Since my wife Ruth is an interior designer and I have a good friend who is an architect, it frustrates me that their work can't be easily viewed on the Web.
Furthermore when someone books my parent's cottage or when I book accommodation myself, you generally do not have a good idea of the physical space except for a gallery picture.
Another use case is maintaining a building. It would be great to be able to document how network cables run, how heating is zoned, how different electrical circuits are isolated.
With that in mind I bought my wife a Bosch PLR 25 Digital Laser Range Finder, to measure Praze Farm's dimensions, and that project was a little harder than previously imagined.
First step for Ruth was take loads of measurements and then step 2 re-draw the building in SketchUp. She used the previous photo-copied floor plans as a guide, though it turns out in our "Grade 2" listed building the walls were not level. In the end it was so complex and tedious she gave up, much to my disappointment.
Now with a dose of Science Fiction and Google's driverless cars pushing LIDAR technology, one can imagine a device that can scan a building. The 3D data LIDAR collects could be transformed in the 3D model. Great, two steps in one, with only detailing and annotation of the design left to do!
Though what encapsulated format would this be in? Obviously we need something that can be translated into WebGL with ease. So any browser equipped device can explore and be informed by the detailed model. So far I don't think this functionality exists, so isn't there a wonderful opportunity for development?
- Take photos with iPhone
- Upload with Dropbox App on the Iphone
- On my VPS "~/Dropbox/Camera Uploads", I have a script
dropper.shwhich moves photos to http://static.natalian.org/ (saving space on Dropbox)
- From http://static.natalian.org/ I have another script
flickr.shto upload the images to Flickr
- I tag/title images upon Flickr, which takes a lot of effort with Flick's dated http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize tool
When I backup from Flickr, the images and their metadata is separate. I need to write a script to keep the metadata in the image. I want to back up from Flickr as the years of Metadata I've uploaded is worth a LOT to me.
Don't have a good way of handling videos yet. I do mean to convert them to HTML5 video for http://video.natalian.org/ upon http://static.natalian.org/, but I keep running into rotation problems https://ffmpeg.org/trac/ffmpeg/ticket/515
I don't think Flickr should handle videos.
I generally try to upload videos to Youtube as its fairly easy from the Iphone and it gets maximum exposure. Again I don't have a way of downloading the metadata I add to the videos there.
I have a LOT of duplicates on Flickr and elsewhere which puts me off uploading really old stuff which I think isn't on Flickr. I can't really tell, especially since Flickr has no de-duplication feature.
Of course I don't own the Flickr and Youtube URIs, and I can't make them redirect.
My parents photo flow
They are in Apple land with a Macbook and with the introduction of a Macbook Air, it's truly fucked up.
A lot of the "Apple photo management" problems are raised upon https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5673628. To add:
- Hosting an iPhoto library on the Time capsule even on a good network is pretty much unusable
- iPhoto wants to upgrade the iPhoto library? Or you have two different versions of iPhoto accessing the same library? You're basically screwed.
- The iPhoto library is just insane-ware. It's really really hard to export photos with its metadata embedded in it.
If you do the right thing by trying to take it out of iPhoto, it makes viewing your collection of Photos on Apple TV / iPad almost impossible.
Right now my parents are not taking pictures because I'm trying to sanitise their existing huge iPhoto collection, which is taking me forever.
I'm re-purposing my linux rig to an Archlinux powered NAS to store backup of all the photos on a mirrored 1TB soft raid setup.
I'm keeping all of the photos in a git repository, sorted by year.
I'm endeavouring to keep metadata in the image. E.g.
exiv2 -M"add Iptc.Application2.Keywords String $tag" $image
I plan to backup in the mornings over months the photos to one of my VPSes, probably Hetzner. Then I sync to Dreamhost slowly. Need to come up with something a bit more robust here.
(200 GB) / (0.7 * (Mbit / sec)) = 27.0899471 days
The canonical copy of the photos will be the NAS, in git.
