The Switch to Woodworking

Most of my previous tinkering involved some sort electronics and programming, mainly because the low cost and the lack of space, equipment, tools, and the like. Recently, I’ve become interested in woodworking, or more specifically, cabinetmaking with hand tools.

Why the sudden switch you ask? More funds have become available, I now have a garage to store tools and the like, and I wanted more of a craft type hobby; something that I can do that will give me something tangible in the end.

Hand Tool Route

In terms of woodworking, I decided to go the hand tool route instead of power tools for multiple reasons. The main reason is to become more in touch with the craft. Other reasons include it requires less space and the tools are cheaper than power tools. The main drawback to using hand tools is that building stuff takes a bit longer but hey, it’s a hobby and hobbies are meant to fill time.

The only power tool that I’ve been using on my projects so far is my Makita XFD11ZB Sub‑Compact Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver‑Drill and that’s because I don’t have a bit brace, auger set, nor egg beater style hand drill. One thing I want to avoid is being a purest and use power tools where necessary and/or convenient. Using the both and approach is the best life policy I find with most things.

Woodworking Education

In terms of my woodworking education, I’m relying mostly on the University of YouTube. Paul Sellers is by far my favorite because he makes woodworking more accessible to us hobbyists. He’s able to accomplish some fairly quality stuff with very basic hand tools which makes it cheaper for those of us that are just starting out. I do realize that there are Paul Sellers critics out there that complain about how he likes to bash tool manufacturers, but it’s hard not to have biases when you’ve been in the trade for 50 years.

Tool Making

The other thing that I enjoy about woodworking is the making of my own tools. So far I’ve made a dovetail template, shooting board, and plough/rebate plane. Posts showing the completed tools to come (I didn’t take any photos during the actual builds).

Setting Up the Raspberry Pi Zero W as a Headless Server

The other day I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a Raspberry Pi Zero W from Adafruit. You can’t beat a fully functioning $10 wireless computer. I, of course, wanted to setup the Zero W as a headless server but I couldn’t directly plug it into my network due to the lack of an Ethernet port.

Luckily I found a post that gives directions on how to setup the RPi Zero W to automatically connect to a wireless network.

After installing a fresh Raspbian image on an SD card, mount the root partition (not the boot partition) by using a fuse-ext2 on a Mac or another Linux distribution.

Open the network interfaces file for editing.

$ sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Modify the following section from

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual
    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf


auto wlan0
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Next, edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file.

$ sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Add your network information to the end of the file.

  ssid="your network name"
  psk="your network password"

Enabling SSH for A Headless Raspberry Pi

On November 30th, 2016, the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided to disable SSH by default in Raspbian for securing reasons. I understand the decision and fully support it. This, of course, is a little inconvenient for those of us that setup our Raspberry Pis as headless servers and don’t want to pull out peripherals and monitors every time we want a fresh setup. Luckily there’s a solution.

Simply create an empty file labeled ssh in the boot directory after the Raspbian image is installed.

$ touch /bootmountpoint/ssh

Get Notified of a Project Release on GitHub Using IFTTT

When setting up Google Drive on my Raspberry Pi, I came across the drive GitHub repository. I wanted to be notified when new binary releases are posted, but I didn’t want to use the GitHub Watch function because I didn’t want to be notified every time something happened on the repository.

My solution is to use IFTTT monitor the ATOM feed embedded in the GitHub Release page.

Here are the directions:

Open the GitHub repository and click on the Releases tag if available.

Screenshot 2016-05-02 at 21.20.58

On the Releases page, view the source code (Ctrl+U in Chrome & Firefox & Cmd+Opt+U in Safari) and search for the releases.atom link.

Go to IFTTT and create a recipe with RSS as the trigger and Gmail or Email as the action.

Here is a link to my public recipe.

Google Drive Utility On Raspberry Pi

I’ve finally gotten back to updating and reconfiguring my Raspberry Pi 2 as a headless server and was browsing the forums to see if there’s any other services that I can add. I came across a post on how to add a push and pull utility for Google Drive. Apparently, a Googler, Burcu Dogan, that works on the Drive team abandoned the drive project that can be used on a Linux system and Emmanuel T Odeke has since picked it up.

Here are the directions for installing it on the Raspberry Pi:

See what version of ARM processor you are using (ARMv6, ARMv7, ARMv8, etc.).

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep "model name"

Browse the drive releases and copy the latest arm binary release URL.

Make the Google Drive directory.

$ mkdir /your/drive/directory

Download the drive binary.

$ wget -O /usr/local/bin/drive

Make the binary executable.

$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/drive

Initialize drive

$ drive init /your/drive/directory

Open up the Oauth2 link in a browser, copy the key, and paste it into the Raspberry Pi console.

You should be good to go!

Tested on:

  • 05/02/2016
  • drive v0.3.4
  • Raspberry Pi 2 (BCM2709)
  • Raspbian Jessie (8)

Get Notified When Your Raspberry Pi is Booted with Pushbullet

When working with a headless Raspberry Pi, it’s nice to know when it’s back up and running during a restart. An easy way of becoming notified when your RPi is finished booting is to have it send a notification through the phenomenal service, Pushbullet. According to their website:

Pushbullet connects your devices, making it easy and automatic to share almost anything between them.

Through Pushbullet’s API, you can send yourself notifications to your desktop or to your phone.

Pushbullet Setup Instructions

The first thing you need to do is create a Pushbullet account.

Then install their mobile app for Android or iPhone, or Firefox or Chrome extension.

Grab your Pushbullet access token from your account page.

Test that Pushbullet is working from your RPi command line using curl.

$ curl -u <your_access_token_here>: -d type=note -d title="Raspberry Pi" -d body='Raspberry Pi is up!'

Raspberry Pi Setup Instructions

We’re going to send our Pushbullet command using the rc.local file which is executed once our RPi has finished booting.

Make a backup of your rc.local file.

$ sudo cp /etc/rc.local /etc/rc.local.backup

Open up the rc.local file using nano.

$ sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Add the curl command right before the exit 0 command.

curl -u <your_access_token_here>: -d type=note -d title="Raspberry Pi" -d body='Raspberry Pi is up!'

exit 0

Restart your RPi

$ sudo reboot

You should get a notification that your RPi is up.


Fix Disappearing InstallShield Installers by Disabling Windows DEP

The other night I was trying to install Panasonic’s GTWIN on my Windows 7 machine and the installer window would disappear when I got to the installation progress window.  The InstallShield icon would still be present in my taskbar and the processes would still show up in the Processes tab in Windows Task Manager, but the window itself was just gone.

After a bit of googling, I came across a forum post that suggested disabling DEP.  After following this guide on VistaForums, I was able to successfully install GTWIN.