Return to Python

PyCharm screenshotIn an effort to maintain any kind of programming skills I may have, I decided it would be a good idea to start writing Python code again. This is another one of my phases I go through every year, so I’m not certain it will last. Luckily, I’ve found real world applications for learning and staying up to date with Python, so I’m going to try and dedicate some time to coding realistic projects — in the past most of what I worked on were games (which ended up making me distressed when they didn’t play well), or web facing projects such as a message board (a classic project I’ve tried to attempt in many languages).

Since i’m trying to dust off some cob webs and a sizeable knowledge gap, I decided a great place to start would be Reddit’s daily programmer subreddit. This week, I picked a project that interested me that sounds nice and easy: Scrabble word finder (Challenge #294). What my program does is take user input (what letters do they have, and what word do they want to make) and lets them know if its possible given the current amount of each letter. Super simple, but a  nice entry for me to return to Python programming.

As of right now I’m at what I consider version 1.2 1.3 of this program – it can take your given letters and a desired word, tell you if its playable (including wildcards), and gives you the point value for that word (update: now it suggests the highest value word you can play with the given letters). Check my Github page for the project here. As of version 1.3 i’m going to consider this complete (outside of any bug fixes).

Sound Design Credits

Short, quick update: I was listed as a sound effect contributor on two projects:

  1. The Beyond School Podcast – Episode #20 (“Cards on the Table”) – the crew used a grenade sound I made a long time ago for a video game.
  2. Martin Hoogeboom – “Four Fields” – Martin located a sound I made called “Slow pulse” and used it in this great soundscape. You can name your own price for the album download on Bandcamp.

In both cases, the sound designers/composers located me on Freesound.org, which happens infrequently… but it’s always a nice feeling to know people are using stuff I’ve created.

Ikea Rast Rack (Stack)

After following thinking it over for many months, and reading multiple guides on how to do this, I have finally motivated myself to create some studio rack furniture using the Ikea Rast nightstand.

I would like to point out, because it is not stated clearly (or at all) in other posts: To mount the rails to the Nightstand, you will need to use 1/2″ wood screws. This is because the thickness of the wood is only 3/4″ inch. I found most other guides to be lacking in pointing this out, and I actually bought the wrong screws at first.

Cheap studio furniture - Rast rack
Look at this thing I built!

Sources for this post include Kenneth Ballard’s write up, as well as this Instructables post, and this Reddit.com post. I differed slightly in that I mounted the 6U rack rails on top, but I also mounted 2U rails separately in the middle. There are guides that show you how to use the whole nightstand as an 8U rack, I essentially just did it the hard way.

The 4 step  guide is:

  1. Buy everything you need (1/2″ wood screws {I bought a 100 pack}, rack rails {6U, unless you plan on modifying the Rast build or stacking two}, one or two Ikea Rast nightstands, and if you are stacking two, some mending brackets)
  2. Build the Rast nightstands. This is an easy step.
  3. Stack the two nightstands and connect them using the mending brackets – I also used velcro in between the two to further secure it, although this seems like overkill in highsight. Alternately, if you are only building one, skip this step.
  4. Mount the rack rails wherever you intend on mounting them.

If I were to do this again, some things to consider:

  • Stain the wood to make it look a bit nicer
  • Attach some handles to make moving this a bit easier
  • Attach some casters to the bottom to make this a mobile rig

TP-Link Archer T4U on OS X (Hackintosh)

Good morning potential readers,

I recently had to redo my Hackintosh due to some crazy boot errors. It was actually a nice time to wipe the system and upgrade to El Capitan, so while I was a bit frustrated at first, it actually turned out to be alright.

Archer-T4U-01One of the main problems I was facing, outside of even more booting issues post-installation, was my wireless adaptor not working. I recently purchased a TP-Link Archer T4U because I was told it was a plug-and-play solution for both Windows and OS X — this turned out to be the opposite, it is anything but plug-and-play.

The main problem I faced was that the installation package from the TP-Link website did not let me choose a destination for installation of the drivers & wireless utility. It gave me a greyed out option of “Install This for All Users”. Luckily, with some intense Googling, I found a workaround:

  1. Get the driver package from TP-Link’s website here.
  2. Download the Pacifist application from CharlesSoft.
  3. Open Pacifist, choose the driver driver package (I unzipped it first), and select the “Install” option at the top left corner of the window.
  4. This will automatically install all the software, bypassing the typical OS X package installer. If it was successful, you should see the Wireless Network Utility application in your Applications folder.

Currently, my adaptor does not work with USB3, but this seems to be a wider problem with USB3 ports on my system. If anyone has any recommendations for that particular issue, please email me (my first name @ this domain).

Credit & thanks to the Hackintosh subreddit (specifically dasyoyo16) for the guidelines I found here.