I decided to splurge on a drone. I wanted something that I could work with and fly easily and after a YouTube review I decided to get one. Of course, so excited I did a stupid thing and flew it into my ceiling! I’m not sure if that caused by camera gimbal to mess up or not, but the camera gimbal is a wreck. I’ll have to see about having it repaired soon. However, here is an aerial shot of the back of my farm house that is having to be rebuilt:
These two are captured from the choppy video. When showing stills from the MOV files, they’re not so and pretty sharp. I did a screen capture after pausing the Quicktime player and then cropped them down. Images here are linked to larger versions.
Feels good to have a car that is safe to drive again. I had to go about 15 miles to have it resolved today, but that’s OK. I was able to get there in about 35 minutes and they were done within an hour. Car is good as new again (well, it is still rather new since I’ve only had it for less than two months!). So shiny, you see the clouds reflected in the glass. Below are the before and after images.
This past week, there was a crew there with the right equipment to remove the structure that has to be repaired. I’ve included a photo below that my sister took. It shows the current “back of the house” with the old structure removed.
I’ll be doing an on site inspection soon and hope to find that they’ve begun foundation work. While I’m there we plan to look into things like the flooring, talk about possible windows, etc.
Seems like I’ll get into SAP ABAP work, at least on some limited basis. SAP is the ERP software we use at work – it’s the software we use to process orders, invoice customers, and run financial reports. It’s way much more than what I just said, but you get the idea. SAP is a German company that has been around for many years. Many of the people we’ve hired has over 15 or 20 years of experience using and supporting SAP. ABAP stands for Advance Business Application Programming (based on the Google search and English version). It is an object oriented language that most of SAP is written in and is what I’m going to be learning a bit of. To aid in this I’ve started by setting up a server on a virtual machine – but I’m still in the setup process. I should be able to access what I need while I’m at work, but this is done here at home for my early morning and weekend exploration.
Raspberry Pi 3B+ at Work
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the Raspberry Pi computers at work. These drive our displays throughout our headquarters – mostly in our service department, but also in our main kitchen and pantries. We recently replaced the 4 year old ($35 each) devices with new ones (also $35). Each setup is roughly $50 when the required accessories are purchased (SD Card, Case, Power Supply and Fans).
These newest models to require more power and can get pretty hot. This is something I didn’t account for in my planning – I just wanted to replace the hardware with something more powerful so I could do more animated displays. As I added scrolling news feeds and things to bring up the boring kitchen displays to a more modern style, I realized the heat and power issues. Because of the power requirements are more than the USB ports can provide (even using two ports to combine their power output), the Raspberry Pi is complaining there isn’t quite enough power. No worries, we’ve now ordered a few power supplies. After monitoring the heat sensors built into the CPU and GPU (the processing cores) I found out we need to do some active cooling to keep things going. Tiny fans, cases to accommodate the fans is adding some more costs, but over all still less than $100 each and they’ll still draw much less current than getting full blown computers up there.
Speaking of fans, some of the guys in our service department told me they had fans that work with the Pi computers. They are part of some boards being replaced in one of our product lines and they’re just being recycled. So I got a few of those to experiment with. They are much larger (about 3 times as large) and the ones that are made with the Pi in mind. They work, but also blow the air out on the side (made to blow across the fins of a heat sink. With the right power supply and the case removed, it certainly worked on my development Pi lowering the core temperatures to around 40’C from 75-80’C. A huge improvement, but not practical without the appropriate cases.
Farm house in SC is actually starting to see some activity. There is a port-a-potty, and a service electrical pole in the yard. The meter will be installed once the permits are acquired and that could have happened today or soon. The structure that is being replaced will be removed in the next few days. I’ll be heading down in a couple of weeks to check on things and visit family.
This 4 day work week has been mostly dealing with setting up the new Raspberry Pi 3+ computers for the displays in our office and service department. These displays show details of various things like Turn around times (TATs) and current work tasks. We also have three that shows news feeds and one that is simply playing videos in our lobby. Besides getting the hardware in place, I’ve also been working on some software tools to help me manage them. I had worked on a replacement for out IBM Notes based tool using Visual Studio – which has been fun and a learning experience, but it’s time to make something a bit better. I’m going web based since I was able to work out a few details (how to send remote commands to the devices, for example). Plus I’ll be able to do a bit more on mobile devices while inside our network at least.
Just got the final report and another order for the additional funds that were missing. We’re within a couple of thousands from our contractor’s estimate and it’s close enough for me. I guess a trip to SC is in my near future.
Finished my 2016 taxes and I was able to e-file all three this year. Last year I had to paper file my Maryland state because of the filing of SC taxes. This year, all electronic. Already got the acceptance notifications for federal and MD. Now just awaiting SC to accept things.
Took my car in for an oil change and decided to drive away in a different one. This is the color and make of the car. 3 year lease – need to make sure this one goes for 36 months as I’m paying a lot more than I could be because of early lease termination. I think the 2020 model may be my last lease, then one more to purchase. We’ll see!
Anyway, the car isn’t the top of the line package, but does include the 11.6 inch touch screen where most of the controls are. I’ve not had a chance to play that much with it yet. There is also a QI charging (pronounced “chee”) – but that’s not built-in to iPhones. I’ve found a couple of things to try without spending too much money to see if I can convert my phone to use it. Basically, it’s a pad that will pass current to a receiver on the device which is plugged into the phone. But there is a USB port and power port right there too.
Toyota Safety Sense P features the following driver assist systems:
PCS – Pre-Collision system
This system uses a radar sensor and camera sensor to detect vehicles and pedestrians in front of the car. The sophisticated computer system will determine the level of collision possibility and make necessary actions – starting with warning and alert, adjusting the break pressure and then possibly depressing the breaking system. This sounds pretty cool and I hope it saves my life if it ever needs to!
LDA – Lane Departure Alert with steering control)
When enabled, this system determines if the car is getting to close to the side of the road or passing into another lane. The car may assist in steering to ensure the car stays in the lane (lots of caveats and warnings in the manual on this one!) There are several customizable features so one could keep the alerts, but disable the steering correction or sway warnings. I’ll definitely check this feature out on my next road drip.
Automatic High Beam
Using an camera sensor, the car will enable and disable high-beams automatically. Will have to play with this one as I rarely tend to use the high beams (usually too much traffic around when I drive at night).
Dynamic radar cruise control with full-speed range
I’ve had this feature on the last plug-in vehicle. I kind of missed it in the last car! Basically, when set and using cruise control, your car will keep it’s distance but adjust speeds automatically. If the car or truck in front of you slows down, you car will slow down too.
So, I decided to invest in another keyboard. Different keys than that last one, plus this one has a USB hub – handy, but that’s not why I got it. The new one is the Das Keyboard 4 Professional Clicky MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard (DASK4MKPROCLI) and has slightly different keys than my other mechanical keyboards. I needed (wanted) a good keyboard that would be a pleasure to type on and also be full sized. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this on my home workstation or take it and use it on the Mac. I have another one that I may use on the Mac that is also mechanical but different kinds of keys. We’ll see!