Category Archives: Uncategorized

Need better fish?

As you have guessed by now, I’m not maintaining Shoes 3 anymore. I do still answer some questions on github but nothing new is likely. I owe you an explanation of why. It’s pretty simple. My health is bad and is not going to get better. The Shoes community (Shoes 3 or Shoes 4) is not growing and there is little enjoyment in working on code that no one else cares about enough to help code the internals. The underlying technology employed is evolving in ways that run counter to what Shoes is and does.

It’s just time to quit. We had fun, we learned some things and we’ll leave it at that.

I started computing long ago from the hardware perspective of gates and registers and clocks and boolean logic and arithmetic. I wanted to get back into building things. Physical things. Things you can use or look at when your done. Some people take up painting or wood working for a hobby. Or they restore a classic automobile. I thought Home Automation might be a good fit. I was correct about that.

After some research I bought a Hubitat hub and some smart light switches. That’s enough to get deep into networking with Z-Wave and Zigbee. The motion sensors don’t do what I wanted so I built a couple of my own. Arduino and C++ and ESP32 and electronic things. And Groovy device drivers for Hubitat. They didn’t do what I wanted but they are still good enough to use and have 3 of my sensors in my house. I thought Cameras as motion sensors might solve my problem. I bought more hardware. Wrote python code for them. It was better. It would be even better if they had object detection. That’s a little compute intensive so I bought a Nvidia Jetson Nano for its CUDA abilities. Using rpc calls from the Raspberry pi’s with cameras.

Home automation is fun. It’s not cheap but it’s multi-discipline and I use it all the time (24×7). You might notice that I’ve got all kinds of little computers everywhere, none of them alike. But they only do one thing each and it’s my code so I don’t have to fixed it or update it once it works well enough. Lots and lots
of little computers sending little messages on the networks.

Still, I needed a goal. Even a silly goal would do. I found one and if I write any new posts at this website, it will be about my silly Rube Goldberg-esque machine. More of a performance art piece than useful device but it pulls in all the things above plus a few more – I ‘had’ to get a 3D printer and that device alone would be enough hobby for most tinker’ers. I even have a small Shoes program in the mix which brings my full circle.

Website re-org

It’s time! As we all know, I have no skills for website design but lack of skills never stopped me before. Shoes 3.3.8 is being worked on and one of the things is AppImage as a Linux packaging option. It’s shiny! I want! Which led me to all kinds of thoughts about Shoes in general and then how the websites are a little tired and maybe I should fix this one before I get carried away. See the Downloads page. Expect more changes to the website(s).

Still Alive

I’m recuperating from my surgery 3 and a half weeks ago. That’s a long time. I’m still beat to shit and there is much to recover before I say new-normal. But, I’m home, alive, and getting back the things I like to do.

Slowly getting it right

It’s been one hell of a ride moving my build platform from ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04. It’s almost Ok. I can build Shoes (all platforms) but VirtualBox is being a real pain in the ass. It makes me nostalgic for the older ‘Get Smart” Shoes:

Moved the repo.

Due to almost popular demand I’ve moved the shoes3 repo from github:///Shoes3/shoes3 to github://shoes/shoes3 Back to the mothership! That means any bookmark you might have needs to be changed to

Closing in on 3.3.3

There are Shoes 3.3.3 beta’s to download from and the Change Log is here.

What you don’t know, behind the scenes. It was a lot of work from core contributers and myself. And then some core panties got twisted too tight to work together and now it’s just me working on the C side of Shoes. I miss them. I’ll work through their bugs reports and suggestions as best I can because they are good things to do.

The New AI

I’m old enough to have experienced the AI dreams of the 1990’s – Lisp machines and Prolog and Neural Nets. I also remember
Hype cycle.
The curve is also valid for politics and social/cultural changes and even investing. I digress.

So, that said, my old AI crashed and burned to be resurrected as “deep learning” which appears to be on the slope of enlightenment section. Google amd Amazon and others used it to predict what you want next. What role could Shoes and Ruby add? Consider this presentation of tensor flow:

What role for Shoes? Easy dialogs and quick charts, perhaps?

Fear not, there will be a Shoes 3.3.3!

Shoes 3.3.3 is being worked on. “What’s the hold up?”, You might ask.

Well known secret: Shoes is hard to build from source and if you happen to be a C willing developer it’s a big mess of grok until you can get started. We’d like to make more approachable. The cool kids call this refactoring. This takes a lot of effort (imagine your testing load X 40 and the errors are hard to track down and the fixes break other builds) . But It’s the right thing to do and the right time to do it. Sometimes you have to do the correct thing.

There’s a couple of bug fixes of course. Some smallish new things.

Guess What?

That’s right! Another 3.3.2 beta at the usual place. It’s almost ready for a release. Seriously. After a lot of coding and testing, Shoes can draw line, column, scatter, pie, radar charts and has some interesting features for time series charts with 1000’s of data points. It doesn’t have all the sophisticated options that Excel or LibreOffice and other applications have but it does have a fair amount of knobs you can set and get something useful enough.

See the wiki documentation for something resembling a tutorial.