2016-06-09

Recently, I was given a 1 gallon pot with some yellow water lilies in it. The lilies could be planted near the edge of my pond, but my pond is seasonal and the edge is always changing. There is no point in planting a flower on the edge of a pond when, in a few weeks, the edge will be 10 feet from where the flowers were planted.

Gears churned and a plan was hatched. I'll make a floating planter!

Step 1: Gather some supplies

There are quite a few empty 15 gallon pots at my place from all of the trees that I've been getting at Kurt's Garden. Add in some 45° 2" PVC couplers and some scrap PVC pipe, and I was ready to get crafty.

Cut some pipe

A few quick measurements, and a couple minutes with a hack saw and I had 8 short lengths of PVC to work with.

Make a ring

The couplers and pipe lengths where joined together with PVC glue and I soon had a nice ring that a 15 gallon pot will easily fit within.

Prepare the pot

After cutting the bottom off of the 15 gallon pot, 6 cuts were make down the side of the inverted pot to create some flaps. The flaps were folded over each other, drilled, and then bolted together.

At this point, I put the pot into the PVC ring, added soil to the pot and then tested the contraption in the pond. It sank like a brick.... back to the drawing board!

Make the pot wayyyyy shorter

Obviously the pot filled with dirt was too heavy, so the bolt as undone, the pot was shortened, and then folded and bolted again.

Atempt #2

Oh hey look, the new short pot is also sinking.

A few seconds after this picture was taken, I was knee deep in water, pulling the "floating planter" off the bottom of the pond. :/

Floaty platform

Fuck it. A 1 gallon pot in the middle of a circular platform shouldn't have any problem floating.... should it?

With some string and a thumb tack, a few circles were drawn on a piece of plywood and then cut. After the cutting, the wood was painted with exterior grade paint an then hung up to dry.

Make a couple mounting brackets

twist twist, twist twist, snip. A mounting bracket is made! Repeat the process, and there are 2 mounting brackets. Being lazy, only 2 mounting brackets were made to affix the PVC float to the platform.

It floats!

Once the platform and float were attached, the 1 gallon pot was put in the platform's center hole and filled with soil and some lilies (which were a bit eaten by some sheepies), and the planter was placed in the water.

It floats!

Did I mention that the floating planter actually floats? Well it does, and I am quite pleased with the result.

Now quit reading, and go make something float.

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2016-05-04

A few months ago, a special someone told me they were going to be traveling to Petaluma and asked if there was anything I would like them to get for me. As it so happens, one of my favorite beers is brewed in that area: Oyster Stout by HenHouse. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to get Oyster Stout in a bottle. Fortunately, the beer is available in a growler . :)

Wow, what an absolutely amazing and delicious gift! It didn't take more than a weekend to empty the growler and imbibe the glorious nectar. Having a growler from HenHouse Brewery, while being quite awesome, is also somewhat depressing. The growler was empty and it would be a long time before I had the opportunity to fill it again. Obviously I needed to do something to the bottle...

"lamp fever" seems to have infected me lately, so... uh... why not make a lamp?

Okie Dokie!

Cut the bottom off

Sometimes, the urge to make a vessel designed to hold liquids no longer have the ability to hold liquids is just too much for me to handle. Time and a little patience go a long way towards cleanly removing the bottom of a 64oz growler.

Put the cap back on

Everything was flipped upside down, and the cap was filled with a thick layer of J-B Weld. After the J-B Weld had cured, a hole was drilled through the center of the cap. J-B Weld cures quite hard. To make the drilling easier, a ceramic/glass bit used.

Fill the inside

Just to be on the safe side, some high temperature white paint was used to coat the inside of the growler bottle. Without paint, too much light passes through the glass. By diffusing the light with the light paint, the logo doesn't get over powered and will still be quite visible when the lamp is turned on.

Electronics

Kits for a simple hanging lamp are about $18 at most hardware stores. The kits contains a socket with a pull switch, about 15 feet of cord, and some chain for hanging the lamp.

