[Dragonfly DIY] Quick note on dashcam install

My 2016 Ford Escape has no switched power outlet for a dashcam. Previously I was unable to find a switched fuse either, and came up with a circuit as a partial solution.

However today I installed a new dashcam, and now a few years later was able to find online the proper solution. Fuse F85 under the dash (probably on all Ford cars based on the Fusion chassis) is ignition/accessory switched power. A fuse tap there leading to a female power socket for the camera is perfect.

The dash cam is the Aukey dual front/rear 1080p model that Techmoan recently reviewed. Should be excellent.

[Dragonfly DIY] Car body work

Well, after a few hours of banging, hammering and shoving with hydraulic spreaders and rams, I got the front end of the kids' car back together again with new bumper, bumper cover, headlights and grill mount. No paint yet, maybe when it gets warm.

The rear right taillight area got bashed out to basically in the right place and shape, and the light itself replaced with one from the boneyard via eBay. The rear bumper cover is a bit expensive and not IMO that critical, I'll worry about that in the spring too when the weather is better for painting things.


Amazon comes through again

I ordered a bunch of stuff from Amazon in the last week. Several orders were due to arrive Tuesday. UPS at one point said delivered, "left in or near garage" - but they were not there and Jenn said she did not see the truck come up the driveway that morning.
A call on Wednesday and they said "UPS says the boxes were mis-scanned and will be delivered today" - they were not.
A call today (Thursday) and they now say "UPS says the boxes were mis-scanned and are lost" - I wonder if this means they were delivered to the wrong place and they are not going to get them back?

Anyway Amazon credited me the cost of the items, then I re-ordered them and had them shipped to an Amazon Locker that's about 1/2 mile from the hotel I'll be at tomorrow, and they paid for overnight shipping. One item is too big for the locker so that'll arrive home on Saturday and I'll just have to do without it this weekend.

Photography stuff

I've gotten a bit wound up about getting going with photography again, spurred on by a desire to travel more from now on.

I have:
Bought a used 60D. But then did some research, and found that really I want a 70D. I got on Amazon and found a used 70D for about $530, from a shop in SE Michigan. Should have that mid-week.

The 60D is delayed in the post. When it shows up, I'll just put it onto eBay straightaway.

I also picked up a used 24-105 f/4L. I used it a bit on the 500D today, it's pretty nice.

I got a 24mm f/2.8 pancake for walking around. Bought that new.

I just tried putting Magic Lantern on the 500D. It's OK but I got scared by some behavior and uninstalled it. I don't want to do anything that has a chance of bricking my camera.

I also ordered a new bag, spare batteries, and some straps. I found that 2 of the 3 batteries I have for the 500D are basically dead - straight off the charger they run the camera for about 3 minutes in live view mode before blinking red. They're in the trash and a new pair are coming. They say put in service in 2009 so I can't really complain.

I want to play with using the 70D for video (a main reason why the 70D over the 60D) and picked up a well rated but very inexpensive shotgun microphone. I have a new tripod, pistol grip tripod head, and controller and some remote strobes and softboxes on my wishlist. Probably will hold off quite a while on the strobe stuff as it's mainly for portraiture and I don't really see myself doing much of that.

Learning Lightroom. Thankfully you can still get the old, perpetually licensed version. I own a copy of ACDSee, which probably does a lot of the same stuff, but there's something to be said for using the software that everyone else uses.

I've also been putting a lot of stuff on eBay to clear the decks of stuff I'm not using while it still has some value, and partially fund this stuff.

[Dragonfly DIY] Using the STM32 "Blue Pill" under Arduino

I've had one of these sitting around for over a year but never did anything with it.

Thanks to GreatScott! on YouTube, I'm playing with it now. I support GreatScott! on Patreon and suggest you consider it as well.

Link to GreatScott!'s video

I'm just going to put down the steps that he followed here, because it's more convenient for me to have the steps in print rather than on a video.

The board

Get a USB to serial converter, set it to 3.3V - IMPORTANT. The STM32 is NOT 5V tolerant, 5V will kill it!

Ground -> ground
3.3v -> 3.3v
TX -> A10
RX -> A9

Connect to computer
Start Arduino

File -> Preferences, then put this URL in Additional Board Manager URLs:
Click OK

Tools ->Boards -> Board Manager

Find and select this link:

Click "install"

Click OK.

Enter this sketch:

void setup() {
pinMode(PA6, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
digitalWrite(PA6, HIGH);
digitalWrite(PA6, LOW);

Attach an LED and resistor in series between ground an A6 (positive to A6)

Move BOOT0 jumper (the one on the opposite side from the reset button) to 1
Tools -> Board -> Generic STM32F103C series
Tools -> Variant -> STM32F103C8
Tools -> CPU speed: 72 MHz (normal)
Tools -> Upload method: Serial
Tools -> Port (whichever one your serial board is on)

Compile and upload

To save the sketch on the board, move BOOT0 back to 0. If you don't the sketch disappears as soon as the board is power cycled or reset.

MUST HAVE: The Generic STM32F103 pinout diagram
GreatScott!'s video is here
LeafLabs documentation

Books read Jan-June 2018

Last year I set a goal of 70 books and achieved 90. I've set the same goal this year, since last year I feel like I spent a little TOO much time reading.

Total to date July-Dec 2017:
ebooks: 1
audio: 6
total: 7

[1] eBook
[2] Audiobook

What I read in 2017

I started 2017 by setting a Goodreads "reading challenge" of 70 books, which would be slightly higher than my previous annual record - it's the first time I've set a particular goal for the year and it did motivate me, though perhaps too much. I really spent a lot of time reading in the first half of the year in particular. While I certainly do not regret time spent reading, I did slack off on other things that I also enjoy. When a mid-year evaluation showed that I could not fail to hit 70 for the year even with a much slower pace, I dropped back on the push.

I am happy that I was able to somewhat diversify the genres that I am reading. I still fall back to science fiction and urban fantasy as my comfort reads, but I have found that such diverse titles as Jane Eyre and Caged Bird were some of my favorites of the year.

At the end of the year, I find that Goodreads says I've hit 90 books.

I have stopped doing book commentary here, but I do make (usually extremely brief) notes on Goodreads when I finish a book. Clicking into the detail link at the bottom, then on each book, will take you to the Goodreads page which has a lot of reviews better than mine (but also, mine)

I welcome Goodreads friends, if you're on. If you're not, I encourage you to check it out. I find it a good way to keep track of what I've read (my memory is so bad that I've found myself re-reading books and not realizing it until halfway through) and for motivation.

Total to date Jan-June 2017:
ebooks: 25
audio: 25
total: 50

Total to date July-Dec 2017:
ebooks: 19
audio: 21
total: 40

Overall 2016
ebooks: 44
Audio: 46
Total: 90

Me on Goodreads
Jan-Jun detail
Jul-Dec detail
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2017-12-27 Wednesday

I'm feeling pretty unmotivated lately.
My PC at home has been super laggy playing videos in the browser. Seems to be happening in every browser. I went from Win7 to 10, then back to 7 again, and even on a clean install it's still very slow. I'm starting to wonder if the video card is OK. The fan is running on it. I think I'll take it out and make sure the heatsink is clean and all. But I may need to buy another video card. But OTOH, HD content plays just fine on VLC. Maybe I need a card with an h.265 decoder?