Aardwolf Walkthrough – Aylorian Academy

Go North, to The academy recruiter
Type Enlist
Go 5 Rooms North, then 1 Room West, to Claire
Type Start
Type Next
Type Help Kill
Type Newbie whatever you want to say goes here!
Type Next
Type Next
Type Goals Academy
Type Next
Type Score
Train Your Initial Stats - For this, it's probably best to read Help Class Stats!
Type Next
Type Train
Type Next
Type Tell Claire D
Type Tell Claire C
Type Tell Claire Exits
Go 2 Rooms East, to Vorth
Type Start
Type Next
Type Spells
Type Skills
Type Next
Type Next
Type Learned
Type Next
Type Showspell Magic Missile
Go 2 Down
 Explore the area, making sure to kill:
     a small dummy for a face mask (Head)
     a minor fire elemental for an eye of flame (Eyes)
     skeletons for 2 skeleton bones (Ears)
     disturbed spirit for 2 shimmering rings (Fingers)
     lonely spirit for a softly glowing robe (Back)
 Go back up!
Type Next
Type Affects
Type Next
Type Tell Vorth C
Type Tell Vorth 45
Type Tell Vorth affects
Go West, 2 North, West, to Commander Dahr
Type Start
Type Next
Type Next
Type Speedwalks Lidnesh
Type Next
Type Consider All
Type Study
Type Wimpy 30
Type Next
Type Accept
Type Recall
Type Runto Lidnesh
 Find the vipers, and kill them until you see a message appear (Normally after
  killing around 5 vipers - You'll know it when you see it!

   ## You find a skin in the viper's corpse.
   ## Return the skin to Commander Dahr to complete your assignment.

Type Recall
Go U, then 8 North, then West.
Type Give Viper Dahr
Type Next
Go 2 East, to Nurse Orcron
Type Start
Type Next
Type drink fountain
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Go West, 2 North, West, to Filt
Type Start
Type Inv
Type Eq
Go East
Type Drop Bag
Go West
Type Repeat
Type Keep Bag
Type Get All bag
Type Next
Type Go East
Type Get Bag
Type Get All Bag
Type Wear All
Go West
Type Repeat
Type Next
Type Next
Type Tell Filt E
Type Tell Filt A
Type Tell Filt E
Go 2 East, to Vladia
Type Start
Type Worth
Type Next
Type List
Type Appraise 3
Type Buy 2 Cloak
Type Wear All
Type Buy 2 Lunch
Type Buy Lantern
Type Buy Canoe
Type Next
Type Auction Leaflet
Type Next
Type Deposit 10
Type Next
Type Tell Vladia D
Type Tell Vladia Withdraw
Type Tell Vladia A
Type Accept
Type Recall
Type Runto Beer
Go 4 North, West
Type Buy Special
Type Recall
Type Runto Sennarre
Go North
Type Buy Reed
Type Recall
Type Runto Kimr
Go 2 North, East
Type Get Apple
Type Recall
Type Runto Xena
Type Buy Dirk
Go 2 East
Type Buy Boots
Go South, 6 East, North
Type Buy Cookies
Go 2 East
Type Buy Skin
Go South, 5 West, 9 South, 2 West
Type Buy Acuity
Go 4 East
Type Buy Griffon
Type Recall
Go U, 10 North, East
Type Say Yes
Type Keep Bag
Type wear all
Go West, 2 North, West, to Aaeron
Type Start
Type Next
Type Question -h 10
Type Random
Type Next
Type Next
Type Subscribe
Type Forum Personal
Type Note Read
Type Tell Aaeron Dragons
Type Next
Type Tell Aaeron B
Type Tell Aaeron C
Type Tell Aaeron Barter
Go 2 East, to Klau
Type Start
Type Next
Type Next
Type Brief
Type Weather
Type Time
Type Next
Type Next
Type Tell Klau Donation
Type Tell Klau 30757
Type Tell Klau Abend
Type Tell Klau Wayfind
Type Tell Klau C
Type Keep Portal
Go West, 2 Up, West, to Glimmer
Type Start
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Tell Glimmer Claninfo
Type Tell Glimmer D
Type Tell Glimmer C
Go 2 East, to Wolfie
Type Start
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Go West, 2 South, West, to Lao
Type Start
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Next
Type Tell Lao C
Type Tell Lao E
Type Tell Lao D
Go East, 4 South, East, to Maerchyng
Say Yes
Please Note: If you've not explored 300 rooms, and completed 2 quests, you won't
  be allowed to Graduate from the Academy!
   A good way to get your 300 rooms, is to explore the pathway outside the Academy
    where you can kill:
      A lizard for a lizard scale armband (Arms)
      A small brown toad for toad skin leggings (Legs)
      A large black beetle for a dark beetle shell (Shield)

After Graduation, Type Wear All to make sure you wear your special Graduation Medal!

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Path of the Believer

From Recall:

Type Runto Path
Go 3 North, 4 East
Type Listen Prophet
Type Say Yes
Go East, South
 A grizzly bear should automatically attack you in this room.
Go North, 4 East, 4 North, 2 West
 Make sure you can see invisible (sight beyond sight is a level 1 potion from the
  potions shop in Aylor)
Type Kill Pixie
Go 2 East, 4 South, 4 West, 6 North
 A drow should automatically attack you in this room.
Go 6 South, West
Type Say I have the materials
Type Wear Robes
Go 5 East, 5 North
Type Offer the Sacrifice
Type Hold Orb
Go South, 2 East, 6 North, West
Type expose the distortion
 You'll be attacked by Evil Entity - if not, kill it!

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Kimr’s Farm

From Recall:

Type Runto Kimr
Go 2 North, 2 West
Type Listen Kimr
Type Say Yes
 Now for the monotonous part.. Kimr wants you to kill: 50 weeds and 50 black ants.
  You can check how many you have left to kill, by typing Tasks Here
Go back to Kimr (2 North, 2 West from the Southern entrance to the area)

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Amusement Park

From Recall:

Type Runto Amusement
Go North
Type Say Yes
Go 2 North, West
Type Give Ride Man
Type Scream and Yell
Type sway back and forth
Type wave your hands wildly
Type yell I can see my house from here!
 Aggro mob, yelling will move you out of combat
Type spit
Type kick the head of the punk below you
Type unbuckle your seatbelt
Go East, 2 North, West
Type Give Ride Man
 You have to feed the various fishes here, using the "feed <fish>" command.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Squid'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Goldfish'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Swordfish'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Clownfish'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Manta Ray'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Sea Snail'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Tuna'.
  You have a little bag here marked 'Shark'.  Didn't the attendant tell you
   to feed the shark last?
Go 3 North, East, North
Type Give Ride Man
Type creep east
Type creep north
Type reach into the bowl
Type shake hands
Type shake one of the heads
Type creep north
Type creep west
Type dance with the skeleton
Type find the exit
Type creep south
Type creep south
Type creep east
Type rush south
Go South, West, South, East
Type Give Ride Woman
 Copy "Grab Ring" onto the clipboard of your client! - This can pop up any time!
Type Ride East
Type Ride North
Type Ride North
Type Ride North
Type Ride West
Type Ride South
Type Ride South
Go West, South, East
Type Give Ride Woman
Type Ram <direction>
 You need 10 hits on bumper cars. Not all the exits to a room will work with the
  Ram command..
   You'll find yourself back at the beginning of the Amusement Park after 
    finishing the Bumper Cars.
Go 4 North, East, North, East
Type Give Games Man
 You need to hit five ducks.  If you've got command stacking, stack the aim crossbow
  and shoot duck commands!
Go West, South, East
Type Give Games Woman
 Type one of the red or yellow words.
Go West, South, East
Type Give Games Man
Type Tortoise (or Hare)
 Check your inventory - If you have 3 prize coupons, Go 2 West. If not, you can play
  the last game again, until you get 3, by typing give 100 coins man
Type Give Coupon Man
Type Give Coupon Man
Type Give Coupon Man

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Land of Legend

From Recall:

