Category Archives: computing

Python: Creating a singleton (to control an Arduino)

A while ago I was writing a tool in python to communicate with a sensor on an Arduino. The idea was to have a class for the Arduino that would hold the connection and handle the reading and writing to the serial port. However that way I needed to have the object maintain the connection and the open COM port (this was on windows), but this meant that I could not have multiple objects. Why? Because you can only have one connection to a COM port. The solution – use a Singleton design pattern.

Continue reading Python: Creating a singleton (to control an Arduino)

Detecting Meteors from radio reflections

When I was in school, I remember being told that it was possible to tune an FM radio do a free frequency low in the band and during a meteor storm you could ‘hear’ when meteors struck the atmosphere as the FM signal from distant radio stations would be reflected back down from the ionised meteor trail. This may have been possible as back then there were plenty of high powered FM stations from Eastern Europe using a lower portion of the spectrum and receivers often went below the 88.5 that is the limit on the dial now. But I never heard anything. Over the years as my interest in meteors and radio was peeked I looked into it again, but the number of stations to use was dwindling and there were few artificial sources that could produce an audible ping. Continue reading Detecting Meteors from radio reflections

Updating Solaris 11 zones behind a proxy

I’ve forgotten this several times now so it’s time I wrote a short post to help me remember in future! In Solaris 11 we use the Image Packaging System to maintain the software on the system. This is written in python and uses libcurl and for non zoned systems setting the http_proxy is sufficient to allow the system to communicate with the repo. Continue reading Updating Solaris 11 zones behind a proxy

Old computer magazines free to a good home

I’m clearing out the attic and have some old computer magazines that some of you might be interested in. Free to a good home if you can collect from me, otherwise they go to recycling.

The first batch contains titles like Personal Computer News and Your Computer from around 1981-1983. The second batch are mainly Amiga Shopper (and the odd CU Amiga and Amiga Format) from around 1994.

UPDATE: All gone! Continue reading Old computer magazines free to a good home

Python : generating unittests on the fly

When creating python unit tests you need to create a method in a unittest class. The problem however is when you don’t know until the code is running what these tests will be. In my particular case I need to run a series of tests against a number of Solaris packages. But I won’t know what the packages will be in advance. Continue reading Python : generating unittests on the fly

Python: Searching for a string within a list – List comprehension

The simple way to search for a string in a list is just to use ‘if string in list’. eg:

Continue reading Python: Searching for a string within a list – List comprehension

UK Windows Keyboard on a Mac Book Pro

It started well. I just plugged in the keyboard and it appeared to work. Until I tried typing an email and the ‘to’ line came out with a ” instead of an @. Aha! Simple – just change the keyboard layout.

That’s a lot easier said than done in OSX Lion. For a start there does not appear to be a set of keyboard layouts to choose from.

Enter Ukelele. This tool lets you create custom keyboard layouts. All I actually needed to do was take the Logitech UK International keyboard and remap the | key as everything else was as I needed.

Now I can finally use my old Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000 with my Mac.