easy in the hard
Thursday, September 19 2013
I've been slowly spiraling in on that other programming project, the production of a plugin for the Adobe Lightroom. Since the place where I will be storing my data would be a Sqlite database, I've had to figure out how to manipulate such databases. I've found that the key to any successful database project, no matter the platform, is a good database manipulation and visualization tool. I'm not generally satisfied by such tools, and that's why I've built my own for MySQL (and a couple other web-friendly databases), but I had no time or expertise to build a Sqlite tool. Fortunately, there's a pretty good one called SQLite Manager that exists for some reason as a plug-in for Mozilla. Its interface was intuitive and had the things I needed to do what I wanted to do. I had a MySQL database that I needed to import into SQLite, and I'd been dreading all the very non-SQLesque scripting that I'd been seeing used to write to a SQLite database. Evidently, though, that's just one of SQLite's frontends. It can also happily interpret SQL I have written for the MySQL engine. To import my tables with all their data, all I had to do to my export scripts (which are produced by MySQL and are written in its dialect of SQL) was remove references to autoincrement and character sets in the Create Table statements. Often computer tasks end up being much harder than I expect them to be, but in this case it was much easier. Obviously I was venturing down a well-worn path. Unfortunately, this was not also true of the project as a whole. The Lightroom SDK doesn't have any built-in support for SQLite queries outside its semi-proprietary universe, so to graft a database application onto it requires special executeCommand calls to shell scripts, something I don't normally have to deal with in my computational environments.
The day was a little warmer than it had been, and at some point when I was down at the greenhouse to contemplate how best to permanently house a wireless router and an Arduino mystery box, I finally did something I'd been procrastinating: I changed out the shit bucket in the brownhouse. Its 30 gallon trash can had been collecting feces and toilet paper since January 6th. That's an uncommonly long time to put off changing out the bucket, so it was heavy. With a cheap trash can so full of shit seeming capable of rupturing at any moment, I was very careful and deliberate in my movements. I mostly dragged it to the place where it will fester for the time being, at the bottom of the valley between the slope from the house and the rise up towards the top of the artificial knoll containing the household septic field.
When preparing an empty trash can to serve as the new shit bucket, I install both PVC æration manifold and I line the bottom with some sort of cellulosic material to keep the shit from immediately forming a dense anærobic blob. In the past I've used leaves or pine needles, but this time I used the canes from dozens of late-summer wildflowers (Mugworts mostly). Because of the stiffness of this material, it piled higher in the can than leaves or needles ever had. This means the feces will be held higher for longer, giving them more time to be broken down and more air as they do so. It's an experient, as everything about the brownhouse has been, so I'll have to see if this helps or hinders the composting process.
While the shit can was out of the way, I took the opportunity to remove the small electric fan built in to the bottom of the vent stack. The idea for that fan was that it would assist with the ventillation and be turned on automatically by the raising of the toilet seat. But that system hasn't worked for years, and I figured that the fan was now acting as too much of a choke point. Sure enough, when I pulled it out, I found the blades were resistant to turning and clogged with hundreds of dead Blue Bottle Flies.
The old brownhouse fan.
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