Trying to get back to doing these things on a regular basis.

Hardware hacking

  • More work on an electronic weather vane, following these instructions. Lots of figuring out what size of bearings I should order.

  • Some soldering to make a battery holder for some ESP32 camera modules I’ve got.

  • Weather station:

    • Try to get the tipping bucket rain meter working; there’s a loose connection somewhere, and periodically I see that Burnaby had 5 metres of rain in the last 24 hours. I never realized just how much you have to pay attention to loose wires.

    • Sketch out a new rain meter based on inexpensive flow meters, then order some. We’ll see how this works.


  • Going through a number of online courses/resources:

    • Coursera UMich Web Design for Everybody course: excellent, though aimed at people quite new to development of any sort. One thing: I’m lucky enough to have my employer pay for this, but the lecturer, Colleen van Lent, writes:

      My motivation for creating this course content was to spread the mission of free education to everyone. Unfortunately, many of the platform changes has put the material behind paywells. I highly encourage students to take the courses individually (rather than as a specialization) to access them for free. Even then, some of the assignments may be hidden. I am hoping to launch a new more open version in Fall 2018.

    • Shay Howe’s HTML & CSS course; also excellent

    • awesome walkthrough of JavaScript

  • Trying to get the basics down, then look into React or some other front-end framework.

  • Gotta say, I’m really fascinated by the tie-in between JavaScript and DOM manipulation, which I had not really grokked before.

  • Project-in-progress is a refactoring (not a redesign, as I want the look to remain about the same) of The Floating Head of Ayn Rand, which has been more or less untouched for HOLY CRAP twenty-one years. (State of the art at the time was table-based layout, which I adopted enthusiastically 😬).

  • Changed the CSS for this site to have the post titles be a bit more prominent:

    .posts-list-item-title {
        font-size: xx-large;


  • But also web: begin taking up work on the New West Trees page again.
    • Newest feature: adding links to the Wikipedia page for a tree species!
    • Coming soon: adding common names for species (eg: English Oak instead of Quercus robur)…which turns out to be surprisingly tricky.
      • Tried pytaxize, which was a yakshave to get an NCBI API token, then gave me problems re: rate limiting
      • Tried pygbif; better results, but still not great for trees. Example: Quercus palustris is resolved to just “Oak”, but Wikipedia clearly resolves it to “Pin Oak”.
      • But this gave me the idea of trying wikidata or wikispecies; this is up next.