I get a lot done when I'm being antisocial - Tactical Ninja
Apr. 29th, 2013
08:57 am - I get a lot done when I'm being antisocial
We were supposed to go to Castlepoint this weekend, but I was feeling like Not Being Social after my whirlwind week of trying to charm strangers and come across as intelligent, and Dr Wheel was feeling laid low after having a flu shot, so we flagged the destination party in favour of home comfort and people we know well. It was the right choice.
TBH, I'm not sure how I feel about destination parties. It kind of obliges you to commit a lot more time and money to helping someone celebrate than you normally would - which is fine if it's a rare event to celebrate something Super Extra Special - but it also excludes those who haven't the resources to get to the destination, and when every event is a destination one, it also starts to feel like an unnecessary pressure. I want to support and celebrate X good thing, but I don't want to dedicate several hundred dollars and 2-3 days of my time to it on a regular basis, you know? Does that make me a bad person?
Anyway, we stayed home and it was just what the doctor ordered.
We went to the Makertorium on Saturday morning. This was a free-entry event where folks who like to fiddle with things were fiddling with things in front of people, and you could talk to them about what they were doing and about maker spaces in general. 3D printers abounded, and also abounding, or maybe just bounding, was one Farmgeek, who was wearing an expression somewhat akin to a Labrador when you grab the car keys as he hopped from one display of innovation to the next. I swear that lad's a 3D addict.
I was actually kind of surprised at the monopoly that 3D printers seem to have on making at the moment. It seems that about 50% of the displays were to do with them in one way or another. One group I talked to could now set one up for $500 - that's about the same as a high-quality smartphone. So while Maurice Williamson's vision of people printing out sheets of E at parties might be a joke right now, the other bit where there's likely to be a 3D printer in every home soon is not so stupid.
Anyway, there were also copters (not quadcopters, many of these had 6-8 rotors so I want to call them multicopters), one of which was capable of carrying 12kg - a decent sized small child - for about 10 minutes. And games, and robot wars, and flashy light toys, fancy furniture designs, a beautiful form of dyeing that involved capillary action that took advantage of liquid's natural tendency to flow towards the stitched bits... it was pretty cool. There were also some blokes who had a spot called The Menz Shed, who were very confused when they told me it was where you send the men to to get rid of them, and I responded with "Why on earth would I want to do that?" I mean seriously, is it that hard to grasp that a woman might actually like being around a man? And that she may even *gasp* want to tutu around in sheds as well? You will be pleased to note that I didn't get in their face about it, I just told them the Menz Shed was not for me, and walked away. Shame, they had some nice things they'd made.
Meanwhile, in the Inclusive Multigender Shed That Is Actually Our Dining Room Table, I now have half the Brainfart (that is, 12 strips) up and running, thanks to an afternoon or two of soldering. Witness my raptness at the influence of Dr Wheel and his "Let's make it scaleable!" catchcry, as I changed 2 parameters within the code (should be one but I bruteforced something early on in a debugging session and haven't yet changed it back) and it ran the test pattern for more than twice as many pixels, just like that. Magic!
Now I have to work out how to do the other half. My brain is getting tangled up in which way to send the data through the chain, given that the controller will be in the middle. I can make it work as a mirror image or a repeated sequence, and I'm not sure which will be most efficient, especially when I start asking it to run swirl patterns. Probably neither actually, since the pixels are individually addressable. But for some reason, in my head I think that a sequenced approach would work better. I would like to talk to someone who understands about these things, but I suspect it might be a conversation better had in person. Hmm.. I don't even know what search terms to use to google it. Yikes!
Witness my diving in the deep end of something I know nothing about, and getting caught up on silly questions. Again.
This weekend I also planted bulbs. Thank you, Northern Hemisphere folks, for posting pictures of spring all over the show. It reminded me that if one wants tulips and daffodils in spring, one has to put them in the ground in late autumn. I fully expect glorious displays in a couple of months' time. You hear me, contrary pot garden? *glares at contrary pot garden* This is what I want:
This is what I will probably get:
But I keep trying. That's worth something, right?