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August 08, 2014

Looking at data from Operation Lux

   So here is a commutative plot of all the data logged in Operation Lux so far, some 21 days worth. The dots are individual data points and they are colored by day.  The solid black line is an average plot of all the data from all the days, where the red plot is an average of only the top quarter of the data.  This shows the general shape of the light curve throughout the day.  There are a couple of artifacts specific to the location on the roof the experiment sits.  Notice how around 9:00 am there is a sudden spike in light.  This is the time when the sun rises over the tree line.  It sets behind the trees again around 5:30 pm. 
   With all the data collected so far we can say that during the summer months this portion of the roof can expect an average of around 3,100 watt hours per meter square of sunlight in a 24 hour period.  To run the Raspberry Pi off sunlight alone on an average day would require a 30 watt solar panel, and an 8 amp hour battery.  Cloudy days will require an external power source unless a larger battery and/or solar panel is used. 
   The days are getting shorter as summer draws on, but the fall equinox is not until late September.  It will be interesting to see how the light is effected as the sun gets lower in the sky, especially with our fairly treeline.  We could try some theoretical approaches to making this estimate.  For example, the sunrise for today in Middleton, WI happened at 5:56 am and the sun set at 8:19 pm for a total of 14 hours, 14 minutes of daylight.  The winter solstice will produce 8 hours, 59 minutes of light—37% less light time than today.  By scaling the light curve to force it into this shorter amount of time will produce a number that would reflect the energy available from the shorter day.  However, it will not take into account the loss of light from the sun's position in the sky (it will never get as high).  So having the Operation Lux take the measurements is still the best way to get this data.

August 07, 2014

ππ Returns From the Dead



   I had pretty much given up hope of getting ππ running, but noticed a thin white buildup on the bottom of the PCB.  They might have been dendrites and I thought I'd try giving them a once over with a stiff bristled brush.  When I did, the Ethernet suddenly started to function!  I then got out some isopropyl alcohol and gave the back side of the board a good scrubbing.  The system now seems fully functional so ππ returned to the roof and is again serving Operation Lux.  Either ππ is a phoenix, or I am a necromancer.  Whatever the case, I am glad to have ππ back.
   Pictured is baby Peakay.  This adorable little calf I found on a bike ride Friday on the corners of county roads P and K (hence the name).  The calf could not have been more than a couple days old as the dried umbilical cord was still prominent.  I couldn't resist visiting, and after petting the calf (who was very interested in chewing on my shirt) I went to look at the other cows that had come to see who was visiting them.  Peakay mooed at me as if saying "Come back!" 
   While the Raspberry Pi might have killed it's Ethernet port, I found the SD card was clearly still functional.  The Pi boots but nothing the Ethernet port never initializes.  The SD card has the data, and I wanted it.  My laptop has an SD card port so getting the data wasn't too difficult.  I modified the server to point the ππ's webpage to a local (and static) site until I figure out what I want to do.
   Due to the chain accident on Saturday's ride I needed to take my bike to the shop.  Both the chain and front sprocket need to be replaced, and with parts on order I won't be able to ride again until next week.  Glum day.

August 05, 2014

ππ Has More Problems

   I retrieved ππ from the roof and found it had (again) destroyed it's power supply.  So I decided to rip apart the old power supply and recycle the USB cable and power the device using an old industrial 5 volt power supply.  After I got the supply running I returned the setup to the roof, but the device wouldn't make an Ethernet connection.  I fear I might have broken the SBC itself when the last power supply died.  No time to look into it today, but things are not going well for the project.
   Today I started my job at Bjorksten | bit 7 and I am fairly excited about the position.  I will be working on software for medical devices, which has been a goal of mine for a number of years now.  Following the trend over the last several years I've taken a picture of myself in the mirror on the morning of the first day of work.
   Now that I am working, ππ decided to crash again.  Resetting it didn't help and I fear the power supply has died again.  No time to look into this today.

