Thursday 19 October 2023

Why Trash Tech?

I'm opening my doors: Mei's Trash Tech consultancy. I've considered of many other names, this one stubbornly stuck in my mind, and at this point abandoning it will be a disservice. Here's my poor attempt to prove to myself that it's more than a quirky compulsion.

Building software is hard.

There is a journey in bringing a traditionally real life process, into the virtual plane and into reality. It requires strong intentionality to ensure that each step of the journey is actually useful, impactful and relevant. There is a significant cognitive load to do this correctly, to scale software and to think of all the corner cases. In fact, to engineer is to lather the craft, the process, with the love and adoration it deserves.

If you want stable technology, reliant, predictable, risk averse, then politely yeet yourself out.

For those who are dare to dream. To make the impossible possible. Who want to explore the potential of how we interact with our virtual realm. Willing to take risks. Push the boundaries of human to tech interfacing via screens. Willing to put up with imperfection.

Experimentation is the core of creating something truly new.

Let’s formulate hypotheses and test them out.

Embrace the chaos.

Let’s collaborate.

After all, the easiest way to validate a concept is to have it look horrifically ugly, yet still be useful.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Priorities 🌪

 It was evening. I'm in a crowded labyrinthian high rise for some well forgotten quest to purchase things I didn't really need. As I entered onto the sky bridge, a low rumbling came through the towers, the lights flickered off. Looking out through the large pane windows, a dark silhouette of a tornado was slowly forming over the vast city landscape, the city was turning off.

Screams occupied my ears. Around me, a scattering mess of people running to safety. Run. I dumped my huge bag on a table in the midst of the chaos. No. First, I need to find my most crucial belongings.

I began to sift through my things in search of my phone... I found my secondhand Kindle. I secretly wanted a Kobo or a Kindle Oasis! The added feature of the warm backlight and the ergonomics were far better in the earlier versions!! I cast it aside with an internal squeal of delight at the prospect of getting a replacement.

The tornado was starting to get closer as I hurriedly scrambled through my bag. Where is my phone!?! The building I just exited ripped away, leaving my half of the sky bridge exposed to the gusty elements. The tornado retreated.

I just couldn't find it. Arrrrgh what ever will I do without my phone!? I pulled out all my personal belongings, my jumper, my flask, my other flask for tea, sports gear, pole heels, my earbuds, my homemade lunch (a crushed vegetarian sandwich), the other lunch I bought (kimchi beef onigiri), keys to various things, my wallet. I saw the tornado gaining speed towards me in my periphery vision. I sighed. It's okay. This is just a dream. I'll go on without my phone because this isn't real.

My memory fades to smoke.

I very rarely remember my dreams. I think I was in a semi lucid state, but the events triggered some deep seated truths allowed this memory remain.

I'm just disappointed that my consumerist mindset seeps into my unconscious. I spent so much effort acquiring a secondhand Kindle - my pride is wrapped up in it - but after watching many a reviews, my true desire to have the most recent model which is totally missing the point of the endeavour.

After getting wrapped up in frustration, I finally left my phone behind after resigning to the fact that it's just a dream and that's what brought me comfort? It makes me wonder what I would do in such a situation. Which should be, dump bag, run full pelt. I have a feeling that's not the case.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

I dug up some old Minecrafts

I was watching some Twitch streams, and I came across one which was playing an old Modpack that I used to play - The Madpack by JonBams & Keehan.

So I found two old Minecraft worlds from 2 years ago! I wanted to put them here for safe keeping since I put quite a bit of time and effort into them and I had so much fun making them. Additionally they're very flakey - I was tinkering around in one of them and it crashed. Now, the entire world projectile vomits Java errors every time it tries to find the instance... I managed to restore it for some pictures.

Let's check it out~

The Madpack

omg be gentle

I have a bit of a fear of modded games. Particularly in Minecraft 1.6, the chances of the game bugging out on you or your spawn location being in an infinite ocean was pretty high.

this ma base
Apparently I enjoyed living in a pentagonal layer cake in the middle of the ocean.

fuel everything with pink
I used these pink energy generators that allow you to create power from pink items. This farm automatically sheers off pink wool, pipe the wool into generators and away you go. The sheep are in force juice to make their wool grow back super fast. There are much more efficient ways of getting power but this is definitely the prettiest.

