18 June 2006

Seattle U. Law Calendar

The Seattle University School of Law keeps a master calendar on their website where students (and faculty) can check on important dates in the coming terms. Unfortunately, this calendar is just in static HTML and you can’t easily import it into a tool you might want to use to help keep track of your days. (I hear that time management can be important in law school.) The master calendar isn’t in your Seattle U. OWA account by default either.

With the obvious disclaimers: (well it is a law school after all)

  1. I don’t represent Seattle U. School of Law.

  2. You shouldn’t depend on this calendar as your sole source of information regarding Seattle U. School of Law’s schedule.

I’ve generated a Google Calendar for SU Law that is available in a variety of formats:

This is mainly for our personal use, but you’re welcome to use it if you find it useful.

11 June 2006

Gawker Image Fetch Script

There’s not a lot more to it than the title suggests. I’ve made a script you can use to fetch webcam images from any host on the Internet that’s running Gawker.

The script takes arguments of the host and port to connect to as well as the file to overwrite with the latest exciting image. Together with some javascript you can do neat things like have a live updating webcam image.

Silly things like half-written images are dealt with, but that means the directory that has the image file in it needs to be writable. If the camera sends images faster than your local machine can write out to disk, that’s bad. So don’t do that.

In the future, I’ll make changes that fulfill desires I have, like producing a timelapse movie of the last 24 hours. And more complicated, a timelapse movie that skips the dark frames in the night that are less interesting.

After a few minutes of thought: Future changes like reconnecting in the event of a failure spring to mind as well. For now though, this is scratches-an-itch-ware.

Update: My script now resides at Google Code with the code available in Subversion at http://gawker-image-fetch.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/. It now supports finding cameras with Zeroconf and reconnecting automatically.

Later Update: New features are appearing, like support scripts for doing time-lapse movies. Check the code site for the latest information.

04 June 2006

Oh... And There's One More Thing

I hope you’ll pardon the dearth of posts recently. In case you hadn’t heard, I’ve started at a new job as a Site Reliability Engineer for Google.

After a handful of weeks in Mountain View, I’ve made the 875 mile drive back home. Some highlights of the trip down and my free time down there will trickle into the gallery over the coming days.

Testing A New Webcam

We have a new test webcam pointed at Mount Si. I’ve always been
bothered by the bizarre behavior of the QuickCam when it catches the morning
sun. Using an iSight may help this since it theoretically is smart enough to do
some aperture adjustment on its own. On the other hand, it’s ability to pick out
details in the dark has proven to be somewhat more sketchy.

It is worth noting that the new webcam setup I’m testing is using only open
source software (aside from the operating system). Or at least it will be once
I’m happy with the performance and release the script I’m using to fetch images
that are served with Gawker.

The resolution of this camera is about the same as the QuickCam, but the image is a lot sharper. I have a feeling that the image tag on that page isn’t shaped quite right for the size of the image that is output from that camera. But that’s why it says “testing” all over the page. A chance to work the kinks out.

def ParseDescription(self, desc_buffer):

We’ll see if that’s premature optimization some time soon…