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I am forced to use Windows 8.1 for some of the work I do at Carleton (if I use Windows at home, I have either Windows 7 Pro or Windows XP, which I need for some of the stuff I have to run... it just won't run on Windows 7). Today, I just spent half an hour trying to change my password. Seriously. What the actual fuck? Went to Control Panel and Users and ... all kinds of settings all of which I don't give a rat's ass about, but none of them (including a hopeful sounding one about updating credentials for windows) allowed me to do a simple change of my password. Okay, go to Google... article after article about how to recover passwords (including youtube videos), but nothing about how to actually change the password. The solution? Cntl-Alt-Delete. Seriously. What the actual fuck? Cntl-Alt-Delete is the uninterruptable keystroke and in the past has been reserved for exceptional system level functions, not day-to-day administrivia like changing one's own password. If I wasn't running Classic Shell on the system to at least give myself a tolerable Start menu, I would be on here ranting about how much Windoze sucks 24/7 (or at least until I passed out from exhaustion in my own vitriol).

You can thank the lucky stars for Classic Shell.

Okay, now back to emailing a document, which I had to do from Windows on my dual boot system at work (it's on Windows because the software I had to use for the project only runs on Windows so it made sense for me to leave my files there... although I should mount the Windows file system on Linux so this doesn't happen again... this is the first time I just needed files from my Windows partition rather than having to run software on Windows so it didn't occur to me until just now... be assured it will be done this afternoon!).

Ugh, so much productivity wasted.

Speaking of which (although I consider musical and artistic experiences to be an important time sink rather than a waste of freakin' time like Windows)... and to provide some "value" so my posts aren't a total waste of your time.

Russian electric balalaika and beatboxing?


Aug. 7th, 2017 03:14 pm
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Going through some old digital photos looking for something and ran across this... it was taken with my camera, but it seems it was taken by Happy. Yes, that's an elephant. I don't even know ;).


Aug. 4th, 2017 11:38 pm
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
"Only conformists are ever adored."
— Catherine Breillat
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
"the cow's bold postmodernism clashes with the area's traditional suburban aesthetic"
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
"Where Abraham Lincoln had his famous team of rivals in his administration, this is something different. The Trump White House seems more akin to the final scene in Reservoir Dogs, where everyone is yelling and pointing a gun at someone else".

I do like me a bit of sassy journalism ;).
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I just got the following email, which reads in part...

I am glad to reach you on behalf of Condensed Matter Physics 2017 Organizing Committee, after having a view at your vast expertise and eminent contribution in the research relevant to Theoretical and Condensed Matter Physics, we courteously welcome you as a speaker for the upcoming Condensed Matter Physics Conference from October 19-21, 2017 in New York, USA.

Hahahaha, ummm, no. Unless they are time travellers from the future and know something I don't about what I'm going to accomplish, I don't think they have anything on me other than my email address ;).

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Our new head of state in Canada is a female astronaut... how frickin' cool is that!?!!!

Former astronaut Julie Payette to be Canada's next governor general

She is also a computer engineer with a commercial pilot licence, and is also an accomplished athlete, pianist, and choral singer.
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
What Do You Do When Your Falling,
You've Got 30 Degrees And You're Stalling Out?
And It's 24 Miles To Your Beacon;
There's A Crack In The Sky And The Warning's Out.

Don't Take That Dive Again!
Push Through That Band Of Rain!

Five Miles Out,
Just Hold Your Heading True.
Got To Get Your Finest Out.
You're Number 1, Anticipating You.

Five Miles Out,
Just Hold Your Heading True.
Got To Get Your Finest Out.
Five Miles Out,
You're Number 1, Anticipating You.

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Calling All Stations!
This Is Golf-Mike-Oscar-Victor-Juliet
IMC CU.NIMB... icing,
In Great Difficulty, Over.

The Traffic Controller Is Calling,
"Victor-Juliet Your Identity.
I Have You Lost In The Violent Storm!
Communicate Or Squawk 'Emergency'!"

Don't Take That Dive Again!
Push Through That Band Of Rain!

Lost In Static 18,
And The Storm Is Closing In Now.
Automatic 18!
(Got To Push Through!) Trapped In Living Hell!

Your A Prisoner Of The Dark Sky,
The Propeller Blades Are Still!
And The Evil Eye Of The Hurricane's
Coming In Now For The Kill.

Our Hope's With You,
Rider In The Blue.

Welcome's Waiting,
We're Anticipating
You'll Be Celebrating,
When You're Down And Braking.

I still swoon for Maggie Reilly's voice... although I have no frickin' clue about the set and video work they did for it on this ToTPs kind of show. Weird!

