Howdy. I’m Ben. I’m a minimalist. I hate owning stuff. And even more than I hate owning stuff, I hate carrying stuff.

So when Paul invited us to trek the Himalayas with him in the beginning of April 2021, I set out to do it with as little stuff as possible.

To keep things simple, here’s exactly what I recommend, after my experience:

  • Lip balm
  • Water bottle or camelback
  • Powerbank
  • Down jacket
  • Some kind of base layer (I used a cotton sweater)
  • Two longsleeve shirts and one shortsleeve
  • Outdoor pants and indoor pants
  • Tights (I wore running…

This is part II of a series about building a web controlled robotics platform. Part I was setting up Janus and serving demos with Node.js. Part III will be hooking up a robot!

Today, we’re going to build a react app to manage Janus, and create and serve streams programatically. This should make it easy to add robots and create pages for them.

First things first, ssh in to your server and follow instructions at to create a template. Basically

ssh yourserver
npx create-react-app robot-server
cd robot-server
npm start

Hoooray! If you browse over to http://yourserver:3000 you…

way back in the analog days — no SD card, no drama

TL;DR testdisk + mp4fixer. Skip to the bottom for helpful scripts.

In the good robot lab, we’ve got loads and loads of SD cards. Most of them carry some flavor of linux and power a raspberry pi, but a few live in cameras in case we need to capture a robot’s first baby steps, or first words or something.

Unlike our very cute robots, we ourselves are stumbling, bumbling humans, and that means we tend to be a little bit lazy, and that means we’re vulnerable to the consequences of our laziness. …

I’m creating a pickable scene in Blender, using two flat colors. It looks like this.

Each object in the scene has a light and dark material, and I wrote a script to change the material color when an object is highlighted. Since the materials are separate, the picking doesn’t look right.

hello, world?


Have you used the Remote SSH extension in Visual Studio Code? You may not have realized, but with default settings it eats up a RIDICULOUS amount of cpu on the host.

On small or shared core servers, this can easily exceed 100% cpu capacity, shut down critical processes, and make the server useless real quick.

The solution is to disable the automatically enabled, totally hidden, idiotic TS/JS Language Service extension which installs and runs massive node processes on your server. Instructions at the bottom.


I’m a sublime text person. If not for one small shortcoming, I would still…

Janus is sweet! Here in the good robot lab, we use Janus to stream video live from a Raspberry Pi all over the world with about 100ms latency. The actual transport technology is WebRTC, but Janus is an open source signalling server which allows computers to make Peer to Peer WebRTC connections for industrial grade, low latency communication. WebRTC is the future of media streaming, so if you’re interested in this kind of tech, go ahead and take a few minutes to read up. Don’t worry, we’ll wait!

Today, we’re going to go from zero to one hundred, meaning we’ll…

The Pi is a powerful piece of hardware for IoT projects, and once you connect it to eduroam you’ll be able to access the web instantly from all over the world

Connecting your Pi to eduroam is great, coz it means you’ll have net access automatically on more than 600 college campuses worldwide. Getting synced up with eduroam on a Pi is mostly a matter of following the eduroam linux setup instructions, but with a couple caveats:

  1. You may have to hack your university’s CA cert on to the pi
  2. wpa_supplicant has some strange required fields unique to Raspbian

I’ll walk through dealing with…

(or Francis and Nadine get a drink in Stockholm)

With God’s own grace, Francis sat at the bar on a stool, working his nail under the seal of a bottle he had climbed up on the counter, reached above, and stolen. The bartender had been on the toilet or something for at least half an hour.

It’s alright before noon as long as the bottle’s square, or, it’s alright before noon if it’s not a screw-off, to have a drink. He couldn’t remember.

Nadine sat next to him and watched with her head down. …

Lots of us want to achieve stuff, which is great, but our big dreams often get hung up when we’re actually faced with the nitty gritty every day lil mountains we have to climb to make progress towards them.

I want to play jazz piano like Herbie, speak german in a relaxed and cool way like the dealers in the park outside my house, and honestly just about every week I have a fantastic new pipe dream about something I want to learn how to do. …

One maybe important thing I learned from having a dick and thinking ok how do I deal with that is…

There are so, so many completely different things that can be going on inside your head at once. Things so different, they may as well belong to separate people with separate personalities and waking hours, roommates in the tiny space between your ears, who try to force, drag, trick, guilt, somehow manipulate the rest of your body in to doing stuff, but with different strategies and ‘communication tools.’

What I‘m trying to say is that, for example, if I want…

Ben Olayinka

Ben is an engineer, an optimist about love, a record collector, a poser writer, and a goofy DJ who plays disco everywhere.

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