Type Runto Legend
Go North, East
Type Buy 1
Type Buy 2
Type Buy 3
Type Buy 4
 You'll need a fifth ticket, but it doesn't matter where it's to (I recommend 
  Maine! Buy 4)
Go West, North
Type Board
Go East (Opening doors as needed)
Type Give Maine Conductor
Go North, East, 2 South
 Wait for Paul Bunyan to say "'There! That should do it. Guess we'll have to 
  call it Round Lake from now on.'"
   You'll find yourself in a new room!
Type Get Apple Tree
 Now is where that Alias pays off! Use it!
Type Runto Legend
Go 2 North
Type Board
Go 2 East (Opening doors as needed)
Type Give Missi Conductor
Go 3 East, North, East, South
Type Get Apple Sapling
 Now is where that Alias pays off! Use it!
Type Runto Legend
Go 2 North
Type Board
Go 3 East (Opening doors as needed)
Type Give Texas Conductor
Go West, North, West, North
Type Get Apple Tree
 Now is where that alias pays off! Use it!
Type Runto Legend
Go 2 North
Type Board
Go 4 East (Opening doors as needed)
Type Give West Conductor
Go East
Type Get Apple Tree
 Now is where that alias pays off! Use it!
Type Runto Legend
Go 2 North
Type Board
Go 6 East (Opening doors as needed)
 Wait for a line which reads "Casey Jones reaches over, grabs you, and throws you
  from the engine."
   You'll find yourself in a new room!
Go South
Type Say Apples

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Art of Melody

From Recall:

Type Runto Melody
 Okay, this Goal needs a couple of sets of keys.
  One set is on Sophia the old Caretaker.
   The other set is on Guitar Tablature.
    You can use Where to find where these mobs are and kill them!
     Go back to the start!
Go 5 North, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Get Portrait
Go East, 2 South, Up, South, Down (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Listen Heath
Type Accept
Type Give Portrait Heath

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Olde Worlde Carnivale

From Recall:

Runto Carnivale
Go North
Type Say Yes
Go 3 East, South
Type Say Challenge
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Type Bounce Quarter
Go North, 3 West, North, West, North
Type Say Let's Go
Type Say Let's Go
Type Say Let's Go
Go South, 2 West, North
Type Say I Challenge You
Type Wear Bow
Type Release Arrow
Type Release Arrow
Type Release Arrow
Type Release Arrow
Type Release Arrow
Go South, 3 East, North, West, North
Type Say Teach Me
 You're offered the choice between: a coin (End item gives +1 Wis)
                                    a falcon (End item gives +1 Dex)
                                    a horse (End Item gives +1 Str)
Type Whittle (item)
Type Whittle (item)
Type Whittle (item)
Go South, East, North, 4 East, South
Type Say I Want To Know The Future
Go North, 4 West, 2 North, 3 East
Type Say Get Your Horse
Type Mount
Type Wear Lance
Type Tap Heels
Type Tap Heels
Type Tap Heels
 Now you're almost done, make sure to wear your original weapon!
Go 3 West, 5 South
Type Say Finished

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Graveyard

From Recall:

Runto Graveyard
Type Listen Henry
Type Say Yes
 You need to get a Shovel from a Graverobber
Go Back to Henry
Type Give Shovel Henry
 You need to kill a Banshee and a Raven
Go East, South, 2 East
 The Raven should be around here somewhere!
Go 4 South, 5 East
 The Banshee should be around here somewhere!
Go 5 West, 4 North, 2 West, North, West
Type Nod Henry
Go East, South, 2 East, 2 South, East, 5 South, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Enter Coffin
 The Vampire should attack you automatically!
Go 3 East (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Enter Casket
 The Mummy should attack you automatically!
Go 2 West, South, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Enter Mirror
 The Lich should attack you automatically!
Go East, 6 North, West, 2 North, 2 West, North, West
Type Handshake Henry

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Forest of Li’Dnesh

From Recall:

Runto Lidnesh
Go 4 North, 5 West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Say Yes
Go 5 East, 3 South, East, Down
Type Get Root
Go Up, 2 West, 2 North
Type Get Branch
Go East, 4 North
Type Enter Den
 Brown Bear will attack you automatically
Type Kill Cub
Go 3 South, West
Type Set Trap
Go South, 3 East, North
Type Kill Poacher
 You need to kill a brown-furred hare, somewhere in the forest
  From the room where you killed the poacher:
Go South, 3 West, Up
Type Set Trap
Go Down, North, West
Type Get Wildflowers
Go South, 5 East, Up
Type Kill Poacher
Go Down, South, 2 West
Type Kill Crayfish
Go North
Type Set Trap
Go East, South
Type Open Hive
Type Get All Hive
Go 2 West, 3 North, East, Up
Type Kill Sprite
 You need to kill the bull moose, somewhere in the forest
  From the Starting Room:
Go North, East, Down
Type Set Trap
Go Up, West, 2 North, East
Type Kill Boar
 You need to be able to detect hidden for the next kill
Type Kill Elf
Go 2 East
Type Set Trap
Go 7 West, North, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Go East (Opening Doors as Needed)
 You need to kill: a Golden Honeybee
                   a Monarch Butterfly
                   a Hook-tailed Dragonfly
                   a Chubby Porcupine
                   a Spiny Hedgehog
                   a Timber Rattlesnake
                   a Duck-billed Platypus (Always in the room 2 North, 2 East from
                    the start of the area)
 Once you have, from the Starting Room:
Go 6 North, East.
 Now you need to decide.. do you trap the Ranger, or the Poacher?
Type Set Trap (Ranger/Poacher)
 If you check your goals, you'll notice that there's another goal appeared, as Done
  - Lidnesh2 (the Fourth Goal down for me)

Aardwolf Walkthrough – Hotel Orlando

From Recall:

Runto Orlando
Type Kill Skeleton
Go East (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Say Yes
Go 2 West
Type Ask For Lantern
Go East, North, West
Type Grab Cotton
Go 2 East, Down, 2 East, South, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Kill Skeleton
Go East, North, 2 West, Up, West, 2 South, West (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Lantern Bartender
Go East, North, East, Down, East, North (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Scan
 You want to kill all the sparks, but the Tame Spark (normally the second up from
  the bottom.
   Sparks are hard to kill, so make sure you have some healing potions to hand!
    Make sure when there are only 2 sparks, you use kill 2.spark
     When there is only the tame spark in the room:
Type Light Lantern
Go South, West, Up, West, South, East (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Lantern Spade
Go West, 3 North, West (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Kill Monkey
Go East, 2 South, East, Down, 2 East, South, East (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Dredge Water
Type Search Corpse
Go West, North, 2 West, Up, West, South, East (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Key Spade
Go West, 4 North (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Key Prostitute
Go 2 South, West (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Go East, 2 South, West
Go East, North, West
Type Give 1 Coin Crow
Type Get Wax
Go East, South, East
Type Stamp Vellum
Go West, North, 2 East
Type Give Vellum Cook
 The Cook will automatically try to kill you. You can still give him the Vellum
  as he attacks you though.
   Kill the Cook, or Flee
Go 2 West, 3 Up (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Bread Bird
Go 2 Down, West (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Foil Maxwell
Go East, South (Unlocking and Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Biscuit Pug
Go North, Down, South, East (Opening Doors as Needed)
Type Give Collar Spade

Best Swim lap counter by Mia Russel

Do you lose track of the number of laps you have swum during a long set? Or do you like to know how many laps you have done after a workout? A lap counter is a great way to keep track of how many laps a swimmer has completed and are used regularly by swimmers, coaches, spectators, officials, and timers alike.

Many fitness trackers and heart rate monitor watches have a distance tracking function that measures the overall distance you have swum, however, there are some products on the market that are specifically designed to just count laps. Let’s take a look.


Lap counters keep track of how many laps a swimmer has completed. Swimming Lanes by agaumont / Flickr / (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What is a Lap Counter?

Lap counters are devices used for keeping track of the number of laps swum and they can be used for tracking yards or meters in a practice workout or at a swim meet. There are three different types of lap counters: analog, digital, and manual.

Analog Lap Counters

Most analog lap counters are in the form of a swim watch. As well as being lap counters, fitness trackers and heart rate monitors have a variety of functions, including GPS capabilities, timing systems, and calorie counters. The lap counting function is built into the watch which makes it easy to see how many you have swum both during and after your workout. Analog lap counters are best for individual swimmers who want to keep track of their progress.

