Bitmap Bikes

Drawn on my telephone, just the way Picasso did.

Posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013.

Mobile Mouse Server for Linux 1.4.0

Bundling up a bunch of little tweaks to my fork of Mobile Mouse Server for Linux and calling it version 1.4.0. Get it here. Main changes include:

At present mmserver must still be compiled manually. A goal for the next release is to make use of some package management system to take care of setup automatically.

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2013.

Cesium Exposure


Last weekend I discovered Cesium, a sophisticated WebGL virtual globe engine developed as an open source project by AGI. Among other things, it can be used to interactively display satellite orbits in 3D in a web browser…

…which is exactly what I’ve been building in SatStatus, my summer “coffee shop programming project”. So, I admit I felt discouraged to discover I was not the first to develop the concept. However, it also feels good to realize that I, operating as a hobbyist and enthusiast only, identified the same niche and was able to build a visualization tool with comparable core capabilities (see screenshot at right).

SatStatus exists as pretty rough proof-of-concept code (I’m learning Javascript as I go), whereas Cesium appears to be put together with an admirably rigorous testing and review process. Cesium also has many more features than SatStatus. Some, like support for surface terrain and arbitrary feature markup, are beyond the scope of what I had planned; others, like ready-made reference time controls and multiple camera modes, were on my to-do list.

One difference is that SatStatus was designed from the start to be able to propagate satellite locations in real-time using a set of recent TLEs and Shashwat Kandadai’s Javascript implementation of the SGP4/SDP4 algorithm. If my cursory reading of the documentation is correct, this is possible in Cesium as well, but only by streaming satellite positions as CZML markup from another source. (To be clear, this is reasonable, given that Cesium is a general purpose display engine, whereas real-time satellite tracking is just one specific application.)

Now I must decide how to proceed. It is certainly satisfying to build something from scratch, but now that I know something very similar is already available, it would make sense to fast-forward my effort to focus on the web site I eventually planned to build around the 3D viewer.

Besides the goal of powering a new public real-time satellite tracking site, SatStatus was also intended as a “portfolio project” to learn about Javascript development, graphics programming, and the varied interest many Earthlings have in monitoring our space-based assets. That goal can still be met, with the added benefit of a good example to study, by participating in the Cesium project.

Posted on Saturday, September 21st, 2013.

Portrait Sketches

All faces all the time.

shady portrait sketches


Posted on Thursday, September 12th, 2013.

Chipmunk Basic Stuff on GitHub

I’ve posted a bunch of my old Chipmunk Basic sample code to a Chipmunk Basic Stuff repository on GitHub. Much of it is still available on this page, but that page will not be updated and may be deleted.

As with the Applescripts I posted a few weeks ago, I’m stowing this archival stuff on GitHub for two reasons:

  1. It provides a nice online interface for glancing at the code and revision history.
  2. I’d like to prune some of the dustier old pages from this site without culling the content from the internet altogether. (Stats indicate a small but steady stream of people searching for Chipmunk Basic information do end up here.)

Posted on Thursday, September 12th, 2013.

Modified Mobile Mouse Server for Linux

mm-connectedMobile Mouse is a neat app that allows you to use your iOS or Android device as a keyboard and pointing device for your computer. The mobile app works in concert with a small server program that must be installed on your computer to convert input from the app to actual keyboard and mouse events. Official Mac and Windows server programs are provided by the makers of Mobile Mouse. A Linux version was developed by Erik Lax and later updated by Kiriakos Krastillis. Now, I’ve made a few changes and posted my own version. Find it here:

My changes include:

I use it with Linux Mint on my old laptop and Raspbian on my Raspberry Pi.

Posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013.

Portrait Doodles

Phone photo collages of some recent sketches:

EPDS Test babez

Content with none, but there’s something I like in each. So, reason to do more.

Posted on Sunday, September 1st, 2013.

Yojimbo Scripts on GitHub

My Yojimbo Scripts repository contains a bunch of old scripts (sans documentation, unfortunately) for use with Yojimbo. Most but not all have previously been posted here. I am posting them now as a single collection on GitHub in order to make it easier for others to find and make use of the code.

Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013.

Finder Scripts on GitHub

My Finder Scripts repository now houses the AppleScripts I wrote for use with the Mac OS X Finder. GitHub provides a better interface for browsing code, managing revisions, and collecting feedback than ad hoc blog posts. In the interest of making my old scripts more accessible to anyone who may find them useful, I intend to re-release them all as open source git repositories.

Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013.

Yojimbo to Password Safe

I’ve written a script called yj2pwsafe which adds passwords exported from Yojimbo to Password Safe format database files. Password Safe is an open source password manager developed in part by Bruce Schneier. Many programs are compatible with Password Safe files. My script relies on code from Password Gorilla, a compatible application written in Tcl/Tk.

Downloads, details, and instructions on Github.

yj2pwsafe screenshot

I’ve updated yj2pwsafe to be more user-friendly since I first posted this announcement; it is now packaged as an Applescript app that presents a series of dialogs like the one pictured above.

Additionally, I’ve updated yj2pwsafe so that it can import serial number items exported from Yojimbo as well as password items.

Posted on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013.