Monday, December 28, 2009

TouchBook has arrived!

My new Always Innovating TouchBook has arrived. Since I've only had it a few minutes I'll refrain from any immediate comments. I can already see a few places where some slight improvements can be made (software stuff) but over all I am happy with the unit. :) I'm using it right now to type this blog entry. I have the unit with the detachable  keyboard/battery. The keyboard is annoying me because it's tiny and the keys are laid out a bit differently (I always get annoyed with new keyboards). I will say that the keyboard has a nice feel. I've also found that I need to adjust the default settings. Things like the mouse are moving way too slow for my tastes. as usual more to follow.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Scattered thoughts

My mind is all over the place at the moment. I'm working on getting my self ready for applying for my MS degree. It will be a computer science degree. This is going to require a lot of studying and hard work but should be rewarding. Hopefully it will fill me with new ideas and knowledge to further my home automation projects.
I'm hoping to see the Touch Book I've ordered. I haven't received official word but it's looking like December. Once I get it and I've played for a while I'd like to see how well Android works. This should make for a good remote, system interface and information pad.
My new home server is halfway built. It's running on a CentOS distro (5.4). I'm having a little trouble with the DNS and I'll have to debug that. Mail is also a bit wonky (uucp vs non-uucp deliver) and requires a bunch of work. The latest MediaTomb (svn) is compiled and I hope to have it running this week. I should bring over Misterhouse soon and I have a bunch of other things to setup (svn, cvs, IntelliJ editor - you get the idea). This server should be a good update from my Fedora 6 system. It was getting very difficult to update.
I'm still working with Groovy. I'm hoping to use Groovy as somewhat of an embedded interpreter within the main segment of the decision making part of a home automation system. The idea of an object oriented interface and an interpreter appeals to me. I'm still trying to figure out how to create some kind of command line interface to the running system. I'm looking for a Cisco router interface to administer and configure the whole thing. Also I want to be able to dynamically add objects and to allow a user to add new code to the running code without having to stop and restart the home automation application server. In these modern times being able to run non-stop seems some that should be within our grasp. I'm hoping that the MS degree will be able to shed some light on the new technology. I am looking at Tomcat and Apache but I really don't know what I'm seeing at this moment. Oh, I'm not forgetting the user. The command line doesn't need to used by the user. A sufficient browser interface (using AJAX) will be provided. The idea is not to limit the interface to one technology. Machine to machine and human to machine should all be a part of the system. And I do see some form of 'cloud computing' being interfaced to the system. You would add services like you would add a match coprocessor (well like we did years ago ;-).
Seems that at the moment a number of users are trying to use my iplc (Insteon PLC, X10 CM15A, etc) driver. I need to do some work to correct a few errors and some ominous warnings. Also there is a lot of interest in compiling the driver for non-x86 platforms. I've never been successful getting the driver to compile in a cross platform development environment. I'm willing to learn, it's just I can't find the information that explains how to do it.
Finally I'm starting to look into a new car. I don't need one right this moment. But my 96 Saturn is starting to show it's age (and I don't know if I can get parts for it any longer). I'm not impressed with the current gas mileage. It's not a whole lot better than my Saturn (35 - 38 mpg is typical right now). The hybrids scare me as the technology is very new and I'm not certain of the service life time or cost of this technology. I'm sad to see that technology such as diesel is not better (a large European Mercedes can get 41 mpg but not in the US ???). I'm really surprised that better technology hasn't been deliverd. The typical auto in the US gets worse gas mileage than my '75 Mustand V6 did when it was 12 years old (28 mpg). So in the last 20+ years we haven't been able to do that much better. Good thing I ride a bike as I think that human power (hybrid human power/soemthing else) is our future. Human power is renewable while just about everything else is not.