Not gonna lie; I really miss when @djsundog, @cwebber , @loke, @akkartik, @freakazoid, @patrick, @requiem, and so many others who initially welcomed me to the Fediverse would post updates on their projects. It was motivational to me. And when a project update does manage to cross my feed, it still is.

Today, however, my feed is so heavily plastered over with political or economic content (almost universally negative), that I don't even see these updates anymore, if they're even being made at all.

I came here, to the Fediverse, to escape from reality a bit. It's now quickly reached the point where I now must seek out reality to escape from world consciousness.

Under no circumstances am I blaming anyone for this state of affairs, though. The world is totally a dumpster fire right now, and all manner of people who are directly affected by it have an absolute right to vent about it. I support this.

Still, I can't help but wax nostalgic of the days when my feed were more about thing hacking and less about hacking though life for basic survival.

@vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @loke @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem While I don't talk about politics and economics, I am guilty for neglecting my learning projects, which I know many people enjoyed living vicariously through me with excitement and eagerness I don't really have lately. I mostly focus on arts these days, probably because I'm so depressed that I have to. But hey, at least that's not politics :P

@shaen @djsundog

It's all good; it's really tough to stay motivated when so much is happening all around us.

@shaen @vertigo I think a lot of us are suffering from the lockdown blues. I wonder how long it'll take for us to remember how to go out and do stuff once the restrictions start being lifted?

At this point I'm pretty sure my whole household has had Omicron, and we're all fully vaccinated, so theoretically I'm in little to no danger, nor am I a danger to anyone else. I guess I should check what the masking requirements are in Pittsburgh. Some places say you don't need one if you're vaccinated.

@freakazoid @vertigo it's definitely the fact that all the time on the Internet has made me feel like every moment I'm online is wasted. I don't even know how to reintegrate. I disconnected a lot by obsessing about technology, and I feel like all the friends I used to have... they're either living a lifestyle I am better off without or they are tucked away in their own world as well. So it's really hard to be passionate about the Internet that at this point has culminated into something I wish I had never spent to so much time on now that its sometimes all that I have.

TLDR, things ARE more depressing and we do have to figure out how to deal with it.

@vertigo Well I just moved across the country and my stuff isn't here so I haven't had much time for projects lately. If I'm posting too much political/economic content here I can try to confine that more to Facebook.

Most of the content I was seeing that was annoying/depressing me was boosts, so I've unsubscribed from a few folks' boosts to avoid needing to unfollow them entirely.

@freakazoid Understandable; moving is a major time-sink. :)

But, just to be clear, I'm not ask for curtailment of political/economic content. If it's relevant to you, then I argue you should continue to post it.

My comment is just me reflecting on how the times are changing, really.

@vertigo Well maybe I can figure out how to post more project content then. Hopefully you'll find projects related to the house or to adapting to a different city/state/climate interesting :D

@freakazoid Since it is incredibly improbable that I will ever own a home, I must live vicariously through those who do. :)

@vertigo I suppose it depends on how much you want to stay in the Bay Area. There are plenty of places in the country where housing is a lot cheaper relative to available salaries. Especially when you count remote roles. I'm making the same as I made in the Bay Area, and I'm about to be interviewing for remote roles that pay significantly more.

@freakazoid @vertigo Thanks for the hat tip. Some recent projects:

- Making videos way too small:

- Jumbo hand made toys:

- Exploring newly public domain music: #PDMusicList

Lots of other small and medium sized projects in the works (#jupitersGhost, repairing and upgrading a vintage omnibot, robo sumo, building TVs and scifi props, #spacelarpcafe)

@vertigo ❤️

I did have 2021 happen to me, and I did change directions pretty heavily. However, I'm still at it! I've been a bit quiet only because I've been working on a talk: That always puts me in a pretty serious procrastinative mode.

So look out world! I'm comin' back out starting sometime next week 🙂

@djsundog @cwebber @loke @freakazoid @patrick @requiem

@vertigo I think it's time to admit what this is: stuck, a creative rut, a loss of a compass of meaning, writer's block. I'm not sure why I program anymore.

