Time Lapse Video at an SF Convention using Linux and a webcam

20 01 2012

For quite a while I’ve been interested in using commodity hardware (a webcam, a small linux machine) to take time lapse videos. It didn’t seem like that complex a problem, but there were a lot of logistical and mildly technical obstacles to overcome. After a couple tests and short videos, it was time to set things up to record a four day long video at [Arisia](http://arisia.org/), in particular, a shot of the registration area.
Here’s how I did it.

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CONGO Update – The road to 2.1.

10 05 2011

I’ve set a goal for myself. Have CONGO v 2.1 released by June 1st. It’s an auspicious goal to be sure, and recent career shifts have either made it more likely (more time to work on it) or less likely (new job) to have time to dedicate to coding.
But goshdarn it, I’m going to try.
congov2-eclipse-screenshot.pngWhile coding away last night at a particularly recalcitrant chunk of the new ‘Links’ system (I’ve been… instructed… by my pesky users, that ‘Friends’ is really too ‘social buzzy funtime networking’ for an event management system), I was curious how big CONGO had gotten. So a couple greps got me some quick stats:

Total lines of Java : 13,412
Total lines of XML : 5,492
Total lines of JSP : 5,543

This makes CONGO the largest application I’ve ever written completely on my own. Oh sure, I’ve worked on larger systems, but that was part of a team with other coders. This one (with some small help from 1-2 folks – accounting for around 2% of the code) is all mine.
I’m always looking for alpha and beta testers. Interested? Lemme know. Continuous build / QA testing is working, so there’s always new builds and bugs that need to be tracked.





CONGO Freshmeat page!

12 06 2010

Going back to the Good Old Days in software promotion, CONGO now has a Freshmeat page. Vote me up!





CONGO Available for Download

9 06 2010

Well, I said it and said it, and promised I’d do it, now it’s really here.
You’ve heard me chatter on about CONGO, my Event Management System for running conventions, meetings, and the like – well, now you can download and run it yourself.
Details are available on the CONGO home page. If you’re a fandom or gaming event, and you’re looking for a tried and trued registration system for your con, this is the place to go.
Enjoy!





iPhone Development Guidelines – Do’s and Don’ts

18 04 2010

First, a disclaimer. I am not an iPhone developer. I am what used to be termed a ‘power user’ – gamer, tool user, critic, yes – but I don’t write iCode. (I do develop, just not on the iphone).
Having gotten that out of the way, I’d like to propose a list of Do’s and Don’ts that every iPhone app developer on the planet should adhere to. This is a list from a USERS perspective – things that irk me to no end.
Onward…
* DO : Obey the Mute switch! – How hard can this be? If the mute switch is on, then SHADDUP! There’s a REASON it’s called a mute switch! I don’t know how many games I’ve powered up that leave me scrambling for the volume-down buttons when the mute switch was IN THE MUTE POSITION.
* DO : Incremental saves – again, primarily on the gaming front. That little device in your hand? it’s a TELEPHONE. That means people can call you at any time, and interrupt the application. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent 3 hours getting Sir Grinsalot to the top of Mount Bigahonkin and you’re about to kill the Great Gizbo of Durn – grandma will STILL call you at that point, interrupting the game. Save!
* DO : Provide status that you’re doing something. Okay, older platforms are slow, so sometimes it takes time for things to load. Provide some animation or indication that something is going on – a load bar would be best (gives an idea how much longer it’ll take), but even a spinner will do.
* DO NOT : assume that just because you’re on an iPhone, the easiest device on the planet to use, you don’t need to provide directions. Apps are NOT self explanatory, and a link to a web page is not enough. “This button does that, this button does that. Got it? Go forth and enjoy.”
* DO NOT : Link out to a web site without informing the user you’re about to do so! Nothing is more painful than tapping on a “view the high scores list” and have that exit the damned app to start Safari. That app may have taken you 4 minutes just to get to that screen. Now you have to do it all again.
* DO : Provide a rotation lock. Some of us like to read or do games while going to sleep, which does not necessarily mean I’ll be in an upright position. Having the app auto-rotate to what it THINKS is the right orientation is irritating when you have no option to disable this.
I’m sure this list will grow, and I’m open to suggestions as to what to add to it. These are things that have come up in my adventures.
What bits have YOU seen that developers seem to miss?





CONGO – Motivation is Good!

16 04 2010

I’ve been pretty lax on CONGO lately. Other Life stuff as well as being worn after Arisia has put coding on the back burner.

SystemUIServer

But in the last week or two, several folks have asked for updates and new installations, and my “I should get coding again!” bits have been tingling.
This week I had a great meeting with the Arisia registration head, and she and I hammered out a schedule of updates for the next release. I have about a month to implement a bunch of new features – most of which have been burbling in my head for a while, but it’s time to get them coded and released.
There’s been some nice input from other events (some far away, some local) interested in using CONGO, and my path to general release is pretty well established. Having said that, the current code is pretty solid, with documentation, installation instructions, and support available. Want to run it? Let me know, I love testers.
Anyway – code is being checked in and features are slowly getting done. It feels good.





CONGO Registration System – The State of the Code

4 10 2009

Remember CONGO, my convention registration software? And how over the last year I’ve been rewriting it from scratch?
This past week, the new rewrite, colloquially referred to as ‘v2’, went live for Arisia. Following is a bit of babble about the project, and the net steps therein.

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