August 03, 2014

Many of He and Betting

   The last time we saw the group, they had just defeated some cultist creatures in the basement of their house.  Now that the battle was over there was no time to investigate the house.  Something was happening in the pit and a black beam of energy started exerting an inward pull.  Both the wizard and Marv started feeling sick from the cookies they ate, and the wizard began passing out.  Our escape from the house required a skills challenge.  Ellenoria started by using her healing skills on the sick wizard.  Marv failed a jump over some rubble.  This went on for some time as we fought our way up the stairs and back out of the house.  After we were free we found ourselves in a moon lite night.  The black ruins trim of the house seemed to be pulsing, and then a great black flash toward the moon came from the house.  When it was over, the house was gone like it had imploded leaving a creator.  Joking vomited up some magic essence but otherwise seemed unhurt.
   With the house gone the group was approached by a figure who identified himself as Many of He.  His appearance seemed average humanoid except there were no eyes.  Many of He told us we had done what he had arrived to do: get rid of these cult members.  He thanked up and allowed us to ask a questions.  Turns out the cult members were from the Dark Cult of the 7 pointed star.  They were opening a portal to a plane on the moon.  In talking we discovered Many of He was some kind of deity chaos being.  The other chaos beings want to make this place (the world) their own.  He said the Void is their plane and has a connection to the moon, but exactly how all of this works together we could not understand.  Many of He did know She who Burrows but had not seen her in thousands of years.  He desires to control the Void Creatures and was planning to head to Twilight City were there was an other cult group.
   This information needed to be passed on to the Solarian, Gaius Dermious.  When Ellenoria brought out the Noitacinummoc stone, Many of He suddenly made an identical one appear in his hand.  After speaking with Gaius, Many of He taught us some skills before leaving.  The group headed back to the inn where there was soup and sandwiches waiting.  The next morning we were met by the constable and relayed the story about the cult and the (now missing) house.  He thanked us for looking into the issue, but wasn't expecting us to have destroyed the house as part of the process.  With no other assignments for us we parted.
   The time had come to make some money, if for no other reason than to pay off our fine.  Both Marv and Annalis wanted to fight in the arena.  The rest of us were going to see about placing some bets.  First to fight was Annalis.  An other skills challenge followed.  Annalis used her stealth to hide and attack her opponent unexpectedly.  Meanwhile the Wizard pretended to be a rich foreigner, Marv his body guard, and Ellenoria his translator.  We pretended the Wizard had more money than he knew what to do with, and enjoyed gambling but wasn't very good at it.  With out skills we wagered 450 gold on Annalis' fight, and with her skills she won. 
   Long bike ride today of 33.2 miles that took me through Westport, Waunakee, Dane, and Springfield Corners.  On the return trip about 7 miles from home I downshifted to get up a hill, the chain detailed and fall off the front sprocket, and jamed itself between the sprocket and bike frame.  This bent the sprocket and twisted the chain.  It took a bit to unjam the chain, and the bike was still functional.  However any toque on the chain caused it to skip due to the twist. 
   My goal of the today's ride was Indian Lake County Park located between Marxville and Springfield Corners.  The 27.5 mile ride was quite pretty on the way out as I traveled through some rolling hills.  At the park I hiked one of the trails to find a little chapel built in 1857.  At the top of the hill I had a very nice view of the lake and hilly country side.

July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Lake Mendota

Lake Mendota

   Twelve years ago today the domain was registered and has been Andrew Que's corner of the net ever since.  While our website has existed in some form since early 2001, it did not acquire a permanent domain name until this day 12 years ago.  Since then our site has hosted dozens of sub-domains (most of which still exist) and several domains.  The photoblog is now more than 9 years old.  It has been a good run, and I hope it will continue for many more years to come.
   Our bike ride today was a trip I had been planning for a couple years and now have finally attempted.  I wanted to bike around each of the lakes in the Madison, and had already done Lake Wingra and Lake Monona.  Today I added the largest of the lakes, Mendota.  I tried to plan a route that kept me off the busier roads which are hardest to keep away from on the northeast side of the lake.  The loop totaled 23.3 miles with two 10 minute breaks.  The first was in Warner Park, and the second was along the lake shore path by the UW campus.  My biggest problem with riding is soreness in the shoulders and hands, but the breaks help.  I've been meaning to do this ride for a couple of years.  Now that it is done, it is time to set some more goals and I have a few in mind.
   Operation Lux logged a rather low-light day.  Despite not being cloudy, the peak luminosity was just over 75,000 lx.  I noticed during my bike ride things seemed a bit hazy, and the light experiment confirms this was the case.  However, even though the peak light was lower than usual, there where very few cloud interrupts.  Even with this lower peak, the total amount of light energy for the day was around 3,500 Wh/m2.  Yesterday, although the peak luminosity was close to 95,000 lx, the total light energy was just under 3,700 Wh/m2 mostly because the cloud cover kept interrupting.  Interesting.
   Our bike ride today took us just under 14 miles, and mostly northeast.  One of my objectives was to see how the traffic was on county road Q, and find a path through the North Lake subdivision into Orchid Heights Park.  This would allow me an alternative to traveling along county road M for my much larger planned trip—a complete circle around Lake Mendota.  The other goal was to see if I was sufficiently recovered from whatever bug I contracted a few days ago.  If I get sick, it's usually never bad.  However I found I just didn't have the stamina I should while riding.  So the last couple days have just been shorter rides.  Today I felt pretty good during the ride and I think I am sufficiently recovered to get back to longer rides.
   Pictured are some cattle along county road Q.