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Monthly Archives: July 2009

CHDK – Firmware hack for Canon point-and-shoot cameras

  • TJ reviewed the installation procedure and discussed some of the extra functionality to be gained.
  • Installs to a CF card (must be under 4 GB).
  • Booting to it does not replace anything on your camera, so camera’s firmware remains un-touched (read: you won’t void your warranty).
  • CHDK Wiki

Linux-y stuff

  • It does help to connect an antenna to your internal wireless card.
  • What happens when you send /dev/null to /dev/null? How do you get it back?

Social Media

  • Origins: USENET and IRC. MUDs, MUSHes and MOOs.
  • Photo sharing sites such as SmugMug, Picasa, Flickr, Shutterbug, PhotoBucket, etc.
  • OpenID use with sites.
  • Facebook, MySpace, etc.

After-meeting at Raccoon River Brewery


Group organization

  • Discussed various ideas for how to organize.
  • Competitions?
  • Teaming w/ local educational orgs?
  • Start with the basics and work up? Arduino, Parallax, MindStorms?
  • Age groups? Any age is welcome.

Skills inventory

  • Lots of programmers/developers.
  • Not too many mechanical/electrical engineers.
  • No venture capitalists.


  • Build something for a competition?
  • Build a CNC machine which can be used for future projects? There seemed to be a lot of support for this idea. Agreed to continue discussion on the mailing list (
  • Bring your own and share/seek assistance?

Matthew Nuzzum demo’d his VEX r/c platform wheeled robot.

  • Controller from
  • Aluminum body with two drive motors and 4 wheels.
  • Uses tank-style steering.

Gentleman from the Twin Cities Robotics Club (sorry, arrived late and didn’t catch his name) brought his ~70 pound robot

  • About 30 pounds of the weight is battery.
  • Has a sonar array and Web cam for sensors.
  • Plans to put an on-board Linux computer.

Some links to Web sites brought up during the meeting:

Theron Conrey demo’d Nexenta Systems, an enterprise storage solution built on top of an OpenSolaris kernel with ZFS, an Ubuntu user space and some proprietary elements for managing the storage. Check out Theron’s take on this storage solution.

Theron built a Nexenta storage array within a VM on his laptop — probably the first time such a feat has been performed at Raccoon River Brewery.

Also held a long discussion about Virtual Desktops, SunRays and their adoption by businesses of various sizes. We pondered why this cool technology isn’t getting adopted as quickly as it should and where the ROI “cut off” is in terms of business size.

We are working on lining up Impromptu Studio for next month’s meeting. Stay tuned to The VUG for details.