We spotted an interesting app in Gizmodo’s iPhone roundup for the week. iNap is designed for commuters that don’t want to miss their train stop. Just pick any location you can find on Google Maps, set the distance for the alert radius and the alarm tone, and it’s ready. It’s a great app and only costs $1.
The app actually reminds us of the first time we heard about Bug Labs. The modular gadget building system was described to us as a way to build unconventional consumer electronics. They specifically talked about one person that built an alarm clock with GPS because he kept falling the asleep on the train. Thanks to convergence we’re seeing a lot of devices expand from their initial intentions, whether it’s an iPhone GPS alarm clock or an N95 being used auto upload your bike ride to Flickr.
[Cal Henderson] delivered a keynote titled Why I Hate Django at the first annual DjangoCon. Django is an open source BSD licensed web framework written in Python. Google has posted the keynote in its entirety to YouTube, which you can find embedded above. While the talk is humorous (and takes many jabs at Rails developers) it does provide insight into what makes a good web framework. [Cal] is Director of Engineering at Flickr and is an authority on how to make websites scale. He points out that most frameworks are designed to get projects off the ground quickly, but are lacking when it comes to building an even larger service. He talks about several things in Django that need work and improvements that could be made. It’s really an interesting look at what it takes to go big. Continue reading “Why I Hate Django”→
Lifehacker’s [Gina Trapani] has one of Flickr’s photo bikes and wrote up how it works. As you ride, the bike automatically takes photographs, geotags them, and uploads them to Flickr. The handlebar unit contains a Nokia N95 cellphone. The rear is a solar powered charging unit. It has a custom python script that starts the photo taking sequence when it detects the bike is in motion using the phone’s accelerometer.
Most of the engineering seems to be for usability’s sake. We’re guessing they probably wanted to disguise that they’re bolting a $600 cellphone to a bike as well. Out of the box the Nokia N95 already does almost everything required. It has a 5 megapixel camera with an interval timer that can vary from 10 seconds to 30 minutes. It supports Flickr uploading, but with software like ShoZu you can streamline the geotagging and make all uploads automatic. Just build a solid mount for your N95 and you’ve pretty much got it, and when you park your bike you can take the phone with you.
MightyOhm’s laboratories have recently decided to start tackling more surface mount work. As part of this upgrade to SMD hot air reflow stations, they’re handling a lot of solder paste. Solder paste is happy at less than 50degF and above freezing, and [Jeff] didn’t want to chance that lead infiltrating his Manwich, so he built this solder paste fridge. The main unit is a standard 12V peltier based travel cooler. He attached a surplus PID controller with a K-type thermocouple to maintain the temperature while preventing the cooler from being always on. The only adjustment he really had to make was adding a bleed resistor to force the MOSFET to turn off. You can find more pictures of his project on Flickr.
Tinkerlog got their hands on a color LCD from SparkFun and set it up to receive images from Flickr. These color LCDs are 128×128 pixel and the include a breakout board with a separate power supply for the backlight. Communication is via a three wire SPI bus plus a reset line. [Alex] used an ATmega48 for control, which is connected to the computer using an RS232 to USB converter. The wiring schematic is here.
For the software side of things, he adapted Sparkfun’s example ATmega8 code for the microcontroller (he couldn’t get the Arduino code to work). Beej’s Python Flickr API was used to grab the images. The Python Imaging Library converted them, and finally, they were sent to the display using pySerial. SparkFun has been offering these displays for quite some time; it’s good to see a quality writeup of one in use.
This is some beautiful work. The clip features multiple video streams stabilized and then assembled into a whole. First, [ibftp] used the “Stabilize” feature in Motion 3 (part of Apple’s Final Cut Studio 2) to remove the camera shake from the clips. Then he was able to blend the videos with “fusion” set to “multiplication”. If you’ve got access to the tools, this shouldn’t be too hard to do yourself. We’re certain someone in SIGGRAPH is already attempting to do the same thing live. If you want to see image stabilization really making a difference, have a look at the stabilized version of the Zapruder film embedded below.