I mount the NAS share in NFSv4 and do my scripting and editing. Then I commit the changes. It's a lot of effort on my part since I'm the only one who can use my sxiv image viewer and metadata scripts. I've sunk countless hours into it and I don't think any member of my family appreciates the herculean effort that's required.
Exporting Photos out of iPhoto to the NAS is so painful. I can't have NFS and AFP services running simultaneously for example. Apple does not support Samba/NFS IIUC. So I have ton of work running around trying to ensure iPhoto is putting photos in the "family memories NAS".
Since I'm back in Cornwall with my parents, who are getting old, I think a lot about preserving family history.
Prompted by people writing slow Websites in Singapore, and obvious tools like Google's PageSpeed not catching this class of error, allow me to educate you.
If you serve (the majority of your) customers in say Singapore, your Web server (httpd) should be in Singapore. Understood?
ICMP ping times to your host should be <10ms.
If you run a non-optimised bog standard Apache2 httpd instance on that host, your httping times should be about ~40ms. Understood?
If you don't want to install
httping, you could use something like
time curl -I "http://sg.hackandtell.org".
x220:~$ httping sg.hackandtell.org PING sg.hackandtell.org:80 (sg.hackandtell.org): connected to 220.127.116.11:80 (293 bytes), seq=0 time=28.76 ms connected to 18.104.22.168:80 (293 bytes), seq=1 time=31.89 ms connected to 22.214.171.124:80 (293 bytes), seq=2 time=25.64 ms connected to 126.96.36.199:80 (293 bytes), seq=3 time=23.24 ms ^CGot signal 2 --- sg.hackandtell.org ping statistics --- 4 connects, 4 ok, 0.00% failed round-trip min/avg/max = 23.2/27.4/31.9 ms
Now if you are Google, you have machines all over the world and a clever DNS system that makes sure you are served by the closest machine. I.e. if you are in Singapore, you get your search query answered by a httpd server in Singapore.
x220:~$ httping www.google.com PING www.google.com:80 (www.google.com): connected to 188.8.131.52:80 (768 bytes), seq=0 time=74.84 ms connected to 184.108.40.206:80 (768 bytes), seq=1 time=32.56 ms connected to 220.127.116.11:80 (768 bytes), seq=2 time=42.33 ms connected to 18.104.22.168:80 (768 bytes), seq=3 time=42.97 ms ^CGot signal 2 --- www.google.com ping statistics --- 4 connects, 4 ok, 0.00% failed round-trip min/avg/max = 32.6/48.2/74.8 ms
Now if your site has http ping times greater than 40ms, you have FUCKED UP.
x220:~$ httping hackerspace.sg PING hackerspace.sg:80 (hackerspace.sg): connected to 22.214.171.124:80 (395 bytes), seq=0 time=1832.28 ms connected to 126.96.36.199:80 (395 bytes), seq=1 time=1865.23 ms connected to 188.8.131.52:80 (395 bytes), seq=2 time=1550.14 ms ^CGot signal 2 --- hackerspace.sg ping statistics --- 3 connects, 3 ok, 0.00% failed round-trip min/avg/max = 1550.1/1749.2/1865.2 ms
Yes, you can deploy all range of caching tricks to improve load times, but that only happens if you have VISITED THE WEB PAGE BEFORE.
Please make the initial load times of your Webpage <40ms. If you can't afford to have a httpd in every country of the world like Google, I recommend Amazon CloudFront. Not Cloudflare which do have servers in lots of countries, but they don't cache on that http level, they only reverse proxy through their optimising bells&whistles network making their service slow, i.e. httpings >200ms.
Palm Oil from the Palm tree is a popular crop in Malaysia and Indonesia. One in which they are clearing thousands of hectares of natural vegetation for, increasingly year after year. Palm Oil is used in cosmetics and is especially good in cooking, as it is allegedly healthier with a high smoking point. Palm Oil is also used as biofuel to replace fossil fuels. There is strong steady demand for Palm Oil worldwide.
