Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughts on Aquaponics

Recently I have wanted to try and make a backyard garden with my kids, but I wanted it a little more interesting.  This is where I started to read and learn about Aquaponics.   In case anyone does not know what Aquaponics means:

A food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. - From Wikipedia

I think I could use my backyard and build a raised spice garden out of some 2x4's and other material. And then get a tank or something to use as a tank and go from there.  I would love to use Tilapia or Barramundi fish, but might have to start with just gold fish to see how it all works. Besides with Barramundi or Tilapia I will need a much larger "tank".

I thought about buying one of those pre-built from Amazon, but were is the fun in that. Besides those are very small, but I would probably kill those fish anyway.

Any thoughts?  Anybody ever try and make one of these? Or even bought the one off of Amazon or anywhere else?

It would be nice to be able to go in the backyard, grab your vegetables, spices, and even a fish and make a fresh meal.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lightbox Game for Windows Review

The other day I was searching for some coding games to let my kids try them out.  Currently they are addicted to Minecraft.  I was looking for something new that they could try on the computer and try and stimulate their brains to think.

Lightbox reminded me of Robot Turtles which I bought I believe two Christmas's ago for my kids, and they love that game.  I like that Lightbox is on the computer and the girls can see quickly if they made a mistake and then try new things.

And there are different levels to the game.  In Robot Turtles  I broke it down to levels but the way LightBox does it I think it makes it easier on me for explaining.  Robot Turtles I would have to explain what a program was and how to run it.

In Lightbox they can test and run, test and run, till they figure it out.  And if they do not understand it then I can lend a hand.  My oldest daughter got up to Level 3, while my youngest is currently at Level 2.

Each level has about 8 stages, with Level 1 basic commands like: Forward, Light, Turn left, Turn Right, and eventually Jump.  Level two they add the PROC command which to me is like a sub-routine you can run in your main command. This will give you the ability to have an additional 8 commands.   I used the PROC command for routine repeated commands (which I gather that was what it was for).  On average it would save a few "lines" of code in the main routine.

In Level 3 you get the PROC 2, which enables looping of the PROC 1/PROC 2, and adds another 8 commands to your chain.

Overall I think the game is a great tool for kids to learn function, routines, and problem solving.  The controls are basic and easy to use that even my youngest was able to start right up.   The game was built using flash.  The game was built during the Hour of Code event.

Additionally on their website you can sign up for an alpha of a new programming game being built.

Friday, April 24, 2015

OnePlus Rom Update: CM12S YNG1TAS17L

So a new OnePlus ROM update is available, and I of course downloaded it instead of waiting for the OTA.  Besides I would probably have to wait a few days for the update, better to check out what is new.

The main "selling" point for the updated ROM was the OK ONEPLUS.  Well hate to break the news but I could not get that to work.  OK Google still works.  But OK OnePlus, not so much.  And just to make sure it was maybe a bad training I retrained my phone for my voice a second time.

Same issue, does not work from sleep, nor when its on.  I guess I will go back to using OK Google when I need something.   As for everything else the following updates are said to be included:

Pulled from the OnePlus Forums:

1) "OK ONEPLUS" Voice command is included..
2) Google Services upgraded to 7.3.29 (Thanks @VinceCgto)
3) [FIXED] Messaging app crashing on boot (Thanks @VinceCgto)
4) [FIXED] OTA fails due to encryption (Thanks @VinceCgto)
5) [FIXED] Improve Theme engine (Thanks @Mike9966)

I might switch over to nightlies to see if there is a new things on there.  I am still glad I jumped from KitKat to Lollipop, but there is nothing that jumps out that makes it stand out from the standard Lollipop build, and I guess that is what it supposed to be.

There were rumors that this update will also help with battery drain, so I will keep my eyes on this.  Now I would like to see the update for 5.1.1 for OnePlus come out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CM12S: OnePlus One

A few days ago they announced the release of CM12S for the OnePlus One will be delivered by OTA.   So I waited like everyone else for a day or so, and still nothing showed up, so I went to figure out if there was a downloadable copy of the OTA to install it.