A bit of twisted copper and the original label that came on the growler were added to the pull switch.

Let there be light!

After hanging the lamp in the lamp testing spot by the dart board, the power switch was pulled. Hot damn, that logo looks nice!

All in all, this was quite a fun project, and a soon to be birthday present.

Now quite reading, and ...um... bring me some beer. :)

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2016-04-09

In The Beginning...

Years ago, when I first heard that Ubuntu Touch would have apps written in QML, I decided to write a Qt based front end for MuttonChop!. My logic was, if Ubuntu is using QML then there will be support for Qt. With my favorite text editor at the ready, I began to hack together some Python code to make a Qt application using Pyside.

Since all of my MuttonChop! related projects are named after sideburn sporting figures from California history, this project was named after Commodore John F Stockton. The project name has stayed, but from the very beginning the project strayed from being a MuttonChop! controller to something completely different.

Once the basics of the main UI window for Stockton had been coded, I thought "hey, why not just add a WebKit WebView to access the Mobile UI for MuttonChop?". Being lazy and not wanting to code another MuttonChop UI, I did just that. From there, a URL input was added to give the end user a way of changing the URL displayed in the WebView.

After that, I opened a URL in Stockton, resized the window, and moves the window to a specific location on my desktop. Suddenly there was a need to always have a Stockton window open in a fixed location on my desktop when Stockon is launched with a certain url. Bang zoom, clacking the keyboard, and the main features of Stockon were done.

Fast-Forward a Bit...

There were actions that I wanted to perform using my mobile device and it was necessary to write a few "apps" to get the job done. Aside from doing what the apps were supposed to do, I wanted them to "run" on all mobile devices as well as on the desktop, and the easiest way for me to accomplish that feat was to write the apps using HTML, Javascript, and CSS, and then access the apps via a web browser on any given machine. For the most part, all of the apps ran fine in Stockton on my desktop. However...

Problems Were Encountered

  • CORS... fucking CORS!

    CORS is what makes writing an app that runs in a webbrowser such an amazing pain in the ass. When I write a python app that makes web requests, I simply write some code to make a request, and then process the result of the request. This is the same with Ruby, and Vala, and just about every other programming language... with the exception of JavaScript running in a browser. CORS is what limits apps in a browser from only making AJAX request to files on the same server hosting the app.

    Fortunately, the WebKit1 library fully allows developers to configure a WebView to load local files and let those local files make XmlHttpRequests to remote web servers. Thanks WebKit1!

    Sadly, WebKit2 doesn't seem to have this feature.

  • Debugging

    For some unknown reason, not all of my code works as expected and it is good to be able to debug stuff. By setting the "enable-developer-extras" property to True, I was able to um.... enable developer extras, and this adds "inspect element" to the contextual menu when one right-clicks on a stockton webview.

Wooooweee! After updating the code, not only did I have a fine desktop application, I also had a rudimentary HTML5 compliant browser that would run on an n900.

I prefer Gtk

It's true, aesthetically I prefer Gtk to Qt. Although I think I might prefer Qt to Gtk from a developer point of view.
Anyway, I figured it was time to port Stockton from Python2 to Python3, and this necessitated switching from Pyside to either PyQt or Gtk. In this regard, I went with Gtk. At the same time that I was porting to Gtk, I also attempted to port to WebKit2. Lamentably, it was during the port that I discovered WebKit2 lacked the ability to disable that CORS crap. Oh well, I submitted a bug for the missing WebKit2 feature, and switched to WebKit1.

While porting the code, I was fortunate to find https://lazka.github.io/pgi-docs/ which is an indispensable documentation source when using Python and Gobject Introspection to access various libraries from Python. Since the documentation is in HTML format, I downloaded the docs, and run them in Stockton... because I can. :)

Now quit reading, and go create a solution to a problem.

Oh yea, if you are interested in such things the source is available at https://gitlab.com/jezra/stockton

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