From the Burrow

Adam update 1

2011-04-06 00:00:00 +0000

Ok so it’s been a couple of days and this tablet really is an amazing mix. First off I have found myself saying to people a lot that you pretty much have to be someone who intends to hack their tablet, this thing really is not prime time material yet. The issue comes down to the fact that Notion Ink’s spin on adroid, Eden, is too big a goal for them to achieve. The guys at Notion Ink have created a fantastic piece of hardware (I’ll get back to this soon but roll with me for now) but are trying to own the experience from start to finish and that just isn’t going to be possible with their size team and given how much ground the big guys have already covered. They should stop, look at what their actual strengths are, and push forward in making the best android experience leveraging their frankly awesome tablet. Ok, so its clear that I like the device, I do, but its not without its faults. The big pull factor for me was the screen, Pixel Qi is great, I am drifting outside during my lunch breaks more and getting used to whipping it out in public to read and browse (this still is a little weird as a tablet is far from being as socially inconspicuous as a phone but hey) and coupled with 3G and firefox (I may have to dedicate a post to a passionate rant about firefox on this thing as it is wonderful) it is a beautiful experience.

The hardware in general is good, the processor is plenty fast enough, 3g & gps work very smoothly. The device is a touc too heavy in my opinion and you find yourself arranging yourself and world around you to rest your tablet on. The camera is poor considering what they could fit in the housing given the space, but saying that it does work (arbeit with very slow autofocus) and the spin feature is actually very useful. When you get using this thing though you still end up running back into the OS and realising that you have a very unfinished experience. A tablet is a thin layer between you and experience and all that expeirence is dictacted by apps and there aren’t any that take advantage of Eden, and with no android market place you are placed at a huge disadvantage to even those who bought crappy underpowered chinese tablets. Logically the only thing to do was root the device and root it I did! This video at youtube is a wonderful thing for the first time ‘rooter’ asit is one continuous shot of a guys rooting his adam while clearly explaining what he is doing. I quite honestly just sat down and rooted right along with him! ( I’m sure any australians reading this a smirking away to themselves right now!). Once complete the android market is available and this just transforms the device; I have all my podcast and rss feeds pouring into this thing, along with wordpress, bbc, youtube, winamp…the list goes on. The point is that I suddenly had a computer. Yet still, as before, you find yourself bumping into the interface again and so soon I am looking at two things.

  • First I am going to get stock android on here. No it’s not designed for tablets but still I expect it to get in my way less

  • Second I am going to start trying to get Ubuntu booting on here. THis really comes down to the fact that this tablet as it is is a great consumption device but a really poor creation one, let’s face it…touch keyboards suck, and as a coder I just don’t have the tools I want on here yet. Ok so the summary (as I really need to get some sleep):

The hardware is great. A little heavy, and not nearly as thin as soem tablets but still, if you want Pixel Qi this is awesome.

This is a tablet for techy people right now. I have no doubt that Notion Ink could make this very appealing to people but as it stands you really need to root it to start getting real value from it. Anyhoo Goodnigt. I’m going to try and make shorter, less rambling posts, in future as I’m still getting the hang of this.

Thanks for dropping in!

Allo Adam!

2011-04-02 00:00:00 +0000

I’m back (who am I telling? no one comes here!) I have just got an Adam tablet after many months of waiting and the best part of a year wondering if it was vapourware. For the uninitiated the adam is a tablet with a pixel qi screen which allows viewing in direct sunlight (think kindle with all the features of a regular screen.

It has been a major bugbear of mine for the last few years that I could only do my geeking from indoors (a limitation which has helped me cultivate the geek standard in skin pastiness!) so when I heard of this screen I knew it would let me knock this on the head once and for all.

Right so for the next few weeks i’ll be posting about the adam, any hacks I undertake, and anything else that springs to mind. Catch ye later

Steam punk route viewer

2010-08-16 00:00:00 +0000

http://hackaday.com/2010/08/14/google-maps-wristlet-navigator/

I will be posting again soon Ciao

Robots and social engineering

2010-07-07 00:00:00 +0000

This has been around for a while but it still is lovely. It’s a great example of human engineering and our personification of anything with a recognisable features. Enjoy! TweenBots

p.s. Make sure you check out the videos!

Your country is a product...