Digital Lap Counters

Digital lap counters are high-end, technical products that are usually combined with timing systems. These types of lap counters are used at competitive swim team practices and swim meets and have many functions beyond just counting laps. They have a countdown and workout option for a coach to organize a practice for larger swim teams and manually enter the intervals they want their swimmers to complete. The digital clock automatically signals when swimmers should go.

Manual Lap Counters

Manual counters are also known as tally counters and are operated by hand. These counters are operated by sliding a bead over the counter or clicking the device every time a swimmer completes a lap. Manual counters are the easiest, inexpensive, and most convenient lap counters to use and a great way to teach beginner or younger swimmers how to count laps.


Most analog lap counters are in the form of a
 swim watch

Best Swim Lap Counters

Let’s take a look at some of the best swim lap counters on the market from old-school tally counters to contemporary counters worn on your wrist like a watch.  

BEST FOR BUDGET: Aqua Tally Swimming Lap Counter

The Aqua Tally Swimming Lap Counter is an old-school lap counter that works like a charm. Designed to look like a lane rope, this simple lap counter is super easy to use and you can keep track of laps and sets in the water without having to wear a watch. It’s water-resistant, budget-friendly, and doesn’t require a user manual! It’s a fantastic lap counter for teaching young swimmers how to count laps.

Pros

  •         Simple design
  •         Easy to use
  •         Inexpensive  
  •         Water-resistant

Cons

  •         Not high-tech
  •         Can only count up to a certain amount of laps (depending on the number of beads)

BEST FOR LONG DISTANCE SWIMMING: Kiefer Swim Lap Counter

The Kiefer Swim Lap Counter is a great lap counter for long-distance sets and races. This lap counter has 12 huge numbers, which are super easy to see under the water and from a distance. Made from heavy-duty plastic with sturdy hinges, it’s very durable and is strong enough to withstand hard knocks.

The Kiefer Swim Lap Counter counts odd numbers from one to sixty-nine. An orange panel is displayed after the final lap, which is a great motivation for swimmers.  

Pros

  •         Large numbers are easy to see under the water and from a distance
  •         Super sturdy and tough – very durable
  •         No batteries required!
  •         Inexpensive

Cons

  •         Users need to flip the numbers manually after each lap
  •         Not as easy to use as other lap counters
  •         Only suitable for racing or distance swimming

Kiefer Swim Lap CounterGet the Latest Price

RISE Handle Adapter

The RISE Handle Adapter lap counter is a simply designed lap counter that can be managed using a pole to avoid getting wet arms or sleeves. Swimmers can change the numbers themselves if need be and the lap counter is super sturdy and durable.

Pros

  •         Strong, sturdy, and reliable
  •         Easy to see in the water
  •         No more wet sleeves for the person holding the lap counter

Cons

  •         Only comes with a pole attachment – the pole is not included

Kiefer Swim Lap CounterGet the Latest Price

Horsky Clicker Tally Counter

The Horsky Clicker Tally Counter is a mechanical lap counter made from stainless steel that is ideally designed for coaches to use to count laps across a variety of sports activities. The lap counter is simple to use, small and easy to hold in one hand, and no batteries are required. The device can count up to 9,999 laps and it’s a great tool for teaching kids to count.

Pros

  •         Lightweight and comfortable
  •         No batteries required
  •         Counts up to 9,999 laps
  •         Suitable for a range of sports activities
  •         Durable and strong

Cons

  •         The button sometimes get stuck

Horsky Clicker Tally CounterGet the Latest Price

Digi 1st Tally

Originally made for baseball, the Digi 1st Tally can also be used to count swim laps as it has a large and easy-to-read LCD and it counts up to 9,999 laps. It can count up and down and has a  loud beep confirmation for laps counted.

This lightweight device is suitable for coaches who want to count laps for swimmers, or swimmers who are happy to leave the lap counter on the pool deck and count their laps at the end of every length. It has a convenient lock feature that prevents accidental modification and an auto-sleep mode saves battery power.

Pros

  •         Super lightweight and easy to use
  •         Counts up to 9,999 and can count up and down
  •         Both audible beep mode or silent mode
  •         An auto-sleep mode saves battery power
  •         Convenient lock feature

Cons

  •         Doesn’t have a backlight display for use in dark environments

Digi 1st TallyGet the Latest Price

WEARABLE LAP COUNTERS

SportCount Swim Lap Counter

The SportCount Swim Lap Counter is a wearable lap counter that fits your finger. It has an ergonomic design that makes it fairly hydrodynamic and an easy-to-see LCD. Laps are counted by pressing the button below the LCD and if the lap counter is on your forefinger, you can easily do this with a little flick with your thumb.

The device is lightweight and waterproof and has an adjustable strap that provides a comfortable and secure fit around the finger. The lap counter counts up to 9,999 laps.

Pros

  •         Simple, hydrodynamic design
  •         Adjustable strap for a comfortable fit
  •         Easy to use
  •         Counts up to 9,999 laps

Cons

  •         Small screen
  •         It may take some getting used to

SportCount Swim Lap CounterGet the Latest Price

SportCount 200 Swim Lap Counter & Timer

The SportCount 200 Lap Counter & Timer is the next model up from the SportCount Swim Lap Counter and adds timing to its main function of counting laps. Featuring the same design and adjustable finger strap, this device not only counts laps, but also records the fastest and slowest splits, the average pace you held throughout your swim, and the overall time of your swim. It has an excellent onboard memory that can up to 200 splits or lap times.

It is water-resistant up to 165 feet / 50 meters and can be paused at any time during a workout. The lap counter has a small nickel battery with a long life. 

Pros

  •         Counts laps and records times and splits
  •         On-board memory holds up to 200 splits or lap times
  •         Simple, hydrodynamic design
  •         Adjustable strap for a comfortable fit
  •         Water-resistant to 165 ft / 50 m
  •         Long battery life

Cons

  •         Small screen
  •         It may take some getting used to

SportCount 200 Lap Counter & TimerGet the Latest Price

SportCount Chrono 200

Like the previous models of SportCount lap counters, the SportCount Chrono 200 is a fantastic little lap counter that can be worn on your finger while you are swimming. This model offers the added extra feature of timing and can record your fastest and slowest laps in addition to recording up to two hundred individual laps. It has a count limit of 999 laps and is very easy to use.

One of the best features of the SportCount Chrono 200 is that it can help you keep track of your fastest and slowest laps and at the end of your workout in the pool, you can determine which laps were your fastest and slowest. You can also work out the average time you spend on each lap.

The SportCount Chrono 200 is very lightweight and fits comfortably on whichever finger you prefer to use and it only requires one hand for operation.

Pros

  •         Counts laps and records times and splits
  •         On-board memory holds up to 200 splits or lap times
  •         Simple, hydrodynamic design
  •         Adjustable strap for a comfortable fit
  •         Water-resistant to 165 ft / 50 m
  •         Good battery life

Cons

  •         Can only record a limited number of laps
  •         Small screen
  •         It may take some getting used to
  •         The battery life is not as long as the basic SportCount Lap Counter / SportCount 200 Swim Lap Counter & Timer

SportCount Chrono 200Get the Latest Price

FORM Swim Goggles

FORM Swim Goggles take lap counting to the next level and display your laps, splits, overall time, pace, stroke rate, and heart rate right in front of your eyes – quite literally! The goggles have a smart display on the inside lens of the goggles that delivers information from 12 customizable metrics ranging from distance to swim pace per 100, so you can see everything while you are swimming without missing a beat. The goggles are also compatible with the Polar OH1 and OH+1 heart rate monitors, Garmin smartwatches, and Apple Watch for live heart rate metrics.

FORM Swim Goggles have comfy silicone straps, replaceable silicone eye seals, a permanent chemical-resistant anti-fog coating, and are very comfortable to wear. They work well in both indoor and outdoor swimming pools – sunshine doesn’t affect the display in any way, and the battery lasts for about 16 hours. They are waterproof for up to 32 feet (10 meters) and have a one-year limited warranty.

