26 Aug 2014, 21:48

Schmoylent - Day 2

Today was the real test of whether a Soylent/Schmoylent-based diet would work for me. I made it through yesterday just fine, but today was the first day I went to the gym after having Schmoylent throughout the day.

After my experience with my breakfast bottle yesterday and getting hungry earlier than I wanted, I tried to slow it down today. Since I was having my left-overs from yesterday I ended up having more for breakfast than I did yesterday so I’m not quite sure if my experience today was due to that or because I drank it at a more even pace. I finished the bottle around 1pm or so and by 2pm I was starting to get hungry again. Even though I’m OK with the regular flavor of Schmoylent I decided I wanted to give the PB2 option a try.


25 Aug 2014, 09:56

Schmoylent - Day 1

(Note: See my Soylent intro if you haven’t yet: Soylent, Schmoylent)

My Schmoylent arrived a little earlier than I expected! I was relentlessly refreshing the tracking page for the package and mid-day Saturday (today is Monday if you’re from the future) it updated that it had been delivered. On my way to my guitar lesson I stopped by the management office where the package had been dropped off, excited to get home and see what was inside.

I’m not quite sure what I expected to see considering the order said it would include a bag for each day, but that’s what I got! In the picture below you can see all 14 bags packed nicely in the box with a short (personalized, which I thought was a nice touch) note on how to prepare it.

Since I was going to be going to a birthday party on Sunday, though, I decided not to start the Schmoylent until Monday because it would be hard to gauge how much I should have when considering other food in the middle of the day.


22 Aug 2014, 20:49

Soylent, Schmoylent

“Buh…? Wha…?” you may be thinking. No I’m not talking about the people version. I’m talking about the one that was successfully crowd-funded in June of 2013. This Soylent. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically an engineered food. Unlike other “meal replacement” shakes from “health food” companies, this one is designed to give you 100% of your daily nutrients so not only can you replace a meal here and there but you can also replace ALL your meals!

I first heard about Soylent during all the online coverage they received during their initial crowd-funding. While I was excited about the possibilities, I was still rather skeptical of the claims. We’ve all heard about the too good to be true “meal replacement” options that usually end up leaving a lot to be desired. So even though I’ve backed a number of other crowd-funded projects I decided to pass up on this one. That didn’t stop me from continuing to watch the project and hoping that it came to fruition, though.

You can find other blog posts about people living on Soylent but I hope that mine will be helpful to people like me. People who are pretty good on the active side of their life but get pulled down by a bad diet and/or overeating and are looking for an alternative that still gives them enough energy to get through the day.


17 Mar 2013, 22:10

Run ASP.Net MVC4 on Ubuntu 12.10

There are a number of web frameworks that are quite popular these days (Rails for Ruby, Django for Python, Yii or a number of others for PHP) but I have to say that even after working with all of those, ASP.NET MVC is probably my favorite. I’ve been writing C# for a number of years and have worked with ASP in everything from classic ASP in vbscript, to WebForms in C# and VB.Net and now to .Net MVC in C#. I’ve also been using Linux as a server platform for many years and I’m of the (possibly controversial) opinion that unless it’s *NIX, it doesn’t belong on a server. I’ve maintained Windows servers and I know how to do it, I just think there’s too much that the GUI and Registry try to hide from you in Windows. Give me /etc/ any day!

For awhile I stuck with web frameworks that were traditionally run on Linux for my personal projects (PHP, then Rails) but I just haven’t felt at home with them like I have with .Net MVC recently. I’m not sure if it’s because that’s what I work with on a daily basis at the office and I’m more familiar with it or what. Back at the end of 2012 (October 22, to be exact) the Mono Project released version 3. This is a significant release because Mono now supported C# 5.0 with asynchronous support and (here’s the part that I cared about most) they’re now shipping the open-source Microsoft frameworks with it by default. This means if you’re running Mono 3, you don’t need to do anything special to get MVC4 and EntityFramework 6. At that point I decided to try running my MVC4 apps in Linux so I’d be able to use a web framework I’m very familiar with on my personal projects.

