One project down. On to the next!

So yesterday, I talked about all of the projects I have been doing this year, and how I’ve finished a few. Today I can chalk up another one done.

The laser engraver that I have been reworking is finally running smoothly. The small one I had posted about before has been up-sized to be useful for what I wanted it for in the first place, that being cutting vinyl templates for etching glass. It’s cutting second template right now. Well, not now as you read it of course, but as I write this. There are still some kinks to work out by dialing in the settings, and the electronics all need to go into an enclosure, but the bulk of the work is complete.

Pictures? You want pictures?!? *sigh* Ok, here’s pictures. The original, next to the new version:

IMG_20131006_200858

As you can see, the new one is quite a bit bigger than the original. I haven’t used the whole bed yet, and I may not, since the part you can see in the picture is actually all I need for what I had originally planned. Perhaps larger templates are in my future.

I just looked at the image again, wow, what a mess! That’s boxes from the office, my dog’s feet, an old QuickCam from my Quadra 660AV days, and some plaster molds. As you can see, I still have a lot of cleaning to do in the basement.

What next?

Well, I have the deck still, though I got in all of the posts for the main portion this weekend. Given all the delays with getting holes dug, and family emergencies, I am going to have to get an extension on the building permit. Hopefully they actually give extensions. It’s coming along though, and the octagon’s posts should go in tomorrow, weather permitting. After that are the beams and inspection, before moving on to the joists and decking.┬áThat will be my main focus over this next week while daylight permitting.

Work is research right now. I’ve reached out to a friend, Jim Van Verth, to help me with some of the higher order math involved. At least it’s higher order enough to me that I don’t know what the symbols mean. I am sure Jim can shed some light on them for me. Thanks in advance Jim!

I’m also working on AngularJS, since it’s something I’ve been seeing worked on more and more. I have a nice little test project for learning it. It’s an interface to a home kegging system for beer. The original project Kegerface, was php and a flat file with beer information. I’m using it for inspiration, but will be completely rewriting it in AngularJS and running on a NodeJS server. More on that in the future, and links to my Github repo when I’m ready for people to hack on it with me.

Don't forget to wear these. Your safety glasses.
Don’t forget to wear these. Your safety glasses.

Work on the secret project also got done this weekend, and it’s running even smoother now. If I can dial in the base rotation system, I will be just about done with the prototype. I’ll keep teasing you with the details until I can talk about it.

I could keep going, but I have more to get done!

A final note. When working with lasers, don’t forget these, your safety glasses. (With thanks to Norm Abrams.)

Making your own positives in the face of negatives.

Things have been rather up and down for me lately. Overall, on the up side luckily, but still too much up and down for what I like.

Ups:

  • I have a writing project that is nearing completetion that I will talk about soon.
  • At work, I am on a new client project that is challenging and has engaged my mind. Always a good thing.
  • I’ve continued to enjoy my reintroduction to woodworking, and have made great strides in cleaning up the shop.
  • The team that I helped put together is both awesome and supportive in the trouble that the project (below) has encountered.

Downs:

  • Vegas After Midnight, is a project that I have been working on in my head for years, and had assembled a great team recently to bring it about had to be shut down. If you want more details on that, I talked about it on http://vegasaftermidnight.net.
  • My deck continues to be a struggle to start. Today I finally am able to have someone over to dig the holes for the footings, and… it rains.
  • My 3D printer still has not arrived. The Eventorbot Kickstarter shipping is still happening, so I know that I will get it eventually. It’s just when that eventually is going to happen that is the most frustrating.

As I said, more ups than downs. I’d like things to be a bit more up, but life is life. I’m moving on with it and looking forward to making more up times.

When I have completed the edits and sent them into the editor, I’ll let you all know more about the writing project. I will tell you it’s up my alley with one of the things I am known to tinker with.

Once the holes are dug, I will be getting the building inspector out to look at them and then setting the footings for the deck.

Since Vegas After Midnight isn’t going to be happening, I have some other thoughts in my head to do.

I haven’t forgotten about the laser cutter either. I got the laser in, and I need to wire up a control circuit to turn it on and off using the Arduino. Once that is done, I’ll do some test cuts and post them here. Assuming success with that, I have the base of a larger version already started to allow me to make larger sized cutouts.

So again, things are up. The rain has let up, and the diggers are back at work. I’m going to go downstairs and help my daughter with a very tricky video game problem in Lego Star Wars. So if you will excuse me, I’ll be working on one of those high points in life.

Communication, the podcast – intro

The first in a series of stream of conciousness podcasts aimed at consolidating my thoughts on development, writing, and communication.

FlexUnit 4 – Starting out

For any of you familiar with FlexUnit 1, Fluint, or FlexUnit 4, move along. This is probably going to be so simple you will scoff at it. For those of you who haven’t started out with any unit testing, especially the new FlexUnit 4, then read on.

First:

FlexUnit 4 has NOTHING to do with Flash Builder 4 in terms of version number. It actually relates to JUnit 4 (which specific version, I don’t know, someone?). So for those of you wondering, yes, it can test Flex 3 SDK , not just Flex 4 SDK projects.

Next: Getting started

Whether you have an already created project, or are starting a brand new one, there is a simple set of steps that you can perform in Flex Builder 4 to set up your project for unit testing.

I am writing this, because I thought it should be easy, and it is, I just went about it the wrong way and I want you out there to not have to make the same mistake.

Originally, I was right clicking on the Package Explorer and trying to use Execute FlexUnit Tests menu item. While this will eventually work, it won’t yet. Why? You haven’t set up your project to know that it has FlexUnit tests!

Steps: (This is the way I know how to do it, if you know another way, let me know!)

  1. Select Run > Run > FlexUnit Tests
    1. This brings up a progress dialog that sets up all of the libraries into your project.
    2. Then the Run FlexUnit Tests dialog comes up.
    3. If you haven’t written any tests yet, then you can only Cancel from this.
  2. Write some tests!
    1. Create a new package that will contain all of your tests. This way you can keep track of them more easily and separate them out of your production code.
    2. A simple testing class will look like this:
    3. package TestingPackage
      {
      	import flexunit.framework.Assert;
      
      	public class TestSampleLayout
      	{
      		[Test]
      		public function testAssertFalse():void
      		{
      			Assert.assertFalse( false );
      		}
      
      		[Test]
      		public function testSampleLayoutFunctionReturn():void
      		{
      			var initialString : String = "Hello World.";
      			var finalString : String;
      			finalString = new SampleLayout().sampleFunctionReturnTest( initialString );
      			Assert.assertEquals( initialString, finalString );
      		}
      
      		public function TestSampleLayout()
      		{
      		}
      	}
      }
    4. This class does two tests.
      1. It asserts that False really is false. You normally wouldn’t do this, but it shows you something of what you can do.
      2. It tests the method “sampleFunctionReturnTest” of the class SampleLayout. The method merely spits back whatever string it was entered.
    5. So when it gets run through AssertEquals, and they are equal, then the test passes. If they are not, then it would fail.
  3. Note that before each test method is [Test], this is what FlexUnit 4 uses to determine if a method is a test or not. So you need that before every test you want run.

I am still working out all of the different types of testing that are available, but this should hopefully get you started until I post more, or more documentation becomes available.