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To Act Or Not To Act

Photography No comments

I was invited to photograph the final rehearsals of two short plays at Het Zuidelijk Toneel: “Ook Gij…” by Koen van Hensbergen and “Femme Fatale” by Iris Heusschen. The plays are part of the annual project called “To Act Or Not To Act”, in which two upcoming stage directors work with (serious) amateur players. The organising theatre company is a professional organisation based in Tilburg which stages professional plays but also often works with schools and amateur players in its educational branch. A selection of photos is now up on the website of HZT:

http://www.hzt.nl/ToAct2014

 

Good company, bad company

Uncategorized No comments

Quite often you read about companies or shops doing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things, like recycling materials or using sweatshops. It’s quite hard to keep track of this. So for myself I decided to make a list of products I care about and what I learn about the companies that sell them. It’s a personal list that will never be complete, but that’s not the goal.

    Other lists and organisations that help determining good and bad things about companies

  • Fair Wear Foundation
    Bad or questionable raw materials

  • Angora wool. Often plucked in a violent way from live rabbits (source: Tros TV Kassa, 2013/11/25)
  • Sheep wool is sometimes bad, e.g. when mulesing is involved.
  • Fur. Fur animals are bred only for their skin, which is worse than leather. Fur can be imitated quite succesfully using synthetic materials
  • Silk. Silkworms are boiled alive

Controlling Philips Hue lamps with a Pebble smartwatch

Computer technology No comments

As far as I know, at this moment there is no direct way to control Philips Hue lamps using a Pebble smartwatch. A workaround is possible though, with the help of a webserver that sends the right commands to the Hue bridge as you visit a specific webpage. Here’s how I did it.

Short demonstration on Youtube

What I used:

  • Philips Hue starter pack including Hue bridge (plus several Hue, Living Colors and Living Whites lamps which can be controlled by the bridge)
  • iPhone 4S
  • Pebble smartwatch
  • Smartwatch Pro app for iOS and the included WatchApp to be run on the Pebble
  • PC acting as a webserver (eeepc 4G, an older and relatively cheap netbook) on my local network
  • Debian GNU/Linux with Apache, PHP5, Phue, Composer, php5-curl

The steps as I recall them:

  • Make sure you can control the lamps using the Hue app for the iPhone.
  • Register your own ‘username’ with the Hue bridge as explained in http://developers.meethue.com/gettingstarted.html (Phue includes a tool to do this as well). You can test if you can control the lamps from your web browser using the Clip debugger.
  • Install Debian GNU/Linux on a suitable machine (just about any pc-like system that you can keep running on your network). For installation instructions, see http://www.debian.org/distrib/ At installation, make sure you select the task webserver. A full desktop system is not necessary for this purpose.
  • The Apache webserver and PHP5 should already be installed. If not already done, install package php5-curl (aptitude install php5-curl) as well.
  • Install Composer. At this moment it’s not an included package, so you can use these steps:
apt-get install curl
curl -s https://getcomposer.org/installer | php
mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer
  • Make a subdirectory (folder) in /var/www where your webpages will be located.
  • Install Phue by creating a composer.json file in the web folder
{        
"require": { "sqmk/phue": "*" }
}

and then running

composer install
  • create php webpages like the following (call it lamp1.php for example). Make sure you have the right IP address of the Hue bridge and the previously registered username.
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Turn on lamp 1</title>
  </head>
  <body>
     <h1>Lamp 1</h1>

<?php

require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

$client = new PhueClient('192.168.1.2', 'thisismyhueusername');

try {
    (new PhueCommandPing)->send($client);
} catch (PhueTransportExceptionConnectionException $e) {
    echo 'There was a problem accessing the bridge';
}

// Manually send command to get light by id
$light = $client->sendCommand(
    new PhueCommandGetLightById(1)
);
echo $light->getName(), "n";
$light->setOn(true);
// Setting brightness (0 for no light, 255 for max brightness)
$light->setBrightness(255);
// Set color temp (153 min, 500 max), changes color mode to 'ct'
$light->setColorTemp(400);

?>

  </body>
</html>
  • Open the created webpage from a web browser in your network and see if it works.
  • Install the iOS app Smartwatch Pro, run it and install the watchapp on your Pebble. It doesn’t have to be Smartwatch Pro, but any app that can open a web address by pushing a button on the Pebble.
  • In Smartwatch Pro on the iPhone, enable the HTTP requests option, and add a HTTP request to the webpage you just created.
  • In the Smartwatch watchapp on your Pebble, select the HTTP request and enjoy :)

To see what you can do with Phue, check https://github.com/sqmk/Phue and the Hue developers information at http://developers.meethue.com/

 

The accident

Uncategorized 2 comments

On July 7th, 2013 I was photographing the FIA GT Series race at Circuit Park Zandvoort, when the number 14 Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Portuguese driver César Campaniço had a problem braking for the Tarzan corner and smashed right into the guardrail behind which I was crouching. The car bounced back, spinning across the track and ended up badly damaged in the gravel on the outside of the corner. Luckily no other cars were hit and the driver walked away from the car on his own.

I wasn’t so lucky myself. When the car hit the guardrail, it flexed just enough to send me flying. I ended up on the grass a few meters away, noticed I couldn’t stand up and waved for the marshalls. Right away help came, and being at a circuit the medical staff was very quick to arrive as well. I had a neck brace put on and was taken to the circuit’s medical room. Another ambulance brought me to hospital for surgery. I have had surgery to the knee and hip again at another hospital. Recovery will take months but luckily my other leg and upper body are fine. For those who don’t know, I was not a spectator but an accredited photographer and it was a relatively safe spot but anything can happen in motorsports with ‘only’ a barrier inbetween you and a fast car.

There’s plenty of news articles and YouTube clips if you want to see the crash and me flying. Needless to say I won’t be leaving home a lot in the coming months…

update 2013/11/03: I can now walk with crutches and stand on two feet, which is a relief. Still a long way to go for full recovery, but getting better in little steps…

BNN That’s Live

Photography No comments

From time to time I go to Hilversum to photograph for the excellent 3FM radio show That’s Live. Here’s the current list of BNN That’s Live episodes where I was the photographer:

Apple IIc from Scryption collection

Retro computing No comments

I recently bought some of the ‘leftovers’ from the Scryption Museum which unfortunately had to close due to lack of funding. Here’s one of the systems I bought from them, an Apple IIc with matching monitor and power brick. It powers up, displaying “Apple //c” and “Check Disk Drive.” messages. Hitting Ctrl-Reset gives me a working BASIC prompt. print peek(64447) returns 255.

Actually, I have two IIc’s with matching monitors (green, composite). Both work fine as far as I can see, but both won’t work properly with the external Disk IIc (could be a faulty Disk IIc). Internal drives are fine, managed to receive and write disk images with ADT Pro and a cable from retrofloppy.com!
Apple IIc s/n are C5 05WK XX and C5 29S3 XX. Disk IIc serial is 139997 (model A2M4050Z).