I would suggest that it’s best to install it somewhere in your path and then you should be able to just invoke it easily in your working directory where the GCODE file(s) live:
$ gcode-comments file.gcode
;Generated with Cura_SteamEngine 2.3.1
M104 S205 ; Set extruder temperature
M109 S205 ; Set extruder temperature and wait (blocking)
M107 ; Turn off fan
M205 X10 ; Adjust jerk speed
G1 F2400 E-1 ; Move and/or extrude to the indicated point
Currently, there are nine languages represented but I may add more later. Note that everything here is decidedly OSX-specific. Each subsection includes the instructions for running and/or compiling each, noting that some are compiled languages and some are not.
I give so-called “lightning talks” at San Diego JS, a four-times-per-month local group on Meetup.com. Each talk only lasts five minutes so there’s time for several speakers within the span of a single event.
The venue is typically packed. Here’s a photograph of a typical turnout—there were about 120 attendees this month alone.
I suppose you can communicate a lot in a mere five minutes. It is a bit challenging to try to distill down all the things you need to say into this timeframe. There’s really no room for story-telling, just tell the straight facts and details as you race through your slides and screenshots and nothing more. At best, you can hope that someone will ask a relevant question which may allow you to go into some detail you’d earlier hoped to have included.
Many of my projects involve more than one computer. Unfortunately, the security settings on most wi-fi routers at venues like this don’t want you to connect from one computer to the next. The router would actively prevent your demo from working. So I’ve learned to bring along my own networking, which is a hassle. This is especially difficult with IoT projects, for what it’s worth.
Another challenge is related to power. It seems like each of the speakers needs to setup prior to the event and so they all want to bring along their power adapters and plug in. This means that the venue would need to accommodate all those brick-style adapters and they usually forget this.
And I suppose, a recurring problem is that of screen resolution compromises that you have to put up with. You will have formatted all your screens for one resolution while creating your content, only to find that you’re now presenting in a smaller resolution. This then threatens to clip off content or the font size is now too small to be seen by those near the back.
Regardless, it’s a rewarding experience and I hope to give more talks in the months to come. I would encourage others to do the same. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community of like-minded coders.
I’ve written a new mobile app for the Robo C2 and Robo R2 set of printers by Robo 3D, a local San Diego—based company.
It’s written in the Adobe PhoneGap (Cordova) platform with Framework7 for the styling and scaffolding. It communicates to the underlying OctoPrint interface inside the printer itself. Rather than building several smartphone apps and being subject to the recurring annual developer fees by Apple/Google/Microsoft, I intend to serve it up in a more economical way: embed another single-board computer inside the printer.
This will fit nicely on a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W computer, as shown. It’s then powered by the USB 5V supply inside the printer and would be powered on every cycle. I’d then use my iPhone’s or iPad’s browser to simply connect to the app.
The app is fully-functional for the Robo C2 printer and sports a slick-looking interface.
An average computer’s operating system maintains some logistics about the cpu, like its input voltage, temperature and the like. The Raspberry Pi single board computer is no exception and will even scale back its speed if it determines that its internal temperature is getting too high. That’s a good thing but another approach is to proactively cool the cpu with a fan when it’s approaching that threshhold.
…that is the question. Rather than a Shakespeare reference, I’m here referring to a term in software development which determines how a language deals with variables, for example.
When you create a variable in a computer language, it’s usually something like this:
var someVarName = 1;
Two Schools of Thought
There are two camps out there: those who like languages which force the variable type and those who don’t.
A statically-typed language usually involves a step in which your code is converted into something else (compiling) and any type-related issues must be fixed before a program can be created.
A dynamically-typed language is run “as is” and the code is evaluated at the moment of truth—determinations about the type of a variable are made at this time. If there is a type-related issue, your end-user could be the first person to see the error.
The Pendulum Swings
Over the past three decades, the popularity of either approach has waxed and waned. It’s safe to suggest for the moment that the less-strict languages are gaining rapidly in popularity over their stricter counterparts.
Seeing the Future
I don’t know, though. Maybe it’s time that we just relax and let the cat hang out in the fish bowl.
Note that the “zero” in the title of the repository and in js-gpiozero does not refer to the Raspberry Pi Zero but to the original gpiozero Python library.
This should remove some of the guess work when attempting to use the relatively-new library since their documentation examples at the moment are taking a back seat to their code port from the more-extensive Python offering.
