Live view of the USA

The US, as seen by GOES-East
The world really is a circle! The greeks were right!

The US, as seen by GOES-East conus.nitk.in is a simple visualization of the US, based off of NASA's data. It scrapes the latest image from GOES-East, adds the timestamp, and displays it in an auto-refreshing format. The source script is called by cron every 5 minutes and lives here: https://alpha.nitk.in/liveusa.py In fact, all of the source images and data are visible from alpha.nitk.in - the below URLs are just pretty aliases to the .html pages.

It's nothing groundbreaking, but it offers a near-live view (usually about 30 minutes off from real-time) of the US. I enjoy having the site up on a secondary screen just to watch the curvature of the earth spin by. (I'm planning to set up an old tablet in a picture frame on my desk to display the earth.)

For a more exciting take, have a look at http://animatedconus.nitk.in/ - that site shows the past 24 hours or so of GOES data, and you can see the sun rise and set.

Remote Twitter

Seniors at Lafayette College take a course entitled Senior Design. It's a shockingly creative name. Snark aside, the class is wonderful. The course is very lab-heavy (the lecture ties up loose ends, but isn't as rigorous as a typical class).

Over the course of a semester, groups of two implement a stripped-down version of WiFi based on the professor's specifications. We're given a radio transmitter / receiver, and are left to design the rest of the link.

Let there be cake!

The cake.
It's alive!

The cake.My girlfriend's birthday was a few weeks ago. Her 21st, to be exact. This was also the first birthday I'd be present for: she didn't celebrate anything the first year I knew her, the second year was in Germany, and this is the third year we've known each other. In the spirit of the occasion, I wanted to make sure she'd be happy with the party she had. 

Just a little kludge

[ben@Puck ~]$ curl -ff nitkin.net/play && find Public/iTunes\ Music -iname "*`curl nitkin.net/help`*.*" -exec open -a itunes '{}' \;

Nothing much - just a script that I threw together in 30 minutes. If you speak computer, it'll be simple enough to read. But it's going to be a secret for now.


My schedule for this semester!
Lookit! Ain't it clean?

It's been a long time since I've written here. Nine weeks interning, two weeks in Colorado and three weeks camping put me away from this site for a while. I've made many things between then and now, and now I can write about it! On to the projects. 

As the school year began, I found myself frustrated with scheduling. My schedule is simple enough. I plugged it into my calendar, memorized it, and voila. (Except that I keep going to the wrong room. Someone put one of my SparkE classes on the CivE floor.)

But, I'm living in a house with a few others and want to keep track of their schedules, too. I want to know when they'll be free for events and whatnot. 

Launch Timer

The countdown, showing a positive time.
Doesn't it look cool?

Last night, NASA sent LADEE, an atmospheric observation satellite, to the moon. Satellites are pretty cool. It launched from Virginia, about 100 miles from Lafayette college. A satellite that I can see going to space is much cooler. 

Last night, some friends and I headed to Pardee, a great big building with a tall south-facing windows. We burned a few hours playing games and waiting for the launch. I decided to code a little something. 


The time of day occupies almost the entire screen.
I'm just not _that_ into the time of day.

Roundcube is the email client for nitkin.net. In addition to being functional, it's very pretty (as opposed to, say, SquirrelMail) and extensible. I thought it'd be neat to add a to-do list to the client, and found a calendar while I was at it.

Unfortunately, the calendar was very, very ugly. Not a poorly-styled sort of ugly. A something-is-wrong sort of ugly. (See before and after pictures, above.)

Enter Puck

Earthbound is sick. That's my laptop - two years old now. It's been through many unreasonable adventures, and is a little worse for wear. The backlight's flickered out twice (fixed by whapping the left wrist rest), the power plug broke off (fixed with hot glue), a few screws have gone missing (fixed by hoping for the best), and the CD drive is sticking 2mm out of the case (not fixed).

I'd like to be more gentle to the computer, but I also need a machine to take to classes and around campus.

Enter Puck. Puck is a not a moon; it's T41 thinkpad that my family bought at a government auction. As a thinkpad, Puck is built like a rock. As a T41, Puck is also fairly light. Its only weakness is processing power: an 800MHz CPU with 40G HD space is underwhelming.


I'm a little bit obsessive about my computer's performance. To some extent, it's weak (well, a midrange laptop). To some extent, I do a lot with it (programming, remote file management, internet, development). But mostly I like making the computer get out of my way so I can work.

Until recently, I was using XFCE. It's a wonderful desktop environment, with nice integration - all of its applications play nicely together. Earthbound (my laptop) boots to a commandline login. After I enter my credentials, .bash_profile runs startx, which starts XFCE. It works well, except that Earthbound takes fully ten seconds to start X and all the tray applications. I wanted faster. (And yes, I know I'm being absurd.)

Lighting the Way

Schematic for the light
Isn't it beautiful?

Something's been bothering me for a while: I don't have a proper tail light on my bicycle. I used to, but it fell off. That was sad, but didn't faze me too much; I don't ride much at night, so I didn't really need the light.

Yesterday, I went on a ride around Easton in the dark. Yesterday, I figured out how to push code to AVR's. One and one makes two, and I decided to fabricate myself a taillight based around the ATTiny85.