Waking up Digby


We've been trying to wake up Digby my Aibo from ages back. The Sony Aibo was a very ambitious project by Sony to make a robotic pet. I got one a while back just as the product was winding down. I've not played with Digby (as we call him) for a while, but once we'd given them a good charge, one of the Lithium Ion batteries got him going. 

Unfortunately there's something amiss with his head. When he moves to certain positions it seems to think that the joint is stuck and he falls down. Next step is a bit of micro surgery looking for noisy potentiometers and broken flexible circuit boards. 

But we'll get him sorted. 

Chair balancing for beginners


One of the other neat things they have at States of Play is a bunch of balancing chairs. When I first saw them I had thoughts of steel pegs in the floor, or strings from the roof. 

Not so. The chairs really do balance like this. They have weights and a flat part to balance on. I had a go at balancing and it really is quite tricky. Which is code for "No, I couldn't do it..."

This would have been a film review

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The blog post editing interface for Squarespace, my blog host of choice, is deeply ropey, browser dependent and very annoying. But I've reached the point where I can smell when it is going to fail on me, and this time I managed to grab a screen capture just before it fell over completely. Sorry if it's a bit hard to read, but I'm darned if I'm going to type it all again just because someone can't write JavaScript properly. 

Curse you, Windows 10

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I tried something a while back and it worked when I didn't expect it to. Always a bad sign. Of course, today I wanted to do it again and it failed. Nothing much has changed in my system. Except, oh yes, Windows 10 Creators Update.  Not much use if what you want to create is printed pictures from your Polaroid Pogo printer. Used to work fine over Bluetooth. Now I get this masterpiece of an error message. Useless at pretty much every level. I've done some searching, but nothing so far has worked. It looks like my little printer and me might have reached the end of the line. 

Oh well, such is progress. 

Lensbaby at Castle Howard


A while back I bought a LensBaby lens. It's great fun. To adjust the aperture you fit little metal disks with different sized holes in them. And you can move the entire lens about on the front of the camera to get strange focusing effects. 

We went to Castle Howard today. Lovely place. I decided to leave the LensBaby on the camera to see what kind of results I got. Quite fun.


Hull "Cheese Grater"


They're installing a new piece of artwork in Queen's Gardens. It's an intriguing structure of laser-cut steel, welded together and painted white. It looks really good and it casts really nice shadows. I'm not sure of the proper name for it, but us locals have started calling it the "Cheese Grater". I took some pictures of it today, Rather nice.


I just hope they can stop birds from building nests in it. Then again, that might be part of the art. 

The Pimoroni Mood Light Rocks

I just love a busy desk. 

I just love a busy desk. 

A while back I ordered a Mood Light kit from Pimoroni. It never came (sad face). I told them about this and they dispatched a replacement. The same day. With no quibble or question (happy face). It arrived a couple of days ago and today I found enough time to assemble it.

With it being based on the Raspberry Pi I had to find a video display and a keyboard for it to get things going. I ended up using my video projector of Logo Blaster fame and a little remote keyboard that didn't work until I connected it via a usb hub.

The good news is that the Raspberry Pi experience has come on a lot since my early days with my Pi B. The great news is that the kit itself is awesome. Lovely attention to detail, even down to little rubber feet for the stand. It all fits together in a very impressive way and worked first time. If you're thinking of building one, you'll need to solder the connectors onto the Pi and the display device. If you've not soldered before it might not be the best thing to learn on, but if you've soldered a bit you'll have no problems. You'll need a power supply and a micro-SD card but nothing else, the kit has everything and comes beautifully packed in a nice plastic box. 

Once I'd got the Pi going and set up remote access I was able to do everything via my PC, so I could put my keyboard and monitor away. You control the lights (there are 32 neopixel leds on the lamp) from Python, so there is no limit to what you can make the light do. 

I'm very impressed with the kit and the Raspberry Pi Zero that it is based on. The fact that you can get the thing for thirty quid (or even less if they are having a discount offer running) makes this thing astonishing value. You should get one. So much power and potential for less than a full price video game. I'm going to get the Scroll Bot next.

Sock neurosis

These are definitely wrong

These are definitely wrong

Some time ago number one wife bought me some socks. Very nice. With days of the week on. Arrgh. I've had them a while, and always had a problem wearing them. If there's one thing a chap with a mildly obsessive nature really gets problems with, it's things like these. And never take them on holiday. Especially if you're flying over time zones. 

To make matters even worse, number one son got a set as well. And he came to see us. And the socks got mixed up, so that I have two left hand Tuesday socks. Which I'm wearing today. If you're going to be wrong, do it properly I reckon.