@djsundog @cwebber @loke @freakazoid @patrick @requiem

@akkartik @vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @freakazoid @patrick @requiem I am programming, although I'm not overly sure why I do it. I even wrote a blog post about it:

That said, it's technically interesting and you're welcome to read other posts on the blog for technical details.

@loke That was a good read, thank-you!

I’ve seen variations of this problem in other software areas (other fields too) but I imagine it’s most acute wrt programming languages.

Otoh I’ve recently read counter-arguments that make a strong case for more people (perhaps all programmers) to write their own language, CPU, etc.

So maybe you are on the right track 😁

@akkartik @vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @freakazoid @patrick

@requiem @loke @akkartik @djsundog @cwebber @freakazoid @patrick Programmers block unfortunately does happen. I literally have the exact opposite problem: I do not know why I feel compelled to complete a Kestrel/ForthBox computer design.

I really don't.

I already know nobody else besides me is going to use it, and even then, for how long before I get bored with it? What impact will it have on the world, a world already crowded with retrocomputing projects vastly more successful than anything I can muster? Is there room for a neo-retro design like mine? A design with no prior existing software base, and no prior existing peripheral equipment?

I'm not so sure. So why do I bother?

I used to use the excuse that it helped to keep me grounded when I spent the bulk of my days hacking on enterprise level projects. But, does it really? I'm not so sure anymore. If anything, I'm finding it robs from me valuable time I could be thinking about my paid job project. I can't tell you how many times I spent a week to two weeks of time hacking on my own kit when I should have been working.

The only working hypothesis that I can come up with that it is my artistic output. For me, this isn't a project from which I'll ever make money. But, it's one that I can express my creative output in. Most people think of art as something that is written, or that is drawn, or that is heard. But, why can't it also be something that can compute too?

I don't know anymore. I'm now old enough to safely say that I spent the majority of my life working on this project. Still, with nothing to show for it. You've seen me explode here before over this. It's not easy.

I very frequently wish I were more balanced like other engineers in my field. Alas, nature has wired my brain differently.

It's something to do, I guess.

@vertigo @requiem @loke @akkartik @djsundog @cwebber @patrick I am in precisely the same boat, though my lifetime project is a lot more amorphous.

I'd say it's definitely artistic output for me. It's what keeps me sane. I wish I could figure out how to reduce my need to "justify" spending time on such pursuits. Sometimes the need leaves me and I'm able to make some progress.

@vertigo @requiem @loke @akkartik @djsundog @cwebber @patrick The main clue I have for my own issue is that it might be Pathological Demand Avoidance, which may explain why talking publicly about a project or offering to do something for someone seems to be the surest way to make me lose motivation to work on it.

@vertigo I wish I could go back to a year ago, when I was happily working away, unaware there was no external impact. Just a steady stream of a state of flow would be nice.

Permutation City describes an immortal character who reprograms his own brain to get into a new hobby every hundred years. That is the extreme worldview where the journey is all and the destination is meaningless. There's something to it.


super relatable! I'm hoping that the arrival of the lab at the makerspace this coming week will once again get me back on track with some more regular hackery rather than the more recent "omg life is very complicated" hacks of the last couple months. we'll get there, my friends, we'll get there... ❤️

@cwebber @loke @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem

@djsundog @vertigo @cwebber @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem on my end, I've actually been working on my projects, but I only post when I have some major progress. Although I've been working on the UI for my programming language which is now getting closer to what could be called an ide, so perhaps it's time to post about it again.

I really want to reach the point where I can actually suggest that someone use my project to solve real problems.

@vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @loke @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem

Completely agree. While I'm all for political discourse, it's been wearing me down and having a net-negative impact on my mental well-being. As such, I've been pruning what comes down my feed to steer clear of that stuff. I'll read the news or books regarding politics and such, but really don't want it in my social media right now.

@pennywhether @vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem It is interesting how there are many people who post really interesting content, but their boosts are nothing but garbage. 🙂

@loke @pennywhether @vertigo @djsundog @cwebber @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick

I love seeing new ideas, new creations, etc. I’d love to see more of them in all fields (not just tech), especially sociopoliticaletc.,

I hope to have more cool projects to talk about soon, for me it’s mostly just a busy time of year 🤣

But yeah, I think more and more people are seeing and feeling what’s broken in the world and this is an effect of that. Hopefully we can find ways to hack those things as well.