I don't eat duplicated food
This pack allows you to duplicate items, but I only eat organically grown, fresh produce. This is my  humane pig farm that ahem, sheers the pigs for layers of their skin and cooks it to produce bacon. Which you can then store in the Baconator, which automagically feeds you while you're hard at work. I wish this item existed in the real world.

quintuple compressed cobblestone generator
There's a pretty over-powered (synonymous with fun) mod called Aethercraft. It allows you to duplicate items based on their worth. This is a cobblestone extractor (right) which then compresses them 4 times into quintuple compressed cobblestone (value of 236,196 or 23 diamonds), which is transported right to my item storage.

good times :)
This is the ME system, which allows you to store all your items as data. It's not possible for me to play vanilla Minecraft anymore because of this mod.


SkyFactory is a little different because you spawn on top of a tree, on top of a dirt block. Using the mods provided, it's possible to generate all the materials to create a world.

I loved it because it is purely technical. It also used very similar mods as Madpack as it was developed at the same time so there are a lot of repeated mechanisms in the two worlds.

Also I hate infinite void so the challenge of perpetual heart attack was... fun?

I couldn't have a Nether portal near my bed because the Nether also didn't have any land. So when I finally went to the Nether, the platform that I created spawned a huge amount of monsters, and they would push themselves into the overworld. It would have been a good idea to make it into a mob spawner but honestly, I didn't know any better back then.

You can play these by downloading the ATLauncher!

Anyway, enough reminiscing. Back to playing other video games.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Raspberry Pi Security Camera

So I'm moving to place with a high crime rate so strategically I've decided to make a security camera using my untouched Raspberry Pi. My security camera streams video at 1 fps to a web page and uploads AVI's of movement to Dropbox. I used:

  • Raspberry Pi ($35)
  • Unused web cam ($10)
  • Micro SD card 8gb ($10)
  • Wifi USB dongle ($5)

Knowing basic unix commands and python helped a lot in customising and troubleshooting as some instructions are a little out of date.

The project took me one day to complete. I'm really happy with the results. The streaming only lags by approximately one second which I thought was super impressive.

To improve this, I'd like to create a script that emails me when a file is uploaded to Dropbox... and perhaps set off a buzzer in a drawer to freak someone out.

Personal new tab page

I've created a personal "new tab" page as the default one that shows my most visited web pages reminds me of my spiraling shopping addiction problem. It features:
If anyone is interested in my page, message me :)

Saturday 27 September 2014

Not mechatronic ears~

I went to The Edge for a Making Mechatronic Ears workshop and I made these! The power needed was grossly miscalculated so they're essentially just ears.

We used a Cheapduino which is programmed using plastic.

??????? O_O

My Amazon-Twitch Fan Fic

Twitch is a website dedicated to live-streaming video games. It is my primary source of entertainment and to be honest, my only one true love. The recent Amazon-Twitch acquisition not only has the potential to make for a better Twitch experience, but could change Twitch's product offering.

A few weeks ago (before the acquisition), I ventured out to an AWS meet up, expecting to learn about Amazon Web Services (deploying web applications to the cloud). Turns out I had read the invitation incorrectly, and I walked into a Amazon Work Spaces demonstration. All attendees worked for financial intermediaries and what not so I felt out of place amidst all the fancy suits and well-polished shoes in my school-girl tartan skirt and people stomping boots.

Other than learning that I found desktop deployment soul-wrenchingly monotonous, at the conclusion of the presentation, they displayed a really awesome new product called Amazon AppStream. It is for highly resource-intensive applications, like video games, 3D modelling and visual editing, running in the cloud. They conducted a demonstration running Diablo 3 so that the visuals were streamed to the screen while controls were streamed to the server in real time. I was super impressed as it was effectively high definition, low latency gaming, my only two criteria for a satisfying gaming experience (other than the game). The critical thing is that it was done using a Microsoft Surface Pro which lacks the hardware to play such games, especially with such a sleek form-factor.

