a glob of nerd­ish­ness

Damage report

published by natevw on

Lately I have fried:

Several nRF24L01+ modules

I've been getting the second iteration of my greenhouse electronics going as well as developing a mostly-finished pure-JavaScript nRF24L01+ driver library. In the process I've managed to downgrade the radio hardware on a few of these little transceiver breakouts:

nRF24L01+ in prototyping environment

It's hard to casually explain what I'm doing with these to family and friends, but the short of it is they're a fairly ideal and very affordable way to wirelessly connect a variety of tiny computers — Arduino, Teensy, Raspberry Pi, Tessel, etc.

My patience with CouchDB

Don't get me wrong, I still use it and love it but I am also getting more shy of always recommending it by default. It's not that CouchDB broken, it's just that it is incomplete in the areas that would truly set it apart.

It's not my only concern, but the biggest struggle has been with document-level read permissions. Turns out this is critical for anything resembling a "Couch App". Filtered replication simply isn't the solution. Cloudant has done some work in this regard, but given the functionality hasn't even made it to their public product's roadmap it seems unreasonable to plan for it in an Apache CouchDB release for a very long time.

In the meantime, I'm just slathering middleware over everything "database" in my production work, where I've had to salvage my original CouchDB-in-theory architectures. There's certainly still plenty Couch improves about these projects, but it can be frustrating to re-implement so much of what it should provide while still constrained by its remaining baggage.

My winter-incompatible tilapia

Cold weather and tropical fish don't mix well. Many of my tilapia are about harvest size but I'd been hoping to keep the full batch until I had conjured a second generation out of them. This plan was decimated as a two week long extra-cold snap left all but the three smallest fish comatose on the bottom of the tank. They may have pulled through, but with travel approaching I didn't want to chance it.

Ben with fish breakfast

The first to succumb got ate for breakfast with a visiting friend; the next four got stored in the freezer. With a second aquarium heater and a closer-to-average climate, the temperatures seem to be in a better range — up from 40–50ºF to the 60–70º range without having to wastefully heat the greenhouse air directly.

A winter-compatible rabbit watering system

We recently added some meat rabbits to our menagerie. Given the cold snap I was eager to install a freeze-proof automatic watering system before it was the neighbors' turn to take care of things.

Rabbits in hutch

Excited by a successful afternoon of assembly, and eager for the glue to cure, I plugged in the heat cable "for just a bit, to test it" — without any water in the system. An hour or two later I realized this was in progress in the hutch right next to our house…

Burnt bucket, molten pipe from rabbit watering system

Yeah that was dumb. Really, really, dangerously, dumb.

Some snails

A dozen of these were hurriedly harvested and snacked upon amidst the final holiday packing. Toby managed the butter sauce mostly by himself, but only Malachi was willing to try the end product with me.

Snails in the jar

I forgot to snag a picture of the actual snack. To be honest, not only were we eating in a hurry but I was also trying not to focus on their entrailish appearance…I hope to keep raising and sampling them, though, as they haven't required too much attention.

Brain cells?

Keeping up with so many outdoor-ish and unbillable-ish projects has been a bit of a challenge while also trying to share brief daylight hours with consulting/development work, but has been incredibly educational. When things "just work" it's only a little empowering. Doing things the wrong way (or the long way) can be tough to swallow, but with persistence feels rewarding in a more satisfying way.

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