Bonus track: a live version of Sheba off QE2! One of the best uses of vocoder effects I know of... ethereal!
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I just read the phrase "non-avian dinosaurs" in an article, and it made it surprisingly happy. That we have so recently discovered that the dinosaurs were not (all) wiped out and live among us is such wonderful and magical knowledge.
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Pro tip: don't listen to the song Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III right before going to sleep or you will have really weird dreams!

Guru tip: listen to the song Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III right before going to sleep and you will have really weird dreams!
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I have spent weeks (not solid, more as a background task) trying to figure out how to produce a silkscreen for a set of front and rear panels I have been working on. As I indicated a while back, I am learning AutoDesk's Inventor 3D CAD software. In general, I have found it to be an intuitive and powerful package; however, to finish the job, I needed to produce the artwork so I could get a silkscreen done (just some basic lettering for the faceplate for some of the electronics controlling part of an experiment to go into SNOLAB). Well, whatever intuitivity (my invented word of the day) there may be in the rest of Inventor, it doesn't exist when trying to do a silkscreen. All the web pages I read talked about how to add lettering to a design, but didn't explain how to export it to what was once called "camera ready artwork" (basically the artwork needed to create the screen for the application of the ink/paint). The few web pages that went into any detail were either very old or simply indicated that it was a waste of time to even bother trying, and to use AutoCAD instead. Ultimately, that was the route I went, but I haven't used a version of that software in probably 20 years and it's not the same package at all anymore, so it was a learn-from-scratch scenario again.

I am clawing my way, millimetre by painful millimetre, to productivity.

For posterity's sake, here's the procedure I followed (I know these show up on searches of the Intertubes; and if I don't write it down, I'll forget it myself):
  1. From Inventor, create a drawing at 1:1 scale for the 3D part's face that will be silkscreened (choose the proper sized "paper" to hold the whole drawing... C size in my case). Fill out the information box as necessary as this will be included in the output file from AutoCAD. I did this by going New->Drawing, then clicking on the Base button in the Create tools, then setting the scale to "1" and selecting the "Hidden Lines Removed" Style. I have two drawings them from the same 3D part: one that I dimensioned and gave to the machinist to make the actual part (which has different scales and such), and a new one that I created for the silkscreeen generation that just has the holes and cutouts and stuff along with the info box and page border.

  2. Close the drawing for the silkscreen in Inventor and open the drawing in AutoCAD (if you don't close it in Inventor first, AutoCAD complains that something else has it open and offers to open it in "read only" mode).

  3. On the Home tab in AutoCAD (we're done with Inventor), in the Layers tools, click on Layer Properties and then delete all the layers that are not going to be needed (there are a bunch). The way to do it is to turn off (the little lightbulb) all the layers and bring back the ones you need, then delete everything else you can (on this job, one layer could not be deleted or renamed for me). In my case, I kept the following layers and deleted the rest: 0 (can't delete), Border (ANSI), Title (ANSI), and Visible (ANSI). On the previous one I did, there was another layer (Defpoints) I could not delete. Furthermore, I could probably have deleted the Border (ANSI) layer in both, but I just left it hidden.

  4. To satisfy the requirements of the company I was sending my artwork to, I had to rename Visible (ANSI) to MECH (the mechanical layer that showed the holes and such), and Title (ANSI) to PAGE (which had the identification information on it and any further instructions). I then needed to create two new layers: WHITE (one layer for each colour... I was only doing a single colour since it was basic lettering), and REGISTER (to hold registration marks to allow for alignment of the panel to the screen).

  5. Go to the Layers tools and, using the pulldown, select WHITE (or whatever colour you are using). Changes made will go in that layer. Under the Annotation tools (in the Home tab), select Multi-Line Text (or single line if that's what floats your boat... I'm just providing my experience) and place whatever text is needed. I did not have any artwork (the logo for the project would have taken days to convert to a monochrome one and that was out of scope for me). The company I'm sending it to indicated that I should use colour #7 for all the layers. The existing layers were, thankfully, imported with that colour already.

  6. To place text, select Multi-Line Text, one corner of the rectangle to place it in, and then the other corner of the rectangle to place it in. Type text into the box, resizing it as necessary to fit the text the way you want (one or more lines). You can use Enter to put in a line break. The key is to select the correct justification to allow the text to be positioned exactly. For instance, I wanted to place text below a cutout for an AC Power Entry Module about the allowable voltages, the maximum current draw, and what fuses to use. I put the text on two lines (voltages and current, and fuse specifications), selected the Center alignment button in the Paragraph tools, and then selected Top Center TC from the pulldown Justification list in the Paragraph tools. If you are aligning it to something below it, use Bottom Center BC (Left or Right Center to align it to the side, but then use Left/Right alignment as well for the text). That gave me centred text with a handle in the middle of the text above the text that I could choose to align with the cutout. Select Close Text Editor way over on the right to finish editing the text (it can always be opened up again by double-clicking on it).