Pros

  •         The smart display shows information from 12 customizable metrics
  •         Comfortable, hydrodynamic design
  •         Adjustable silicone straps for a comfortable fit
  •         Replaceable silicone eye seals
  •         Permanent chemical-resistant anti-fog coating
  •         Water-resistant to 32 ft / 10 m
  •         16-hour battery life
  •         Compatible with the Polar OH1, OH+1 heart rate monitors, Garmin smartwatches, and Apple Watch
  •         Suitable for both indoor and outdoor swimming

Cons

  •         Can be distracting while swimming
  •         Expensive

FORM Swim GogglesGet the Latest Price

Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition

The Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition is a wrist-strap that covers lap counting, activity tracking, and everything in between! This sleek, beautifully designed lap counter boasts advanced features such as swim lap and activity tracking, smart button connectivity, call, and text alerts, and vibration notifications.

Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum, the Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition offers a swimmer’s lap counter, swim distance, a timer countdown, calories, and light and restful sleep. Designed for non-stop wear, the Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition has replaceable batteries that last up to six months and features a multicolor LED display and vibration motor, movement reminders, and smart alarms.

Validated by Speedo’s Aqualab, Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition is compatible with the Speedo Fit app for water-based tracking and the Misfit App for dryland exercise tracking such as steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled. The device also automatically monitors your sleep.

Pros

  •         Made from durable aircraft-grade aluminum
  •         Variety of features from lap counting to activity tracking both in the water and on land
  •         Multicolor LED display
  •         Automatically monitors your sleep
  •         Six-month battery life

Cons

  •         It doesn’t tell the time

Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s EditionGet the Latest Price

Swimovate PoolMate2 Swim Sports Watch

The Swimovate PoolMate2 Swim Sports Watch is another great wristwatch-style lap counter with a sleek stylish design and some awesome features. If you don’t want to fiddle around with buttons and settings, the Swimovate PoolMate2 Swim Sports Watch is a good option for you as it is very simple to operate and super easy to read.

It detects and counts the number of laps swum, the stroke you are swimming, the number of strokes you have taken per lap, and your pace over each lap. It can store up to 400 workouts in its internal memory, and also measures the distance covered, calories burned, and more. It also has a stopwatch and timer function that can be used in and out of the pool if you need it. It is water-resistant for up to 50 meters and works well in both 25m and 50m pools.

Pros

  •         Great design and comfortable to wear
  •         Easy to operate
  •         Variety of functions including a stopwatch and Chrono timer
  •         Can hold up to 200 session
  •         Water-resistant to 165 ft / 50 m

Cons

  •         It doesn’t connect to a laptop/computer so you can’t download your workouts
  •         Data must be recorded manually

Swimovate PoolMate2 Swim Sports WatchGet the Latest Price

Fitbit Ionic Watch

The Fitbit Ionic is the best waterproof Fitbit for swimming on the market as it is designed for swimmers with advanced swim tracking capabilities. It features a built-in GPS that automatically starts tracking your workout whether you are in the pool or running on land and a swim mode that allows you to track your stroke style and laps.

The Ionic is water-resistant up to 165 feet / 50 meters and tracks resting and working heart rate through the PurePulse Heart Rate feature, as well as cardio fitness level, calories burned, and sleep stages. It synchronizes with a host of devices from Mac OS to Android and Windows from up to 30 feet away.

The watch is compatible with most Bluetooth headphones and stores and plays up to 300 songs from Pandora, so you can work out to your favorite tunes. It has a tough, durable screen corning made from Gorilla Glass 3 which makes it scratch and damage-resistant. The battery lasts up to four days, but this depends on the features being used – GPS will use more battery than other features.

You can personalize your watch with an array of third-party accessories, ranging from customized accessory bands to clock faces, and it comes with two different size bands – one large and small.

Pros

  •         Advanced swim tracking capabilities
  •         Automatic GPS tracking
  •         PurePulse Heart Rate measures working and resting heart rate
  •         Compatible with most Bluetooth headphones
  •         Damage-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 screen

Cons

  •         Short battery life
  •         Only compatible with Pandora
  •         Expensive

SALEFitbit IconicGet the Latest Price

Timex Ironman Classic

The Timex Ironman Classic is a great wearable swimming lap counter that offers a range of other features that can help you improve your performance in the pool. Endorsed by world-renowned triathlon brand, Ironman, the Timex Ironman Classic is suitable for both triathletes and swimmers and provides a host of awesome features.

The watch is water-resistant for up to 100m and features include a lap counter, timing functions, and alarm modes and it is sturdy and durable. The Ironman 50 or 100 models offer slightly better features such as a bit higher lap count range, and more technical timing functions.

Pros

  •         Comfortable to wear
  •         Variety of functions including lap counter, stopwatch, and Chrono timer
  •         Water-resistant to 230 ft / 100 m

Cons

  •         It lacks computer connectivity for post-workout analytics

SALETimex Ironman ClassicGet the Latest Price

Final Thoughts

Lap counters are excellent devices to add to your swim bag if you have trouble remembering the number of laps you have done or need a counter during a race. From basic tally counters to high-tech digital counters and timers, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a great lap counter for your next swim.

Happy swimming!

https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/lap-counter.html

Minecraft Experience Calculator

Enter your current level and the level you wish to reach. You can also enter fractional levels if you want more precision.

Current Level:
Target Level:

Current XP
Target XP
XP Remaining

MobXP per actionActions needed
Mob Kills
Tiny Slime1.0
Small Slime2.0
Big Slime4.0
Blaze10.0
Ender Dragon12000.0
Other Hostile5.0
Animals2.0(1.0 – 3.0)
Mining
Coal Ore1.0(0.0 – 2.0)
Redstone Ore3.0(1.0 – 5.0)
Lapis Lazuli Ore3.5(2.0 – 5.0)
Emerald Ore5.0(3.0 – 7.0)
Diamond Ore5.0(3.0 – 7.0)
Smelting
Smooth Stone0.1
Glass0.1
Coal/Charcoal0.1
Brick0.2
Green Dye0.2
Lapis Lazuli0.2
Cooked Food0.3
Redstone0.7
Iron0.7
Gold1.0
Diamond1.0
Other
Bottle o’ Enchanting7.0(3.0 – 11.0)
Mob Spawner29.0(15.0 – 43.0)

Notes:

  • Tiny/Small/Big Slime categories include their Lava Slime counterparts.
  • An XP value like "3.5 (2.0 – 5.0)" indicates that the action randomly provides between 2.0 and 5.0 XP. The number of actions needed is calculated based on the average value (3.5 XP).
  • The XP values for smelting are multiplied by the number of items removed from the furnace, then any leftover fraction is awarded at random. For example, if you remove a stack of 8 iron ingots (0.7 XP each), since 0.7 * 8 = 5.6 you will always receive at least 5 XP, and 60% of the time you wil receive an additional 1 XP. (This all averages out, so there is no advantage to smelting in stacks of a particular size.)

Solar Powered Crypto Mining with Raspberry Pi

Learn how to create a solar-powered cryptocurrency “mining rig” with cloud-based reporting on a Raspberry Pi using a PiJuice and Notecard

Things used in this project

Hardware components
Raspberry Pi 4 Model BRaspberry Pi 4 Model B×1
PiJuice HATPiJuice HAT×1
Raspberry Pi Starter KitBlues Wireless Raspberry Pi Starter Kit×1
42W Solar Array×1
Software apps and online services
Notehub.ioBlues Wireless Notehub.io
UbidotsUbidots

Story

So you’re ready to cash in on this cryptocurrency thing, but you’re also concerned about the electricity consumed in order to mine your own crypto?

Well, I have good news and bad news for you.

The good news is cryptocurrency mining on solar power is entirely possible. In fact, you could argue it’s critical for the sustainability of cryptocurrency (and other Blockchain-related) activities. According to the Sierra Club the annual power consumption of Bitcoin-related activities alone is comparable to a country the size of Argentina. Not to mention the associated production of 37+ megatons of CO2 each year.

The bad news? Considering the raw power requirements for cryptocurrency mining AND the fact that we’re going to use a Raspberry Pi SBC for this project, we probably won’t be rolling like Scrooge McDuck any time soon.

Is this prospect of crypto mining with a Raspberry Pi as ridiculous as it sounds? Probably! But let’s not let reason stop us from building something fun.

Get Your Mining Tools Ready

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “sunk cost fallacy”. This is the concept of throwing good money at a bad idea, only because you’ve already invested money in said bad idea.

