Hello, Milwaukee!

Enderis House

I’m back!


Flying Cars and Robots

Flying Car MKE

Remember Milwaukee Innovation Week? Sure you do, or maybe you don’t, it doesn’t matter because it’s been replaced/re-branded as Flying Car Milwaukee!

June is a super-hectic month around the RasterWeb! World Headquarters, and even more so in 2013, but that didn’t stop me from submitting a proposal to their Great Robot Showdown contest, and yeah, I got accepted, and I’ve got less than a month to finish building the robot I’ve proposed. There’s nothing like a deadline to get things done!

So besides getting a presentation ready for WordCamp Milwaukee that weekend, I’ll be attending the Flying Car Gala on Friday, June 7th at the Potawatomi Expo Center to show off my creation and hope it doesn’t burst into flames before the prizes are handed out.

If you’re not into robots but enjoy fashion, design, or film, there’ll be plenty of those things as well. (But seriously, if you’re not into robots, why are you even reading this!?)

There’s a ton of other stuff going on during the week, just check the events page. If you’re interested in making the world a better place, join out friends at Bucketworks for the BuildHealth Workshop. And if you happen to get in on the Innovation Factory Tours you may see me building the aforementioned robot at Milwaukee Makerspace.

(June’s my month… you may not be able to avoid me! Mwuhahaha!)


Radio Milwaukee Radio

Radio Milwaukee Radio

I started working on this project months and months ago, so I should probably share what I’ve got so far… as always, it’s a work in progress.

If you live in Milwaukee and listen to the radio, you’re probably familiar with 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. I’m certainly familiar with it, as it’s a great station, and not just for the music, but for their pieces that spotlight the great things happening in Milwaukee.

Since I don’t actually live in Milwaukee right now, it’s a little difficult to pick up the broadcast at home, but no worries, since they stream it over the Internet, we can use a Raspberry Pi (a cheap single-board computer) to play the stream.

Radio Milwaukee Radio

All we need to do is add some power and some speakers (and a little bit of code) and the Radio Milwaukee Radio is ready to go!

I used this post to figure out how to run a script at system startup. Since the Raspberry Pi runs Linux, I’m comfortable mucking around on the command line via SSH, others might not be, but since the worst thing you can do is destroy the entire system and have to re-load it onto an SD card, the risks are small.

Oh, and here’s the script.


mpc clear
mpc add
mpc play

MPD is the Music Player Daemon, which deals with playing the stream, and MPC is the Music Player Client which controls the MPD server. The script tells mpc to clear whatever it’s doing (just in case) and then add the 88.9 stream, and start playing it.

(It’s a bit more complex that just that, as there are some startup services that need to be added, but I still need to clean up that code.)

I’ve seen a lot of complex Raspberry Pi radio streaming projects, and while I’ve also played around with different clients to control things remotely via a browser running on a phone or tablet, I wanted to keep this really simple, and create a single-purpose device that did one thing… play the awesome stuff I hear on Radio Milwaukee.

(I also put together a short video showing it in action.)

Note: I also wrote up a post about laser etching the logo on the Milwaukee Makerspace site.


Holiday Make-A-Thon 2012 [Time Lapse]

Hack Friday

Here’s a quick time-lapse video from the 2012 Holiday Make-A-Thon that Milwaukee Makerspace does in cooperation with Bucketworks. We’ve been doing it for 3 years now, and Bucketworks has been doing it on their own even longer.

It seems like a lot more hackerspaces are doing these type of events this year, which is awesome, and there’s even a nice name for it now: Hack Friday. In my mind, part of belonging to a makerspace/hackerspace is the love of creating things, sharing that with others, especially on a day that has become completely over the top in regards to consumerism. Our mission is plain and simple: Instead of buying useless crap on “Black Friday” join us and we’ll help you make something for the holidays.

I figured it was also a good time to test out the time lapse capabilities of the GoPro Hero3. I have a workflow in place that includes taking still images with the intervalometer and then combining the frames into a video, and then resizing and cropping the video to the correct proportions. It seems to work. Oh, and the camera motion near the end is actually the gaff tape giving out before the camera fell face-down. Enjoy!


Radio Times


This post from NPR, Radio: The Port In The Storm, got me thinking about radio, and while I’m pretty well entrenched in the world of podcasts and my own music library, I do still love radio, and the interesting thing is, I think we’ve increased the amount of radio we listen to in our household this year.

Part of the rise of radio in our house might be due our dumping cable TV. We didn’t completely dump TV, as we still get the local channels, but it’s not that 500 channels (and nothing to watch) world we’re used to. We still use Netflix and Amazon, and we still record a few shows using an EyeTV Hybrid, but overall, our TV consumption is down, and our radio listening is up.

It’s mostly Radio Milwaukee and NPR, and the quality of both of those tends to outdo the TV we’d usually watch. It was just too easy to flip on the TV and let it play whatever… even with a laptop out and browsing/working, vapid television in the background isn’t that useful, and good radio is a better alternative.

I’d be interested to know if others who “cut the cord” ended up just replacing all their TV watching with online video alternatives, or if radio is taking some of their attention.