Fitting went like a charm thanks to advanced planning from 2 years ago.Our house is finally starting to look like a real house. One of my favorite time when building a house is discovering a view. This one is not only the biggest, is also the one turned towards our land. It was something to discover it. We now get to admire nature, the result of our hard work, and our kid playing, all in one view.
521 Posts By ben
Nicole & I struggled with the idea of a tractor for a while. In only 3 years we’d had such an impact on the land with barely any power tools, and a tractor will greatly augment our ability to affect it further. We believe a few things will keep us in check from expanding too much. At the end of the day, the winning argument was that our projects were going to happen, regardless of how much I suffer through them. A tractor will certainly take care of a lot of heavy lifting.
More mistakes made this year, due to scheduling & weather constraints we let ~100 gallons of sap freeze in the tanks. Because I filled them too much, a thaw actually pushed a lot of concentrated sap out the top… lessons learned…
The stuff dripping out the top of the tank tastes quite sweet, and it’s fertilizing the lawn.
Fortunately we are also avoided a lot of mistakes we learned about last year. Boiling is much smoother a process now.
Totally safe, no problem
Finishing on the stove
Not captured in pictures, carrying 8 gallons of boiling liquid back home at night, on snow and ice, with a thrown back. Having a shed and proper snow handling equipment will make an amazing difference in the years to come.
Since the success of the Mandala maker, I’ve been pumping out a ton of features, improvements and bug fixes. They are too numerous to list but a few stand out.
- Collaborative editing using websockets for drawing mandalas with multiple people on the same session.
- Drawing without mandalas, there are only so many Mandalas one can collaboratively draw and so I created http://draw.akrin.com which leverages all the Mandalagaba goodness for drawing and removes the mandala specific layer.
- Read only mode guided by artists who like to livestream their drawing, I created a read-only mode to the collaboration. This way, people can watch but not participate.
- An iOS app was born
- High resolution renders are possible for $2, the charge helps with server costs and makes it a bit fairer if one was going to make money using the tool.
- Not visible but noteworthy nonetheless, an intricate server strategy was put in place to alleviate future waves, load balancing had to be built from scratch because of the collaboration layer.
- many, many, many other little things
Kids enjoying a Mandala making lab somewhere in China
Artist Peter Draws created more amazing work:
The mandala maker was deployed on big touch screens which turned it into a more social activity much like arcade games.
Here’s draw.akrin.com: Click to pop out.
Very tough sugaring so far, the weather isn’t cooperating. The conditions on the ground are horrible with ice and melting snow, you never know what will happen on the next step you take. Then you need to handle utensils in these conditions, next to a raging evaporator, glasses covered with steam, at night, by yourself. The potential is real for a freak accident that involves boiling, burning, impalement and maple syrup. We also had a wind storm which blew everything away but the cover on the evaporator thank god; a building around the evaporator will be very nice.
We are ramping up again for our second season of Maple sugaring. With perfect weather ahead:
And based on a UVM study, I tend to prefer tapping early even with the chance of cold snaps as Winter & Spring figure out who the new boss is. Essentially from what I gather, you can’t tap too early but you can tap too late. I also really like the taste of early flow and the season is spread out in more manageable chunks of labor.
It takes a lot of work to get everything ready, we will apply a lot of lessons learned last year. I uncovered the evaporator and didn’t even have to kick out a raccoon.
For a while I’ve been polishing a way to have not only a smooth drawing/writing algorithm for HTML Canvasses, but also have it be “streamed” over the network for live collaboration. While the work has been mostly integrated into projects such as Mandalagaba, here I present it in its most basic form so that it may be dissected.
Draw by dragging your mouse/finger/stylus bellow, fire up another browser to test network repeat. Canvas is used by others online (sorry for anything obsene the internet has left on it) and cleared every hour.
- download & decompress html_canvas_smooth_writing.tar.gz
- if you don’t have it already, install NodeJS
- run the websocket server
- edit index.html and replace all occurences of “ben.akrin.com” by the host/ip which is running your websocket server. If you are testing on your computer, 127.0.0.1 will do. Alternatively, you can leave it set to “ben.akrin.com” and use my websocket server, in which case step 2 & 3 aren’t necessary, and you’ll have limited latitude as to how many changes you can implement. But it’s perfect for just trying & dissecting the code.
- navigate to index.html
(tested on Mac, Raspbian & Ubuntu)
Rendering Pen Strokes
The usual method
Drawing on an HTML Canvas is usually done by collecting coordinates at which “touch” is being detected and drawing straight lines in between. While this makes for a simple implementation with decent results it has multiple issues:
- straight lines do not represent well the curvatures of human drawing & writing
- the joins between lines of various orientations can add seams
- these problems are exacerbated on devices which sample touch slowly, resulting in less coordinates to represent a pen stroke
Here is a classic example of what this looks like:
To make drawing and writing smoother, we use quadratic curves to link our coordinates. Here’s a basic explanation of how it works:
you need 2 canvasses overlaid on top of each other (z-index is highly relevant here). The way it works is that the top canvas is the one that you draw on.
The reason for this is that a pen stroke is getting redrawn entirely every time new coordinates come in. This is because with quadratic curving, the final shape of a stroke is never fully known until all coordinates are. So every time coordinates come in (mouse move event), we clear the temp_canvas and redraw the whole stroke. The operation happens fast enough that it is invisible.
When you are finished with your stroke (mouse up event), the temp_canvas is cleared and the whole stroke is committed (redrawn) on the permanent canvas.
What it looks like with our quadratic curving algorithm:
Here is how we add network streaming to the pen strokes. Emitting your pen stroke to other clients is easy, you simply blast your current coordinates to a websocket which will repeat it to other clients. When you receive coordinates from other clients though, you can’t use temp_canvas to render them as it might conflict with your current drawing. To this effect we add yet another canvas between permanent_canvas and temp_canvas which will render network events.
Much like temp_canvas, collaboration_canvas is meant for temporary rendering and when other clients finish their pen stroke (mouse up), the instruction to commit to the permanent canvas is sent through the websocket.
It’s hard for me to document every step of the code; I don’t know your coding level, it’s asynchronous and has lots of bits & pieces which serve specific purposes. I hope however with the basic theory explained, and the code boiled down to its essentials, that you can dissect it easily. Feel free to use the comments section for questions.