Updates from May, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Thom Hines 9:49 pm on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Tinker gets a home 

    On Yury’s advice, I put together a presentation that would adequately explain Tinker to a person unfamiliar with the project, and while I didn’t go through a specific user sceneario, I do call out developers and site owners in my narration, and describe how Tinker might serve them.

    Other than that, I’ve been working on further ironing out technical issues (server file systems can be very convoluted, especially when you want to make a system plug-n-play), but I’m making progress. Each iteration I do addresses plenty of technical hurdles, but hurdles that probably < 10% of people would experience. That’s good, but I want this thing to be bulletproof.

    Additionally, I created a site to house this project and to sell it a bit. The only way people will download Tinker is because they have a compelling reason, and this site’s focus is to make those reasons abundantly clear. As I release new versions, I’ll be posting them to this site, so you can always grab the latest here. Click on the link and try it out!

    Tinker site preview


  • Behnaz Babazadeh 11:06 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Fermid Update 

    May 5th Presentation

  • scottpeterman 10:37 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Imaginary Marching Band 

    The Imaginary Marching Band is a series of open-source wearable instruments that allow the wearer to create real music simply by pantomiming playing an instrument.


  • Oylum 10:08 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    Here is the presentation.

  • hilalkoyuncu 9:53 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Hilal_second presentation 

    hilalkoyuncu.com/computation_final_first presentation_2.ppt

  • Thom Hines 9:40 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Tinkering w/ Tinker 

    As I mentioned last time in class, most of the work I’m doing from this point on is behind-the-scenes and addressing specific problems that I encountered in my user tests and the responses I got from some of my testers. Fortunately, I think I have already managed to capture most of the features I set out to do, and it seems each feature I try to add on opens up a new can of worms that only takes me further from my goal of having a ready to release project by next week.

    The main concerns I was getting from people were that feedback wasn’t always clear when there was a problem, either in Tinker or on the server, and it basically leaves the user stranded. I’ve tried my best to find the main points of problems and give useful feedback through the feedback mechanism in tinker. If any of my calls to the server result in an error, Tinker will either present a user-friendly message (quite often just instructions to reload the page), or if Tinker doesn’t know what happened, give the user the PHP error that was generated. Dealing with server files can be tricky, and some people are finding issues that have never come up for me, so this may be something that evolves greatly over time.

    The other issues I’ve been trying to address are some of the quirks of the interface itself. For instance, when a page has a link and the user clicks it, it acts just like normal text. The editor wants to give the user the option to edit the text of the link, but nobody could figure out how to follow the link to its target. For that, I created a small pop-up, similar to what you see when you click a link in GMail, that provides a clickable link to go to the destination. Other issues have to do with the image uploader, CSS class selector, and other options that aren’t clearly labeled or explained in the interface. I’m going to have to build in a help system, but that will be more than I can do this week.

    All in all, most people don’t seem to be asking for any more features. This could be because most people haven’t had a chance to really try to practically apply it yet, but I’d like to think it also has to do with the fact that it does it’s fairly basic job well, and that most changes that people see are not much of a problem for Tinker.

    Also, here’s the latest version of my presentation:

  • catherine 8:54 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    updated kni++! 

    I’ve been knitting away!
    I plan to user test tomorrow night or on my way home tonight.

  • andywallace 7:23 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Keep on Keepin’ on 

    My redefined thesis: Sound balls is an interactive and collaborative soundscape controlled by a set of smart balls.

    Since my last update, a lot of my work has gone toward building the physical ball. I coated one in resin, sanded it and painted it, and am fairly pleased with the look and texture. The resin I am using provides a hard and paintable outer layer for the ball and does not block the signal at all. I had originally planned on sanding the ball smooth, but as I went, I realized I liked the wavy grain that resulted, so I left it a little rough. The only thing that needs fixing is the hideous seem that runs along the ball. I will either be covering it with tape and painting it over or possibly filling it with foam.

    (More …)

    • Roslyn Pica 7:07 pm on May 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? whether way keep up the nice capability writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

  • lpercifield 4:44 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply


    dontflush.me is live! The site now contains the realtime data feed from pachube (when the sensor is running). I added the SMS registration feature and a New York sewer shed map courtesy of habitatmap.org. Everyone please register! I promise that I wont spam you!

    • Breanne 4:14 pm on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      It is hard to find familiar people within this issue, you be understood as you know exactly what you are referring to! Thanks a lot

  • lpercifield 2:49 pm on May 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Charging Circuit and Pachube 

    This weekend I’ve been working on the charging circuit for the cell phone attached to the sensor. With the cell phone drawing about 160mA during charging I got about 3.5 days of charging out of the 3 d-cell batteries. I realized that there was a bug in my code that never turned the charging circuit off. Thats fixed now and I’m looking into adding some power regulation to the charge circuit to be able to use all the available power from the batteries as their voltage drops.

    I also connected to sensor to the Pachube SMS beta! Thanks to Usman Haque and Ed Borden for getting that setup for me! The feed is live here: http://www.pachube.com/feeds/24004

    In other news I’ve been thinking about a more accessible name for the project… SewerSense
    Let me know what you think about that

  • andywallace 1:43 am on May 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Testing testing testing. 

    Getting the balls into shape.

    For this test, I created 4 working balls: two gyroscope bals and 2 accelerometer balls. Unfortunately, the battery for one of the gyroscope balls went bad just before I started testing, so I was only able to use 3. Here’s some info gleaned about each type of ball.

    What went into each of the balls.

    (More …)

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