2010-07-05 00:00:00 +0000

…and chances are, you aren’t the target demographic

Whack my sausage

2010-07-05 00:00:00 +0000

The other day I sauntered in from work to find the girlfriend and her brother hollering bizarre, two word phrases and cackling while hammering them into google. They were, having just finished watching ‘Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure’, manically in search of a googlewhack of their own. For the uninitiated a googlewhack is, as laid down by the great Wikipedia

..a kind of a contest for finding a Google search query consisting of exactly two words without quotation marks, that return exactly one hit. A Googlewhack must consist of two actual words found in a dictionary

As each minute passed they each plundered deeper into their lexicons until finally, SCIOLIC NUTCRACKER! A googlewhack, at the time that is; sadly the nature of these things is that once it has been registered, google sees the post and then there are more pages it knows of with the phrase and the googlewhack is no more.

But imminent death aside the glory remained! Al (the brother) had been putting forward many a suggestion with sausage as the second word and was wondering if there were any googlewhacks to be found with his beloved meat product as the star. Of course within a trice my trusty python editor was open and a program was growing…a program to Google search every adjective in a dictionary + sausage!

Alas once you start hammering Google with a good few thousand searches you realise that they all start failing and that you have broken the terms of usage agreement…Bugger

Ah well it was an interesting exercise and as I’m not going to hone a program I cant use, I may as well post it here! Aren’t you grateful, you human receptacle of unwanted programs you?!

Enjoy…and don’t run it,it will only bring momentary smiles and quick, swift dissatisfaction…. insert your own trite conclusion on the nature of life here. Ciao!

 
#this program tries to find googlewhacks with the second word as sausage!
import sys
from xgoogle.search import GoogleSearch, SearchError    
import urllib
import simplejson
from threading import Thread


class whackHunter(Thread):
    def __init__(self, phrase):
        Thread.__init__(self)
        self.phrase = phrase
        self.status = -1
        
    def run(self):
        query = urllib.urlencode({'q' : self.phrase})
        url = 'http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/services/search/web?v=1.0&%s'\
            % (query,)
        search_results = urllib.urlopen(url)
        json = simplejson.loads(search_results.read())
        result_base = json['responseData']
        if result_base:
            results = result_base['results']
            self.status = len(results)
        else:
            self.status = -2
    

#load in dictionary
dict_file = open("index.adj")
dictionary = (line.split(" ")[0] for line in dict_file)
keep_searching = True
keep_watching = True
hunt_queue = []

while keep_searching:
    while len(hunt_queue)<=5 and keep_watching:
        try:
            search_phrase = "%s sausage" % (dictionary.next(),)
            new_search = whackHunter(search_phrase)
            hunt_queue.append(new_search)
            new_search.start()
        except:
            "thats the whole barrel!"
            keep_watching=False
        
    for i in range(len(hunt_queue)-1)[::-1]:
        if hunt_queue[i].status!=-1:
            search = hunt_queue.pop(i)
            if search.status == 1:
                print "OH YEAHHHH! the whack is %s" % (search.phrase,)
                keep_searching= False
                break
            elif search.status == -2:
                print "dead search %s" % (search.phrase,)
            else:
                print "no joy with %s" % (search.phrase,)        
        
dict_file.close()
print "Done"

Still no musing - Python Select Window and grab Details (alpha)

2010-06-17 00:00:00 +0000

I have had need of a program that gave me the ability to select any window on the desktop and have it return details for me. Turns out there is a lovely command line program specifically for this called ‘xprop’. To use it in python I have called subprocess and got it to rip the results that contain the information I need into a dictionary.

Its very hacky at the mo and will receive plenty of love before it is ready but as I spent so long trying to find out there was a program for this I pretty much had to post it for prosperity.

You have been warned!

 
import subprocess
import tempfile

class WindowGrabber:
    def __init__(self):
        pass
    
    def window_picker(self):
        out = tempfile.TemporaryFile()
        in_pipe = None
        self.job = subprocess.Popen(["xprop",],
                                    stdin=in_pipe,
                                    stdout=out,
                                    stderr=subprocess.STDOUT)
        while self.job.returncode is None:
            self.job.poll()
        out.seek(0)
        result = out.readlines()
        window_details = {}
        for line in result:
            if line.find(" = ") >= 0:
                key, value = line.split(" = ")
                if value.find(", ") >= 0:
                    value = value.split(", ")
                window_details[key] = value
        print ""
        
if __name__ == "__main__":
    a=WindowGrabber().window_picker()

A Little Parcel Of Awesome

2010-06-06 00:00:00 +0000

Test from mobile

2010-05-17 00:00:00 +0000

Again another nearly pointless post. This time to test the wordpress android apps. Damn nice it is too!

Salutations Terra

2010-05-16 00:00:00 +0000