Daily coffee and wifi, September 6, 2016

Coffee and wifi (double espresso over ice) at the “dog park Biggby”, Platt Road at Ellsworth. It’s not an inconvenient location, and the very large south-facing windows are good to know about as the days get shorter. More than 90 degrees outside, and I’m preparing to make dinner. The recipe is for “broccoli Calabrian style” from Martha Rose Shulman. I couldn’t find that exact recipe online, but this Bucatini Con Broccoli Alla Calabrese is close. »

September 3, 2016 Oklahoma earthquakes

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake rattled oil country in Oklahoma on September 3, 2016 at 7:02 a.m. The quake’s epicenter was eight miles northwest of Pawnee, OK. The USGS maps of the quake are detailed. The Pawnee Nation declared a state of emergency after ordering evacuations of damaged buildings in the area. Historically, the incidence of earthquakes in Oklahoma is low, and there is concern in the state that these earthquakes are of man-made origin. »

New month, new theme

I’ve switched themes in this weblog, using Casper from Valère JEANTET who ported it from Ghost to Hugo. The biggest advantage of the theme is that it’s neat and clean and looks like other people’s work. The biggest disadvantage is that I have 80+ pages of paginated weblog going back into the dim mists of time, and this theme doesn’t come out of the box with support for that kind of deep back list in it. »

full stack plane spotting and data analysis

The task at hand is simple. Whenever a particular airplane is visible overhead, send out a tweet with that notice. Don’t repeat yourself with this announcement more than twice an hour, but try not to have too much lag in reporting. The full stack of hardware and software to do this is not particularly complicated to use once you get it all running, but there are a series of issues and observations along the way that add to the complexity. »

Plane finding with dump1090

In March 2015 I wrote briefly about plane spotting with dump1090. In short, many airplanes have ADS-B transponders which squawk out their location, airspeed, and current conditions, and you can pick up those transmissions using an inexpensive RTL-SDR tuner stick and a simple antenna. I’ve been looking into this again to see if I can get a better understanding of how it works as well as to take advantage of a year plus of software development. »

Github private repositories

Github has changed their pricing strategy to allow individual accounts to have more private repositories. This is a welcome change for accounts like mine. As part of their change, enterprise pricing has increased. I’m told that this will multiply the bills that some companies will see. This post tests a new private repo, and links to Github pricing for future reference. »

Edward Vielmetti on #Github,

A commonplace reader

Sometimes it’s easier and faster to fill a page by quoting from others. The commonplace book is the annotated scrapbook, carefully collecting bits from other writers with just enough commentary and selection to make them your own. If these were written in this era you’d call it “curation”, though I can only think of that word in the context of “curated meats”, somewhat salty and dry and meant to be preserved for some time. »

Edward Vielmetti

Bots are hot - again

The title of the post is taken from a 1996 Wired article by Andrew Leonard describing the state of automated systems in the dot-com era. Web robots – spiders, wanderers, and worms. Cancelbots, Lazarus, and Automoose. Chatterbots, softbots, userbots, taskbots, knowbots, and mailbots. MrBot and MrsBot. Warbots, clonebots, floodbots, annoybots, hackbots, and Vladbots. Gaybots, gossipbots, and gamebots. Skeleton bots, spybots, and sloth bots. Xbots and meta-bots. Eggdrop bots. Motorcycle bull dyke bots. »

Mechanical slaves and the Californian ideology

Noted elsewhere, saved here for reference, from Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, THE CALIFORNIAN IDEOLOGY If human slaves are ultimately unreliable, then mechanical ones will have to be invented. The search for the holy grail of Artificial Intelligence reveals this desire for the Golem a strong and loyal slave whose skin is the colour of the earth and whose innards are made of sand. As in Asimov’s Robot novels, the techno-utopians imagine that it is possible to obtain slave like labour from inanimate machines. »

Edward Vielmetti


Yesterday’s radio was full of the Prince music catalog. The artist passed away in his Minnesota home at the age of 57. In response any radio station that had anything other that pre-programmed music responded by playing his hits - “Little Red Corvette”, “Raspberry Beret”, “Purple Rain” - and the radio stations that had artistic control also played B sides, live shows, bootlegs and whatever they could find. Ann Arbor’s own WCBN was exemplary in this regard. »

Upgrade to El Capitan

I’m working through the details of an upgrade from Mavericks to El Capitan. Some running notes. The upgrade took about 2 hrs. I went to the Apple Store at Briarwood in Ann Arbor to get the install done, since their Internet is faster than my home UVerse. After doing the upgrade the next big slow task is brew update. You would not be surprised to know that I have a lot of packages installed, and that brew is working hard to update everything. »

Chicken and onion curry

Saveur Magazine has a recipe for a chicken and onion curry from January 27, 2010. It took a little more than an hour to cook, but the results were very much worth it - delicious, and worth repeating. We had the meal with rice, kale, and a daikon raita from food.com that I kind of liked but which was not a big hit with the rest of the table. The current meal planning regime here uses a Google calendar and a question at the end of every meal: do you want this again, and how many weeks before we have it again? »

a2b3 lunch non-summary for 3d week of January 2016

Thanks to everyone for coming to lunch. We had 16 people, and complete introductions in 23 minutes. The topic of the question was “repair”. Linda Diane Feldt is repairing her side door, original equipment on a 90 y/o house. Kathryn Sanderson darns socks. Dan Friedus wants to know if you want to repair his 1980s Bolens garden tractors. (Make an offer.) Ruthann Nichols teaches Science and Wine as a freshman seminar at the U. »

