still using Tableform
Thursday, February 13 2020
For the past couple days I'd been working on a demo of a recursive (that is, hierarchical) database design for a huge project that is expected to take me and a team of Ukrainian developers a whole year to build. When one wants to build a quick and dirty web thing, modern technologies aren't really what one reaches for. When one has to go through the bother of compiling and deploying a "solution" (which I only recently learned the Microsoft definition of), the technology isn't conducive to one-off prototypes. So yesterday I converted my SQL creation scripts to MySQL and used my tried-and-true (and now 14 year old) Tableform generic database editing web app to populate it with recursive data. Because it all works without compilation, the main headache in putting it in a place visible from anywhere on the internet was setting up the MySQL database using GodDaddy's shared hosting, which is just different enough from a virtual private server to make it take me ten minutes instead of two. But the results were a success, impressing my boss Alex enough to actually make me excited about this depressingly-sprawling project we've foolishly decided to tackle.
There had been slushy snow followed by rain today, so I decided not to gather any firewood. Instead I tinkered with microcontrollers, particularly the WeMos D1 and the similar NodeMCU. Frustratingly, I couldn't get these to drive a MAX7219 LED array. Initially I thought this might be a consequence of their 3.3 volt (as opposed to 5 volt) logic, but then I tired an Arduino Due (technically it was a counterfeit Chinese Due), and that worked great. I'd also received the Sparkfun Particle Photon Weather Shield in the mail and did some experiments with it. The Photon is now fairly reliable at connecting to nearby WiFI routers, but I'm still not impressed with the platform. Today I experienced discouraging unreliability from its serial port. I'm gradually coming around to the idea that a WeMos D1 might be the best device to serve as the outdoor controller of a weather station. A Raspberry Pi Zero would be even better, since it could store the history of all sensor data within it. But Raspberry Pis do not have analog inputs, meaning it would have to also have something like an Arduino paired with it. If I'm going to do that, it would probably be better using something like a D1 that can do WiFi and also write to an SD card.
The toll plaza for the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, viewed from the east (westbound doesn't have to pay).
Click for a wider view.
You can't see it too well here, but the roadcut just west of the KRB toll plaza exposes beautifully-folded geology (defined here somewhat by pockets of lingering snow), a phenomenon Creationists don't bother trying to explain.
Click for a wider view.
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