Here are some figures to dwell upon, that I sourced through a contact in the Industry.
1 Hectare for planting Palm Oil can be bought for as little as 1000RM.
150 Palm Oil trees can be planted on 1 Hectare.
It takes 3 years for a Palm Oil tree to start producing its crop.
Each tree can produce more than a metric ton a year.
Each metric ton is worth about 2500RM in markets today, meaning that a single Palm tree makes about 3000RM a year.
So for each hectare, with 150 trees producing upon it, you can be generate 3000*150=450000RM a year, that's about 90000GBP.
That's a lot of money and therefore http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_and_environmental_impact_of_palm_oil will be profound in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Is there a way to report Singapore spam calls? @m1_singapore— Kai Hendry (@kaihendry) January 19, 2013
I also reported this to http://www.spamcontrol.org.sg/ via their advertised email. There is no "report form". I've yet to hear back from them.
I just got off the phone with M1. The procedure for reporting SPAM is:
- Log 5 (yes, FIVE) complaints from the same number
- Report this to your local police station to get a police report
- Submit this report to M1
This is absurd. Even more absurd when in Singapore you can get charged for incoming calls. Even worse if you are dumb enough to roam abroad with a Singporean SIM card.
(Samsung) Androids has nice feature of "Add to Reject list" when you long hold the number in the recent call list. There is no such feature on IOS as far as I know.
I used to think UK OFCOM's complaint procedure to incoming foreign SPAM calls was lax. Singapore just shocked me, because the spammers are generally local as far as I can tell.
There are 3 distinct demographics of cyclists on Singapore streets:
- lycra clad Road bikers
- Folks on electric bikes (usually "uncles")
- Others, people on unpowered, fixies or just the crappy bikes
I'm a proud "other", riding a somewhat unusual Flying Pigeon bicycle. Ironically taxi drivers tell me their fathers used to ride around like I do nowadays. Flying Pigeons a generation or two ago probably outnumbered vehicles. It's a real shame that Singaporeans have progressed to become childish monsters behind the driving wheel.
Yes, it's DANGEROUS to ride on Singaporean streets. Fellow Hackerspacer and Singaporean Wee Yeh would have me believe that some drivers are so annoyed by cyclists, that they would rather see them dead.
It reminds me of the bad old days of cycling in London, which is now a distant memory. A past when black cabbie drivers would scream abuse at you. Things have changed in London, can they change in Singapore?
Singapore is a rich country where the culture is not shy of showing that wealth. It's not uncommon to see Ferraris roaring down the same roads you might be attempting to cycle down. It costs so much to license a car to drive here, that I guess motorists treat cyclists with resentment.
What makes Singaporean drivers childish?
- do not use indicators
- switch lanes dangerously
- drive too fast
- not enough parking, so double / triple parking is not that unusual
- never give enough space
- dangerously cut you off at junctions is crazily common
- dangerous overtaking
- some seem to pretend you don't exist (totally unapologetic)
What's the solution?
http://www.savecycling.com is collecting bicycle incidents. Not as morbid as http://ghostbikes.org/singapore, though I generally see this as an after-the-fact "cure", instead of "prevention"... education.
Some serious Singaporean government vision is needed and since no Government ministers like Boris as far as I know seem to cycle, I don't see this improving. Anyway if I had the power, I would:
- introduce an education campaign to drivers
- more speed checks
- somehow police space given to cyclists
- encourage people to cycle. close streets. get children interested.
- any incidents involving cyclists, it's assumed to be the car drivers fault
- introduce some facilities to cyclists, like places to lock them up!
I'm shocked to hear Aaron Swartz took his life. I honestly I hope it's a sick joke.
I had the pleasure to read / follow Aaron's output over the years. My earliest email exchange I can find is from 2005 where he replied to a bug I filed on rss2email. A really decent piece of software I've recently started using again.