  7. Align and place the text where you want it... sadly, easier said than done. You will need some feature to align it to for starters. In my case, I had a rectangular cutout. In Inventor, lines have convenient middle handles that can be used for alignment, but in AutoCAD, just the ends of the lines have handles. As such, to centre my text below the cutout, I had to go to the Annotate menu and select the Centerline button from the Centerlines tools, then select the sides of the cutout to create a centreline. Once that was done, I could click on the text to select it, click on the square handle (at the top in the centre per my justification choice earlier) and then hover it over the centreline I just created to lock it on, then I could drag it down below the cutout and, as long as I didn't drag it too far off to the side, release the mouse button to drop it below the cutout along the centre line (it snaps to the feature). As you drag the text, there will be a dotted line to the feature it is locked to so you know it's aligned with the centre (or whatever). This took me a long time to figure out how to do, but it's nice and easy once I knew. You can also use the Center Mark tool from the Centerlines tools on holes and circular cutouts, which is preferable (on my previous design, I had a hole aligned above my square cutout that I used for alignment, it was a lot easier).

  8. To set the distance between the text and the feature, you need to go to the Parametric tab and select the proper tool from the Dimensional tools. In this case, I used the pull down on the left of the tools to select Vertical. The theory is that you constrain the text to be a certain distance from an edge or a hole or something, but the reality is not quite so easy. If it is a hole, then it seems to work out fairly well, but for a rectangular cutout even, it takes some work. To set my distance on the cutout, I first had to draw lines (the Line tool from the Home->Draw tools) along the centre line from its top point to its bottom point, and along the two perpendicular lines to the centre line of the cutout. I then used the Trim tool from the Modify tools, selected the newly drawn line over the centre line, and then the top line I just drew (the two reference objects), then do a right click with the mouse to terminate object selection and put it into trim mode, then click on the part of the new centre line that is above the cutout to trim it off. It will look like the line is still there, but it is the proper centreline that was added earlier. Delete the proper centreline, and the top line that was drawn on the cutout. That will leave the rest of the new line drawn over the centreline (with its top trimmed off) and the line drawn along the bottom of the cutout. Go back to Trim, select the centre line and the remaining perpendicular line at the bottom of the cutout, right click, select the bit of the centre line sticking out. Finally, there is a handle in that can be accessed by the Vertical tool from the Parametric tool (ugh). There may be better ways of doing this, but this is what worked for me. Then... start the Vertical tool, hover over the text and you will see a red circle with an X through it for the text handle. Click on it. Hover over the intersection between the centre line and the line along the bottom of the cutout to find the next handle (red circle with X) and click on it. Slide off to the side to drag the dimension off to the side and click to place it. Double click on the dimension value and put in what you want (e.g. 0.5 inches in my case). The Parametric tool will pull or push the text to the distance you asked for. Placing other text is generally variations on this theme. Once the text is placed... delete the lines (center and bottom) used to place the text and any leftover dimensions if any (deleting the lines deleted the dimension on my drawing), otherwise these will show up on your silkscreen, which is presumably not desired! If I wasn't already bald, I would be after wrestling with AutoCAD as long as it took me to get this to work.

  9. Rinse and repeat for any remaining text (if you figure out how to place images, maybe post below for others that might find this post... or give a link to an article on how to do it perhaps if it is detailed as what I'm doing here, no need to repeat it if it already exists). At this point, with all the text placed, it is probably a good idea to turn off all the layers except WHITE and make sure the only thing there is text (and that it is all there). If you accidentally placed text on the wrong layer, I know there is a way to move it, but I forget what I did.