In an ideal scenario, we aren’t investing new hardware in crypto mining. Existing hardware is a “sunk cost”, because we already own it. If we can collectively pretend this is the case, let’s take a look at how we’re going to build out a crypto miner on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and collect some virtual coin.

Juice for the Pi

We want this solution to function in perpetuity without manual intervention, so running our RPi exclusively off of solar is a non-starter. Powering anything that requires consistent voltage off of solar directly is a bad idea, what, with nights and cloudy days to consider.

This is where a cool little product called the PiJuice comes into play.

PiJuice is a Pi HAT with an onboard 1820mAh battery and a micro-USB connector for managing a solar array. With the PiJuice software, we can define battery charge levels at which to gracefully shutdown and boot up our RPi.

Using the PiJuice calculator, it looks like we can expect at best 1.34 hours of runtime on a Raspberry Pi 4 off the provided battery alone. Maxing out the CPU on crypto mining will likely result in far less time.

Powered by the Sun

With the PiJuice in place for power management, we’ll then want a sizable solar array to charge the battery on sunny days. I already had a 42w solar array from when I built a remotely-running ML bird identification system.

Since the array has a micro USB connector, I can connect it directly to the PiJuice HAT. It’s really as simple as that!

Connecting a 42W solar array to the PiJuice HAT

Connecting a 42W solar array to the PiJuice HAT

Phone Home with Cellular

Cellular? What does cellular networking have to do with this project?

Since this project involves running a headless RPi, I’ll have no immediate visual indication of how mining is progressing. So, I’d like to create a cloud-based dashboard of the hash rates generated by my RPi and chart them over time.

I also like the fact that cellular networking makes any cloud-connected project portable!

To accomplish this, I’m going to use the Notecard from Blues Wireless. It’s a cellular and GPS-enabled device-to-cloud data-pump that comes with 500 MB of data and 10 years of cellular for $49.

Blues Wireless Notecard for Cellular

Blues Wireless Notecard for Cellular

The Notecard itself is a tiny 30mm x 34mm SoM with an m.2 connector. To make integration in an existing project easier, Blues Wireless provides host boards called Notecarriers. I’ll be using the Notecarrier Pi HAT for this project.

Also, the Notecard ships preconfigured to communicate with Notehub.io, which enables secure data flow from device-to-cloud. Notecards are assigned to a project in Notehub. Notehub can then route data from these projects to your cloud of choice (e.g. AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, among others).

Enable Your Virtual Pick Axe

With both the Notecarrier-Pi HAT and the PiJuice HAT installed properly on the Raspberry Pi, we are ready to begin software setup.

As with any Raspberry Pi project, it’s a good idea to make sure all of your installed packages are up-to-date:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
sudo apt-get clean

Next, install the PiJuice software:

sudo apt-get install pijuice-gui

Reboot your Raspberry Pi and then head to Preferences > PiJuice Settings.

Click the Configure HAT button and make sure the correct battery on your PiJuice is selected in the Battery tab:

Next, we’ll want to create two new System Tasks. One to shut down the RPi when the charge is too low and one to boot it up when the battery has enough charge again.

Change Wakeup on charge to a high value (I’m using 80%) and Minimum charge to a low value (I’m using 10%).

Configure the Miner

Mining cryptocurrency is nothing new, so we can use one of a variety of Linux-compatible CLI crypto miners. I also decided to mine Monero, which is a cryptocurrency that is still (in theory) profitable to mine with a CPU only.

To start, we need to install raspbian-nspawn-64, which requires you to be on the 64-bit kernel of Raspbian.

sudo apt-get install -y raspbian-nspawn-64

NOTE: If you’re not using the official 64-bit kernel, you will be prompted to enable it.

Next, issue the following command to start using the 64-bit container:

ds64-shell

Now we need to install our miner, XMRig, from within this 64-bit shell. Install all of the build dependencies:

sudo apt-get install git build-essential cmake libuv1-dev libssl-dev libhwloc-dev

Clone the XMRig repo locally:

git clone https://github.com/xmrig/xmrig.git

Issue the following commands to complete the build (note that the build/make steps may take some time):

cd xmrig
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make

Now we can create a config.json file to specify some configuration options for the miner.

Use the XMRig configuration wizard to create a starter config file for you. Mine ended up looking like this:

{
"autosave": true,
"cpu": true,
"opencl": false,
"cuda": false,
"pools": [
{
"url": "pool.supportxmr.com:443",
"user": "MY_MONERO_WALLET_ID",
"pass": "RPi",
"keepalive": true,
"tls": true
}
]
}

NOTE: You can create your own wallet ID by installing a Monero wallet locally.

In order to enable logging, add the following line to the JSON object:

"log-file": "/home/pi/Documents/apps/xmrig/build/log.txt",

Save this as config.json in your build directory and create an empty log.txt file in the same directory.

If you’d like, you can test out your miner now with this command:

./xmrig -c "config.json"

Assuming everything is working properly, you should start seeing some activity in your terminal window:

To the Cloud!

Now that we’ve proven our mining software functions, we’ll want an easy way to monitor the production of our “mining rig”.

By now the log.txt file should have a healthy set of data. Let’s write a short Python script that will read the log on a periodic basis and pump relevant data to the cloud.

Back on the Raspberry Pi (NOT in the 64-bit container), install python-periphery (for I2C), python-dateutil (for working with dates), and note-python (for interfacing with the Notecard):

pip3 install python-periphery
pip3 install python-dateutil
pip3 install note-python

NOTE: The full Python source is available here on GitHub!

In a new Python file, we’ll want to do three things:

  • Init the Notecard and prepare it for cloud communications.
  • Loop through the log file, checking for data we want to report.
  • Send an event (a.k.a. a “note”) to the cloud.

We initialize the Notecard by specifying a productUID (which is the name of a Notehub project that we’ll create in a minute) and setting the cellular connection mode to continuous.

Normally in battery-conscious environments you would use periodic mode to reduce the frequency of cellular connections. However, in this project, the draw of our cellular modem is the least of our concerns since the mining software is going to use the vast majority of our battery.

productUID = keys.PRODUCT_UID
port = I2C("/dev/i2c-1")
card = notecard.OpenI2C(port, 0, 0)
req = {"req": "hub.set"}
req["product"] = productUID
req["mode"] = "continuous"
rsp = card.Transaction(req)

Here is an example of a log file line that contains the 10s hash rate (along with a timestamp):

[2021-04-20 14:55:02.085]  miner    speed 10s/60s/15m 77.37 76.91 n/a H/s max 77.87 H/s

Our main function will iterate through the log file to identify data that is relevant to the dashboard we are trying to create. For this project I only care about the ongoing hash rate of my miner.

def main(start_timestamp):
""" loops through log file to get crypto hash rate """

with open("/home/pi/Documents/apps/xmrig/build/log.txt") as fp:
lines = fp.readlines()

for line in lines:
# check if this line starts with a valid date and contains "miner"
line_timestamp = line[1:19]
if is_date(line_timestamp) and "miner" in line:
dt = datetime.strptime(line_timestamp, '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
if dt >= start_timestamp:
send_note(line, dt)

time.sleep(60) # check again in 1 minute
main(datetime.now() - timedelta(minutes=1))

Finally, we want to send relevant data to the cloud:

def send_note(line, dt):
""" extract 10s H/s value from log and send to notehub.io """
hash_rate = line[54:line.find(" ", 54) - 1]
ms_time = dt.timestamp() * 1000

req = {"req": "note.add"}
req["file"] = "crypto.qo"
req["body"] = {"rate": hash_rate, "time": ms_time}
req["sync"] = True
rsp = card.Transaction(req)

A discerning eye will notice that everything into and out of the Notecard is JSON-based, making it incredibly developer-friendly.

For example, the generated JSON from the above note.add request might look something like this:

{
"req":"note.add",
"file":"crypto.qo",
"body":{
"rate":77.37,
"time":1619122680000
}
}

Save the Python script and a keys.py file into the same directory as the log.txt file.

Device to Dashboard

Recall that Notehub enables synchronization of data between your device and the cloud.

