I don’t like WiFi. I find that there are too many variables that make it difficult to maintain a reliable signal throughout a home. WiFi extenders also don’t seem to solve the problem. They connect to a slower signal to re-send it further which only slows the connection down more. The best solution is obviously running an ethernet cable between every device, but that is rarely feasible if your home is not already wired for it. Recently I started using powerline adapters as a middle ground. They may be a good substitute for ethernet cables, but only if they are setup correctly.
Powerline adapters work by plugging the devices into two locations on the same electrical system. They send high frequency signals across the system that can be read back out on the other side. Just like an ethernet cable, these adapters are physically connected using the wiring that is already in your home. However there is a catch, the line is shared. This makes the adapters sensitive to interference caused by other equipment. In this article I will cover how to diagnose connection issues and how to optimize your powerline network. I am using the D-Link DHP-701AV for my power adapters. Some of what I have learned will work on most adapters but there is some information that is specific to these devices.
As is usual for me, this year I went back home for the Christmas holidays. It’s always a nice time, however I find that it always ends up being busier than expected. This year was no exception. I had the usual family gatherings, drinks with friends and other get-togethers. Plus, there was one additional sporty social event. My girlfriend and I, who are both runners, were invited to join the Tri-Annual Harry and Henny Fun Run. It was a simple event, start the day with a 5k, a 10k or a half-marathon and then enjoy a nice breakfast. Seemed simple enough and I didn’t put much thought into it. Christmas is busy, it’s always like that, so what’s the worst that could happen? All I was worried about was a bit of burn out at the end. Little did I know, I would be learning a lot of important lessons in the coming weeks.
As a software architect, how do you make a problem easy to solve? In the software engineering world this comes up a lot. There are always hard problems that will bring things to a screeching halt. Picture this: you are in charge of a brand new project. Your goal is to choose the right technology, the right practices and, the right workflow to make that project a success. You know this project will be encountering problems over time. The correct perspective can make all the difference. As architects we have a very powerful tool to help us: abstraction. Lets take a look at abstraction and how important it is for software development.
While visiting in Germany, my father and I went out for a bike ride around the towns near Essen. One of the towns that we checked out was Neviges. Within it you can find the Wallfahrtsdom (Pilgrimage Cathedral). This is one of the most interesting churches that I have seen. It has a very imposing presence, it is dark, very geometric and made entirely of concrete. It was built 50 years ago and holds 6,000 visitors.
Near this was a little model that showed what the building looked like in full. I examined this model and had the idea to take a video of it. I figured that it would be fun to build a 3D model of the church model.
Inverse kinematics is calculating the position of limbs and angle of joints in a system in order to make them reach a desired end position. In other words when considering a point calculate what angle limbs should be in to touch it. This is useful in games when making arms bend to hold objects, making legs touch the ground on uneven terrain or even rendering simple ropes.
Almost a year ago I worked on a fairly large student project with three other members. The project was to build a game using Game Maker Studio 1.4. and during this project one of the things that I ended up needing was a simple inverse kinematics script. Unfortunately I was not able to find one. This is to provide the script that I ended up using as well as an explanation as to how it works for any one interested. If you are interested in the project that I needed this for, it was a adventure/rogue lite game. It is playable on Windows or Linux and you can check it out here at Artificial.