  10. Select the REGISTER layer to place registration marks (always a good idea unless the company you're sending to doesn't want them). Here, the hover/lock function I talked about is used heavily. It's quick work once you get the hang of it, but be patient until it makes sense. So... select the Line tool and hover over a corner of the faceplate (or whatever), a hollow green square will appear, move the cursor vertically from the corner and a dotted green line will appear with an X at the end, once away from the corner, click to start the line and then move the cursor up further to define the direction of the line, then enter the length of the line (I used 0.9 inches), press Enter to accept the number, press Enter again to finish the line. You should have a vertical line that isn't touching the faceplate. Do the same to place a horizontal line at the same corner. Then go to the Parametric tab and set a Vertical constraint between the bottom of the vertical line and the horizontal line (I set the constraint to 0.1 inches), and then set a Horizontal constraint between the horizontal line and the corner. Make sure to select the reference line before the line to move/constrain or the reference line will move instead (i.e. for the Vertical line, select the end of the horizontal line first before the vertical line). Repeat for the other three corners and you will have a full set of registration marks of equal length and of equal distance from the four corners. Now... delete all the constraint dimensions so they don't show up on the silkscreen! Stuff is where it is supposed to be and that's enough.

  11. One of the last things I needed to do was to go back to the Layer Properties (under the Main tab) and change the width of the MECH, PAGE, and REGISTER lines (and your silkscreen layer lines if you added any) to values useful to the company doing the silkscreen. In my case, the default they wanted was 0.010 inches, which is about 0.25mm. As long as you didn't override the line width and left the Linetype as "by layer", this is simple from the Layer Properties list (it has a pulldown list of acceptable line widths). I then added some additional text to the PAGE layer (selecting it from the pulldown layers menu) to indicate the ink colour and the material I will be providing to silkscreen (they can acquire it themselves, but I will be giving it to them). This was according to the guidelines provided to me. Lastly, the company I was sending it to could only read AutoCAD files up to version 2007, so once I was done, I did another "Save As..." and saved it to AutoCAD 2007 format with a different name (just appended _ac2007). I send them an AutoCAD 2017 file before I realized that limitation and when they opened it, they said it was blank. When I sent them the 2007 format version, they were able to open it fine.

Well, a technical post, but hopefully it helps someone some day (or reminds me when I need to do it again!).

Hmmm... appropriate video here? Hmmm...

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Received minutes ago...

Dear Phelonius Friar:

I am pleased to inform you that the Senate of Carleton University, at its meeting of June 2, 2017 granted you the following degree:

Bachelor of Science
Minor in Mathematics

This degree will be conferred at the Convocation ceremony held on June 13, 2017 at 9:30 am. Please bring your campus card with you for registration purposes. Please visit for complete details regarding the June 2017 Convocation ceremonies. You may also view the list of medalists approved at the June 2, 2017 Senate meeting. Graduates also enjoy discounts at the Carleton University Bookstore. Please visit them at: for details.

On behalf of Carleton University, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this important achievement.

Yours sincerely,
Suzanne Blanchard
Vice-President (Students and Enrolment) and University Registrar
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Warning: technobabble post (skip to video if such talk upsets you).

I am currently fighting to produce a silkscreen .dxf or .dwg file from a 3D model in Autodesk Inventor. It's funny that creating the 3D model of the part (including learning the program to do so) was almost trivial (the tutorials that came with the program are actually great, much to my surprise), but sending out the lettering to finish the panel is proving to be a huge muddled task (there are many forum threads on various ways to do it, but all of them agree that it sucks).

One of the first things I came up against was that I imported the design for the Hammond chassis I'm using as a STEP file and then pulled out the faceplate extrusion as a part to modify. Overall the process went very well, but when the part was created, the origin was placed in a weird spot on the part, and the part was rotated weird so that the front of it wasn't in the X-Y plane direction (with the long part along the X axis) like it intuitively should be to me (since it was pulled from a full assembly in the STEP file, it is not too surprising though). What was confounding is there didn't seem to be any way to orient it relative to the origin and in the direction I wanted to work with (when I applied what IRL is a horizontal constraint, I had to use the vertical constraint option on the sketch... not intuitive). Well, I just found out how to move the solid object around in 3D space... it was an option that was not visible normally, but I just had to pull down the Modify panel expando arrow and there it was: "Move Bodies". It allows for translation and rotation of the part. To get it, it's "3D Model->Modify->Move Bodies". There is a little cube in the tool's dialogue box that if you click on it, it gives you a pulldown to select the operation you want to perform. In my case, I needed to rotate the solid, then translate the corner I needed to the origin. To figure out how far I needed to translate it to align with the various axis planes, I used "Tools->Measure->Distance" and then just typed the numbers in.

As a note, Autodesk Inventor is available for free if you are a student or work at a university or college, and are not going to be using it for commercial purposes.

Hahaha, the video was a trap! ;)

(but catchy as all git out)
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Received in the past hour...

Dear Phelonius:

Congratulations! I am pleased to welcome you to the Bachelor of Arts Honours Women's and Gender Studies program at Carleton University. Enclosed are details regarding your offer of admission...

