Archive for November, 2005

Migrating scripts

In the midst of the non-stop action at work today (I was watching Return of the Jedi) I decided to move my old conversions.py script over to conversions.pl. My clumsy nature with python may well have been the cause of the overuse of if, and else – but in the end conversions.py lived as a 100+ line menu driven script.

That’s right, I said menu. You run the script, it pukes a menu with a host of options – do you want to go from kilowatts to horsepower? Make your selection, and then you get to input your value, and hit enter again. Rejoice, for now you have your new value, and new unit of measure! Awesome, only not really at all.

My issue with implementing any command-line mojo revolved around my inability (I strongly doubt this is python’s fault) to pass numerical values as numerical values through sys.argv. Options, being strings, were not an issue – but for the life of me I could not manage to pass a number as an integer, just a string.

Enter perl, and ./conversions.pl fc 32 returns 0! All in 28 lines. The only reason it takes 28 lines is because I felt like using a seperate line for each key/value pair in the hash containing my conversion factors. Instead of a different if statement for each individual possibility, I have one if checking for the first command line argument, in my conversion factors hash. The best part is the ease with which I can make a CGI script out of this, and you’ll probably find that I do this shortly.

I’ll upload and link the code for both conversions.py and conversions.pl for you knowledgable folks to pick apart.

Camera Mounts

I’ve got a few ideas in my head for mounting my video camera behind the windscreen of my motorcycle. Having searched the internet far and wide for various solutions there are at least two that seem acceptable as ready made solutions. One being a RAM mount that I’d have to adapt to the SV for mounting – most likely bolting the base to the front bolts of the gas tank. Another being a $90 chunk of machined aluminum that bolts to the gas tank filler ring.

Those that know me of course understand that I have a problem buying things I could just build myself, and brackets are far from complicated. When I get home I’ll find the best spot to mount a Canon ZR85 mini-DV video camera with a wide angle lense on a 2005 SV650S in order to capture the gauge cluster, road, and horizon – while still allowing the rider to tuck in and minimizing the wind blast on the camera’s microphone.

Something tells me this can be done for under $20.

Star Wars, Eps 1-3

So I’m pretty far behind the curve on this – seeing as all three of these have been out on DVD for longer than a month, the first two having come out long before I even deployed. At any rate, I finally watched all three of them. I’m not a Star Wars purist, that wants to point out any and every inconsistency in the storyline. I rather enjoyed most of the fight scenes.

My biggest problem with the last two is the totally flawed logic displayed by Anakin Skywalker as he goes to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. Let’s look at this for just one second – you’re a Jedi, a galactic super pimp if you will. You can use the force, and you have a shiny light saber. Oh yeah, you’re also shacked up with possibly the hottest Senator in the Republic. Who ditches Natalie Portman, for a chance to have your legs chopped off and your body burned by lava? Really, the voice thing is cool as Vader – and sure, mechanical limbs probably have their advantages – but dude, you lost Natalie Portman. You suck at life.

That is all.

Two Wheeled Texans

If you’re in or from Texas, and you enjoy motorcycles, you need to head over to www.twtex.com and register. I’ve only been registered there for a short time, but it’s a great resource with some great folks. They’ve also got quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to great rides in the Lone Star State, and have frequent group rides across Texas.

Thanksgiving 2005

The DFAC surprised me today, by actually cooking up some good chow for Thanksgiving. I haven’t had dinner yet, but lunch was really good. I had some bird, prime rib, stuffing, mac & cheese, and corn on the cob.

Hopefully everyone back home has a good Thanksgiving, and with any luck next year I’ll be there for the meal(s) again.

Motorcycle spending spree

Once more my credit card has unexpectedly jumped right out of my wallet and forced me to order motorcycle stuff. My leather ninja suit is complete. In addition to the motorcycle jacket and gloves I already had, I now have matching leather pants, complete with appropriate armor inserts, and leather boots that are also armored in the appropriate places.

