MEANING: noun: Extreme optimism, even under most hopeless circumstances.

ETYMOLOGY:After Mark Tapley, a character in Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44). Earliest documented use: 1857.


Cat Tracking

Cat Tracking

Where the Hackaday Cat goes when she steps over the threshold into the wider world is a mystery, she reveals her whereabouts strictly on her terms and would we suspect be very cagey were we able to ask her about it. [Andy C] however has a need to know where his cat is spending her time, so he’s made a GPS collar for a bit of feline spying.

There are commercial GPS collars for pets, but they all share the flaw of extremely limited battery life. His challenge then was to create a collar that delivered the required pinpoint fix alongside a battery life measured in months. The solution was a combination of a low-power miniature GPS receiver and a low-power PC microcontroller hooked up to an FSK radio whose frequency he doesn’t give but which we suspect is probably the usual 433 MHz. The collar remains in low power mode until it receives a call on the FSK, at which point it wakes up, gets a GPS fix, transmits it, and returns to sleep.

The summary links to a series of posts which provide an extremely detailed look at all aspects of the project, and go well beyond mere GPS trackers for a cat. If you have an interest in low power devices or antenna matching for example, you’ll find a lot of interesting stuff in these pages. Of course, if all you need is a GPS tracker though, you may prefer a simpler option.



How to Write a Story - thank you Doc Savage

Michael Moorcock's Summary of Lester Dent's Method

I'll get to a blow-by-blow of Dent's method shortly but here's a summary, courtesy of Michael Moorcock:

"... split your six-thousand-word story up into four fifteen hundred word parts. Part one, hit your hero with a heap of trouble. Part two, double it. Part three, put him in so much trouble there's no way he could ever possibly get out of it. ... All your main characters have to be in the first third. All your main themes and everything else has to be established in the first third, developed in the second third, and resolved in the last third. (Lester Dent, Wikipedia)"

Note: When I talk about Dent's method, below, much of it is a paraphrase.





Reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

From "Cat's Cradle"

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle


Experts, Smexperts!!

I just wanted to bookmark this interesting article

As the Danish proverb warns, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Comparing experts as "hedgehogs" or experts with deep knowledge of their field to "foxes" people with a wide range of interests

In Tetlock’s 20-year study, both the broad foxes and the narrow hedgehogs were quick to let a successful prediction reinforce their beliefs. But when an outcome took them by surprise, foxes were much more likely to adjust their ideas. Hedgehogs barely budged. Some made authoritative predictions that turned out to be wildly wrong—then updated their theories in the wrong direction. They became even more convinced of the original beliefs that had led them astray. The best forecasters, by contrast, view their own ideas as hypotheses in need of testing. If they make a bet and lose, they embrace the logic of a loss just as they would the reinforcement of a win. This is called, in a word, learning.



Note to Self: How to get subtitles from a BluRay or DVD (that you legally own!)

Next Day UPDATE:
It turns out I was using the wrong tool I wanted
MKVCleaver x64

I setup a RaspberryPi as a Plex video server and converted all my DVDs and BluRays to MP4s. I don’t have a huge library but still enough to be a bit of a task.

The problem is Foreign films, and how to get the English subtitles to show up.

In case you don’t know, to save BluRay discs to a file you need MakeMKV and HandkBrake. And to get subtitles you need MKVextract, which gives you two files one with a .sub suffix and an .idx siffix. If you have this type of subtitle result yo just need to put them in the same folder as the MP4 of the moving and then add the subtitle track in the PLEX setup of that movine.

HOWEVER, for some reason some BluRays export as .sup files and these just don’t work with the PLEX server.

After a couple of attempts I found my answer was to use Subtitle Edit which needs the movie in mkv format but can read through the movie and use OCR (optical character recognition) to confert the image based sup file to the text based srt file. The PLEX server is cool with srt files, so the only wrinkle is the quality of the pictures of the subtitles will cause it to throw that part up and ask you to type it in.

I think if the disk is a quality manufacturer you may have to respond to a dozen or so problems in the OCR process. Not to bad really. But on a cheap production you might have to retype the whole movie.

And if you have a DVD you just need to use MakeMKV rather than Hanbrake (with the VLC mod) since MKVextract only works on MKV files. After you have the subtitle files you just run the mkv file through Handbrake and you are done

MKVextract & gMKVextractGUI & MKVToolNIX





Registration Key for makemkv beta


VLC libdvdcss.dll for Handbrake
https://www.videolan.org/developers/libdvdcss.html then look for “releases” link…


The latest one for windows is ver 1.2.12

My MKVextract wasn't working (not sure if it was just the one Blue ray so I had the mkv file but used  Inviska MKV Extract on it. Then used Subtitle edit

Next Day UPDATE:
It turns out I was using the wrong tool I wanted
MKVCleaver x64 
Although it delivered a sup file which subtitle edit had problems with, so that finally I found a website that had an srt file that worked


My BluRay fix

i can't believe I haven't saved this here, but the driver for my USB ASUS BluRay Burner sometimes gets corrupted.

Here is the fix with the difference that my drive was not in the Intio.. heading but under Serial Device Devices and had an indicator that it was not recognized


OK, so follow these instructions TO THE LETTER.

  1. Plug your external drive back in, and “Intio Combo Device Class” should reappear in the Device Manager.
  2. Click on the little “>” next to it, and you should see something called “Initio Default Controller” appear underneath.
  3. Right-click on “Initio Default Controller” and click ‘Disable’ to turn it off.
  4. Now right-click on it again and click ‘Properties’.
  5. In the window that pops up click on the ‘Driver’ tab.
  6. Click on ‘Uninstall Device’, and then follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you do uninstall the drivers (IMPORTANT: you may need to click on a checkbox to confirm that you want to delete the driver software – don’t miss this step if so).
  7. Unplug the external drive from the USB ports.
  8. Shut down your computer (be sure to shut it down fully, don’t just restart it).
  9. With the computer powered off, plug in the external drive to the USB ports.
  10. Restart the computer and let it boot up.

The drive should now work! It should appear in “This PC” and it should appear in “Device Manager” in the list of “DVD/CD-ROM drives”