As stated before, I have completed all the requirements to graduate (they included an audit confirming it... the requirements change year over year, so it was possible that I could have gotten caught by something I didn't know about, but I'm good). So... as soon as I have graduated from my B.Sc. Honours program (I was told it would be around the end of May sometime, possibly early June), I can apply to graduate with the B.A. Honours (I already know my final grade as well, it's an A- ... not stellar, but pretty amazing for a degree I had not intended to get when I went to university, and much better than my final grade for physics, ugh). The convocation will be in the fall some time I believe. If you're in Ottawa on June 13, you are cordially invited to an apres-graduation soirée at my place in the evening (if you don't know the coordinates, message me).

In celebration, I present one of my favourite videos (it always makes me smile... and shake my head a little at it as I watch):

Never a dull moment!
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
The FCC voted today to overturn net neutrality in the USA

The Internet: invented by the US, adopted by the world as a great tool of democracy and equity, abandoned by the US in 2017.

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I am still waiting for the Senate at Carleton University to grant me my B.Sc. Honours in Theoretical Physics (it usually happens at the end of May from what I understand), but I have gone ahead and applied for admission into the B.A. Honours Women's and Gender Studies programme, which should take about 2 weeks and will apparently be in time for the summer semester even though it has begun (I visited the Admissions Office this morning and that's their story and they're sticking to it). As soon as I'm accepted, I will apply to graduate in the fall as I have already completed all the requirements (to my knowledge). I am a broken man on a Halifax pier (and it has been more than 6 years since I sailed away), but it is a consolation that I survived (last year, there was some serious uncertainty) and the amount of time I spent in total is reflected in the multiple results (not my intent at all when I started, fyi).

I am now starting on life number eight (humans get about eleven, unlike cats, phew), at least per one of my favourite comics of all time, from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (there is much more to it than I repeat here to illustrate the points, so it's worth checking out):
Here is something true: one day you will be dead.
Here is something false: you only live once.
It takes about 7 years to master something.
If you live to be 88, after age 11, you have 11 opportunities to be great at something.
These are your lifetimes.

Most people never let themselves die.
Some are afraid of death.
Some think they are already ghosts.
But you have many lives.

Spend a life writing poems.
Spend another building things.
Spend a life looking for facts,
and another looking for truth.

These are your lifetimes. Use them!
Which also reminds me of the final monologue in the movie Sucker Punch:

And it also has a tinge to it of another comic that I have had pinned to the corkboard in my kitchen for years that I read at least once a week so I never forget (click on it to go to the page it is from):

I just found out that a very good friend had her visa application to teach in China approved last night and she will be leaving for over a year to do something that is utterly out of her comfort zone. She is a hero to me because she is starting a whole new life, and it is a beautiful and terrifying and magical thing to behold. And yes, I do plan to take her up on her offer to come visit her while she is there... I have never been to China.
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
... about standards, is that there's so many to choose from.

I am bashing myself senseless for days on the Timed Text Track API in Javascript/HTML5 in trying to use it dynamically with video playing on a canvas (I'm working on the v0.9 version of the demo for the revived Midnight Stranger... v0.8 introduced support for touch screens). Nothing seems to be working the way the specification indicates it should, so I'm debugging one micro-step at a time now. The only thing that is making it tolerable is that I'm listening to the Samorost 3 game soundtrack (by Floex). Such an evocative collection of music! I got the edition of the game that came with the soundtrack (in MP3 and FLAC formats) and a digital art book from the game :). I also got Samorost 2 and Botanicula to round out my game collection from that group (I have been playing Machinarium for years and still dust it off every once in a while... it's a puzzle game, so it has limited replay value until enough time has passed that I've forgotten the solutions, but the scenery, characters, and music is still great). You can play Samorost 1 online if you are so inclined... the other games also have teaser levels online as well :). Anyway, I haven't actually started playing Samorost 3 yet, but I am listening to the music, which is quite pleasant.

The animation in these kinds of games of reminds me of the animation in the short film Krapooyo by Yannick Puig... and one of my favourite "fan vids" where someone put music from the psychedelic band Schpongle over top of Krapooyo :) ...

Linux QoTD

May. 12th, 2017 12:07 pm
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Every time I log into my server at home, I get a message from the "fortune" program (not "fortune -o", heh). I thought today's was worth sharing:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

It's good to keep in mind.

Today's media makes me gasp every single time I see it (and I've been watching it for over a quarter of a century ... not constantly, mind you)... to me, it's not just concert footage, it's like watching a geological event. There is something surprisingly transcendent about it (your mileage may vary). It also seems relevant to the quote :).


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