Trans Scend Survival

Trans: Latin prefix implying "across" or "Beyond", often used in gender nonconforming situations – Scend: Archaic word describing a strong "surge" or "wave", originating with 15th century english sailors – Survival: 15th century english compound word describing an existence only worth transcending.

Some GDAL shell macros from R instead of rgdal

also here on github

it's not R sacrilege if nobody knows

Even the little stuff benefits from some organizational scripting, even if it’s just to catalog one’s actions. Here are some examples for common tasks.

Get all the source data into a R-friendly format like csv. ogr2ogr has a nifty option -lco GEOMETRY=AS_WKT (Well-Known-Text) to keep track of spatial data throughout abstractions- we can add the WKT as a cell until it is time to write the data out again.

# define a shapefile conversion to csv from system's shell:
sys_SHP2CSV <- function(shp) {
  csvfile <- paste0(shp, '.csv')
  shpfile <-paste0(shp, '.shp')
  if (!file.exists(csvfile)) {
    # use -lco GEOMETRY to maintain location
    # for reference, shp --> geojson would look like:
    # system('ogr2ogr -f geojson output.geojson input.shp')
    # keeps geometry as WKT:
    cmd <- paste('ogr2ogr -f CSV', csvfile, shpfile, '-lco GEOMETRY=AS_WKT')
    system(cmd)  # executes command
  } else {
    print(paste('output file already exists, please delete', csvfile, 'before converting again'))

Read the new csv into R:

# for file 'foo.shp':
foo_raw <- read.csv(sys_SHP2CSV(shp='foo'), sep = ',')

One might do any number of things now, some here lets snag some columns and rename them:

# rename the subset of data "foo" we want in a data.frame:
foo <- data.frame(foo_raw[1:5])
colnames(foo) <- c('bar', 'eggs', 'ham', 'hello', 'world')

We could do some more careful parsing too, here a semicolon in cell strings can be converted to a comma:

# replace ` ; ` to ` , ` in col "bar":
foo$bar <- gsub(pattern=";", replacement=",", foo$bar)

Do whatever you do for an output directory:

# make a output file directory if you're into that
# my preference is to only keep one set of output files per run
# here, we'd reset the directory before adding any new output files
redir <- function(outdir) {
  if (dir.exists(outdir)) {
    system(paste('rm -rf', outdir))

Of course, once your data is in R there are countless "R things" one could do...

# iterate to fill empty cells with preceding values
for (i in 1:length(foo[,1])) {
  if (nchar(foo$bar[i]) < 1) {
    foo$bar[i] <- foo$bar[i-1]
  # fill incomplete rows with NA values:
  if (nchar(foo$bar[i]) < 1) {
    foo[i,] <- NA  

# remove NA rows if there is nothing better to do:
newfoo <- na.omit(foo)

Even though this is totally adding a level of complexity to what could be a single ogr2ogr command, I've decided it is still worth it- I'd definitely rather keep track of everything I do over forget what I did.... xD

# make some methods to write out various kinds of files via gdal:
to_GEO <- function(target) {
  print(paste('converting', target, 'to geojson .... '))
  system(paste('ogr2ogr -f', " geojson ",  paste0(target, '.geojson'), paste0(target, '.csv')))

to_SHP <- function(target) {
  print(paste('converting ', target, ' to ESRI Shapefile .... '))
  system(paste('ogr2ogr -f', " 'ESRI Shapefile' ",  paste0(target, '.shp'), paste0(target, '.csv')))

# name files:
foo_name <- 'output_foo'

# for table data 'foo', first:
write.csv(foo, paste0(foo_name, '.csv'))

# convert with the above csv:


When it must be Windows….

Added here on Github

Regarding Windows-specific software, such as ArcMap:

Remote Desktop:
The greatest solution I've settled on for ArcMap use continues to be Chrome Remote Desktop, coupled with an IT Surplus desktop purchased for ~$50. Once Chrome is good to go on the remote Windows computer, one can operate everything from a web browser from anywhere else (even reboot and share files to and from the remote computer). While adding an additional, dedicated computer like this may not be possible for many students, it is certainly the simplest and most dependable solution.

VirtualBox, Bootcamp, etc:
Oracle's VirtualBox is a longstanding (and free!) virtualization software. A Windows virtual machine is vastly preferable over Bootcamp or further partition tomfoolery.
One can start / stop the VM only when its needed, store it on a usb stick, avoid insane pmbr issues, etc.

  • Bootcamp will consume at least 40gb of space at all times before even attempting to function, whereas even a fully configured Windows VirtualBox VDI will only consume ~22gb, and can be moved elsewhere if not in use.
  • There are better (not free) virtualization tools such as Parallels, though any way you slice it a dedicated machine will almost always be a better solution.

Setup & Configure VirtualBox:

There are numerous sites with VirtualBox guides, so I will not go into detail here.

Extra bits on setup-

  • Guest Additions are not necessary, despite what some folks may suggest.

  • Dynamically Allocated VDI is the way to go as a virtual disk. There is no reason not to set the allocated disk size to the biggest value allowed, as it will never consume any more space than the virtual machine actually needs.

  • Best to click through all the other machine settings just to see what is available, it is easy enough to make changes over time.

  • There are many more levels of convoluted not worth stooping to, ranging from ArcMap via AWS EC2 or openstack to KVM/QEMU to WINE. Take it from me


Weekend Design: Laser-cuttable FPGA Demo Enclosure

Link- Digilent Xilinx Genesys 2 FPGA Reference (Display is a panel from New Haven)
Link to A360 Page

Ubuntu on Captive Portal WiFi


Some distros (Ubuntu and its derivatives on my Macbook for instance) struggle to find a route to the captive portal on public networks (read: Starbucks). Assuming you want to connect the way they intend (via the gateway through the captive portal) because you are a rule abiding patron, all you need to do is visit the address of the gateway. There is no need to fiddle with your network drivers, disable SSL stuff or engage in plebian network tomfoolery.

find and open wifi captive portal (such as Starbucks)
written by Jess Sullivan
from netifaces import gateways
from sys import argv
from time import sleep
import subprocess

help_str = str("\n " +
               'usage: \n ' +
               ' -h : print this message again \n' +
               ' -i : `pip3 install netifaces`  \n' +
               'You may specify a browser argument to complete the portal, such as \n' +

def argtype():
        if len(argv) > 1:
            use = True
        elif len(argv) == 1:
            use = False
            print('command takes 0 or 1 args, use -h for help')
            raise SystemExit
        print('arg error... \n command takes 0 or 1 args, use -h for help')
        raise SystemExit
    return use

def main():

    all_gates = gateways()
    target = all_gates['default'][2][0]

    if argtype():

        if argv[1] == '-h':

        if argv[1] == '-i':
                subprocess.Popen('pip3 install netifaces',
                print('err running pip3 install netifaces')


            print(str('opening portal in ' + argv[1]))
            subprocess.Popen(str(argv[1] + ' ' + str(target)),


        print(str('\n please visit address ' + target +
                  ' in a browser to complete portal setup \n'))


More Morning Metal

I haven't posted a Morning Metal on Soundcloud for a while- glad to break the lull. xD

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