To get started with a free Notehub account:

  • Navigate to notehub.io and login, or create a new account.
  • Using the New Project card, give your project a name and ProductUID.
  • Copy that ProductUID and enter it in keys.py:
  • PRODUCT_UID = “com.your.company:projectname”

That’s it! When the Python script runs, Notecard will associate itself with this Notehub project. Any notes (events) you send will show up in the Events panel when received:

Next, we want to route our data to a cloud dashboard. I’ve used Ubidots in the past with success, so I created a new route from Notehub to Ubidots.

You can view full instructions for creating a Notehub to Ubidots route here.

Mine-on-Boot

Since our Raspberry Pi will be cycling between on and off states (depending on the battery charge), we will want to make sure our miner and Python script also start on boot.

You can find the instructions on how to use systemd to automatically run xmrig and the Python script on the Raspberry Pi forum.

For reference, here are the two service files I had to create:

[Unit]
Description=PiMiner
After=multi-user.target

[Service]
Type=idle
ExecStart=/usr/bin/ds64-run /home/pi/Documents/apps/xmrig/build/xmrig -c "config.json"

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

…and…

[Unit]
Description=PiMinerPython
After=multi-user.target

[Service]
Type=idle
ExecStart=/usr/bin/python3 /home/pi/Documents/apps/xmrig/build/crypto-monitor.py

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Drumroll Please

And what happened when I deployed this off-grid? Well, it’s another good news, bad news situation!

The good news? Technically speaking, the project worked. With my data actively routing to Ubidots, I was able to create a dashboard to view my results over time:

The bad news? It was clear that I wasn’t going to get too much mining done on a 1820 mAh battery. In fact, I averaged less than an hour of mining before the PiJuice stepped in to shut things down (at least until the solar array was able to charge the battery back up a bit).

What about the elephant in the room? How much Monero was I able to earn? After running the miner for a few hours total, I pulled in a whopping 0.00000178 Monero.

That’s…$0.0007 in USD.

So maybe we won’t be getting rich on crypto with the Raspberry Pi. In fact, I would highly recommend avoiding crypto mining at all, unless you have access to clean energy. #EarthDay and all.

I do hope, however, you’re able to use the PiJuice and Notecard in a future solar-powered project!

Code

Github

https://github.com/xmrig/xmrig

xmrig / xmrig

51952368

RandomX, CryptoNight, AstroBWT and Argon2 CPU/GPU miner — Read More

https://xmrig.com/

Latest commit to the master branch on 6-24-2021Download as zip

Github

https://github.com/rdlauer/picrypto

rdlauer / picrypto

10

Mine some cryptocurrency using the sun and your Raspberry Pi! — Read More

Latest commit to the master branch on 4-23-2021Download as zip

Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Favourite Build Tool? Can Make Ever Be Usurped?

What do you do whilst your code’s compiling? Pull up Hackaday? Check Elon Musk’s net worth? Research the price of a faster PC? Or do you wonder what’s taking so long, and decide to switch out your build system?

Clamber aboard for some musings on Makefiles, monopolies, and the magic of Ninja. I want to hear what you use to build your software. Should we still be using make in 2021? Jump into the fray in the comments.

What is a Build Tool Anyway?

Let’s say you’ve written your C++ program, compiled it with g++ or clang++ or your compiler flavor of the week, and reveled in the magic of software. Life is good. Once you’ve built out your program a bit more, adding code from other files and libraries, these g++ commands are starting to get a bit long, as you’re having to link together a lot of different stuff. Also, you’re having to recompile every file every time, even though you might only have made a small change to one of them.

People realised fairly early on that this sucked, and that we can do better. They started to make automated software that could track compilation dependencies, track which bits of code were tweaked since the last build, and combine this knowledge to automatically optimise what gets compiled – ensuring your computer does the minimum amount of work possible.

Enter: GNU Make

Yet another product of the famous Bell Labs, make was written by [Stuart Feldman] in response to the frustration of a co-worker who wasted a morning debugging an executable that was accidentally not being updated with changes. Make solves the problems I mentioned above – it tracks dependencies between sources and outputs, and runs complex compilation commands for you. For numerous decades, make has remained utterly ubiquitous, and for good reason: Makefiles are incredibly versatile and can be used for everything from web development to low level embedded systems. In fact, we’ve already written in detail about how to use make for development on AVR or ARM micros. Make isn’t limited to code either, you can use it to track dependencies and changes for any files – automated image/audio processing pipelines anyone?

But, well, it turns out writing Makefiles isn’t actually fun. You’re not adding features to your project, you’re just coercing your computer into running code that’s already written. Many people (the author included) try to spend as little of their life on this planet as possible with a Makefile open in their editor, often preferring to “borrow” other’s working templates and be done with it.

The problem is, once projects get bigger, Makefiles grow too. For a while we got along with this – after all, writing a super complex Makefile that no-one else understands does make you feel powerful and smart. But eventually, people came up with an idea: what if we could have some software generate Makefiles for us?

CMake, Meson, Autotools et al

Yes, there are a sizeable number of projects concerned only with generating config files purely to be fed into other software. Sounds dumb right? But when you remember that people have different computers, it actually makes a lot of sense. Tools like CMake allow you to write one high-level project description, then will automatically generate config files for whatever build platforms you want to use down the line – such as Makefiles or Visual Studio solutions. For this reason, a very large number of open source projects use CMake or similar tools, since you can slot in a build system of your choice for the last step – everyone’s happy.

Except, it’s really quite hard to tell if everyone is happy or not. As we know, when people selflessly spend time writing and maintaining good quality open source software, others are very kind to them online, do not complain, and do not write passive-aggressive blog posts about 27 reasons why they’re never using it again. Just kidding!

What I’m getting at here is that it’s hard to judge popular opinion on software that’s ubiquitous, because regardless of quality, beyond a critical mass there will always be pitchfork mobs and alternatives. Make first appeared in 1976, and still captures the lion’s share of many projects today. The ultimate question: is it still around because it’s good software, or just because of inertia?

Either way, today its biggest competitor – a drop-in replacement – is Ninja.

Ninja

Examples of popular build tools at different abstraction levels

Ninja was created by [Evan Martin] at Google, when he was working on Chrome. It’s now also used to build Android, and by most developers working on LLVM. Ninja aims to be faster than make at incremental builds: re-compiling after changing only a small part of the codebase. As Evan wrote, reducing iteration time by only a few seconds can make a huge difference to not only the efficiency of the programmer, but also their mood. The initial motivation for the project was that re-building Chrome when all targets were already up to date (a no-op build) took around ten seconds. Using Ninja, it takes under a second.

Ninja makes extensive use of parallelization, and aims to be light and fast. But so does every other build tool that’s ever cropped up – why is Ninja any different? According to Evan, it’s because it didn’t succumb to the temptation of writing a new build tool that did everything — for example replacing both CMake and Make — but instead replaces only Make.

Source: The Meson Build System – A Simple Comparison. Apache 2.0

This means that it’s designed to have its input files generated by a higher-level build system (not manually written), so integrates easily with the backend of CMake and others.

In fact, whilst it’s possible to handwrite your own .ninja files, it’s advised against. Ninja’s own documentation states that “In contrast [to Make], Ninja has almost no features; just those necessary to get builds correct. […] Ninja by itself is unlikely to be useful for most projects.”

Above you can see the differences in incremental build times in a medium-sized project. The two Ninja-based systems are clear winners. Note that for building the entire codebase from scratch, Ninja will not be any faster than other tools – there are no shortcuts to crunching 1s and 0s.

In his reflections on the success and failure of Ninja, Evan writes that:

“The irony of this aspect of Ninja’s design is that there is nothing preventing anyone else from doing this. Xcode or Visual Studio’s build systems (for example) could just as well do the same thing: do a bunch of work up front, then snapshot the result for quick reexecution. I think the reason so few succeed at this is that it’s just too tempting to mix the layers.”

It’s undeniable that this approach has been successful, with more and more projects using Ninja over time. Put simply, if you’re already using CMake, I can’t see many reasons why you wouldn’t use Ninja instead of make in 2021. But I want to know what you think.

