Multimedia Library Server

I’ve always used iTunes to manage my sharing and remote playing of my media library within my home.

As you no doubt know, iTunes sucks at sharing/streaming media. I used iTunes because it was the path of least resistance despite all the verbal abuse I’ve hurled at it…it’s bloated, slow, crashes etc…but that’s a whole different article…. 😉

Enter Plex. My Padawan at work turned me on to the Plex Media Server and my media consumption has been upgraded beyond my wildest imagination.

Continue reading “Multimedia Library Server”

PID Hardware Photos

I was (and hope to again) working on a PID loop for the dragon’s main light. The idea is simple- vary the heat lamp using a servo and rheostat. Some of you have expressed interest. Here are the photos of the servo setup. The code however is so bad I don’t even know where to start. If you get something working please let me know!

The servo and linkages work perfectly through the full 180 degree range. The issue is the PID code….

Continue reading “PID Hardware Photos”

I really hate facebook

They’re everywhere. I hate the logo and everything that goes with it, the cookies, the scripts, the tracking etc etc. It was nice in the beginning but they’re out of control.

What to do….what to do.

Block them and do it creatively. There are LOTS of solutions for blocking them and their scripts and cookies.

My approach is to modify my hosts file and redirect as many of their domains as I can to the trash bin.

GREAT IDEA! But I wanted more. I wanted to be able to track how many times and what pages were getting data/sending data to them. Plus I wanted some simple indication that they had been blocked. Here’s what I did.

I setup a spot on my web server to accept the “redirects”. http://www.jeffw.net/nofb/index.html

If you go there you’ll get a page of little 21×21 pictures of a “No Facebook” icon. Cool!

The 21×21 pixel icon fits neatly where a news page might have a link out to facebook- thus you can see where in the page facebook got blocked.

My web logs also keep track of what pages/URLs were requested so I have some idea of where all these redirects were trying to go.

This is what I added to my hosts file in Windows 7:

54.243.181.94 www.facebook.com facebook.com static.ak.fbcdn.net 
54.243.181.94 www.static.ak.fbcdn.net login.facebook.com 
54.243.181.94 www.login.facebook.com fbcdn.net www.fbcdn.net 
54.243.181.94 fbcdn.com www.fbcdn.com static.ak.connect.facebook.com 
54.243.181.94 www.static.ak.connect.facebook.com
54.243.181.94 facebook.net www.facebook.net connect.facebook.net
54.243.181.94 m.facebook.net m.facebook.com

All those domains are now redirected to my server which happily accepts the connection, logs it and gives you a nice big page of “No Facebook” images.

99% of the time you’ll only see a few of the images because that’s all the space a web page will allocate to their “like” section. Good enough. If you see the little image you know it worked.

Now if you don’t want to send your redirects to me so I can collect data about what pages facebook is sending you to, you can easily replace my ip address with 127.0.0.1 which will redirect the links to your local computer. Since you probably don’t have a web server running you’ll get blank spaces instead of my little images.

I’ll update the hosts file entries as I find more that need to be blocked.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Tri-Temp Update

I found time over the holidays to mess with one of my old original projects- the Tri-Temp
It was very interesting to poke around in some of my original hardware/code and add some things to it.

Attached is a gallery of pics from the latest incarnation.

I’ll add the code changes and an updated schematic shortly. Continue reading “Tri-Temp Update”

PID? What is it?

Wikipedia says that a proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a generic control loop feedback mechanism (controller) widely used in industrial control systems – a PID is the most commonly used feedback controller. A PID controller calculates an “error” value as the difference between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint. The controller attempts to minimize the error by adjusting the process control inputs.

So what?

Continue reading “PID? What is it?”

Decade Counter!

I wanted a way to have a “rotatable” counter to indicate that the LCC was still looping properly.  I finally found something! A decade counter (as noted in an earlier post)!

Now instead of pulsing one led I have a “spinner” type of effect. I don’t have to keep track of where the “count” is….I just pulse it. Coding this would have been a nightmare. Of course wiring 10 LEDs is a mess but it’s a cool one.

decade counter mess
decade counter mess