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It didn't take long to build a touch-sensitive version of the electro-sax! This is definitely nicer to build than soldering a key matrix with diodes, but the analog sensors aren't quite as nice to deal with on the code side.

The key thing is that it works! I'm not actually sure whether I prefer the buttons or the capacitive sensors. I need to tweak the sensor calibration a bit before I'll be able to tell.

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Here's my finished painted Ploopy - I'm not happy with the buttons but I wanted to start using it! I'll do some black / dark grey ones another time I think.

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Major progress on the pointing stick project today! I actually managed to build it into a keyboard!

Started by redesigning the strain gauge mount to clear the keycaps, then printed and assembled it. That went smoothly but took a while.

It turned out the keys I bought are plate mount so they lack the little pegs that go into the PCB! But they'll do - this is just a prototype, the keys aren't the important thing here.

Initial testing feels good but it's late so I'll try it tomorrow!

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I'm very slowly writing up a blog post about my experiments with making a pointing stick. It's slow progress because there's always something more interesting to do.

Tried to play a Jackbox game over Nextcloud Talk with my family, but the connection gradually got worse and the latency increased to the point where it was unplayable for them :(

Not sure whether this is due to their device, their connection, my connection or my hosting on my NAS but it's a shame - I'm probably gonna end up just using Discord next time because it actually works.

Here's a few generations of the hybrid switch design. The latest design adds a slope, so that the capacitive sensing copper tape is parallel to the tape you touch, when the switch is closed. I haven't tested it yet, but it should make it more sensitive.

These new thinner silicone o-rings are much better for the return spring. It's enough to pull the button back up, but provides a lot less resistance to pushing the button down.

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I'm updating the Ploopy BTU mod for the new design with a larger ball, and Rhino has decided to cause me pain.

This little pink circle means there's an extremely tiny edge in the model that's only connected to one surface. I've tried rebuilding all the surfaces except the complicated one which makes up the whole top of the trackball. Obviously I'm trying to avoid that, but the naked edge is still there after rebuilding them.

I'm having problems with both freecad-git and freecad-appimage-git from the AUR, so I've reverted to the version in Arch's repos. Unfortunately that means going back to v0.19, but it does seem to open my 0.20 files!

Undercoven: a film about witches who are secret agents

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Nunexploded Ordnance: A film about a nun who becomes a bomb disposal expert

The shoulder pain from my first dose of the vaccine is subsiding now after the second day. It was never bad enough to stop me doing stuff, so that's nice! This first dose has felt pretty much like any flu jab I've had.

To keep my arm moving we did some desk shuffling! My partner had a huge new (second hand) desk so I got the old one. Lots of (bad) cable management!

I'm getting the hang of FreeCAD's Link functionality - here's the finger buttons mount with the new hybrid buttons linked in. It's not yet set up as a proper assembly with mates - they're just positioned by coordinates.

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A name for a cute vacuum cleaner brand: vacUwUm

Got myself a mini scanner for sketches, a Fujitsu S1100i. It's pretty neat! Works on linux after downloading a SANE driver for the S1100 and renaming it. It'll take a while to figure out the best settings for sketches, though.

We got a Henry vacuum cleaner and it is glorious. It actually cleans things! I feel like I've been being gaslit by our old cordless Vax.

Too many god damn fonts 

Why are #fonts in word processors and #design #software always just a flat list that you need to scroll through using a hilariously small drop-down list? Every computer I've used since 1995 has had an absolutely stupid amount of fonts installed and I've never wanted to use more than like four of them.

When is someone going to make the UX of font selection a less tedious, bare-bones affair, like maybe first picking between serif and sans-serif, then narrowing down with another feature, or something like that? Can I get an OS-wide exclude list of "I will never use these fonts, never show them to me"?

The OpenCalc: An Open-Source Scientific RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) Calculator

Wonder if today's kids even know what RPN is? You really have to have used it to appreciate it. There is a good link in the article below too giving some history on how RPN came about. I still treasure my working HP41CV.


#technology #opensource #RPN #calculator #opencalc

It's been a while since I attempted digital sketch rendering, so I drew up some form ideas for the electro-sax on paper, then took a photo and added colours in Krita.

It took a very long time - I need lots of practice!

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