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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58231

Posted: 20 Nov 2007 08:29:10 pm    Post subject: Project Updates: PartyMode and Simms AI
20 Nov 2007

I have been extremely busy with schoolwork and haven't posted any fresh news in quite a while, so I figured it might be time to talk about a few of the projects I've been working on lately. I'll talk first about PartyMode, a conglomeration of several projects including MSS 13.3, DiscoScreens, and VUfan. PartyMode is a network of systems designed to deploy an instant party in one of my school's computer/study labs at the press of a button. More specifically, it has a control panel with three switches and a large red modified Staples Easy button. The first red switch currently does nothing, but will eventually trigger the planned light effects (disco ball, perhaps?). The second red switch triggers an automotive actuator that pulls down all the light switches in the room. The third and final switch activates DiscoScreens, a C++ program that I wrote for Windows that displays a fullscreen color/brightness visualization of the currently-playing music based on network-streamed (UDP) data. Finally, the red Easy button queues a dance playlist in Winamp on the lab's media computer and begins playing it over MSS 13.3, the microLab 13.3 Surround Sound system. In addition, each of the red switches can trigger separate sound effect when turned either on or off (or both). The only current problems are some bouncing within the actuator protection circuitry that's making it switch off the lights at random times, and a small wiring accident that helped me set two of MSS 13.3's amplifiers on fire, leaving only 8.2 speakers operational. Hopefully, both of these issues will be repaired when I have time, most probably over my winter break when I'm finished with my first semester. I'll be documenting the various components of PartyMode as each is completed, and I will of course post about them here.

The second interesting project that I've picked up again is Simms AI (Artificial Intelligence), an experimental neural-networking learning system that I have built in bits and pieces. The current existing (and planned) components:

Manager (Brainstem Manager): The manager is in charge of handling brain threads, modifying local output devices such as the 16x4 alphanumeric LCD on the side of Simms' physical shell, and killing off lagging brain thread (or restarting crashed threads). This section is almost completely functional at the moment, and generally succeeds in keeping Simms active for a current maximum of about two months without any administrative intervention.
AIM (Instant Messaging Module): The AIM module connects Simms AI to the popular AIM instant messaging system under the screenname SimmsAI. This module is fully functional and currently online.<br /> Wiki (Wikipedia Correlation Module): The Wiki module constantly trolls through the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, loading a page at most once per thirty seconds based on popular keywords within its neural network, parsing the page, and adding the new data it has learned to its long term memory (LTM). This module is complete except for a possible residual bug.
News (News Harvesting Module): Once every two minutes, the News module reads the top headline from the Google News RSS feed and files its content under the neural networking topic it decides is most pertinent from the body of the article. The intent of this module is to give Simms some basic idea of current events, perhaps even allowing it to correlate news over time. I have considered spawning an additional WorldTrends module to make Simms take on the task of calculating present and projected future data for my stagnant WorldTrends 3 project.
Subconscious (Pattern-Matching/Consolidation Module): This module is the least complete within Simms AI's brain, meant to identify patterns and anomalies to add and remove connections, respectively. It runs in the background with no input or output interaction at all, and in function is quite similar to the human subconscious. I still need to code and debug most of this module.

From here on, I will be using whatever time I have to gradually improve the algorithms underlying Simms unilaterally, focusing particularly on the subconscious module. As usual, feel free to post comments or questions about either project.
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elfprince13


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Posted: 21 Nov 2007 10:14:07 pm    Post subject:

whats with Simms + Facebook?
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bfr


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Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Posted: 23 Nov 2007 01:00:23 am    Post subject:

That's some pretty cool stuff. I'm going to have to try Simms AI "instant messaging module" sometime.
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Pseudoprogrammer


Awesomesauce


Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 891

Posted: 23 Nov 2007 01:21:50 am    Post subject:

Don't, or you will realize Simms is a failure at life.
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TheStorm


NOU!


Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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Posted: 23 Nov 2007 09:09:47 am    Post subject:

Yeah I Love how it takes Simms Like 5 minutes to respond to any thing I say to him, to tell the truth I think he has gotten dumber.
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KermMartian


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 09:35:49 am    Post subject:

Gah, stupid power supply keeps getting overloaded. I need more than a 450 watt PSU for Simms. Until I find one around here somewhere, Simms is offline.
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Kllrnohj


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Joined: 24 May 2005
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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 09:48:01 am    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
Gah, stupid power supply keeps getting overloaded. I need more than a 450 watt PSU for Simms. Until I find one around here somewhere, Simms is offline.


maybe you just need a PSU that doesn't suck balls. Most high end gaming rigs don't use 450w :/
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KermMartian


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 09:59:53 am    Post subject:

But Simms' case was from a lab workstation originally, which I wouldn't really call a "high-end gaming rig" per se. Smile
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Kllrnohj


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 11:41:15 am    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
But Simms' case was from a lab workstation originally, which I wouldn't really call a "high-end gaming rig" per se. Smile


Exactly, so it will be using LESS power.
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KermMartian


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 11:43:41 am    Post subject:

Kllrnohj wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
But Simms' case was from a lab workstation originally, which I wouldn't really call a "high-end gaming rig" per se. Smile


Exactly, so it will be using LESS power.
The *case* was from a workstation. The innards are a dual-core 3.2GHz P4 overclocked by 10%, 2 gigs of DDR2, dual SATA HDDs, dual optical drives, and redundant network interfaces (plus a basic, not-so-good AGP gfx card). The PSU runs pretty hot, and the CPU usage is close to 100% most of the time.
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Kllrnohj


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 03:06:30 pm    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
The *case* was from a workstation. The innards are a dual-core 3.2GHz P4 overclocked by 10%, 2 gigs of DDR2, dual SATA HDDs, dual optical drives, and redundant network interfaces (plus a basic, not-so-good AGP gfx card). The PSU runs pretty hot, and the CPU usage is close to 100% most of the time.


