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Archive: December 31, 2004

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Friday,  12/31/04  11:18 AM

It's the last day of the year!  Wow, another year gone.

Vornado space heaterWhat was the best present you received for Christmas (or whatever you celebrate in December)?  I received some pretty great ones, but one of my favorites was quite simple; a little Vornado space heater.  This has already done wonders for my productivity (and bad things to my sleep pattern).  Now I can work all night without freezing!

Sony Tivo Series 1Which brings me to - tivoweb.  My midnight+ project this week has been hacking my trusty Tivo Series 1, which regular readers know is my single favorite item of personal electronics.  (Take my iPod, take my Treo, take my Fuji FinePix, just don't take my Tivo.)  Anyway back at time zero I'd "hacked" my Tivo by adding an 80MB hard drive, and later added a network card (thanks, Nick).  It is nowadays connected wirelessly via an Airport Extreme which also sends music to my stereo receiver, a perfect combination of functionality!  Being online has allowed my Tivo to download its program updates without dialing.  But until recently I've held off doing real hacking - programming.

(click for fullsize screen shot)
tivoweb - now showing page

After a bit of magic (including mounting the Tivo's hard drive temporarily in a Windows 98 PC) I can now telnet to the Tivo, ftp back and forth, and have installed the spiffy tivoweb!  Written mostly in TCL, this easily-customizable tool turns your Tivo into a webserver, and gives you the full Tivo UI right on the web.  Now I can see what my Tivo is doing, schedule new programs, create wishlists, etc., all from the comfort of my laptop screen.  Or my phone - tivoweb even works on my Treo.  Now that's cool.

Tivoweb also includes a resource editor, which enables you to modify a lot of the operating parameters of your Tivo.  So far the one I like the best is the ability to change the available "start recording" and "stop recording" intervals.  Now I can start recording late, and stop recording early.  This is perfect for situations where sports events are back-to-back.  I routinely set football games to stop 30 minutes late, because they always run late, and now I can set the following game to start 30 minutes late!  Yippee.

tivoweb - resource editor

Life's small pleasures...  I now have a backlog of six football games to watch, going in to New Year's weekend.  Good thing I have a space heater so I can stay up all night :)


I, flowerbot

Friday,  12/31/04  04:36 PM

I just got back from a bike ride - the skies have cleared and it was the most beautiful day imaginable.  Southern California after a rain is really quite breathtaking.  The hills were shining, the lake was shimmering, and the sun bathed everything in a wonderful yellow light.  All set for tomorrow's Rose Parade, so people watching while freezing across the country can decide to move here :)

And speaking of the Rose Parade, bookmark this page!  This is the "floatcam" from high atop the 50' high JPL/Caltech robot.  This parade float, built entirely from flowers as the rules require, is named "In Praise of Explorers", and will definitely win the technology awards.  (Makes me proud, as usual, to be a Caltech alum...)

You can warm up by viewing the RealPlayer video feed, which is currently playing a loop showing testing of the robot.  Here are some stills (click thumbnails for larger pics):

The JPL/Caltech robot float
(click for larger pics)


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