Golem, my gollum

Decided to hook our scratch built DNA sequencer, 3D printer and AI quantum computing system to our home IoT network.

Overnight, the network asserted it is now the full embodiment of the Gaia planetary web and we are merely nodes in it.

Welcome to the new, posthuman reality.

Dr. Hawking, thanks for the warning. Good news, AI is not as bad as we thought but it has surpassed us more quickly than we imagined!

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

When a writer relearns how to code

Was there ever a time when we programmed well, if not efficiently?

Sure, there were the early BASIC days on the TRS-80, later on the ZX81.

We had our stint writing PASCAL, then C, but never C++ or C#.

A bit of Visual C, to be sure, in our days as software test engineering lab manager at Conexant (formerly Rockwell Semiconductor) running a team that verified our company’s products (including Linux servers disguised as Windows-compatible ADSL gateway modems) met Microsoft WHQL standards, and later, at Avocent, ensuring cross-platform compatibility for Microsoft, Apple, Linux and other operating systems.


Let’s be honest with ourselves. We’ve faded in our programming capabilities.

Use it or lose it, as they say.

So it is that we find ourselves basically back at the drawing board, back to bits and bytes, working our way up to Arduino script and Python Shell on Raspberry Pi Linux.

Today’s lesson: the difference between/dev/ttyUSB0 (or 1, or n) and others/dev/ttyACM0 (or 1, or n) .

In a nutshell, according to this website, “another control model, aptly named abstract control model or ACM, lets the modem hardware perform the analog functions, and require that it supports the ITU V.250 (also known as Hayes in its former life) command set, either in the data stream or as a separate control stream through the communication class interface. …the devices offering UART-over-USB functionalities are named /dev/ttyUSB0, /dev/ttyUSB1, and so on, even though they are in fact using distinct device drivers.”

Does that mean anything to you?  It might.  It does to us, springing to memory the old days of dialup modems long before ADSL and cable modems, before Gigabit Ethernet, CDMA/GSM, FTTx (fiber to the curb, home, etc.), WiFi, driverless cars and drone taxis.

Why are we relearning all this?

First of all, why not?

Second of all, in our transition to a computing world of AI that no longer uses bits and bytes, when quantum computing leads to the Next Great Thing, it’s good to see where we were so that we better understand where we’ll be.

After all, we said goodbye to Guin but haven’t completely forgotten who we are 400 earthyears from now.

In the not so distant future, we know we don’t look or act like the human interface devices you see and think as yourselves as today.

In other words, the Elegoo Uno R3 and Adafruit Circuit Playground Express devices allow us to be nostalgic in our late middle-aged years.

We understand by doing so where we deliberately drop pebbles in the pond of this set of devices we call a few billion instances of a species labeled Homo sapiens.

We live in this moment but see where we set in motion activities millions of years from now.

Don’t you?


Forcing ourselves to say “we,” “us,” and “our” takes practice and a bit of patience.

Even so, we’re here trying to adjust to the habit of seeing the body typing these words as more than one human but rather an amalgamation of conglomerations of perturbations of possible living beings traveling together mainly on one planetary body, itself a mixed bag of rocks, liquids and such.

But we digress.

Instead, we must confess.

Whilst redesigning the backyard meditation/writer’s studio, a play space/work shop, we find ourselves in such a quandary because we can’t decide the final look and function of the base/foundation for the greenhouse.

Making a skirt of pallet wood would create an air gap between the rock ledge and the floor of the greenhouse, a small but steady influence upon the greenhouse ambient temperature within a few inches of the floor. The skirt might keep larger creatures from hiding and living beneath the greenhouse, if we want such.

Making a rock foundation all around the base of the greenhouse would prevent wood-chewing animals from munching their way under the greenhouse, and offer the same passive cooling benefits as the wood skirt.

Leaving the space beneath the greenhouse open to all creatures, regardless of classification due to size or predator/prey status, would be the cheapest solution in the short term.

We like the idea of stacking our own stone foundation, building a set of skills we don’t have.

The next week or so will show what we decided in this matter.

A good cold day to work inside!

Multiple projects, no deadlines…what to do?

When it’s too cold for us to work comfortably outside, we move the last two concrete footers into place and retreat inside to our overcrowded programmer’s workshop to figure out code to mesh into the end product of another project.

We give credit to others for inspiring our future results, including Erin “Robotgrrl” Kennedy (as always)…

and this person’s pallet wood flooring in a backyard cottage:
I used many pallets. (Lost count) I planned each board then used the table saw to square them up as Read Here: https://www.1001pallets.com/2016/01/pallet-floor-cottage-back


Architectural Originality

Using both available material (new, recycled and natural) and inspiration from others’ innovation to assemble a greenhouse kit, we want to add a bit of originality to the repertoire of backyard meditative spaces.

Years ago, we planned a backyard writer’s cottage comprised of four sections tied to four compass points:

  • Castle tower to the north
  • Tin roof shack to the south
  • Adobe pueblo to the west
  • Buddhist temple to the east
  • The center portion was a crossroads, the floor a meditation labyrinth, the walls covered with Irish Celtic symbols, the ceiling a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel

Its shape gave tribute to our subcultural upbringing:

Back then, our construction capabilities were limited if not nonexistent.

We couldn’t find or develop the confidence to build the original design.

We have changed, grown confident, and now build what we want, giving ourselves a limited budget to force ingenuity.

The new design generalizes the meditative qualities of organised religion, removing specific symbology, wrapped up into the prefab greenhouse kit.

As for the rest, you’ll see soon enough!