Tuesday March 24, 2015

The view from the other side

Category: Independence — Ian C. @ 2:31 pm

I post quite a few pictures looking out over the wetland behind our home, but here’s the view from the other side, looking towards our home:

And at the other end of the camera zoom, our home (and a view of the screened pool area):

Thursday March 19, 2015

Shazam tracks

Category: Uncategorized — Ian C. @ 9:51 am

Like (presumably) everyone, I’ve had Shazam on my iPhone for years and it’s occasionally identified some background music that’s annoying me with “… oh, who is that, I’m sure I’ve heard it before …”; I look at the result, am always impressed / amazed how it did it so quickly and even with all the other noise, and that’s about it. A few times I’ve followed through and purchased the track, but mostly it’s enough to know the name.

Today, reading this article about Shazam made me wonder if my App has a history list – and of course it does. Like the author, going back only to 2012, which must be when Shazam made some major tracking change to their App.
Looking at the list, I couldn’t see any way to do more with it – I don’t have a Spotify account like the author; but I wondered if a Shazam website might have similar data.
Going to www.shazam.com, the login link prompted a Facebook connection – I tried that, ensuring first that “can’t post” was selected. But still no data about “me”.
Of course, my Shazam App isn’t logged in via Facebook, so I tried that next. And presto, now the website had a list of all the tracks, along with a download button.

So here, in all it’s obscure glory, is the list of music that I had Shazam identify for me, over the last 2-1/2 years. The original list even has Google Map links for some tracks, so I know where as well as when I heard the music. Amazing!

(much easier to read if you click for full-size)

Tuesday March 10, 2015

Hacking a scissor lift

Category: Uncategorized — Ian C. @ 12:48 pm

Here’s something a little different! At the end of last week, one of our customers delivered a small scissor lift machine for me to work on – lucky we have lots of space in our garage!

I’ve avoided unpacking it as far as possible, because it will soon have to ship back again!

Our customer wants us to adapt our CANbus Display Module to work on this machine. It will be installed in this platform box, connecting to the operator joystick and providing the three buttons and display to replace what’s there already:

So first, I need to open up this platform box and see what is in there already:

We know already that communications between this platform box and the vehicles motor controller uses the CANbus protocol, and a quick overview inside the platform box identifies the electronics that’s currently doing that job:

The bottom connector, just visible in that picture, has the CANbus signals as well as power; there’s also an added on terminator resistor (the little component at the bottom with red and brown stripes), which makes my job really easy!
Since the CANbus protocol is somewhat of a standard, it’s not too tricky to figure out what messages the original electronics are sending – my Agilent oscilloscope can convert the voltages to data so I mostly just figure out how the data changes when I action the platform box controls …

After that, I wire up a new connector to “steal” the vehicles CANbus and power, and adapt it to my CANbus display module bench test unit (I can’t cut or splice any wires, since the vehicle will be returned soon):

It’s just an hour or so of coding and testing to rewrite our standard CANbus messages to duplicate those of the vehicle, and then I’m up and running, able to control the vehicle movements from my bench rig!

My colleagues back in Essex will now build a CANbus display into a second platform box that we’ve been supplied, and once I confirm it’s working fine, we are done.