@vertigo I've been working on a wireless, (non-wifi) programmable thermostat for our house. The base is powered by 24v AC from the HVAC system and steps it down to 5v DC. There's an ESP32 for the brains, an NRF24L01 for comms, and some relays for the interface with the HVAC system. The remote end has another ESP32, an NRF24L01, an RTC, and a digital temp sensor, along with a Nextion HMI touchscreen for user interface.

All the code is written in MicroPython. I built as much of the display logic into the Nextion as I could, and just transfer the underlying values back and forth instead of managing the controls directly. The thermostat is capable of running in either heating or cooling, as well as a four-times/temps-a-day, 7-day program mode that can either heat or cool.

I've got the case for the base designed, and the bottom of it printed and the bits mounted in it. I still need to print the top (and decide if I'm going to tweak the design to include status LEDs).

I decided to make the remote battery operated, so now I need to work a battery, charger, and a boost regulator into the design. I have the parts, I just need to finalize some things and then I can start on designing the case.

If the power is still on tomorrow, I can try to get some pictures if you're interested.

@vertigo Testing the battery setup, with and without external power.

The large black cable is a micro-USB extension with a panel-mount on one end. It's intended to be the incoming charging/programming port of the thermostat remote, and the other end will plug into the ESP32 dev board. I cut the middle of it open and interrupted the +5v so that it passed through the charger/boost converter. The small PCB on the left is a TP4056 Lithium battery charger. It takes 5v in to charge the battery, a battery, and provides the battery voltage back out. It handles charging, as well as over-charging protection and under-voltage protection to avoid damaging the battery. The PCB in the center is a boost converter, that takes the battery voltage and steps it up to 5v (as the battery voltage will vary depending on it's charge). The battery is an 18650 that also happens to have on-board over-charge/under-voltage protection, it was sold as a remote control toy battery.

Since these photos were taken, I tweaked the boost converter to output 5.005v, as close as I could get to the desired 5v. I may nudge it higher if I have stability problems with the ESP32 that it's intended to power. I seem to recall reading some comments somewhere that this particular dev board wants just a little more. I think it might have an onboard 5v regulator, in which case it would need more than 5v in order to be able to step down to 5v.

@vertigo Test of the remote unit via battery power. Seems to be happy so far. Although for some reason it seems to think it's in contact with the base (green antenna in the top-right corner of the display), which is not powered up right now. So that's something to look into.

I still need to feed the battery voltage into an analog GPIO so I can determine the battery level. And then find a battery graphic I can use for the Nextion.

The base is smart enough, that if it hasn't had a valid packet from the remote in a specific length of time, it will shut the HVAC off. So there shouldn't be any "It's stuck!" problems if the remote loses power.

Oh, hmm, I need to enable auto backlight management on the Nextion too. It's capable of doing it, I just never got around to it.

@vertigo Hmm. Only 10 minutes of data here, and making some assumptions that really need to be verified, but I think that with zero attempts to save any power whatsoever I'm looking at anywhere from 30-60 minutes of battery life.


This thing needs some power optimizations.

@vertigo Version one just might be designed to be plugged in...

@vertigo @djsundog @loke @akkartik @freakazoid @patrick @requiem I post a lot of updates I thought? Lots of shitposts too. I've recorded three videos about tech I'm working on in the last couple of months and posted them here and a whole bunch of blender things!

There's a whole bunch of stuff I *haven't* posted yet because it's not ready for the public but I'm still posting things... tech updates happen I thought :)

@vertigo I do actually still hack, maybe less than I should, but most days. But my main game project's deep in the guts, I've got a stack of hard-to-see parts to work on. "Here's a screenshot that looks just like the last one, but now you can see a different number on the side. I assure you it's *amazing*." hashtag gamedev

So instead all anyone sees is junk from tumblr or 1970s-80s computer magazines.

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A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.