At the time, I thought it was a shame. Amazon will not be able to market this sort of technology to the general public. Through an outlet like Twitch, I believe that now it is possible.

The hardware needed to play the majority of games can be quite an investment. Add high quality streaming, high quality audio and film peripherals and that's something else altogether. Large streamers like DethRidge (who receives an average of 3,000 concurrent viewers) need to purchase two computers to maintain the quality of their stream. One for playing video games at a high quality, another to capture the screen at a high resolution.

DethRidgeCraft's PC's ($1495 + $855 disregarding peripherals)
Perhaps every single one of my friends (not that I have many) has told me that they would like to start streaming but they lack the equipment to do so.

For the majority of streamers, attaining hardware is one of their main problems, as a low quality stream can really put off the average Twitch viewer which prevent small streams from getting their fair consideration. A large segment of potential streamers are typically students without capital to invest but lots of time to spare, the perfect streamer.

There is a massive untapped market that AppStream could theoretically fulfill. In regards to Twitch, it will be unnecessary for a streamer to upload visuals and audio from both the game and their webcam. Rather, they would download visuals (which is usually more efficient than uploading), their input and web cam will be uploaded, then synced using AppStream and AWS then distributed to Twitch viewers.

This opens opportunities for pass the controller, "Twitch plays insert name", less lag and allows all streamers to have the option of maintaining a high quality stream.

This is meant to be a very high level wish list. There are tonnes of details missing that need to be considered but I don't work for Twitch or Amazon oh well.

On a side note, if AppStream or any sort of ubiquitous gaming platform was commercialised, I don't think it will do well for the gaming industry. There will be little incentive to update graphics or performance and god forbid, console gaming will become the "classic" way of gaming. Although, internet speed will never be more crucial and I'm not going to lie, I don't understand why people need faster internet but this is totally a legitimate reason.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

I got a jawb!

I'm going to be a graduate developer at!!! So as of early next year, I'll be rotating throughout the company working on various projects in loads of different technologies.

REA put a lot of effort to making the recruitment process as enjoyable as possible. I was flown to Melbourne to do the interview and I came back with just as much knowledge about working in IT and REA as the information they gathered about me.

It's a complete miracle that I've managed to acquire this position. This was the only graduate position I actually applied for, as:
  • I didn't think I could graduate for another year or so
  • BUT this job sounded so perfect that I devised a strategy - (most likely) fail to get the position this year, then apply next year with a perfect application off what I had learned
When the offer got serious, I found out that it is possible to graduate with just my IT degree at the end of the year, so I'll be dropping my business degree to continue in the future for whenever I actually develop an interest in it.

So I'll be moving down to Melbourne for the position with my kitty cat early next year ^^

Look how excited she was when I told her.

In light of these events, I'm going to start a series on this blog about my overall honest reflections on university - what I completely despised and what I thoroughly enjoyed. Additionally, the nature of my posts will be changing in nature. I'll be focusing more on analytical content rather than observational content. It will be much more interesting to (all 2 of my) readers and give this blog a purpose.

Get hype.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Rails Girls~

Ruby on Rails is an awesome web framework, similar to Django, which I talked about a few weeks ago. I went to Rails Girls on the weekend, which allocates a day to go through in quite a bit of depth, all technologies involved in creating a website with Ruby on Rails.

These were:
  • Installation
  • Ruby
  • Combining them together with Rails
  • Github
  • Deploying to Heroku with PostgreSQL
It was super fun. It seems that the Ruby community is super strong in Brisbane. It's perfect for anyone who knows nothing about creating a website, not just Ruby on Rails.


Here's my deployed website:

I'd love to use Django or Rails for my website, however since the most complex thing I do is list my blog posts (which can even be done on the client) it seems a little over the top, especially since I'd need to pay for cloud hosting which is vastly more expensive than my cheap web hosting.


Berp Borp

I went to Intro to Electronics at The Edge tonight! It's a two hour workshop that introduces you to basic electronics concepts and fabrication - sewing with electronics.

We made badges :3 With two tiny LEDs powered by a coin cell battery, joined together with conductive thread.

It's name is Berp Borp.