I’ve discovered the wonderful world of single board computers.  More specifically, Raspberry Pi and the universe of different models and stuff that goes along with them.  I was first inspired to buy one for a garage door opener project, but I will get to that one a little bit later.  After I have enough time to put my thoughts into words, that is.

 

I’ve now gotten three different little Raspberry Pi computers in my house.  Two of which I have already put to work doing something useful and one that I’m still tinkering with.  I also picked up the Pine64 single board computer from their kickstarter campaign, but haven’t had much time to put it through its paces.  Frankly, it’s impressive, but not as mature as the Raspberry Pi.  I never thought I would be enjoying these little $35 boards so much, but darn it if they aren’t scratching some kind of latent nerdy itch that I have deep down inside.  

 

With that said, I’m going to have a few posts landing here in the (hopefully) near future, that document some of my projects / tinkering with this mini-powerhouses.  A sampling of what’s to come?  As mentioned before, the garage door opener project (my first), Raspberry Pi as an OpenVPN server, and more!  

 

As always, stay tuned.  

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Welcome to the parmeter.net tech blog.  The site has actually been live for a couple of weeks now, but lacking any actual substance. I’ve since transferred my techy type posts from my personal blog and spiffed up the place a bit.  I hope you enjoy the new tech dedicated site.  We’ll see how this goes.

For a while now, I’ve been posting a variety of tech related blogs to my own personal pages.  Typically, I write these articles to document how I did certain things so that I can keep a record (for myself) and to help others who are like minded and are having difficulty finding the information elsewhere.   However, I decided that it would be best, to separate my tech stuff from my personal stuff in a more official fashion.

While I’ll still keep the content previously posted to my personal blog intact, I have cloned all of my hard-core tech related posts to this new site.  Going forward you’ll be able to find fresh new tech content here.  More ramblings on Ubuntu, setting up and managing a NAS, etc.

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Well, I’ve been really, really, really busy at work lately. I’ve spent the last two weekends in the lab, working for a good portion of the day. This is a rarity really, that I’m pulling 7-day weeks, with 12 hour days. But doggone-it, if I’m not getting burnt out. I wish we could just wrap this project up and move on. We’ve got other challenges to tackle and I can’t be burdened with this fire-fighting nonsense. Enough of that…

Upgraded to Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon late last weekend and so far I am highly impressed. Lots of people are complaining that the fancy graphics (read: compiz) are a burden, but my system seems much snappier since the upgrade. All the software I regularly use has been updated to the latest and greatest versions and there are bug fixes galore. One important bug fix is the ability to do remote desktop with the desktop effects enabled. I’ve been taking full advantage of that feature, in fact, sitting on the couch as I type this VNC’ing from my laptop to my desktop. Beautiful. Gotta love free software.

My next challenge? I want to install DD-WRT on my Linksys router. Why do I want to do this? I want to have the ability to remote-terminal into my desktop at home from work. There are some times when it would be nice to have control of my desktop machine without having to physically go home (for example if I want to remotely shut down my bit-torrent client, eh-hem). Anyway, it looks really easy to do after reading through the wiki. That might have to be a project for next weekend.

Just received a copy of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen. I read an article in Wired magazine recently about this guy who was once a meth-addict and is now being hailed as the new savior of business productivity. I just had to read this book. I’m going in with an open mind, but I will remain skeptical of “instant” results that it promises. Wish me luck. Maybe it will give me more time to write updates to the site.

How’s that for a disjointed post? It may be a while, but until next time…

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All my thanks go to Pat for showing me how to get the data off of my Garmin ForeTrex 201 and insert it into Google Earth. It produced beautiful products like this and this of both the Deschutes day hike in Oregon and the Cathedral Lake backpacking trip in Yosemite. I’m going to use this on all my future trips.

For those of you who want to try this at home, this may be useful. I installed GPSBabel on my Linux box today and was able to quickly grab data off of my Garmin ForeTrex 201 using the following:

gpsbabel -t -w -i garmin -f /dev/ttyUSB0 -o gpx -F out.gpx

(For windows users that have USB cables try :usb instead of /dev/ttyUSB0. If you have a serial cable, try COMx where x=the COM port you’ve connected your GPS device to.)

Then I installed Google Earth (used Automatix for Ubuntu), but unfortunately it’s an older version than what is available for Windows so the GPX functionality hasn’t yet been introduced. Fortunately, however, there is an alternative. Google Earth also accepts a KML (KeyHole Markup Language) format which is easily created with GPS Babel. Just type the following.

gpsbabel -i gpx -f in.gpx -o kml -F out.kml

Once you do this, drag the KML file into Google Earth and blam-o, you’ve got a map. I was perplexed at first because my data wasn’t showing up, but remembered later that Pat mentioned a time-slider bar. Sure enough, at the top of the screen is the time slider and all I needed to do was slide that baby over to the right. All the data, was right there. Enjoy.

8/2/2007 – UPDATE: I’ve added some altitude charts to the gallery here and here. Also, my brother Dave has put together a YouTube video of our Deschutes trip using pictures and video from both of our cameras.


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