This weekend the Temperature-measurement-software-module,
development was (finally) finalized !
As a test; this software module was (finally) included in the POS display,
showing the living-room temperature as well as the other sensor-temperature under Lucy's bedroom:
" Lucy was in her bedroom when this photograph was made,
note a few degrees rise in temperature. " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" The livingroom temperature... " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
The degrees symbol ° was a bit of a puzzle before it displayed correctly.
It took us a while to figure out the communications with the Point Of Sale (POS) display,
was set to 7 bits; this setting ignored all special characters to display.
So using the original ! documentation, we found that a dip-switch setting should be modified.
Here's the hunt,
for finding the dipswitches.
" It's not under the base,
it's under the display. " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
[ The box on the right, is a powersupply I built when I was 13/14 years of age.
It has been converted, over the years,
from a 15 volt DC unit to the current 5 volt DC unit.
this supplies the power to the POS-display.
" Dip-Switches 3 and 4 should be set in the 'OFF' position. " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
I couldn't wait to tell Lucy...
" But, Why ? Dude ? " - Lucy
" I can see the analogue thermometer, from over here ! " - Lucy
" It reads 20 °C,
that's a proper... 68 F
If I did my math right ... " - Lucy
Hot from the HamsterTracker™-Mailbox,
Dena sent in this very cool entry:
" These pics were taken at my computer desk
with my hamster, Mittens and Lucy " - Dena
" Mittens was very exited to meet lucy,
he walked right up and said hello.
I think Mittens likes Lucy,
but he's not even 1 yet.
He asked if Lucy could live in his cage
and of course my immediate response was "NO"......
so we compromised. " - Dena
" Mittens invited Lucy to his Thanksgiving party.
Notice the chestnut stuffed grape "turkey" and other hamster-safe foods.
I think Lucy looks like she's having a good time.
This is Mittens' 1st real dinner party! " - Dena
The HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept. has been very busy this weekend.
" A month ago, when installing Windows (XP),
we had to use a 'donor'-3.5" Floppy diskdrive,
[ Appearantly when using the latest state of the art SATA II type hard-disks,
you'll need to install a driver first, using a floppy disk. ]
the little thing did it's job without any problems,
but it's horrendous thing to look at: " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" The horrendous floppy disk-drive
partly covered with a floppy disk to mask... " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" The new Floppy Drive taken from the ol' HamsterTracker™-server.
Please note the 'donor-PC of the horrendous floppy drive' in the background. " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" Sweet !
(The Floppy-Disk-Door, that came with the case, is opened here!) " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" All is up and runnin' again,
but doesn't this look a tiny bit messy ? " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
Then the large part of this project started
" The start of the challenge " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
Four (tedious and) enjoyable hours later;
here's the result:
" TA DA !
We even vacuumed ! " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" What's all the commotion, Dude ? " - Lucy
It took Lucy 2.48 seconds to appear
asking a Pine-Seed after shooting the above photograph !
... And it took me 3.59 seconds to serve Lucy one !
I've been having a lot of fun last weekend,
tuning the " Dream Machine ",
The machine is awesomely quiet, (one of the major design issues),
as well as being Blisteringly fast ;-)
But I did notice that the Webcam-Server software was keeping the harddisk very busy.
Every twenty seconds a new webcam-snapshot is written to disk,
manipulating (adding time and camera identification information),
and finally converting to jpg-format before uploading.
When you've got a quiet machine like the " Dream Machine ",
those little harddisk-sounds where getting annoying.
[ I know there's always that next loudest sound...
but this one needed some immediate attention ]
So I decided to do an experiment by running the webcam server software,
from a flash-ram disk:
" The blue bubble on the left, second down, from the top,
is a 1 Gigabyte flash-disk " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
The second (and last) 4 port USB (2.0) PCI card was removed from the ol' HamsterTracker™-server.
One of those two is already installed in the Dream Machine.
This one is going to be installed soon,
taking advantage of the internal port; that's for the flash-drive.
" Partly dusted 4 port USB PCI with 2 Gb FLASH! " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
" Here the other side of it ! " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
By this the harddisk has stopped making noise, when updating webcam pictures!
This is giving the harddisk a time to rest,
after a few minutes it will shut down,
prolonging it's life,
while saving energy,
AND (ofcourse, therefore) being more quiet!
" We didn't call it 'Dream-Machine' for nothin' ! " - HamsterTracker™-Geek Dept.
[ it is difficult to photograph silence ... ]
I've been working on assembling, installing and tuning my new 'Dream Machine'
for over three (very enjoyable) weeks now.
The dowside of this new system is, that it has only one
serial communications (RS-232) port on the motherboard.
And this port is used by the HamsterTracker™-Data-Collector hardware.
Remember my Point of Sale- or (more simply stated) POS-display?
That one too, uses a serial communications port.
So I bought a USB to RS-232 converter. And I moved a USB card from the ol' PC to the Dream Machine
Which does the job fine (I must add).
Because the USB card has a port INSIDE the casing, I thought I would jam the USB-RS-232-thing,
also inside the computer case.
That required some soldering and stuff:
This will, after soldering, hookup to the USB-thingy.
The new soldered cable hooks up to a RS-232 jack that I can fit in the back.
Here's how it all looks hooked up,
before installing in PC.
Note the connector on the right (a printer connector),
remains unused ...
I just didn't want to leave an empty hole in there.
On the back of the computer,
it's now installed in the dead middle of this photograph.
(To the left of the VGA connectors (one is a DV-I or something,
which is fitted with a VGA converter-connector.
(That was supplied with the Graphics card btw.)
Note the three 'new' USB (2.0) connectors,
that have also been installed
The USB plug plugged in into the back of the newly installed USB card.
(I should have dusted that card before installing, I know)
It's still messy,
but it did clear ONE wire from the USB thingy!
I'll work on the wire-ing as soon as all is installed and functioning
the way we envisioned here at HamsterTracker™
This is an Extreme HamsterTrackin' entry with a twist;
about a month ago the website www.BeachName.com was all over the Dutch news.
a snippet from their website:
" Your own name written by hand in the sand of the Kenyan Bamburi Beach.
Your name is written by Moses and Joan Onoo and their team.
You receive a beautiful colour print on high-quality photographic paper
of your beach name photo by regular mail (20 x 30 cm/8 x 12 inches) and email... "
... and ...
" ... Before the beach name project started, Moses worked as a night watchman
at a hotel at the minimum wage of 2250 Kenyan shillings per month
(approximately Ä 25 / US$ 30) for 25 twelve-hour nights. ... "
So by ordering this HamsterTracker™ is helping out in Kenia,
in return they'll do some Extreme HamsterTrackin' in a previously un-HamsterTracked continent !
WIN WIN for BOTH parties!
Here's the emailed photograph we recieved:
In the snail-mail-box of HamsterTracker.com the paper version also arrived!
" I think it's Moses and Joan sitting
at the left of the HamsterTracker artwork! " - HamsterTracker™
As it seems, after the Dutch news coverage,
they got over a 1000 orders! The whole community over there is helping out to process all orders!
(and they are all financially gaining from it in the process)
So if you're still looking for that perfect Birthday-, Xmas- or other gift...
Check out www.BeachName.com
Extreme HamsterTracker™-shouts to Moses and Joan and their Team.