Been a while. I took two weeks off work after I got married, to just relax and play some geetar (practicing my speed soloing with some classical riffs and a metronome).
I have a big problem with personal data redundancy. I use five computers on a regular basis. My laptop, my home server, my work machine (this one), my robot, and the office server. Forget about the bot, as I don’t do any personal computing on it, but on all of the others, I run programs such as Firefox, IE, Konqueror, Thunderbird and Kontact on a regular basis (as well as many others – vim, etc).
Sharing email is not a problem, as I use IMAP. However there are a number of itches that I’m tired of scratching:
- Only yesterday, I was wishing that Firefox and Konqueror could share the same bookmarks file, as I have a well-categorised list of personal bookmarks on my laptop which I would not like to have to rebuild every time I move to a different browser or machine. Okay, I can share the same bookmark file between various Firefoxes on separate machines, by using NFS or something (which is insecure, slow, and can cause locking problems), but it’s a shame that there does not seem to be a simple way of sharing bookmarks between two browsers on the same machine without having to manually export and import it every time something changes!
- The only thing I can think of that would work for keeping the files uptodate is to keep those specific files in an exported NFS directory on a trusted computer (trusted not to go bye-bye in the middle of an important job). Unfortunately, NFS is not secure for a list of reasons, and I cannot think of a better way. Anyone?
Aaaanyway… I also spent some time working on my bot.
As people may know, my goal is to build a bot that can do my gardening for me. While many people just point and laugh (in the building here, I’m known as “Luke Skywalker” (actually, it was Anakin that built C3P0, but correcting the misnomer would prove that I’m a little geeky)), I am of the absolute and firm belief that this is possible, and inevitable.
So, what have I done already? Nothing much, I guess. I build a shell which holds an Epia ME6000 Mini-ITX mainboard. This board has a Netgear WG311 wireless card attached, as well as two generic webcams. The whole lot is powered by a 12V acid-lead battery, connected through a PW200M power convertor.
What that means, is that I have a working computer which does not rely on any cable connections for power or networking. At the moment, I guess the coolest thing I can do with it is to plonk it down somewhere in the garden, then go inside and do some bird-watching via the cameras, on a different computer.
I guess the next thing to do is to attach some wheels to it so it will be an actual moving robot! For that, I will need some tank tracks (feel free to buy them for me 😉 ).
Once the tank tracks are attached and working, I will have a remote control robot that I can move with my laptop, and see exactly what it sees.
After that, thinks get difficult… but I’ll get to that!