EVieBikes recently landed in Guernsey, bringing the first ever dockless shared electric vehicles to the island. I got into contact with Gavin Breeze (founder and CEO of EVie), who kindly agreed to discuss with me where EVie came from, what the service means for the islands and their plans for the future!
Interview conducted on 2021/04/09.
A Brief History of EVie
According to Gavin, EVie bikes were “sort of all [his] fault”. After founding a software as a service (SaaS) payment company called DataCash and selling it to MasterCard, he found himself at a loose end. Deciding that he was “too young to sit around doing nothing” Gavin looked for his next project, which came shortly after hearing Phil Male (Chairman of JT) discuss a number of ideas he had for improving Jersey. Of the ideas put forth, Gavin decided that “as a private individual the only one [he] could have the […] remotest impact on was to try and move the dial towards the islands becoming all-electric islands” (moving away from internal combustion engine vehicles).
I’ve been writing regular expressions (regex) for years and would consider myself pretty good at them by now (I decline to provide references). The problem is that although it’s common to see regex as cryptic and painfully terse (which are not invalid points), they remain one of the best ways to handle complex pattern matching and as such you’ll probably run into them at least a few times in your career.
Even if you really despise writing regular expressions, here are some tips that will help to make that process as painless as possible!
If you want to just get to the good stuff, scroll down to the “Setup” section.
My wife and I finally got a new printer to replace the old one that has pretty much given up the ghost and refuses to print anymore (often considered an important feature for devices like this).
We settled on an Epson ET-2711 in large part because of the ink tank that should (hopefully) do away with the constant stream of expensive cartridges in favour of some cheaper-per-page ink bottles. I was excited to get it out and start setting it up (in part because we’re in another lockdown and what else is there to do right now)!
Imagine my frustration, dear reader, when I found out that the whole wireless setup process for this printer is terrible if you follow the official instructions. I genuinely spent a couple of hours bouncing between the Android app (which gave me a very helpful message telling me “Communication error”, to check the printer is on and not much else), the included software for Windows (which was just as helpful), the printed documentation in the box and the website, all to no avail.
The good news is that I finally figured out how to get it working. The even better news for you at home is that I’ve gone through the process three times so that I could document all of the steps to get this working properly!
I’ve been using KeePass for my password management needs since early 2014, but I recently decided that I wanted to move to something a bit more substantial. KeePass is an excellent (open source!) piece of software, but since it stores passwords in a single database file the only way that I could really sync it between multiple computers and my phone was to store that file… in Dropbox.
Yeah, as you can imagine that’s not a great solution.
Anyway, I wanted to move over to 1Password but when I tried searching for “Migrate KeePass to 1Password” I kept seeing references to 3rd party scripts I’d need to use to convert my exported data (no thanks) or that it would require a bunch of manual data entry. After giving it a go though, I can tell you it was actually ridiculously easy and straightforward and didn’t require any external tools or scripts! As such, I decided to put together this step-by-step tutorial for migrating your data from KeePass to 1Password!
I’ve spent the last couple of evenings trying to get a set of Azure Functions migrated from .NET Core 3.1 to .NET 5 so that I can play around with some of the nice new syntax options, nullable contexts and the like. Since .NET 5 has officially been released, it would be justifiable to believe that it would be well supported across the core Microsoft product catalogue, such as in… say… Azure Functions?
Mark Twain once wrote that “there is no such thing as a new idea” and quite frankly I’m starting to agree with him.
I’ve spent the last month or so actively trying to come up with some ideas for projects/ blog posts to work on that would be interesting and useful. The issue I’ve run into is that almost every time I come up with something, I give it a quick search only to find out that it’s already been done (sometimes many times over). That means another idea goes on the pile to be abandoned since “there’s no point in doing it anymore I guess”.
I’ve used SSH.NET a lot over the years to send and receive files using SFTP and it’s a very flexible and practical library, but the documentation can be a bit thin on the ground when you’re looking to use some of the more esoteric features it has.
As an example, I recently ran into an issue where I was connecting to a remote server and the host fingerprint I was receiving through SSH.NET didn’t match the one that I expected to see (and could see in WinSCP). After verifying that I was using the same connection settings on both and more than a little spelunking through the SSH.NET source code I found that by default the host key algorithms used by the stable release of SSH.NET that I was on (2016.1.0) are RSA and DSA, while WinSCP uses Ed25519. For my purposes I needed to use Ed25519 in SSH.NET as well even though the SFTP host also supported these other algorithms.
Part 4 – Final Implementation (you’re already here!)
So SoundFloored is now working just like I wanted it to with buttons and a screen, but the current build isn’t exactly what I would call robust. As such, the final part of the build involves moving what I’ve built so far into a more permanent home, one that can withstand the rigours of live performance and is far more practical to move around.
Since there were going to be four footswitches across the length of the pedal, it would need to be 28cm long (3 x 7cm for the gaps between each switch, plus 2 x 3.5cm for the gaps between the outer switches and the edge). Similar maths for the two footswitches going across the width of the pedal gives us 14cm (7cm for the gap plus 2 x 3.5cm for the edges).
I wanted to find something with these dimensions (or near enough) that I could use to house everything, so I started by looking at “project boxes” (plastic boxes designed for maker projects like this). Unfortunately, the largest project box I could easily order was barely half the size that I needed and I wasn’t interested in putting in a custom order to create one. The only option left at this point was to build something myself!
I figured that wood would be the best material for this project; although not the traditional material for a pedal, I could make it pretty much whatever size I wanted, it’s readily available, cheap and I already have some basic experience in woodworking.
At this point even though I had the dimensions I wanted to get a better perspective of how big the pedal was going to be before I started building anything. Mediocre arts and crafts to the rescue!
So this project has really been gaining some steam! I’ve figured out the design and managed to get a software implementation with two separate interfaces. Now though, I’m entering uncharted territory; the world of hardware electronics.
Now I say uncharted territory, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve previously watched a Pluralsight course called something like “Introduction to Electronics” or “Electronics Fundamentals”, although it’s also worth mentioning that I remember approximately 5% of the content. Actually, one of the few things I did remember was how a breadboard works, which is a place to start at least!
So although I’ve owned a number of Raspberry Pis over the years and have a lot of HATs/pHATs to go with them, I’ve never ventured far enough into the hardware electronics side of things to have bought any components. As such, I ordered a pretty generic looking “Electronics Fun Kit” that had pretty much everything I might need for this project; a breadboard, wires (especially wires that I could use to connect the Pi directly to the breadboard), buttons, LEDs, resistors etc. I’m sure there are higher quality components out there, but since this is all for prototyping I decided that in this case cheap and cheerful was what I was looking for.