The Owad Laboratory

How to summon Prometheus, god of fire, using Mycroft and a Raspberry Pi

According to myth, the titan Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. But for whom, specifically, did he steal it?

Read more, for instructions.

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Märklin 29730 building block train

As the Lego Group continues to simplify its trains, I've become curious about alternatives. I purchased this Märklin when it was released last year and have been meaning to write about it:

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Configurig Let's Encrypt with DNS-01 challenge on Debian 10 Buster

While setting this up, I ran into a lot of issues with DNS service APIs not matching what was available in the buster repository and in other scripts that I tried. These are my notes on how to set up Let's Encrypt with a DNS-01 challenge, but the most important part is just knowing what works.

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Teargas in the walled garden: iOS is a threat to democracy

Apple's iOS App Store has been a tremendous success, generating over $100 billion in revenue since its inception. This is thanks in part to Apple's walled garden approach, which requires that all iOS software must be purchased through Apple's App Store. This approach has kept iOS relatively free of the malware that has plagued Android phones. Apple's screening of apps has resulted in a higher quality collection of software. It's a beautiful walled garden, in exchange for which, we give up control over what software we
can run.

More below the break.

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3d Printer Switch with Octoprint & SmartThings

My MakerGear M2 doesn't have a power switch, and it isn't convenient to turn off its power strip, so I connected it to an Iris Smart Plug with a little power switch on it. That solved the problem, and also let me turn the printer on and off with Alfred, but tempted me to intergrate with Octoprint. Octoprint has a plugin, System Command Editor, that lets you execute shell commands from Octoprint's Power menu. That makes the Octoprint part easy - now it's just a matter of controlling a SmartThings device from Linux.

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Raspberry Pi & Nexdock: Bluetooth via the command line

I received my Nexdock today and have begun configuring a Raspberry Pi 3 to work with it. I wasn't able to find current instructions for getting the Nexdock keyboard and trackpad to work with the Pi using the command line, so I've documented the procedure that I used.

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Uses for fishpaper

Fishpaper is an insulative paper that used to be common in antique radios. It's often used to insulate transformers.

The history of the name is pretty interesting. According to Alvin G. Sydor:

 

In 1729 Stephen Gray made the discovery of the conducting and non-conducting power of different substances. Gray found that by using woven silk served as an excellent insulator. Some years later it was found that the paper industry could provide what was equivalent to woven silk. Later it was discovered that if the paper was saturated with fish oil its ability as an insulator was much improved particularly when used in harsh environments and high voltages.

 

Recently, I've been using it for fast and cheap electronics cases. This is one of my backup servers:

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Cleaning handles with a brass wire wheel brush

I bought a Remline tool chest at an auction on Saturday. I've been wanting to get something a bit larger than my current chest, and I couldn't pass up these handles:

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