Oy, so much work

Just so you know, this is a terrible week (has there ever been a good one?). I’m doing this big deal faculty seminar at my university tomorrow, which has my anxiety jacked to 100, and I’m giving an exam on Friday, increasing student anxiety, and I have students who have been exposed to COVID and are quarantined, and I haven’t been able to go out spidering as much as I would enjoy. It also didn’t help to have FtB suddenly crash out. Things are happening, though. We’re making real progress on getting the apparatus for some behavioral studies running, and even have a backlog of data piling up from nightly time-lapse runs. Here’s another one.

We’re slowly clearing away bottlenecks. We’re still uploading data as we collect it on our Raspberry Pi to a Google Drive (that was about 2 gigabytes of frames for that video), and then downloading it to our personal computers. One catch is that Mac makes me unhappy again, choking on the download. Linux makes me happy because it has absolutely no problem smoothly downloading data from Google, but then it makes me unhappy because it doesn’t have the sweet easy video tools I want. But then Mac makes me happy because it does, so I just use a flash drive to move the data to my Mac, which can instantly convert everything. So the data is flowing from Raspberry Pi → Google Drive → Linux → Mac, and then to YouTube. It’s nice to see everyone getting along, but if we had a way to bypass one step of that pathway, I’d probably take it. Especially since at some point I might want to have a couple of Raspberry Pis chugging away at observations.


  1. seedye says

    Can’t the Raspberry PI write to the flash drive? Good ole sneakernet.

    Or if you’re trying to avoid going into the office, maybe something like rsync to get it to the Mac? You can use noip.com to set up a permanent domain for your home Mac so you don’t have to keep updating the IP address for rsync.

    I think rsync has error recovery mechanisms that resend failed bits efficiently, which might help if the Mac is having issues downloading large files over the internet.

  2. PaulBC says

    I have students who have been exposed to COVID and are quarantined

    Sorry, it just makes me incredibly angry that the US has chosen a de facto policy of letting the pandemic “wash over us” as I think somebody put it (and I think I know who).

    Yes, there is great benefit to in-person instruction. There is also such a thing as a risk/benefit analysis. My company is smart enough to understand that the benefits of having everyone come back to the office do not outweigh the risk of spreading a virus, and we’re all doing fine over Zoom. Would in-person be better? Sure, if nobody was going to get sick in the process.

    The difference is I work for a private company with mostly highly paid employees who aren’t going to be pushed around. Students will generally do what is expected of them and won’t complain much. I don’t blame the students. I do blame the messaging from the top. Other nations have not f***ed up this pandemic the way we have in the US. (Thankfully, my kids’ high school is not being stupid about it, and classes are continuing as usual, just over Zoom. Again, not optimal, but it beats getting a virus we have less than a year’s experience with.)

    Sorry, nothing original about this rant. I just get pissed off every time I read about some business or school “reopening” and then being surprised that people are getting sick. It’s like we’re in a zombie apocalypse except instead of holing up against the brain eaters, the conventional wisdom is: eh, the zombies will probably try to eat your brain no matter what you do. Most people survive the zombie attack. If you’re one of the vulnerable, you’re gonna be dead by next year anyway. Just go outside now and “get it over with.”

  3. PaulBC says

    Also very angry at rightwing attorney Harmeet Dhillon (last seen trying to gin up a class action suit for crybaby James Damore) who has expressed great personal pride in her success at undermining efforts by the state of California to control the pandemic (silly me, I was blaming Newsom). I mean, I am sure she is not alone in her efforts, and Republican-run states haven’t required such a powerful legal assist in maximizing the number of people who die from COVID-19, but Dhillon is without doubt the statewide hero of the virus death cult. Is there an award for this kind of thing?

    (OK, I’ll shut up but it was that one aside about PZ’s students. I really can’t get over what a stupid nation I was born into.)

  4. lotharloo says

    I have not tried it, but as far as know, you can mount your Google drive in linux. It should be possible to mount your Mac drives in linux as well and it should simplify some of the steps.

  5. Bad Bart says

    Can you share the filesystem from either the Mac or the Linux system and mount with the other one? Then you can write/read directly to/from a shared folder. That would get the flash drive step out of the process.

