Week #692 & #693

Friday, May 24th, 02024 at 13:31 UTC

Week #692

We’ve been tinkering with an analog book of games. We printed a few awhile ago using the Kindle Direct Printing service to get some feedback. This week, we took a second iteration based on feedback and printed some more. We’ve also updated the code to be a bit more flexible for different output sizes (US Letter, A4, 9×6, etc.) and multiple languages, English, Spanish and Icelandic are supported. Now that we’re in a good, flexible spot, we took this to a local publisher to show them. They funneled us through their submission process and in Week #693, we got a rejection: “This is not for us”. Fair enough. So we brought it to another organization who doesn’t do publishing, but does go games. We’ll see where this takes us. It is good to document all the setbacks and rejections along the way. We tend to only ever see the “highlight reels” without understanding the mountain of effort that got there.

This week we finished-up US taxes and reviewed our local VAT submission. Fun stuff for sure.

Recently we purchased a USB-C to USB-C port-to-port adapter. Using this we can extend the length of 2 USB-C cabled. The reason we’re excited about this, is because we have a USB-C cable with a small LED screen which tells you the power-draw on it. That’s great when you have a USB-C device, but we have several Apple Lightening cables, some USB-A, Qi charging mats, watch chargers, USB-A to USB-C converters and more. With this adapter, we can examine which cables/adapters might be throttling the charging power.

For instance, we have an Apple USB-C plug to USB-A port. This was released early on when Apple’s laptops dropped all USB-A ports in favor of USB-C, but lots of things still had USB-A plugs. Little did we know that no matter what wattage power brick you plug that into, the adapter won’t push more than 5W of power through? That means your fancy iPhone (which can charge up to 27W) or iPad (which can charge at 30W) won’t draw more than 5W of power through that adapter!

You can imaging we were plugging lots of stuff in and our all afternoon trying to optimize and get an overview of our equipment.

On Thursday, the remote team scheduled a long introspection call. It was good to air some grievances about the process this last 1-2 years and we’re making some plans to update our internal processes and solidify the core team. Along with all this, we’re deciding what it is this group wants todo in the future and what we want to represent.

PETALS marches on! On Friday, we tried to have another sync, but the internet wasn’t helping. We did manage to cover some of the important things, what got done and what else needs doing. We’ll pick-up this project again in a week or two.

For another project, we’re tasked with exploring how to build an app in VR to display 360 videos. The ability to map a video texture onto the inside of a sphere is pretty trivial. The bigger task now is to explore the UI/UX of watching in the round, but also being able to pause/play/exit without too much UI interfering with the video. Then there are issues with codex, file-size, storage, etc. Ironically, the easy part was playing the video!

Week #693

Monday was a Bank Holiday here in Iceland, the celebration of Whit Monday. That put us a bit behind schedule since several of our international clients didn’t have today off.

On Tuesday, we sent out our ⪮ Good Morning s03e05 newsletter all about Endangered Food. We also had an electrician come over todo some wiring for new light switches. We took the opportunity to also do a bit of network re-wiring. One of the office rooms is one thick concert wall and one thick concrete floor away from the nearest router. It was almost a dead-zone for WiFi. With the electrician’s help, we drilled a small hole through the wall and floor and ran some ethernet cables. We went from speeds of ~80Mbps (wireless) to a 1.2Gbps (wired). Sometimes a little hole is all it takes!

We have one project from Australia which is shaping-up. This is a simple project (or so we thought) to convert a bunch of CSVs in one format, into a single CSV of a different format for Fathom. At first we thought this might be a good project to ask some LLM for help, but once we started, it was so straight forward, it was easier to run with it and use our own knowledge than wait for AI prompts to spit out an overly verbose answer line-by-line. After a few back and forths, I think this project is pretty much wrapped-up.

On Wednesday, we met with a customer who’s using Iceland’s Single Sign-On service. As of September, they are shutting down version 1 and pushing people to version 2, but the catch is that you need to be a governmental organization to join version 2. Which puts a lot of companies struggling to find an alternative. We’ve been pretty pro-active moving to TOTP 2FA QR codes where we can, but our client’s service needs more proof of who you are than 2FA can provide. There is a private alternative, but it is expensive and (from the last time we looked) tricky to implement. Our client was surprised, because they have other projects using the Island.is Electronic Id service and none of those contractors have given them any heads-up about the fact it is closing in 3 months.

We continued with two projects from the Miami, Florida area. Both are stealth projects and we’re building prototypes. These really feel like we’re laying down tracks as the train in is barreling down on us. Then at the last minute, it changes direction and we start putting track down elsewhere. Sometimes, it’s fun to build this way, especially when there is constant communications with the customer.


Two potential links for a future newsletter, but we’ll post them here for now.

Brazen Head was a brass automaton from the early period. It was a sort of an all knowing oracle. You could easily read that wikipedia article and easy think it was written today about AI. It just goes to show you that for 1,000+ years people have been searching for ‘the all knowing’.

A Pickle for the Knowing Ones is a book written in 01802 by Timothy Dexter. The story of this man’s life could easily be the focus of a movie. Everyone tried to trick him into doing something financially silly and it turned out to be a wind-fall. Maybe he was a time-traveller from the future who already knew he couldn’t loose!