Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   a user interface from scratch
Tuesday, April 23 2024
Yesterday Gretchen posted an alert on Facebook asking if anyone had matzah, and two people replied that they did: our friend Lisa P. and a guy named Bruce from the up the road (he's an outspoken liberal who is, however, seemingly willing to give Isræl a pass on whatever atrocity they're currently committing). Still, these other people with matazah ("Jews," you could say) don't seem to consume matzah at anywhere near the rate that we do, since they only ever have one or two boxes to give. During Passover, even though we couldn't care less about the religious and even cultural implications of the season, we burn through something like a box a day. It's become our own private ritual, a mixture of a celebration of spring and fast from the usual sources of carbs that we normally eat with abandon.

This morning I made great progress on my local remote project, figuring out how to get interrupts to work with an ESP8266 (you have to use something called ICACHE_RAM_ATTR). Once I had the buttons working, I could go through the headache of making the menu system. At first, I assumed that I would never have more than four menu items, meaning everything would fit on a four-line display without scrolling. With that limitation, I was able to build an interface where one button moved a cursor (a ">") up and another moved it down, while a third button flipped the status of a line item to either off or on. (For now, there is no use for the fourth button, though I'm thinking I could use that to flip through various modes.)
Later this evening, I tackled the problem of scrolling the display to reach more than four items. To do this, I had to create more dummy "device_features" in my "Laboratory Test Environment" device. I made some of these sloppily, which led to weird database glitches and then even hardware crashes, but once I had the data ironed out, I could concentrate on getting the scrolling to work, which I eventually did. I use various UIs all the time, and all the traditional ones (not the Microsoft ribbon in other words) feel very natural to me. So whenever I build one from scratch like this (and I mean from scratch, since I have to keep track of details like which items to show when and the limits of how far the cursor can go), it feels a little like magic when it starts working correctly.

At around 1:00pm I left for Old Hurley to resume work on Ray's minisplit installation. For some reason Neville didn't want to come, and so Charlotte didn't come either. I brought the vacuum pump and pipe benders and such because today would probably be the last day of actual installation. Ray and I wrestled with the refrigerant pipes, trying to get them through the too-small hole I'd drilled through the brick wall of his studio. And then I had to bend the pipe so it would be at the right angle attach to attach to the ends of the pipes on the indoor unit. I tried using a fancy bender for this, but when it began to mangle the pipe, I decided to do all subsequent bending by hand. There wasn't much room to accommodate the turn radius I could produce, so couldn't get the bottom of the indoor unit any closer than a half inch from the wall. I also didn't remember until the last minute to run the condensate hose, which we were forced to pull through the wall with a wire. We also installed the outdoor unit, and as I fought with the electrical cables trying to stuff them into the limited space available, I compared it to wrestling an octopus. But then then everything was hooked up, so I ran the vacuum pump for a little while and the vacuum seemed to hold. So I decided to let it sit overnight to see how permanent that vacuum actually was. By then the sun had been beating down long enough for it to be a reasonably warm spring day.

Back home on Hurley Mountain, Gretchen left to teach her prison poetry class, where four students would show up. I took advantage of the abundance of solar heated water by taking my second bath in two days. This was before I got around to adding scrolling capabilities to the local remote menu system.

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