Building a compact arduino based DMX testing device

Sebastian Pohl - 5. November 2017

We are currently working on a project that involves a device that reacts in a certain way to signals it gets via DMX. DMX is a protocol that is widely used for lighting and effects.

We had the option to rent a fully fledged DMX console for testing our hardware prototypes. But this would have been cost-intensive and time consuming. And i knew that the protocol itself is not the most complex thing in the world. I had the idea to build a small device that could send a DMX signal. (mehr …)

Anet A8 3d Printer – my way to accurate prints

Sebastian Pohl - 1. September 2017

I already planned to build a second 3d printer in addition to my Sintron Kossel a while ago. My initial plan was to go full DIY and use 2020 profiles and 3d printed parts. The problem with this approach is that my delta printer is not accurate enough and i wanted my second printer to be more accurate. But building it with non-exact elements would certainly not contribute to achiving this. So i was looking for a cheap kit that i could start with and improve on.

The whole plan was on hold for a long time until i stumbled upon the Anet A8 printer. It is a very cheap Prusa i3 clone and is available on ebay, gearbest and other websites. Usually the price ranges from 150 to 200 Euro including shipping. I found one offering for 130 Euro with free shipping from germany.

The A8 has a big community and there are a lot of guides and videos out there on how to build the kit. This is what you might end up with:

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Convert a working XP machine to a virtual machine

Sebastian Pohl - 6. August 2017

If we can believe those statistics websites on the internet Windows XP still has a market share between 5 and 10 percent. XP machines are still in use by many companies and the government. Just a year back i converted a specialised piece of software for a local company so they could get rid of the last XP computer they had on site.

But what if it is not a single piece of software that is needed but a whole machine? Often times it is simply not possible or feasible to replace it with completely new tech because of compatibility issues between the software and modern hardware. In those cases it is often worth trying to convert the computer from a physical existing one to a virtual one. (mehr …)

Portable RGB Led Torch using Arduino

Sebastian Pohl - 1. August 2017

 

This project has been on my mind for a few years now. Since i had seen it somewhere i always thought about building one myself but unlike the one back then i wanted it to be portable. (mehr …)

Nintendo Switch – How to avoid damaging the screen in the dock

Sebastian Pohl - 13. März 2017

Nintendos latest console, the Switch, was launched only a few days ago but there already are people pointing out flaws in the first version.

This includes people complaining about the taste of the cartridges ( that is not a flaw, it is a safety measure ), the skin manufacturer dbrand discovering that the surface finish nintendo has choosen is not compatible with any adhesive for vinyl skins and a few people who managed to scratch their screens within a few days of normal use.

The last one is what concerns me personally. Some users managed to scratch their screens by simply using the dock. Apparently there is a chance that the plastic screen becomes scratched from the hard plastic used on the rails. (mehr …)

Stupid swarm agents in Unity3d for Global Game Jam 2017

Sebastian Pohl - 11. Februar 2017

Recently i participated in the Global Game Jam 2017 at our University in Koblenz. With a team of five on location and another helpful friend that donated the awesome music we made a small strategy game within this years theme „waves“ in the unity3d engine. The name is „Tower Offense – Final Wave“ and you can find the executable and the full unity3d project here.


The basic idea is that each player has a base that constantly produces small autonomous robots. These robots are under your control as long as the radio waves of your base tower or the radio towers you can build reach it. As soon as it leaves the influence radius of your towers it losses signal strength and eventually you loose control. You have the option to change from building attack robots to build harvesters which bring in ressources you need to build more towers. The aggressive robots try to find the nearest enemy robot or building and engage it. The enemy can, like the player, build more towers and when a hostile robot stays in the range of an opposing tower for too long, the owner of that tower gains control of the robot. The winning condition is easy: Destroy the enemy base!

My part this time was the programming of the „artificial intelligence“. But because i like to work quick and see results fast my solution might (definitely) not be the most elegant or efficient solution.
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Bitdefender 2017 – Das nächste Kapitel

Sebastian Pohl -

Bereits seit Monaten steht dieser Artikel auf meiner To-Do Liste. Denn seit einiger Zeit habe ich konstant wachsende Zugriffszahlen auf diesen Blog und zu den „beliebtesten“ Beiträgen gehören die Artikel zur Antivirenlösung Bitdefender. Neben meinem ersten Beitrag von 2014 und dem Folgebeitrag von 2015 zum Preischaos bei Bitdefender ist der Artikel mit der Anleitung zur Kündigung des Bitdefender Abonnements nicht nur der meistgelesene Text in dieser Kategorie, der letztgenannte ist tatsächlich die meistbesuchte Seite des ganzen Blog.

Aber nicht nur bei den meistbesuchten Seiten ist das Thema Bitdefender ganz vorne, auch bei den Suchbegriffen belegt es den ersten Platz mit „Bitdefender kündigen“. Nachzügler auf dem fünften und sechsten Platz sind „Bitdefender Abo kündigen“ und „Bitdefender Abonnement kündigen“.  Dazu ist der genannte Artikel auch noch der mit den meisten Kommentaren.

Was mich akut dazu bewegt hat jetzt tatsächlich etwas zu schreiben ist die Persistenz und Ignoranz seitens Bitdefender. Denn obwohl ich gekündigt und mehrere E-Mail zur Rückgewinnung ignoriert habe, habe ich heute wieder eine E-Mail mit einem besonderen Angebot nur für mich bekommen. Ich nehme das jetzt zum Anlass um, wie bereits in der Vergangenheit, die Preisgestaltung näher zu betrachten. (mehr …)

Seagate Central 4TB – Missing Data Recovery

Sebastian Pohl - 12. Mai 2016

I am writing this from inside a ubuntu live system and I am currently watching a very slow rsync process that recovers the „lost“ data from the Seagate Central NAS harddisk of a friend.

The NAS suddenly stopped showing the files and said friend freaked out because he thought he had lost all his data. But experience shows, often times it is not a broken harddisk but something else. (mehr …)

Version Control in Unity3D with Perforce

Sebastian Pohl -

unityperforce_1

We have been using Unity for a long time now and we have always been struggling with any type of version control / centralized storage for our projects. We tried different solutions like svn or git and always ran into troubles often sooner than later.

After licensing Unity Pro we planned to at least use the asset server to avoid having to sort trough tons of indiviual copies and „branches“ on multiple workstations. But unfortunately, when we finally found the spare time to set it up, the asset server was somehow marked as deprecated.  But the accompanying documentation page recommended Plastic SCM or Perforce as alternate solutions.

Our decision to try out Perforce was based solely on the fact that i had heard more about Perforce than Plastic SCM. (mehr …)

Unity3D – global Highscore for Android games without external tools

Sebastian Pohl - 19. April 2016

We recently released a little game into the wild: Just Jumping on the Google Playstore.

Beside creating an easy to pick-up game with some sort of addictive gameplay we wanted to create a bit of a competition by collecting global highscores.

There are many options on how to achieve this, most of them include external tools or libraries. And we wanted to avoid that. DIY it was…

What you need to collect global highscores:

  • A transfer method to get data from the device to where the scores a stored.
  • A place where you can collect the highscores. Preferably a web server with a database.
  • A way to identify players.
  • Methods to make cheating hard or impossible.

(mehr …)