Then when Aaron released web.py which I thought was brilliant and timely. I offered to package it for Debian and we worked a little closer for a year or two. Although I'm ~8 years older than him, I was learning from him. I really liked his minimalistic style and he influenced me.
I went off the Python language altogether a year or two later and I think he must have done well being a co-founder of Reddit et al, which I think was at least initially based upon webpy. We met for the photo when I passing through San Francisco back in 2007 and I honestly feel like I've had my picture taken with a famous person.
Of course I was alarmed when I heard he was getting indicted. I have no idea why he killed himself. I'm assuming he suffered from depression. I'm not afraid to say depression affects me too, though thankfully not seriously.
So if you are reading this and feel down, you are not alone. My best advice is to travel. Don't be afraid to ask people abroad like me for help!
Update: This is pretty damning for Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and MIT. Very sad.
2012 was an amazing year for me and hopefully Ruth feels the same.
I moved to Malaysia at the end of 2011, still on a UK contract. I worked at Fluent Space in Kelana Jaya which introduced me to the co-working scene and some awesome people and ideas.
In February 2012, I moved with Ruth to Singapore to largely "check Singapore out". We liked what we saw.
In March 2012 I visited Hong Kong with Ruth which was great to check off. Later that month a really good friend visited Singapore which was fantastic.
April I was slugging it out with my business with Patrick. Very intensive and prolific work wise with a peer. We forged what Webconverger is today, the configuration management, the innovative git based upgrades, which I'm pretty proud of achieving with the help of the community.
At the end of May I moved back to Europe and then onto Berlin for a pre-planned summer in Europe. It was an ambitious dream for Ruth and I, and it amazingly worked out. We ended up living in an amazing affordable place and life was awesome. Except Ruth's visa expires in 90 days since she's Malaysian, so we had no choice but to leave.
Since I'm in love with Ruth and I was tired of the hassles dealing with visas, I thought it was high time I proposed to Ruth with a especially made ring.
We moved back to Malaysia and married legally on 2012-11-21. Then we moved back down to Singapore since Ruth landed an interior design job there.
This December was spent settling in and then things wound down for the Christmas holidays, spent with the in-laws in Kuala Lumpur eating good food.
Overall I'm pretty torn between Europe and Asia. Though spending winter in this region, enjoying the good food and challenges has been good.
I'm a bit nervous about this year. I've resolved to get up earlier. Get fitter, run (at least 4km) & swim (10 laps) twice a week.
Then there is stressful task of growing Webconverger. Also need to help get Ruth's UK residence visa which is a ton of paper work. In all honesty I must formulate a plan to get the right to stay in Singapore, which is quite tricky if you (and your business) don't fit the mold.
In April I'm back in the UK for my bff Jamie's wedding. Since I can't afford to fly back and forth between Singapore, I plan to live, plan & work with my parents for two months leading up to my own Wedding ceremony in Cornwall, without Ruth. I'm not looking forward to this. The Wedding, yes. Living without Ruth, no.
After June, we'll move back Singapore, since Ruth is committed to working at least a year in Singapore. Winning Ruth has definitely been the highlight of 2012 and that pervades into 2013. Though after June I hope to keep it exciting and plot a new adventure. A honeymoon in Japan would be nice!
I love the BBC output but I'm annoyed how difficult it is to share their content, previously:
When listening to the Witness podcast using Apple's Podcasts App, if I share and choose to email, the body of the email sent looks like:
Check out this great Podcast: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/witness/rss.xml
- It links to the RSS which is useless to most people
- It doesn't link to the actual podcast I'm actually listening to
The popular "Pocket Cast Lite", when sharing the Podcast via email, the email body looks like:
Podcast: Witness Episode: Witness: The Bhopal disaster Find out more about the podcast at: http://www.pocketcasts.com/share/Ofzlnt
Slightly better, but their linked URL does not point to the relevant BBC page http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0112t3d about the Podcast I'm listening to. Only other Iphone users answering their email stand a chance to listen to the podcast, which is ridiculous.
Come on BBC. Please fix this!
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