This approach can easily be modified to instead exercise external LEDs (as soldered or otherwise attached to the header pin locations seen below). Note that you’ll use “BCM numbering” for APIs such as this one. For external LEDs, you would need to connect it inline with a resistor from a selected pin to one of the grounds for this to work with correct orientation of the LED’s anode/cathode, of course.
// Existing code, for a Raspberry Pi Zero
var ledActivity = new LED(47, false);
// For Raspberry Pi 3, for example
var ledActivity = new LED(47);
And that’s it. Since the Raspberry Pi Zero assumes an opposite value for true/false than the bigger models, it’s necessary to configure this in the device constructor to make things work as expected. Since BCM pin 47 is the activity light on the board itself, this will allow you to control it.
Today’s inventiveness involves a new teaching method for music, a synesthetic approach to colorizing musical notes. The title’s quote comes from Franz Liszt, a 19th-century composer who was a synesthete—he saw music in full color.
Although western doctors probably think of synesthesia as a malady, I would suggest that it is a product of beneficial neuroplasticity. The brain has cross-wired itself across the senses to allow for better recognition and appreciation of something. There’s a long list of famous musicians and composers who wrote of this personal condition and in each case it helped them to succeed.
I have always had a fondness and an early aptitude for music. In fact, I had such a brilliant audible memory and an ability to play anything I’d just heard, that I used this as a crutch when confronted with the task of learning to read musical notation. I didn’t actually have to read the notation in band since the sound of the music was in my head. So although I was a slow reader with respect to notation, nobody actually could tell.
My earliest formal training was for the saxophone, noting of course that you only play a single note at a time. Unfortunately, this led to my later difficulties in learning to play the piano in my thirties. Piano chords on a stave? To me, this just seemed like jumbles of notes piled on top of each other. I had no easy way of interpreting what I was seeing.
After many weeks of painstakingly trying to decypher these heiroglyphics, if you will, I began to have a small breakthrough. My brain started to recognize some patterns. Due to some unfortunate timing, I had to stop all this training and abruptly move and had to sell the piano. It would be another decade until I’d bought another piano to re-learn piano notation.
Attacking the learning of chords-in-notation anew, I realize that colorizing the notes would be a benefit to me. All C notes are red. All E notes are yellow. C-E-G are primary colors (C-maj). The Eb in the middle of the C-min chord is more orange than the original yellow. A synesthetic approach to musical notation is a wonderful adaptation to a centuries-old teaching methodology I’d suggest, at least in my own case.
My two packages arrived today at the post office so I just hauled in all the loot from this earlier post in which I’ve purchased some new toys.
Raspberry Pi Zero W
The photos from their website don’t really describe how truly small this computer is now. They’ve somehow managed to stack the RAM on top of the microprocessor to save space. As I’ve apparently ordered the wrong video adapter cable, I’ve got a trip over to Best Buy Frye’s Electronics this evening so that I can sort that one out. I need a female HDMI to DVI, in other words. Otherwise, I’m still pretty stoked. Since there’s only one micro-USB I think I’ll temporarily need a small USB hub while I’m at it.
This arrived as well, all four of the segments but it was lost on me that I’ll need to solder each of them together. Fortunately, I have a soldering iron here somewhere. :looks around: I’m certain of it.
COZIR CO2 Sensor with RH/Temp
And in the other relatively BIG package is the relatively small sensor package. No wonder they charged me $21.88 to ship this to me. Seriously, it weighs about an ounce.
And it looks like I’ll need a 2×5 jumper to attach this over to the Raspi, with a solder-able header for that, too.
Alright, I’m back from Frye’s with a handful of stuff and I’m back in business. The video adapter allows me to see what’s coming out of the Raspberry Pi Zero W and the micro-USB hub allows me to hook up a keyboard and mouse to talk to it locally. A first install with the Raspbian Jessie Lite image resulted in a terminal-only configuration (I must have been in a hurry and didn’t read the differences on their page) so a second install of Raspbian Jessie with Pixel was just what it wanted: a full desktop experience. If I get some time this weekend I’ll try to have it talk to either the sensor or the light ring.
I just managed to solder together the NeoPixel ring. Due to the size of the electrical pads on the ends of these, I’d suggest that this falls into the catagory of advanced soldering and not to be taken on by the average person.