The biggest problem I ran into, though, is that Mono 3 doesn’t actually seem to be getting into any stable package managers. It’s near impossible to find Mono 3 releases on the project website for Linux and at times I begin to wonder if it’s actually been released at all. Eventually I decided to buckle down and build it from source (from the GitHub repositories). It was a little more confusing than I had hoped the first time, so I figured I would write up a post on how to do it both because it will be a handy reference when I need to build it again and Brandon was asking for it. :)


14 Jan 2013, 22:57

Chromium Embedded Framework 3 - Bare Bones

Update (2014-08-23): I have a few updated notes I’ve included at the bottom of this article.

“The Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) is an open source project founded by Marshall Greenblatt in 2008 to develop a Web browser control based on the Google Chromium project.” (stolen from the project’s web site) Over the last few weeks I’ve spent a number of hours reading up on how to integrate CEF into an application. The project’s forum provides a nice support area where people can ask for help and the source distribution comes with an example application called “cefclient” that uses CEF to show how to build an application with it. The problem that I had, though, is that while “cefclient” is a nice resource if you’re looking for an advanced implementation on how to integrate CEF as a whole, but if you’re looking to start out with a complete bare-bones implementation that just barely works it’s overkill. You’re not quite sure where to start and the example in the General Usage page of the wiki is currently either out of date or referencing a different version of CEF than I’m working with. Once I was able to get the most basic implementation running, I decided it would be good to document how to do it as the resources I was able to find were either out of date or unavailable.


14 Jan 2013, 00:34

aphboard Up and Running

After hours and hours of work, I finally have something tangible to show for it! I’ve had to change my target device, though. I was spending way too much time trying to get the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF3 in my case) to compile for the Pi (mainly for the ARM, not the Pi specifically) so I decided to change it up and just use an x86 machine for now. My goal is still to have a cross-platform dashboard but I thought this way it would be faster to get something working so I don’t have a blank screen sitting here unused.

I also managed to find a link to the original article that made me interested in setting up a dashbaord in the first place. It was on the Panic Blog in a post called The Panic Status Board. I think it’s a pretty neat idea and theirs is done really well, but I won’t have relevent data to put on mine like that in the beginning.

Before I get into the longer description, below you’ll see what I’ve arrived at for aphboard so far. You’ll see there are 3 different browser frames running: two on the top and one larger one at the bottom.


31 Dec 2012, 13:58

Yet Another New Project

In typical Erik fashion, I’ve found yet another project I want to do. For Christmas my parents gave me a 26” LCD TV that I’d wanted to use to watch TV in my office since I’d been using my 3rd LCD for that and I wanted to be able to actually use that LCD. For awhile I’ve been looking for a way to raise the new TV off my desk high enough to reach over my current LCDs, but all of the arms I’d found wouldn’t raise the TV high enough. I finally decided that I’d have to go with a wall mount (I was avoiding it because I didn’t want to put holes in the wall, bother finding studs, etc), so I went to Best Buy the day after Christmas to get one. They had some wall mount brackets on sale that supported 15-37” TV’s, so I picked up one of those. While I was thinking about it, I thought I might as well get two and set up a second wall mount screen since I had to get it all set up for one anyway.

Meet my new office setup, dubbed “The Command Center”!


24 Dec 2012, 19:33

Making Music with the Pi

Soooo… I’ve already found another project I’d like to work on. Some time ago I saw a video of someone using various old computer parts to play music. I think they had a printer, a scanner, an oscilloscope and various floppy drives. More recently I saw some videos of people using an Arduino to play music using 3.5” floppy drives. It was pretty intriguing and I decided it was time for me to make one (using my Raspberry Pi)!


19 Dec 2012, 19:31

Let There Be Light

The first thing many people do these days when they begin messing with electronics is create a circuit that does nothing but light an LED. I’m no exception. :)

Once I had my breadboard power supply soldered and ready I decided to give actually creating a circuit a go. I’m not able to create schematics that mean anything at this point, so I’ll just explain what I did. If you’re not familiar with what a breadboard is, you’ll find an image below. It’s essentially a plastic board with a number of holes you can pin things into to create circuits.


17 Dec 2012, 18:47


I’ve learned to solder!

OK, maybe I already had an idea of how to solder and have done a (very) small amount if it in the past but I’m learning to do it correctly. I picked up a nice iron (Weller WES51) with adjustable temperatures, swappable tips and a holder and it definitely makes a huge difference from the el cheapo I had before.