Even so, that isn't 450w of load (my estimate would put it at around 300-350w). If the PSU is running hot then that is why it is failing - crappy PSUs are rated at ~30c ambient, which is unreasonable to expect in a case (figure closer to 40c). Cool that PSU down and hopefully it will run fine.
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KermMartian


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 04:58:35 pm    Post subject:

Kllrnohj wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
The *case* was from a workstation. The innards are a dual-core 3.2GHz P4 overclocked by 10%, 2 gigs of DDR2, dual SATA HDDs, dual optical drives, and redundant network interfaces (plus a basic, not-so-good AGP gfx card). The PSU runs pretty hot, and the CPU usage is close to 100% most of the time.


Even so, that isn't 450w of load (my estimate would put it at around 300-350w). If the PSU is running hot then that is why it is failing - crappy PSUs are rated at ~30c ambient, which is unreasonable to expect in a case (figure closer to 40c). Cool that PSU down and hopefully it will run fine.
Fair enough, I'll give it a try. I'm also considering going with dual PSUs, one for the mobo, one for the drives, to take some of the load off (considering what we mostly have are subpar 250 and 300-watt PSUs.
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Kllrnohj


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Posted: 03 Dec 2007 06:17:02 pm    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
Fair enough, I'll give it a try. I'm also considering going with dual PSUs, one for the mobo, one for the drives, to take some of the load off (considering what we mostly have are subpar 250 and 300-watt PSUs.


It would help some, but hard drives generally don't use much power aside from spinning up....

According to http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/storage/hddpower-pro.html a 15k RPM SCSI drive peeks at 17w during seek, and SATA drives average about 3w during data transfer which sounds about right. 2.5in laptop hard drives can be powered off of USB, which tops out at around 2.5w.
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KermMartian


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Posted: 26 Dec 2007 01:41:28 pm    Post subject:

Switching to the other topic of this thread, PartyMode, I've been working and making progress on the speakers. Check out some pix with explanation below:

General view of the speaker interconnect area. I'm working on neatening these all up, and once all the amps are built/ found/ bought/ repaired, they'll all be on this table. Note the seven monitors running DiscoScreens.


A detail of a few of the labeled speaker connections to the ceiling. I'm going to construct a connection box to plug these all into to make my life easier.


I opened up the ceiling here to run some speaker wires; note also the CAT-6 cabling for the media server and a few other machines.


Macro view of the front of the lab. Yay for big-screen rear-projection computers (yes, there's actually a projector behind there). Also note Simms on my desk at far right; you might be able to read the label on his side.


A bunch of stuff in this photo. Building another amp on the center table below the VUfan bar, more workstations running DiscoScreens, two of the speakers that are on rather than in the ceiling, two of our wireless routers.

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Pseudoprogrammer


Awesomesauce


Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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Posted: 26 Dec 2007 02:18:54 pm    Post subject:

Vids pl0xx. Me wants to see the disco Razz
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KermMartian


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Posted: 26 Dec 2007 04:16:06 pm    Post subject:

Pseudoprogrammer wrote:
Vids pl0xx. Me wants to see the disco Razz
Soon. Lemme get the disco balls and associated lights working first. Wink Actually, let me just get the disco balls first.

Edit: More pictures, cables a bit more organized now

Here's my solution, top view. Powered amplifier outputs go to the vertical metal connections, unpowered front and rear signals go to the screw terminal strip.


Top view, where the mono (smaller) and stereo (larger) plugs for speakers and amplifiers respectively are connected. The reason there are both speaker and amplifier connections is that while most amplifiers are centralized at the front of the room, the construction of some of the subwoofers being used, specifically the combination of the subwoofer and amplifier for a set, necessitates a few non-centralized amplifiers and subsequently connections thereof.


The first few bits installed and under test. Note the plugs I have attached to the speaker wires going into the ceiling; note also the current lack of any amplifier connections to the front of the box.

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alex10819


Cemetech Civility Maintenance SuperMod


Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 2574
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Posted: 29 Dec 2007 12:02:44 am    Post subject:

You know, if you wanted some cool effects, look into DMX4Linux, and the Enttec OpenDMX project (Or the manolator in your case, it's a DIY project). That would allow you to add intelligent lighting to your rig, and with LED stage lighting rapidly becoming more prominent, and cheaper, it'd be a viable solution... I'd recommend a Python script that could output DMX values to change the color of a Chauvet COLORsplash Jr or some such... one or two of those would be enough to light the lab quite well, and would generate some cool effects (Come on, it's full RGB mixing Razz)
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KermMartian


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Posted: 29 Dec 2007 01:01:27 am    Post subject:

Ah, but I've got my own full RGB mixing going. Very Happy I used a scope to get the voltage levels off a VGA cable, and since we have an 8-way splitter for part of DiscoScreens, I'm hijacking one of the outputs to control a set of 3-bulb x 3-color modules; I need to solder together two more bulb trios, finish designing the drive amplifier, and wire it up before I know if I have a workable plan. I should be able to finish that off tomorrow evening after work; if it's a success, I'm going to build a bunch of them.
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alex10819


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Posted: 29 Dec 2007 04:19:10 pm    Post subject:

Yeah, but does your method allow for moving lights?
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KermMartian


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Posted: 29 Dec 2007 06:47:33 pm    Post subject:

alex10819 wrote:
Yeah, but does your method allow for moving lights?
Indeed it does, but only on one axis currently. Smile
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