Sunday, January 21, 2007
Latest Walking Setup
or Moriash Moreau and the Monitor of Damocles
Addendum, 1/23/07: Previous weblog entries for this project are here (the computer interface), here (encoders and controls), and here (miscellaneous development). I'm consolidating the links in this post mostly for my own convenience.
Haven't posted any pictures of the walking rig lately, but I've made a few improvements since the last time.
Aside from minor tweaking for usability purposes, I've made two substantial upgrades to the rig. First, I added a shelf below the keyboard for a mouse and mousepad. (I may have mentioned this one before. I can't remember, and can't find any references in a quick search, anyway.) This required only another sheet of pegboard, four long bolts, four nuts, and some washers. But it made things in SL much, much nicer.
If you've ever attempted to walk or fly long distances in-world (as opposed to teleporting like any sane person would do), you know that you can't walk across more than a sim or two without running into an eviction notice from a security system. And, of course, these require the use of a mouse to dismiss, which meant that I had to either step off the treadmill or put up with an eighth of my screen (including the preferred location of my mini-map) being covered with a useless box. Add to that the occasional spam notecard, and I had to come up with something. I was getting as much exercise running back and forth to my desk as I was getting on the treadmill! The addition of a mouse to my rig allowed me to occasionally pay some bills or do a little websurfing, as well, on the rare mornings when the sights in SL didn't appeal.
And, incidentally, why, oh why would anyone think that it's a good idea to send an unsolicited notecard to everyone that walks within 96 meters of their shop? I swear, even if the shop was called "Stuff Moriash Would Love, For Free!" I'd give it a miss if it greeted me with a screen-filling advertisement. I installed a pop-up blocker on my web browser to stop such things. I'm eagerly awaiting new client upgrades to do the same thing.
But I digress. Frequently. The second upgrade involved replacing the unstable tower of TV trays, PVC pipe, zip ties, and duct tape that was supporting my monitor. That rig was never intended to be a permanent fixture, only an interim solution until I decided if I was going to keep on with the SL walking bit. After five months of using it several times a week, I think it's safe to say I'm going to stick with it.
The new rig isn't anything terribly complicated. I just finished it a few minutes ago, after only a few hours work. It's simply a slab of plywood, bolted to the wall for stability and supported by a five foot tall, 1-1/4" diameter water pipe. The pipe is affixed to the plywood table and a wooden base using pipe stanchions and wood screws. I even took the time to paint it. It may look flimsy in the pictures, but it's rock solid. I even felt comfortable replacing the old 17" monitor with an even older, but larger, 21" display. And, let me tell you, I think the older monitors were built with depleted uranium (NSFW audio) or something. Dang near ruptured some of my favorite body parts lifting that monstrosity onto the shelf. But even with the extra weight, it all seems quite solid.
I guess we'll see. If I come home to find a giant monitor smashed to flinders on the floor of my office, well, I guess it didn't work. And if I don't update for a while, it probably means that the Monitor of Damocles fell on top of me while I was at my desk. In that case, I expect a lavish in-world funeral.