Ann Arbor area APRS network status, January 2016

APRS is the “Automatic Position Reporting Service”, a system for sharing information about the position of participating amateur radio stations. Clients transmit position reports on 144.39 Mhz; digipeaters repeat these reports to other monitoring stations; and various IGate sites monitor transmissions and send their findings to aprs.fi which collects worldwide data. In recent memory there has been an APRS digipeater in Chelsea, Michigan with wide area coverage, good enough to pick up travellers on I-94 west of Ann Arbor. »

Dave New N8SBE to speak at ARROW on Software Defined Radio

Dave New N8SBE will be speaking at the January 2016 meeting of the ARROW radio club on the topic of Software Defined Radio. He will present an introduction to GNU Radio and the GNU Radio Companion visual programming environment, and the HackRF One Software Defined Transceiver from Great Scott Gadgets. The demo will include a disucssion of receiver and transmitter flow graphs, as well as resources to learn more about digital signal processing using the HackRF One and GNU Radio. »

Oxford Flood Network

The Oxford Flood Network is making a flood detection network in the UK, using low cost sensors and volunteers. They are sharing their code on Github and their results on the Flood_Network Twitter account. They encourage you to join their effort, and no high technology is necessary. The network incorporates both readings from automated sensors (about £250) as well as manual readings from gaugeboards or photos. New as of December 2015 is an interactive flood map. »

About this weblog

Edward Vielmetti has been writing the Vacuum weblog since 1999 from Ann Arbor, Michigan. The topics vary widely, with over 2000 entries in the whole collection. In the interest of simplifying the presentation, some parts of this collection are currently offline, and the front page represents primarily current work and not a diversity of interests. The current set of systems that are an area of focus - and the places I draw from for inspiration on each - are as follows. »

Edward Vielmetti

How I turned 99 cents worth of kale into half a gallon of delicious ice cream

“Learn this one weird trick” “Grocery stores hate him” Really though it’s pretty simple. Lucky’s had a sale on kale for 99 cents, so I bought one bunch. The clerk rang it up at $2.49, and when I asked, they said it was organic. I figured I had pulled it from the wrong bin, whatever. Get home, cook the kale (it’s delicious; recipe below). Check the twist tie to check my mistake, and find out that the kale wasn’t actually organic, and that I was overcharged. »

A visit to the Computer and Video Game Archive, @umcvga

Previously: University of Michigan Computer and Video Game Archive (CVGA) Fifth Anniversary I had a chance to spend some time at the U of Michigan Computer and Video Game Archive tonight, with J in tow (or perhaps I was in tow). We played for about two hours in total, and then adjourned for dinner to talk about new and classic gaming and game emulation. He snuck in a few games of Tetris on his phone afterwards. »

Santa visiting Swede's Diner, Ann Arbor, December 1950

Santa visiting Swede’s Diner, Ann Arbor, December 1950. From the Ann Arbor District Library “Old News” collection. Original caption: Stockings wouldn’t hold the Christmas cheer served up by Leonard Carlstrom, proprietor of a lunch counter at 208 S. Fifth Ave., so he used cups. Carlstrom played his own version of Santa Clause this morning when he hung up the “free coffee” sign to old customers and newcomers alike. “Business kind of picked up a little,” Carlstrom noted. »

Edward Vielmetti

Platforms for the Internet of Things, 2015 edition

A discussion on one of the lists I follow covers the question of “platform” support for the Internet of Things. Since consumer IoT is a kind of squooshy market right now with rapid changes in prices and no one obvious choice for what technology to adopt, it’s worthwhile taking some kind of review of the landscape for 2015 and sort out what to watch for next year. This is organized by vendor, and loosely grouped so that similar systems are next to each other. »

Douglas E. Vielmetti, plant engineer

My grandfather, Douglas E. Vielmetti (center), a plant engineer at the Alberta Saw Mill. “Ford supervisory men assemble in the engine room on the first floor of the Alberta Mill. (L to R) John Picardat, maintenance supt.: Alex Boivin, sawmill foreman; Douglas Vielmetti, plant engineer; Leo Doyle, sawmill supt., and John Ryan, lumber sales department agent.” Original at http://digarch.lib.mtu.edu/showbib.aspx?bib_id=781348 Alberta was a Ford saw mill from 1936 to 1954. The clothing is timeless UP lumber gear. »

Edward Vielmetti

OpenVPN scaling

Previously: OpenVPN in a container Also previously: Split tunnels considered harmful I have this running in a staging environment and a test environment; it properly isolates OpenVPN from the underlying operating system, and seems to do the right thing performing rather well. However, its biggest limitation is that it runs on a single host & thus provides neither high availability in the case of Amazon funkiness nor scalability to handle lots of clients. »

I am eating a sandwich, with a recipe in Github

Twitter is, of course, for telling people that you are eating a sandwich. That’s been the point of the system the whole time - long before selfies, even long before it took pictures at all, you might get a proper narrative of what people are eating for lunch or a snack. Using the net to keep track of food is an old tradition; I need only point you at the Usenet Cookbook, developed from 1985 to 1987 by Brian Reid, as an archetype. »

Thanks to everyone for birthday wishes, 2015 edition

Thanks to everyone for birthday wishes this year. It is increasingly clear that the place to go for birthday greetings is Facebook, which is absurdly efficient both at providing “happy birthday” messages as well as acknowledging them. Additional greetings came in via email, Skype, Twitter, and paper mail (hand written!, complete with reply postage!) Lunch at a2b3 was a Thursday event, with 14 at the table at Blue Nile. The topic of the conversation was roughly “places to take a walk outside in the winter”, and the dog-owners among us amended to include “with a dog”, and we got a pretty good list that I want to get onto Arborwiki. »

Edward Vielmetti