Hardware, hard life

Today’s historic photo stop:

J. C. Brown General Merchandise

Jesse Charles Brown was a native of Falls Mill, Tenn., near Huntland. In the late 1890s, he came to Huntsville after the deaths of his parents.

He was brought here because someone saw him perched on a fence post – the universal symbol at the time that someone was in need.

For a year or so, he worked for P.F. Dunnavant, the legendary owner of Dunnavant’s Department Store.

In 1898, he opened his general merchandise store in west Huntsville, where business was thriving with the development of the textile mills.

Located near a row of microbreweries…

With an interesting brick building across the street…

This corner has potential for something, but what? The neighbourhood has many Hispanic businesses. Perhaps a Latin music dance hall with a bar that serves Cuban food?

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Rainy Saturday

Rain on Saturday provides proof that the wood preservative/sealant works.

Water is beading up on the pallet wood we treated with preservative several days ago!

Many more piles of pallets to go and our backyard writer’s cottage will be ready to complete!

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.

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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?

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!