Archive for June, 2013

I love the smell of rosin in the morning …

Posted in Arduino, AUTOPILOT, Hardware on June 23, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

… or the evening.

The things we do...

The photo is a bit fuzzy, sorry but apt.

At my age I am still in denial about my eyes and there was no way I was making the mod to these boards

So small!!

… without 1) my new 2x magnifying lens LED lamp and 2) my 20x jeweler’s monocle.


I poked around on internet and found a video that warned that the USB cable for the boards needed to have the cable inserted BEFORE the other end was pushed into the HOST computer (phew!).  I found a second website where the guy, who got the same board, was bleating about being stung and woe is me etc.  At least he had some useful info on how and which LEDs should light up if the board was working properly so:

  1. I plugged USB cable into each board in turn.
  2. Plugged the cable into the HOST.
  3. Watched all the required LED blinking of a properly working board.


I made sure I inspected the soldering/grounding of the SMD pin so I was happy there were no shorts (the 20x view of the jeweler monocle – like WOW!) so I was happy things would sort themselves out.

I am happy I have the boards.

The safety bleat is a little thin given some of the things I talk about at my other blog.  Notably, most of the hardware/software design for these hobby hacks have no safety assurance in any event and my solder join is likely to be more reliable than the Pb-free joints on the rest of the board as they will suffer tin-whiskers and likely fail with a short at some stage.

Oh well, can’t sneeze at $30 odd for a 10DOF board now can one.

The politics of the hacker community … or lack thereof

Posted in Buyer beware! on June 23, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Ah hem plus the Internet of Things (US bodies, going to China to develop technology to take back to US).

Isn’t it funny.

Now this idea of China providing back doors into chips it was producing, as a way of turning off weapons and internet driven things, was always the meat of speculation towards being thought of as “conspiracy theory”.

Now, how things are downplayed often has to do with a lack of evidence of where the “theory” comes from.

The notion of “conspiracy” is likely caused in no small part by what I call “reporting distance”, turning fact into “opinion” by passing on the information over and over again via websites – possibly verbatim, possibly with a “twist”.  Many fail to do things like point to (first hyperlink) the peer reviewed scientific research that shows that a US design secure chip, manufactured in China, has been compromised.

Now I used scribd as my link source also to make the point that the original is at the author’s web site at so why on earth websites like sribd exist I can’t fathom as people seem to pay for material at a “reporting distance” > 1 when you can get the thing from the author’s site, for free, why on earth do we need to copy junk over and over and over … sort of feeds the notion that things are “conspiracy theory” doesn’t it … and it defeats the point of having an Internet since the whole point of the Internet was to you could to to any computer from another other computer.  Anyway, that is just my side bar rant.

Back to the plot. The second hyperlink above is not an accusation mind you, just an observation.  The observation that DoD can’t get it right defending it’s Defense systems from hacker back doors while ironically 1) bragging in places about doing the same thing to other countries (ref tbd) and 2) going to a lot of trouble to stop US technology getting into the wrong hands (ITAR) and still still farming out technological IP out to China via chip manufacturing arrangements and also flooding the US with Chinese chips via consumer goods etc.

Now, oddly, this is likely to end up with the same the same ring to it as US gun laws as US hacker community will likely argue that they have an inalienable right to Hack blah blah blah ad nauseum.  Although, this is more like giving your enemy a gun rather than you having a gun to defend against your enemy.

That’s not to say that I am not guilty of funding the Chinese war machine myself.  However, I  am banking on them actually just having been around so long that they understand what the US does not seem to, and that is what the Roman’s\Russians didn’t work out but we all know – once you expand your regime past certain geographical/political limits it soon collapses on itself as it runs itself into the ground because you cannot fund it any longer.

Before you respond, at least read this (DoD Cyber Threat).

And again, before you respond go educate yourself on Software Security Assurance (CC) and tell me again why having more or less none of the systems flooding into the Internet of Things having third party certification of Software/Hardware Security Assurance will be a good thing?  It is history repeating itself.  The Internet is already known to be a flawed design when it comes to security.  It was design by a bunch of hippy computer scientists who had naive “trust” in one another.

Even CC is wrong in as far as it is trying to police the flawed design of the Internet (one example of many) – and CC was put in place partly to certify online financial transactions, and if banks can’t get it right then what hope the Internet of Things?

Still, we place Hacking above privacy, national defense yadda et cetera.

So be it!

Won’t solve anything my little own self.

So I am waiting for the Spark Core to come out on the market.

Wretched isn’t it.

The difference between Design and “hacking”

Posted in Design rather than hacking on June 23, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Sure, you get “stuff” faster with hacking, but then all you really wanted is this

That`s better

Posted in Hardware, Linux on June 22, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Post Ikea weekend tidy up.

I bought a KVM switch and set up the two linux boxes off the monitor on the HP box.



