MMPIS2 is up, at last, for now!

I’m a big fan of getting projects done. Not all of my projects get done. Sometimes a project being “done” is just about learning something. Like, all the ways things can go wrong. I did not keep detailed logs of the project known as MMPIS2 because it was meant to be a clone of MMPIS, and should have taken, at most, a few hours… not just shy of a year. But finally! MMPIS2 is working!

We originally had the idea before March 2017. Before that I had worked on using an HDMI to VGA converter to use a really old TV as a display. I think we got as far as hanging it on the wall but then I never got the hardware, and I also didn’t get around to producing low-resolution versions of the pages it would display. (It was one of those “We could do this!” moments without asking if we should do it.)

Eventually Tom brought in some better TVs, and then there was a swap and on went away, but we still had one, so we put it on the wall. Tony they jumped in to connect up the Pi and realized that the TV was locked (!?!?) and could only be unlocked with the remote control, which we did not have.

Oh, and somewhere along the way I had to find metric hardware. Looking for the correct length 6mm bolts at the space was a challenge, but with enough washers I found some that worked! (When I told this to Tom he said he’s bring in a pile of extra hardware from some old TV mounts.)

We gave up on the TV because no one wanted to order a remote (or thought about it) until later when Maks thought about doing it when I said we should smash the TV. (We didn’t. I think. Wait, maybe we did.)

Along the way there was also an issue with no Ethernet cable nearby, so I had to get a WiFi dongle and configure that. We also lacked a power cord that was long enough (had one at home) and an HDMI cable (had plenty at home) so yeah… fun times!

Then a member posted about a big TV he wanted to get rid of. It had no sound, which was fine with us! I picked it up from him and also got some audio stuff for the Dalek Asylum folks. Now we had a working TV, we just had to mount it. Wait, okay, holes are not the same. Time to cut a new piece of wood and attach it. I let Maks mark the holes to drill. It didn’t go well. I then showed him how to “elongate” holes with a drill. We also may have used a file. It eventually worked, taking 10 times longer than it should have…

Once the TV was up… it all worked! Hurray! And then… I came back a week later and the file system had gone corrupt. Sigh… start over. It took me a few weeks to remember to fix it, and when I finally did it worked again!

Also, the 3D printed plastic case was a little tight and the power cord didn’t fit right, so I used a cutter to nibble away some of the plastic. I cut too much and a piece broke. Tape fixed it well enough…

Since it was up and running, I tried to access MMPIS to copy the URLS to MMPIS2. No good. I checked the IP address Dan gave me, then I ran NMAP looking for things with port 8080 listening, and… nothing. Seems the software decided to stop running the web server or something. Dan SSH’d in and then we both worked on getting the data we needed from SQLite3 (more fun!) and then setting it up on MMPIS2. Also, two of the URLs he gave me didn’t work, seems he rewrote the code and the URLs changed… and then the server was unavailable. Of course it was.

So with this blog post, I declare MMPIS2 tentatively done! I still plan to swap out a few thing and make a backup. Totally. Backup this time.

Somewhere along the way I mentioned to Dan that this should have taken a few hours, not close to a year. He mentioned how I should probably go build one for work in the meantime, and I mentioned that I already did.