Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time in the Olden Dayes of Yore (ie, before I bought an airplane kit), I had other hobbies.  Electronics, ham radio, programming, photography, shooting, 4-wheel-drives.  And every once in a great while (usually either by accident, or in some way related to building a plane), I go back to those hobbies, if only for a day or so.  Many months ago, I ordered a Raspberry Pi.  The demand for these little buggers was so huge that mine just now showed up on my doorstep.  I had almost forgotten I had ordered it.  The Raspberry Pi is a tiny $35 ARM-based 32-bit PC that runs linux.  I installed a variant of Debian on mine.  Then I had to figure out what I was going to do with the darned thing.  Being a GPS and map nut, I decided to build a GPS tracker.  I added an 8gig thumb drive, a cigarette lighter USB plug, a BU-353 SiRFStar III USB GPS receiver, installed gpsd (which, way back in the days when I worked at The Google and I had spare time, used to be one of the developers/maintainers of), and wrote a little bit of glue code in bash and ruby (yeah, I know python is the “official” scripting language for the Pi, but I detest python).  Anyway, now I can track everywhere I go in full 3D goodness.  Undoubtedly, this thing will end up installed in the plane once it’s done.  But in the mean time, it goes with me wherever I drive, and keeps track of everywhere my pickup has been.  I wrote some code to export the data points to KML so I can load them into Google Earth and plot them in 3D.  2D is adequate for the car, but I wanted to be able to take it on the plane with me, as well.  I fly commercially about once a week for work, so I’ll give it a try on Monday morning on my flight to Spokane (running off of AA batteries).  I just checked TripIt and made sure I have a window seat.  Well, assuming the Tub-Stacking Agency airport weenies don’t decide my computer is a nuclear bomb and confiscate it.  You know, ’cause it’s got wires and stuff.  Might confuse their tiny brains.


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