  6. fossboxer says

    I have a time-lapse pi camera working my front porch. The pi (an older version 2) is networked to my home LAN via a tiny TP-LINK USB wifi card that costs ten bucks on amazon. Every snapshot is scripted to use “scp” to send the image to a folder on a Linux box in my office upstairs. Works great.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    NB- Do not allow yourself to burn out by excessive work! Once you get there, it takes months , or more probably years to recover fully. A co-worker of mine never recovered at all.
    Please listen to any warning signs of your body, like insomnia, inability to concentrate, memory problems et cetera.
    At home, I recommend decompressing with a “so bad it is good” film.
    Or watch ‘Family Guy’.

  8. bcwebb says

    You could increase the size of you field and add a right angle mirror that looks through the side of the vial and get 3D information on where the spider is. You get a little bit of information from the position of the spider’s shadow also.
    Don’t know if that would be valuable.

  9. billseymour says

    You mentioned in a previous post about the possibility of making the web visible with side lighting or something. If we could see the structure that’s being built, that would make the video a whole lot more interesting.

  10. says

    Yes, we can mount the Google Drive on Raspberry Pi, my home LInux system, and on Mac. The problem is that the Mac gacks up and fails if I try to transfer 2G all at once from Google — I have to do it a few hundred MB at a time. I prefer adding an extra step that doesn’t require me to nursemaid it along for a few hours.

    Huh. I was thinking of adding a second pi to get another axis, but a mirror would be cheaper and simpler.

    Our students are smarter than some of the townies. I heard from one that a business they work at is actively preventing employees from following safe practices (and one of their coworkers was just diagnosed with covid).

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Yup. The Russian guy was poisoned with Novichok. Remember, your president regards Putin as a mentor, he would totally do the same if he could.
    (and now back on topic again)

  12. hemidactylus says

    @7- birgerjohansson

    Having gotten burnt out on Always Sunny because Vice keeps replaying the same episodes I finally caved after all these years to Family Guy. It is over the top so I should expect some off-putting stuff, but I started noticing a disconcerting pattern of the obligatory Jew joke. And these explore stereotypes in a way I can’t just file away in some rationalization folder.

    I was motivated to search it out and found this:

    Kyle in South Park is Jewish and only Cartman makes an issue of it. Cartman is a dipshit bigot foil to add social commentary as South Park is wont to do. They even lampooned SJWs with PC Principal and took on cancel culture…trying to stay relevant I guess.

    Say what you want about South Park but they seem to approach some stuff in a less negative way. Timmy and Jimmy as disabled characters seem to be humanized and part of the gang. Is South Park too ableist or derogatory of the disabled at least comparatively speaking?


    There are other aspects of Family Guy (putting aside negative Jewish tropism and ableist crap) that are disturbingly funny, but the show makes South Park look highbrow social commentary in contrast.

  13. bcwebb says

    @10 the other advantage of using a mirror is you don’t have to worry about image synchronization.

  14. Sean Boyd says

    I haven’t used Google Drive in some time, but I seem to remember that the desktop app provided the ability to throttle upload and download speeds. That might be worth trying, if you haven’t.

  15. Rich Woods says

    @bcwebb #15:

    the other advantage of using a mirror is you don’t have to worry about image synchronization.

    Personally I find that half-a-nanosecond discrepancy quite disturbing.

  16. says

    “So the data is flowing from Raspberry Pi → Google Drive → Linux → Mac, and then to YouTube.”

    If you can download to your MAC from the local network instead of the internet you can greatly simplify the setup and boost all transfer speeds by 10x or more. To do this setup another RasPi with one or more large USB hard disks as a an NAS (network attached storage) using the NFS protocol. Then the RasPi camera(s) upload to the local NAS and your MAC downloads from the NAS. If you want cloud storage as well, have the NAS synchronize to Google Drive.

  17. Alt-X says

    Hey PZ,
    What are you using to access google drive file on the mac? If you’re using a web browser, try using Firefox or Chrome.

    You shouldn’t be having problems :( let us know how you go.