Over to you

It’s impossible to write about all the build tools around today. So I want to hear from you. Have you switched from make to Ninja? Do you swear by Autotools, Buck or something else? Will make ever go away? Will there ever be a tool that can eclipse them all? Let me know below.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/11/ask-hackaday-whats-your-favourite-build-tool-can-make-ever-be-usurped/

Drone Boat Sails Seattle

Thanks to the availability of cheap, powerful autopilot modules, building small autonomous vehicles is now well within the reach of the average maker. [rctestflight] has long been an enthusiast working in this space, and has been attempting long range autonomous missions on the lakes of Washington for some time now. His latest attempt proved to be a great success. (Video, embedded below.)

The build follows on from earlier attempts to do a 13 km mission with an airboat, itself chosen to avoid problems in early testing with seaweed becoming wrapped around propellers. For this attempt, [Daniel] chose to build a custom boat hull out of fiberglass, and combine both underwater propellers and a fan as well. The aim was to provide plenty of thrust, while also aiming for redundancy. As a bonus, the fan swivels with the boat’s rudder, helping provide greater turn authority.

After much tuning of the ArduPilot control system, the aptly-named SS Banana Slug was ready for its long range mission. Despite some early concerns about low battery voltages due to the cold, the boat completed its long 13 km haul across the lake for a total mission length of over three hours. Later efficiency calculations suggests that the boat’s onboard batteries could potentially handle missions over 100 km before running out.

It goes to show that, even with an off-the-shelf autopilot and mapping solution, there’s still a huge amount of engineering that goes into any successful long-range mission, whether land, sea or air.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/11/drone-boat-sails-seattle/

Playing Youtube Videos At Incredibly Low Resolution on LEDs

Since the high-definition era, screens with many millions of pixels have become commonplace. Resolutions have soared into the stratosphere, and media has never looked clearer or crisper. However, [gatoninja236] decided to go the other way with this build – an LED matrix capable of playing Youtube videos.

The execution is simple. A Raspberry Pi 3, with the help of a Python script, downloads a Youtube video. It then runs this through OpenCV, which parses the video frames, downconverting them to suit a 64×64 pixel display. Then, it’s a simple matter of clocking out the data to the 64×64 RGB LED matrix attached to the Raspberry Pi’s IO pins, where the video is displayed in all its low-resolution glory.

Is it a particularly useful project? No. That doesn’t mean it’s not without value however; it teaches useful skills in both working with LED displays and video data scraped from the Internet. If you simply must have more pixels, though, this ping pong video wall might be more to your liking. Video after the break.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/playing-youtube-videos-at-incredibly-low-resolution-on-leds/

Cyberdeck Running On Apple Silicon, Though An A12 Not An M1

Overall view of Alta's Projects cyberdeck

[Alta’s Projects] built a two-in-one cyberdeck that not only contains the requisite Raspberry Pi (a zero in this case) but also eschews a dumb LCD and uses an iPad mini 5 for a display.

We need to address the donor case right away. Some likely see this as heresy, and while we love to see vintage equipment lovingly restored, upcycling warms our hearts and keeps mass-produced plastic out of landfills too. The 1991 AST 386SX/20 notebook in question went for $45 on an online auction and likely was never destined for a computer museum.

Why is Cupertino’s iOS anywhere near a cyberdeck? If a touch screen is better than an LCD panel, a tablet with a full OS behind it must be even better. You might even see this as the natural outgrowth of tablet cases first gaining keyboards and then trackpads. We weren’t aware that it either was possible without jailbreaking, but [Alta’s Projects] simply used a lighting-to-USB dongle and a mini USB hub to connect the custom split keyboard to the iPad and splurged on an Apple Magic Trackpad for seamless and wireless multi-touch input.

Alta's Projects Cyberdeck Internal USB Wiring
Internal USB Wiring, Charging Circuit, and Pi Zero

The video build (after the break) is light on details, but a quick fun watch with a parts list in the description. It has a charming casual feel that mirrors the refreshingly improvisational approach that [Altair’s Projects] takes to the build. We appreciate the nod to this cyberdeck from [Tinfoil_Haberdashery] who’s split keyboard and offset display immediately sprang to mind for us too. The references to an imagined “dystopian future” excuse the rough finish of some of the Dremel cuts and epoxy assembly. That said, apocalypse or not, the magnets mounted at both ends of the linear slide certainly are a nice touch.

[Alta's Projects] Cyberdeck Linear Slide
Magnetic End-Stops for the Linear Slide

That could be a complete project, but [Alta’s Projects] added a Pi with access to I/O ports for future hardware hacks. VNC provides a simple way for the iPad to share the keyboard, trackpad, and display with the Pi when that is powered up. The Pi also provides an opportunity to have an auxiliary eInk display, able to show system information or graphics even when the system is powered down. The other display is a 7-segment style battery charge indicator that counts down from 100%, useful when working untethered as neither the Pi nor the iPad could report the status of the nine 18650 cells.

We like that this cyberdeck is easily upgradable with a newer tablet and given that the iPad is connected with a quick release magnetic mount, it can easily be removed for other uses. And, speaking of upcycling, when this iPad dies we fully expect the display to find a new life too.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/cyberdeck-running-on-apple-silicon-though-an-a12-not-m1/

Supersized Weather Station Uses Antique Analog Meters

For most of us, getting weather information is as trivial as unlocking a smartphone or turning on a computer and pointing an app or browser at one’s weather site of choice. This is all well and good, but it lacks a certain panache that old weather stations had with their analog dials and stained wood cases. The weather station that [BuildComics] created marries both this antique aesthetic with modern weather data availability, and then dials it up a notch for this enormous analog weather station build.

The weather station uses 16 discrete dials, each modified with a different label for the specific type of data displayed. Some of them needed new glass, and others also needed coils to be modified to be driven with a lower current than they were designed as well, since each would be driven by one of two Arduinos in this project. Each are tied to a microcontroller output via a potentiometer which controls the needle’s position for the wildly different designs of meter. The microcontrollers themselves get weather information via the internet, which allows for about as up-to-date information about the weather as one could gather first-hand.

The amount of customization of these old meters is impressive, and what’s even more impressive is the project’s final weight. [BuildComics] reports that it took two people just to lift it onto the wall mount, which is not surprising given the amount of iron in some of these old analog meters. And, although not as common in the real world anymore, these old antique meters have plenty of repurposed uses beyond weather stations as well.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/supersized-weather-station-uses-antique-analog-meters/

3D Printed Lenticular Lens Makes 3D Display

[Bitluni] has been experimenting with resin printing lenses — in particular, lenticular lenses. You’ve probably seen lenticular lenses before in 3D greeting cards or children’s books. By presenting a slightly different image at different angles, your eyes perceive stereo vision giving the illusion of depth. You can see his results in the video below.

Honestly, even if you don’t want to make a display like this yourself, the demonstration of how a lenticular lens works using a laser is worth watching. Sure, you know in theory what’s going on, but seeing it visually exposed is great.

The display isn’t going to replace special effects in the next science fiction movie, but it is still pretty cool. A grid of 138 lenses and some software give a fairly credible 3D effect, at least as far as we can tell watching it on 2D YouTube and listening to his excitement upon trying it.

The final product fits in a cover that fits over a smartphone which drives the display. We were interested in the use of straight-up resin to make the back surface flat, which is an interesting trick.

Last time we looked at lenticular lenses, it was to make things invisible. We’ve also covered how they can make sort of holograms.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/3d-printed-lenticular-lens-makes-3d-display/

Our Curious Relationship With Caffeine

If you were to paint a few stereotypes surrounding our community, where would you start? Maybe in apparel habits: the t-shirt from a tech conference, or the ubiquitous hoodie. Or how about leisure pursuits: gaming, or even D&D? There’s one thing I can think of that unites most of us, we have a curious affinity for caffeine. Is it a propensity for working into the dark of the night that’s responsible, or perhaps those of us with ADHD find the alertness helpful, but whatever it is we like our coffee and energy drinks. Rare is the hackerspace without a coffee machine and a fridge full of energy drinks, and I have lost count of the times I have been derided by the coffee cognoscenti among my peers for my being satisfied with a mug of mere instant. Deprived of my usual socialisation over the festive period by the pandemic, and contemplating my last bottle of Club-Mate as I drank it, I took a while to ponder on our relationship with this chemical.

The plant we most associate with caffeine, Coffea Arabica. Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.), Public domain.
The plant we most associate with caffeine, Coffea Arabica. Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.), Public domain.

