
  • made 2 new chargey plugs (some were lost)
  • tested batteries
  • installed IMUs (inertial measurement units) in 6 orbs: cut stainless steel pieces to be mounts, tapped holes (a PITA, I couldn’t finish, grr), welded in place, sprayed IMUs with clear paint, mounted, made ribbon cables, cut holes for cables
  • made gussets to reinforce the arms of the canopy on the mothership
  • helped manage arrangements with Virgin Festival (though they bagged at the last minute, jerks) (Niladri ran point and did a lot!)
  • managed getting insurance for Virgin Festival (that we didn’t need because they bagged at the last minute, jerks)
  • had lots of meetings and discussions to figure out exactly how to get our art to the Virgin Festival in Canada. (Dawn did a LOT of work. She’s become an international shipping expert overnight)
  • Kept up with SWARM’s In the Media updates
  • Got 1/2 way though (fimed, partially edited) creating a video piece for Make TV
  • Kept up with our finances. We continue to be in the black.
  • Went to a lawyer with Dawn to talk about licensing & patenting SWARM
  • A million little tasks like keeping our shop space livable with a cadre of messy mechatrons running around in it, finding new boxes for Virgin took 1hr+, paint for the IMUs 1hr+, ordering TIG supplies 1hr, finding a good deal on rechargable batteries and chargers for the remotes 1hr, …

Big Night

I’ve been thinking a lot about the final scene in the movie Big Night.

I made a perfect omelette for breakfast this morning.

And another for lunch.

It’s a good time to start anew.

Culturally Important Video

Resist the urge to watch the wookie and jawa dance to ABBA Kenny Loggins and jump to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

local version:

Youtube’s Profits


As of Q1 2008, YouTube is not profitable, with its revenues being noted as “immaterial” by Google in a regulatory filing.[4] Its bandwidth costs are estimated at approximately $1 million a day.[4]

So umm, where’s the money coming from? Google might have billions but $1 million/day could suck that dry pretty quick.

Though I suppose starting a new kind of television is going to be expensive…

How to Create an HTML dump of Mediawiki

If you will be traveling and need offline access to your Mediawiki wiki, what should you do?

If you need to grab pages from a wiki that you aren’t the administrator of, you can try running a web crawler on it or try this Google Gears hack.

But if you are the administrator of the wiki (or you know the admin) you can make a Mediawiki2HTML dump. There is a Mediawiki extension that does it for you. Here’s how to run it:

fetch the DumpHTML extension with shell commands like so:

cd /whatever/mediawiki/extensions
svn checkout

run a shell command something like this as a cron job (create the appropriate folders first)

# Generate a new html dump of LCS 8-17-08

echo “deleting contents of /home/swarm/”
rm -rf /home/swarm/

# DumpHTML.php expects to be run from the maintenance directory. The skin won’t get HTMLified if you run it from another directory
cd /home/swarm/
/home/swarm/php5/bin/php dumpHTML.php -d /home/swarm/ -k monobook –image-snapshot –force-copy

echo “deleting /home/swarm/*”
rm -rf /home/swarm/*

/bin/tar -czf /home/swarm/ /home/swarm/

The way the above script is set up, every day, the .gz file is placed in a web accessible folder. I can then download it before I go on my trip.

Public Transit Systems are Usually a Bad Idea

“You could buy every single person who will regularly use this boondoggle their own personal Prius, and you’d not only use less energy, you’d spend a hell of a lot less money doing it.” (via) (and)