As I read the rules, my gear meets the standard for most organizations and tracks, so I should have no problem wearing my gear for track days. The real purpose here is to have the appropriate protective gear for long trips and spirited jaunts through twisty roads. My minimal gear is my helmet, gloves, and jacket anyway – but if I’m going out of town, I’ll add the motorcycle boots and pants for safety’s sake.

Also on the menu, and thankfully I’m still researching here, are GPS, video, and communications equipment for the SV. As far as I can tell, Autocom make the best gear for the commo side of things. They even make a kit to interface with the built in intercom/CB on the GL1800 (paying attention Dad?). The goal would be private rider/passenger communication, and open bike to bike communication with one system. It looks highly possible, though also highly expensive – on the SV I’d have to go portable as I simply do not have the on bike storage space to keep it on the bike when I don’t need it. I’ll have to do more looking there when I’m phsyically around the bike, to see what my mounting options look like.

A GPS with appropriate map data, logging, and enough memory for a ton of waypoints would be great – especially if I’m going on a ride with a group that also has GPS. No questions about where we’re at, or how far the next stop is. GPS also gives me the ability to overlay my route to pretty maps from Google or other places, and that’s just cool. See the wish list for the unit I want.

Video is required to capture my various fun rides, just because I can. I shouldn’t really need any more equipment for that, just a mount. That’s all for now.

Mastering Regular Expressions

Roughly an hour after I showed up to work today, the mail came by and I had a package from Amazon.com. I found that interesting considering I’d already read my last order from them. I did what anyone would do and opened the box, only to find a gift wrapped book, while 1; curiosity++;

Inside was Mastering Regular Expressions, sent to me by wanders from planet.arslinux. The basic regexp-fu for perl in Learning Perl was extremely cool, and very useful. Hopefully this new book gives me some further insight into the world of regular expressions. At the very least it should save me some money by keeping me too occupied to spend more cash on motorcycle gear!

Planned Rides

So I’ve been surfing around, looking at routes that claim to have a good deal to offer in terms of driving/riding excitement, and have decided that in 2006 I will ride at least two of them.

First up, FM335, 336, and 337 in the Texas hill country. I should be able to make that trip at some point in 2k6. Next is Tail of the Dragon, and the other roads at Deal’s Gap.

Wait, didn’t I say I’d ride at least two of them? Yet I only listed two? Guess that means I’ll be doing them both.

Stop Packages

If you intend to send me mail – December 1st is the last day to send stuff. A month or so later I should be back home anyway. That’s all.

Photomojo Ramblings

I recently ordered, and read The Basic Book of Photography, Fifth Edition and have of course come up with a shortlist of other goodies I must buy. As time permits, I’ll be trying some of the techniques and whatnot suggested with my Canon S410, and posting the results to my gallery. The wish list has been updated to include the things I’m looking for.

On the list are a few items, namely a camera/laptop backpack, a standalone storage device, and an accessory flash unit. The flash is probably going to come much later, as I should get to know the camera itself before I buy a whole bunch of more shiny gear to complicate things. The mission for the backpack is to have something I can put the camera, my lense(s), and accessories in, along with maybe my digital video camera, and my laptop. The backpack style makes the most sense for my needs as it’ll better allow me to grab my stuff, hop on my motorcycle, and ride out to somewhere that should be fun to take pictures.

The storage device is kind of a toss up right now. The one on the wishlist lets me take the flash card out, put it in the device and transfer all the data on the card to a hard disk in the device. One of those, combined with another 1GB flash card would let me shoot until I run out of batteries – instead of shooting until I run out of flash space. I get about 600 shots per battery, and I have three batteries – that’s about 8 cards full of pictures. I some how doubt I take 2000 pictures in any given day, but being able to would be fun. The only thing that makes this a toss up is the Archos. It has a screen, and a hard disk – and a USB port. There would be some lag time between photo transfer, and being able to shoot again, but I’d have a few other capabilities that are appealing. The Archos has a screen – so I could review shots on a larger LCD. It also has wireless capability, and runs Linux. I could also put the Archos in its cradle, and do a slide show to a TV w/ a remote control. The biggest issue is cost though. The Fujitsu is more than small enough to carry around, and if I need to view images – I can always do it on the Fujitsu’s fantastic screen.

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