Caffeine can be found as a constituent of a variety of plants native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas, Africa, and Asia, in which it evolved as a chemical defence against pests. We were evidently not considered through their evolution to be pests as some insects or other plants are, because for us it’s a psychoactive stimulant in anything but extreme doses. Thus our ancestors who were first to chew a coffee bean, a kola nut, or a yerba maté leaf set our species off on a love affair with it that will probably last for millennia.

What Does Caffeine Do To Us?

In chemistry terms it’s a methylated xanthine, at its centre a figure-of-eight composed of both a six membered and a five membered ring joined together, each with two nitrogen atoms in their structure.. The exposed carbon atoms on the six membered ring each form a ketone group with an oxygen atom, and two of the nitrogen atoms on the six membered ring and one on the five membered ring each have a methyl group attached.

The chemical structure of a caffeine mollecule. Vaccinationist, Public domain.
The chemical structure of a caffeine molecule. Vaccinationist, Public domain.

Caffiene’s similarity to the structure of adensosine — a substance that relaxes blood vessels — makes it bind to the adensosine receptors in our brains. Where adenosine is involved in inhibiting the brain’s activity as part of tiredness, the caffeine has the effect of causing alertness. Reading research papers on its effect on the brain (Paywalled paper) makes it appear as though this is just one of  a scatter-gun of chemical effects, boosting dopamine production and also increasing electrical activity in the brain. We feel up to anything on caffeine not only because we are more alert, but also because our brains have become more capable while under its influence.

In my case I’m aware that my affinity for caffeine has in part the function of self-medicating ADHD. I have the characteristic extreme difficulty in concentration that can play havoc with my ability to get my work done, and having a significant quantity of caffeine in the morning transforms my productivity. It’s likely more than a few readers will share this, it seems the condition gives us a naturally low dopamine level to which the caffeine provides a boost. Were I to ask my doctor I could access a range of stronger medications including members of the amphetamine family of compounds, but for now a few cups of coffee or a Club-Mate when I can get it does the trick.

A Cup A Day, Or Is That Too Much?

As someone who in effect medicates using caffeine I thus have an acute sense of the relative strengths of different concoctions containing it. I know that a cup of instant coffee is less potent than one of brewed coffee, and which energy drinks do more than others. But how much caffeine do they really contain, and how much caffeine is too much caffeine? The last question is easy enough to answer, though it varies from person to person. Over a gram of the stuff is likely to make you feel pretty sick, and ten times that figure is likely to kill you. But few of us will carefully weigh out pure caffeine powder, so it’s better to start at the other end of the scale.

This British-market Red Bull can even carries a health advisory warning over its caffeine content.
This British-market Red Bull can even carries a health advisory warning over its caffeine content.

There is no standard cup of coffee, but my cup of instant is likely to give me around 50 mg of caffeine and I can expect about twice that from an equivalent cup of a typical brewed coffee. Meanwhile a can of Coca-cola has 34 mg, while its caffeine-enhanced cousins have about 80mg per can, as does the slightly smaller can size of the UK version of Red Bull. Our favourite Club-Mate isn’t quite as strongly caffeinated as other energy drinks at 20mg per 100ml, but its larger 500ml bottle contains 100mg of caffeine.

So to do myself harm I would have to drink ten Club-Mates or drink ten cups of strong brewed coffee, but the reality is that even at the most laser-tinged evening at a hacker camp or the trendiest coffee bar I’m not going to manage that. It’s a surprise that a cup of a strong blend of brewed coffee will contain  more caffeine than the energy drinks, but evidently it was a triumph of marketing that I believed otherwise. My three, maybe four instant coffees a day barely tip the scales at under 200mg, making me a relative lightweight in the caffeine stakes rather than the serial abuser I worried I might have become.

In my investigation of my culture’s most socially acceptable psychoactive addictive chemical I’ve discovered a few things I didn’t know about it, and taken a critical look at how I use it. That I’m addicted to it and that ADHD means I probably couldn’t do my job without it is beyond doubt, but like many in our community I think the benefits outweigh any other concerns. Now my biggest annoyance is that I can no longer stock up on imported energy drinks at my hackerspace due to the pandemic.

Coffee bean header image: MarkSweep, Public domain.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/our-curious-relationship-with-caffeine/

High-Altitude Balloon Tracker Does Landing Prediction with Pi Pico

[Dave Akerman]’s ongoing high altitude balloon (HAB) work is outstanding, and we’re all enriched by the fact that he documents his work like he does. Recently, [Dave] wrote about his balloon tracker based on the Raspberry Pi Pico, whose capabilities brought a couple interesting features to the table.

In a way, HAB trackers have a fairly simple job: read sensors such as GPS and constantly relay that data to someone on the ground so that the balloon’s location can be tracked, and the hardware recovered when it ultimately returns to Earth. There are a lot of different ways to do this tracking, and one thing [Dave] enjoys is getting his hands on a new board and making a HAB tracker out of it. That’s exactly what he has done with the Raspberry Pi Pico.

Nothing builds familiarity like actually using a part, and the Pico had some useful things to contribute to a HAB tracker application. For one thing, the Pico has an onboard buck-boost converter that allows it to be powered from a relatively wide voltage range (~1.8 V to 5.5 V), so running it directly from batteries is both possible and desirable from a tracker perspective. But a really useful feature was possible thanks to the large amount of memory on the Pico: dynamic landing prediction.

[Dave] does landing prediction prior to launch based on environmental conditions, but it’s always better if the HAB tracker can also calculate its own prediction based on actual observed events and conditions. A typical microcontroller board like an Arduino doesn’t have enough memory to store the required data upon which to do such calculations, but the Pico does so easily. [Dave]’s new board transmits an updated landing site prediction along with all the rest of the telemetry, making the retrieval process much more reliable.

Want to see a completely different approach to HAB recovery? Check out a payload guided by steerable parachutes.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/10/high-altitude-balloon-tracker-does-landing-prediction-with-pi-pico/

Put More Scoot in Yer Scooter

We have a scooter hack that is odd for a couple of reasons. First, the vehicle in question is a Doc Green EWA 6000, a German clone of a Xiaomi M365, so Country stereotypes be darned. Second, it is about increasing the performance, and when we think of scooters, we get hung up on scoot. The link between these peculiarities is the speed limiter Germany requires on all scooters, which the Chinese model lacks. Despite the law, [Nikolaj] wanted a higher top speed and Bluetooth connectivity. Wireless unlocks advanced features, like cruise control, which are absent in the stock model.

The mainboard is responsible for speed control, but that is merely a component, and you can find third-party replacements. [Nikolaj] found a new part with a German forum member’s help, then recorded his work in English for our sake. The speed boost is nice, but the Bluetooth functionality is a massive improvement by itself. If you live in an area where the law doesn’t allow this sort of thing, think before you upgrade. Aftermarket parts aren’t always drop-in replacements, and in this case, the controller and display needed some finessing to fit, so measure twice and buy once.

If tearing into a brand new scooter isn’t for you, consider breathing new life into a retiree, and don’t forget that stopping is the other half of the battle.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/09/put-more-scoot-in-yer-scooter/

Laser Focus Made Easier with IR Filter

If you’ve used a diode laser engraver or cutter, you know that focus is critical. You’d think it would be relatively simple to get a sharp focus, but it isn’t that simple. [Makers Mashup] shows in a video how to use an adjustable IR filter to cut out all the light bleed to get a sharp image to make focusing simpler.

The filter he shows adjusts from 530nm to 750nm and is made to screw into a 72mm lens, but it works fine with your eyeballs, too. [Makers Mashup] says he’ll eventually make a stand for it so he can look through it with both hands free.

The laser isn’t a point source and the focus isn’t a sharp dot. Even so, observing the laser at low power shows a bright spot encircled by slightly less bright spots. It can be difficult to figure out the exact smallest point.

We’ve noticed before that using a black target helps and one pair of laser goggles we have cuts out the fringe better than the other pair, so it isn’t surprising that a properly tuned filter would make things easier.

A laser that isn’t focused well won’t engrave with maximum resolution and will lose power when cutting. This topic comes up every once in a while. We’ve even seen the focus done, not optically, but with springs.

source https://hackaday.com/2021/03/09/laser-focus-made-easier-with-ir-filter/