Much neater, one monitor, one keyboard, one mouse.

Yin and Yang

Posted in Arduino, AUTOPILOT on June 20, 2013 by asteriondaedalus



So, the three NEO-6M GPS Modules I ordered, to pair up with the AIO, have turned up.

A little bit of work to connect the two – I have to pair two cables that came with the AIO,


TX3/RX3 next door will go to SNAP module.



Although, you do know that you can program an Arduino over the air with a SNAP module!  So I might look at the FTDI port as well as an option.

3D Scanner 2 (follow up)

Posted in Android, Arduino, Hardware, Sensing on June 19, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

(*breathing deeply into a paper bag*)

I keep reading blogs, user groups etc where people want to voice “confusion” about laser importing laws in Australia.

The thing about the internet is that, while you will likely have thousands of “opinions” you need only go to the authoritative source (“Reporting Distance” = 1).

I have a laser “insert inverted commas here” … oh, I did … insert inverted commas.

Try again, I have a red line laser module from china, came through customs fine because it is clear on the Australian customs site that laser modules are not restricted – so why bother with blogs and user groups.

The packet will be marked laser and customs will open it but it will turn up.


Something to pair up with the 3D scanner idea.

Finding that pesky IP

Posted in Networking on June 16, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

With all that is going on within my home wifi (development boards added, hosts turned on/off, wife’s laptop etc.) the IP addresses for everything tend to be fluid.

To keep track of the IP addresses turned out relatively simple, I just downloaded Net Scan onto both my ACER tablet and my Samsung Galazy SII and I can get a peek at what is going on.

There are still quirks, the wireless extender and everything attached to it is labelled “NETGEAR”, but that may yet be sorted out with a little work.


Beaglebone Black Setup

Posted in Development, Hardware, Linux, Networking on June 15, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

bbb setup

Above is my setup for the Beaglebone Black development.  What fun!

None of the example setups for using the USB alone seemed to work (the ttyUSB* device never turns up on the Debian box).  There are a wealth of people (given the “bleats” on the various user groups) with the same problem.  So, while running it all through the USB seems a neat solution, I recommend going through the Ethernet.  Now I don’t necessarily recommend you go overboard such as the way I have, but I had an afternoon of huffing putting together Ikea furniture and I wanted something therapeutic to do – so there.

I didn’t want to dual boot my Windows desktop especially as  I wanted to potentially run different processes at the same time across the network so the Debian Wheezy 64 bit (the 3GHz HP desktop) went into the entertainment cabinet downstairs.

I VNC into the Debian box and did, for a time, have the BBB on a USB port of the Debian box but that meant going up and down stairs to hit reset buttons or read signals.  To fix this I got a wifi extender with four ports so I sftp to the BBB over wifi from the Debian box but power the BBB and also talk to it by the USB on my Windows box.  This means I can Tera Term VT into the BBB (as well as the Debian box) from Windows.  I can also SSH to the BBB from the Debian box (via TightVNC of the Debian by the Windows box).  The BBB also comes up on the Debian box via sftp.

Though there seems ample ways of getting to the BBB with this setup there is also the serial connection and I will soon sort that out as well.

With the four ports on the wifi extender I can now set up my Beablboard XM as well (as a desk top) and also start the vision experiments with the Android webcams I bought, remember the?:

android webcam

Head of steam …

Posted in Hardware, Linux, Software, Software Framework on June 11, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

MOOS-IVP running!

MOOS-IVP running

This is running on my new (second hand) 64-bit LINUX box.

This is stage 1.

Stage 2 was to buzz out my Beaglebone development environment.  So far I have installed Eclipse and the ARM7 development environment onto the 64 bit LINUX box and built a small binary to dump onto the Beaglebone.  Unfortunately, I don’t appear to be able to configure the LINUX host to “see” the ttyUSBx ports (having tried two different approaches).  So, waiting on user group help (and you know how I feel about that).

In the meantime I guess I still have to sort what parts of MOOS-IVP I wan’t to run on the Beaglebone (no-visual apps generally) so I got the thing running my my LINUX host to get a feel for what can be parred back.  Might try setting up my 32 bit LINUX box to “pretend” to be the embedded environment to get the ball rolling while I sort out the cross-compilation environment.

The MOOS-IVP runs as a separate environment to the vehicle computer so I am paring it up with an AIO which will do all the motor control and the 10-DOF sensing etc.


The code for the AIO (from a port of AP2) is MAVLINK literate so I am thinking of bridging to AIO via Python (which comes with the Beaglebone).  There are various Pythonesque libraries I am toying with for application backbones including SPADE2, ZeroRPC (which is atop ZeroMQ), iPOPO OR even a combination of all three depending on needs.  Certainly, I am looking at ZeroRPC to act as a bridge out to the Synapse SNAP bits and bobs since the MESH of SNAP will replace the MAVLINK mesh aspects.