Additionally, I’d say that this feels a bit fragile in the area of the soldering joints between each quarter-circle. I’m going to suggest that anyone who incorporates one of these into their project needs to seriously think about ways of making this more stable/reliable since the soldering joints between them are tenuously-small. (Imagine three distinct electrical connections across the tiny width of this thing.)
What I also found is that there isn’t anywhere to clamp a hemostat for soldering these jumpers since the LEDs run all the way to the end where the connections should go.
I did add an inline resistor as Adafruit suggested to lower the input voltage or perhaps to lower start-up voltage spikes.
I managed to re-purpose a nice external 5V switching power supply that should drive all the LEDs nicely. It was left over from the supercomputer project when I swapped in a USB-based charger instead for that. Amazingly, Adafruit suggests that those 60 LEDs need a whopping 3.6A of power to drive them. I’m guessing that reality is more like 1A but I’ll play this safe. Per Adafruit’s suggestion I included a 1000 µF electrolytic capacitor across the output voltage to protect the NeoPixels.
So I’m prepped to do a final test of the NeoPixel ring for power and functionality on a standard Raspberry Pi 3 rig (since it sports an actual header). Once I’ve coded a test and verified that it works then I’ll take the soldering iron to the Raspberry Pi Zero W and wire it in with a quick-connect.
I’ve now got the Raspberry Pi Zero W booting with just the power adapter. Note that you can rename its hostname, toggle on the VNC Server, adjust the default screen resolution to your liking and then—in the Finder program in OS X—open up a remote session to its Desktop with vnc://firstname.lastname@example.org, for example. Or, toggle on the SSH Server and connect from a Terminal session with ssh email@example.com.
Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a fully-functioning computer for $10 (plus $6 for the micro SD)?
And now the power supply is completed and wired to the NeoPixel ring. Everything’s set for 5V DC in at the moment but I may try to adjust the input voltage down to 3.3V later for technical reasons. (The NeoPixels are designed for the Arduino and its output data voltage is 5V whereas the Raspberry Pi is only 3.3V. By adjusting the input voltage down then it makes a 3.3V data line look bigger than it is. There are other tricks like adding a 3V-to-5V data inverter chip but I’d like to avoid that one if possible.)
I’ve smoke-tested the power supply/ring combination and it’s looking good. To make things easier for this step, I’ve now setup a surrogate Raspberry Pi 3 for testing things but since I only had a leftover 4GB microSD, I was forced to use the no-desktop “Lite” Jessie version of Raspbian. But that’s now ready and I’ll likely have some time this weekend to do a basic blink test.
Cool stuff, indeed. Out-of-the-box, it looks like you publish your Electron-based app like you would anything on github:
git clone https://github.com/Somebody/Repository.git
But there’s also a way of downloading OS-specific images and then adding your own app into this subdirectory structure. The result is a stand-alone EXE and folderset which reasonably looks like a drop-in replacement for something you normally would build locally using Microsoft Visual Studio perhaps. In this version though, you’d run Electron.exe but there are instructions on their website for renaming your application, updating the icon’s, etc.
I’ve just used it today to build a basic music player. I wouldn’t say that the layout is as responsive as a typical mobile app’s ability to move content but I did tweak things so that it can squash down to a mini-player and it stills looks great.
This allows you to build cross-platform desktop apps in much the same way that you’d use Adobe PhoneGap, say, to build for mobile apps.
So far, it seems to be well-behaved.
If you don’t want others to easily see your code, there’s a step where you can use asar to zip-up everything into a tidy package.
I didn’t have to digitally-sign anything like you might have to for a Windows 10 application or for OS X, say.
For people who have git and npm, the install is as easy as anything you’ve seen in the open-source space and a familiar workflow.
Currently, I don’t see any support for mobile platforms.
The complete foldedset comes in a 216MB which strikes me as a little big for what it’s doing. The app itself for the music player weighs in at 84MB of this so the remainder is everything that Electron is doing to present all this.
You would need to setup three different build sites to maintain a specific download for your own app. (It’s not like PhoneGap in which you just submit the common code and Adobe builds it in the cloud.)
Given that you’re not digitally-signing your code, you might have to talk your users through the hurdles of having the user “trust” the content within their particular OS.
This might be so popular soon that none of us can really afford to just use Electron.exe by default to serve up our app; we’ll need to rename it before publishing, in other words.
I can see myself wanting to really learn this one deeply. It has a lot of potential for delivering a more native-app experience for users.