Snow in October

It’s the 27th of October, and it’s snowing.

It’s quite unusual for it to be even anywhere close to snowing at this time of year, normally we might get a bit at the end of November or early December. But for it to actually snow at our mere 500m in October?! You’d have to be kidding me.

Well nope, it sure is snowing alright, it’s holding onto the grass and starting to cover up the pavement as well.

I’ve also put up a few Charlieframes for the occasion.

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What’s for lunch?

One thing that’s nice to know when you’re a student, is what’s for lunch at the university restaurant.

In that regard, I looked for a way to easily generate an iCal of the week’s menu. First step: scour the CROUS Grenoble website in search of the menu, because I know it’s there somewhere.

Turns out, they have the menu for the current week in .png, .pdf and an RSS feed. They also have the one for the following week, but not in RSS.

So, I started to think about how I could automate the process, and considering that BASH might not be the best for this and that I wouldn’t go about scripting in PHP, I decided to take a shot at Python.

Second step: learn some Python, analyse the RSS feed structure and get this working.

The way I’ve basically done it, is to import and parse the RSS feed, then since each item in the feed corresponds to one service (day, lunch/dinner) it’s only a matter of creating a calendar event for each one (with first parsing the date, day and service). I filter out Friday evening, and both Saturday and Sunday, since there’s never any service then. Thursday evening seems to always be at the other restaurant, but I’m not sure.

Overall, it took a small afternoon to get it all worked out, it was quite fun to work on a little project like this. I guess as long as they don’t change the structure of their feed then it should all work fine. Because the feed seems to update at 00:00 on Mondays, I’ve also set-up a cron script to check it a few times around then, and once we’ve got the new one it’ll send it to stic.imnotacyb.org/menuRU.ics. I’ve also learned a bit of how to use Git and GitHub, so the repository for this project can be found here: github.com/JohannDickson/UDS_menuRU.

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Good Morning!

Good Morning to you too!

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Kindle Screensavers

I have a Kindle. It’s a great device, it got me back into reading and I now have a bit more and better to do than just browse the same old stuff on the internet on my down time.

One feature that’s really too bad it isn’t included by default is custom screensavers. Luckily, it’s quite easy to bypass this limitation! So here’s quick guide how to do it..

Tried and tested with Kindle 4, Firmware 4.1.0

  • Connect Kindle to computer (USB)
  • Create file at Kindle root called “ENABLE_DIAGS” (no extension)
  • Eject Kindle
  • Go into settings menu, and note your Firmware and Serial ID, if you miss this you can still find them later in the diagnostics menu → device settings
  • Press menu (from settings page), and restart

Now that we are in diagnostics mode…

  • misc individual utilities
  • > utilities
  • > enable USBnet

At this point, your PC should install the appropriate drivers. If not, re-plug the Kindle.

  • Go to your network connections, there should be a new one
  • Give it an IP of 192.168.15.1/24
  • Use PuTTY to connect to 192.168.15.244

Use this tool: http://members.ping.de/~sven/kindle.html to find out your root password /!\ the serial is case-sensitive!

enter the following commands:

mntroot rw
mkdir /mnt/us/screensaver
mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/base-mmc
mv /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800 /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800.old
ln -sfn /mnt/us/screensaver /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800
mntroot ro
  • exit the session (type exit, or close the window)
  • On the Kindle, go back to main menu
  • Exit, Reboot or Disable Diags → disable diags
  • Exit, Reboot or Disable Diags → reboot

Your Kindle will now reboot, and when connected it will have a folder called ‘screensaver’.

Notes

  • Images are 600*800
  • There must be a 01N.png (for future firmware updates)
  • Restart after sending new screensavers (otherwise it will blank screen instead of screensaver)

Sources

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La Nuit des Etoiles

I recently bought a new backpack, the Gregory Baltoro 65; It’s awesome!

Ever since the trip to Portugal, I was thinking “I need a better backpack”; The one I had was far too small for any proper hiking/camping trips (hardly 35l) and the seams were starting to pop. It did have some good elements to it though, a nice side pocket and good belt pockets, but that was it. After lots of research, I found a selection of packs that seemed quite good, and after trying them out at Le Vieux Campeur, my choice was made; it would be the Baltoro.

Enough about the pack. Yesterday my sister and I decided to go hike to the top of Hirmentaz and camp there, it’s an idea we’ve had for a while, and with the Perseid meteor shower this weekend, we decided it was the perfect moment to go and do it (that way I could also take the new pack out for it’s first run).

We started climbing at around 18:15 and the next time we checked the time was 20:30, but in the mean time we’d had a long break at the top of the chairlift, done some exploration, started preparing dinner, etc. I guess the hike itself was only a bit over an hour.

Here are a few pictures from the way up:

A break on the chairlift

Chardons

Sunset over the Jura

Night shots:

A meteorite (left) and an airplane (middle)

Cosmic soup

In the end, we didn’t get many pictures of the meteorites, but managed to see a good bunch of them, sometimes shortly from the corner of the eye, sometimes they took their time to cross the sky leaving a nice trace. We could also see the milky way clearly enough, the cloudless sky was just great as well.

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