Posts in category fedora

Site Upgrade

I finally managed to rebuild my homepage on CentOS6 and Trac 0.12. The old Fedora 8 and Trac 0.10 setup was getting to be an embarrassment. Especially since spammers had started registering accounts and filing tickets and adding comments to the tickets hawking their wares. Apparently the spam filtering functionality had bitrotted while I wasn't looking.

User-visible changes of note:

  • Your RSS reader likely thinks that what's old is new again.
  • I cleaned out all the spammer accounts. If I killed yours in my spammer slaughter, I apologize; please, reregister.
  • The blog plugin I was using with Trac 0.10 was obsoleted by the FullBlogPlugin for Trac 0.11 and 0.12.
    • The new plugin puts all blog posts under /blog instead of /wiki, so old blog post URLs are broken. (Adding redirects or something for those is on my todo list.)
    • The new plugin also doesn't support 'above the fold' display of posts on the main page. (Another thing on the todo list.)
    • The new plugin supports comments; we'll see how that goes.
  • I added a favicon to replace the Trac pawprint.

If you run into a problem with the new site, no matter how minor, please let me know so I can fix it.

3.5" Floppy-disk Archiving Machine

August 31st of last year, at the age of 89, my Grandfather passed away. I'm a computer geek, as was he, though his machines filled rooms, and mine, merely pockets. His software flew fighter aircraft. He worked on the Apollo missions. He wrote the first software by which to operate a nuclear reactor. That is a hard act to follow.

But as a computer geek, he had accumulated a large stack of 3.5" floppy disks: 443, of them in fact. And when he passed away, it became my responsibility to deal with those. I was not looking forward to the days of mindless repetition inherent in that task. So, I did what any self-respecting software engineer would do: I automated it.

Start with Lego Mindstorms, add a laptop running Fedora Linux, an Android Dev Phone 1, a good bit of Python code, and about the same number of hours of work, and you get this:

picture of floppy archiving machine

Watch it in action on YouTube

There are a number of interesting details in this build which I plan to write about in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Follow up articles: NXT control software, The Floppy-Disk Archiving Machine, Mark II