Arduino Uno Fun and Continuous Learning

So, a million years ago, I bought an Arduino Uno Starter Kit from MakerShed. When it arrived, I tried a tutorial and had fun with the first LED lesson, but the second lesson, which I remember was more focused on programming, left me in the dust. I boxed up the Arduino and put it in my geek closet. I always wanted to get back to it, but never did.

My new local library is awesome. They let you borrow eBook readers (I played around with a Nook the other night), telescopes (for three weeks at a clip!), and fishing poles with stocked tackle boxes. Seriously. Awesome library. But, they offer one other service, too. They have a 3D printer! Wanting to take advantage of this service, I went looking for something nerdy enough to justify claiming that it was printed on the library 3D printer. I went to Thingiverse.com and quickly found my target.

Arduino Uno and breadboard holder

Arduino Uno and breadboard holder

Yes, a 3D printed Arduino and breadboard holder! I think that is nerdy enough! 😀

So, with the programming I have been learning over the past..while. Hmm? I’ve been back at it for a couple of years now…since Java class at BCC. Anyway, I took out the Arduino from the back of the closet and set about playing around with it. First stop? Youtube! I found Paul McWhorter‘s Arduino video series and was instantly hooked. I guess he is a high school math teacher in Eldorado, Texas. Poking around his Youtube channel, it is obvious that he is an awesome teacher. I know I haven’t been in high school in a billion years, but we were not doing anything even remotely as cool as building full-on, high-altitude data and video collectors. I helped organize the first (and probably last) whale watching trip. That was good fun, but standing on a boat that someone else is driving and looking at whales, as much as I love them, is not as cool as building, launching, and recovering your own high-altitude flier. Sorry, whales.

This guy’s students must love him.

My goal with the Arduino is to get good enough with it that I can build and deploy my own weather station and have it post to Weather Underground.

There is your update. I am doing Paul’s Arduino course, a Coursera course on Programming Foundations (which is based on Python3), and I am on a Windows Batch Scripting kick at work. Have you ever heard of HTAs before? Neither had I! Looks good! I need to finish up with these things, however, and get back to writing Python full-time. I am about 90% complete with a data structuring program for genetic genealogy (input several csv files, output a formatted json file chock full of nested lists and dictionaries of dictionaries), and then I need to learn a whole bunch about MongoDB and some basic Statistics. Learning never ends.

Oh! I put down the Javascript Jabber podcast (looks like I got to episode 216) and picked up Talk Python To Me for listening on my commute. I’m digging it, and it is more in line with where my head is right now. It is interesting that the web dev aspects of Python that are being discussed on TPTM, I am already familiar with from Javascript Jabber. Only so many ways to peel a carrot, I guess.

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13 Ancient Fermoy & Glanworth.doc

A good, quick read about the area around Castletownroche.

Source: 13 Ancient Fermoy & Glanworth.doc

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MongoDB and Python in Data Visualization

This is an interesting web site discussing the use of Python and MongoDB in data visualization. I am getting very comfortable with Python and I have just started playing with MongoDB, so looking at examples of how I can start to generate data visualizations out of these tools is my next step. On a recent run of my Python script (compiling various csv files into a json format), I found that I am presently over 211 million cycles, and that is just merging the first two files! While playing with the MongoDB, I found that I need to change the values of a certain field from one long string into a list. This is only going to drive up the cycles. Then I have the third file to figure out. This, I think, will be a list of lists of dictionaries. This list will be added as a new key:value in a sub-dictionary within an overall dictionary. Hmmm? Why might I be interested in building a database?
{{ { [ [ { } ] ] } } }
I think that is right.
Genetic genealogy: it is more about numbers than census records.

 

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Convert MAC Addresses in Excel

I have 140 MAC addresses that I need to find out not only what switch, and switch port they are on, but also which part of the floor. It is a time-consuming slog, especially since the MAC addresses are not in a standard format.

This site saved me.

TL;DR version:

If you have Excel handy:
Cell A1 your original MAC
Cell B1 =SUBSTITUTE(A1,”:”,””)
Cell C1 =MID(B1,1,4)&”:”&MID(B1,5,4)&”:”&MID(B1,9,4)

Put original MACs into column A, 1 per cell
Fill down column B and C

In my case,

D35 is original

D36: =MID(D35,1,4)&”.”&MID(D35,5,4)&”.”&MID(D35,9,4)

001DA266FBE6 becomes useable 001D.A266.FBE6

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PiBeacon – Making an iBeacon from a Raspberry Pi · Hack N Cheese

Source: PiBeacon – Making an iBeacon from a Raspberry Pi · Hack N Cheese

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SoftEther VPN, Part 2

So, SoftEther VPN has been cranking along nicely for me for months now. I really love it. It stays out of the way and does exactly what it is supposed to do.

I just bought a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. I did this for a couple of reasons. The first being that my PC is getting so old that spinning up a Linux VM in VirtualBox is a bone-crushing endeavor, especially if i just want to play around with a Python script (hint: pexpect does not work on a Windows client). Second, to move the VPN server to so that it is not dependent on my PC…which is getting to be really old.

I found this page, which was a great help in getting SoftEther installed on the RasPi. I was messing around with this while at work. I am trying to figure out the best way to migrate the settings from the PC (Windows) to the RasPi (ARM/Linux). There are a few methods available, and none of them are recommended while doing this from remote and actually using the VPN server at the same time. AHHAHAHAHAHA!

Probably the safest way is to configure the two boxes as a cluster, move the settings and user info to the RasPi and then shut down the instance running on the PC. This involves several interruptions of the VPN and, well, not something I want to mess around with right now. I’ll do it all from home.

I am really, really excited about the RasPi. While it is not as fast as my old PC, it is speedy enough for most everything I have thrown at it so far. When the VPN is running, I want to see how much it has left in the resources tank. If there is enough, I am looking to move the Plex Server (little used, but still handy) from the PC to the RasPi. Fun!

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How to connect to Cisco routers using Minicom – Fadil’s blog

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