Good thing I did this because as of yesterday they stopped the OTA to add "a feature" which from what I can tell is "OK ONEPLUS", I am guessing to replace OK GOOGLE. I use OK GOOGLE so not a big deal in my eyes, and should not have to wait for this important update.

I found the OTA (Bacon) and downloaded it to my phone, which took a few minutes because my 4G was pretty bad where I was at the time.  The file itself is about 180MB.  I followed one of the OnePlus sites showing how to get into recovery (which is practically the same for each phone as I can tell).  Hold the power and down volume key till the OnePlus Icon shows.

It took about 2 minutes to install, and then about 10 minutes to start back up, there was a few minutes where I was tempted to reboot the phone because it sits at the Cyanogen Logo with no visible changes.

So now I am on Lollipop, 5.0.2 to be exact, and my tablet just updated to 5.1.  I am glad the upgraded to Lollipop for the OnePlus so far there is not many noticeable differences that I can tell from the Nexus 7 version.

If I see anything that stands out for the Cyanogen verse the Stock experience I will update.

For anyone interested in the nightlies changelog for CM12S
And the download themselves

Saturday, March 21, 2015

San Diego Maker Faire 2014 - Balboa Park

This was just announced the other day.  A Maker Faire is coming back to San Diego, and this time its not going to be a Mini Maker Faire.  I guess the last time (which I believe was 2013) they saw the huge interest in this type of event, and due to location and size of the venue it was severely overcrowded.
So far the only news I have found about the Maker Faire is that it will be held on October 3 and 4th at Balboa Park.
I will do an updated post as more information is available.

OnePlus One: One Month

So I have had the phone now for about a month, and so far I have not felt the need to flash it on a daily basis.   When I ordered the phone I guess I never considered the size jump from my Galaxy S3 to the OnePlus, which is actually a big difference.
I was taken by surprise by the size of the phone but I quickly got use to the new size.  My next issue was trying to find a case that would do the phone justice.  I love the back of the phone, but I feared that it might get damaged easily.  As Otterbox does not make a case for the phone at this time I had to search for quite some time till I found one that I liked.

The case that I ordered:


Pretty nice case, and I also ordered tempered glass for the protector, and replaced the plastic screen protector that came with the case.

The phone itself is still on KitKat, but in about a week they say that Lollipop will be pushed to the phone (CM12), or OnePlus OS which is called Oxygen.  I will probably start with CM12, but will also test out Oxygen.  I heard that Oxygen has team members from Paranoid Android so that should be good.

Over all I am glad that I got the phone, and will see how things progress with the phone.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

CM12 on my Galaxy III (d2ATT)

After watching a thread over at XDA for about a month now, I decided to take the plunge and update my now aging phone to 5.0

Currently you have to download both the ROM, and the GAPPS, and every time you update the ROM you will need to update the GAPPS file.  I downloaded the latest of each of these, with the ROM at 12/25 and GAPPS from 11/09 for 5.0.

The download was easy as was the update (I used Clockwork Recovery) as that is what has been on my phone forever.  The suggest to use TWRP, but figured I would try out with Clockwork.

At the moment it is at the upgrade screen, optimizing apps 100 out of 195.    It was already stated in the thread but the initial update will take a long time.  If I remember correctly it is going from DAVLIK to ART so that alone will take a long time.

After about 15 minutes the phone is ready to use, next is to try the apps, which seem to load quicker then when I was on KitKat.    All my apps are already updated to the newest version, so there was not much waiting on that side of things.    The main app issue is the camera which does not work, but this is a known issue with the CM12 for d2ATT, having been mentioned in the forum post.  But they mention that you can use a few different camera apps.

So far the phone seems to run quicker, battery currently sitting about about 70%, so will see how long the battery lasts with minor use.  I did not notice any difference making phone calls with or without blue tooth, also used Pandora without a hitch.    I do like the Material Design once again, as I think I stated that when I upgrade the Nexus 7.  Which I am still waiting for my Nexus 7 (2012) to be updated to 5.0.2, looks like it might be happening soon, but I will just wait for the OTA.

So far minus the camera, it looks like it could be a daily driver, and I guess that is what I will be using it for till I get my next phone (which might be this week)...OnePlus..