Welcome to hobbiton, the homepage of Rupert Scammell.

Web Publishing ProjectsMedia CoverageAcademia RelatedPhotographySoftware portsBig software projectsSmall software projects

Web publishing projects
Power Map: Google Maps for GeeksGoogle's recently released Google Maps API allows developers to customize the street map and satellite photo data provided by the service to support custom applications. However, the standard Google Maps interface provides a lowest common denominator interface that doesn't begin to scratch the surface of what the service is capable of. Power Map is an effort to rectify this, by exposing as much of the underlying API as possible via a convenient web interface, as well as adding some neat new features, such as map movement tracking and distance measurement to the Maps interface. Now includes Google Earth support!
Power Map: The Lunar EditionTo celebrate the anniversary of the first manned Moon landing on July 20, 1969, Google released Google Moon. It turns out the the Google Maps API is also valid on extraterrestrial bodies, so I've put together a Lunar Edition of the my earth-based Power Map interface linked above. Enjoy!
The Mars Exploration Rover Maintenance ManualI am the creator and maintainer of The MER Manual. It's an ongoing project whose goal is to provide a canonical public reference with detailed information about the engineering and systems aspects of the 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers.
Creating pseudo-3D Mars terrain models from 2D terrain imageryA project to generate 3D terrain maps of Mars using imagery returned by the Mars Exploration Rovers. A combination of autotrace and the dxfel tool below were used to create color 3D AutoCAD DXF models of the terrain, using pseudo-elevation information derived from color within each image.
Playing with the Google Maps APIThe recently released Google Maps API turns out to be incredibly easy to use, and I've executed a couple of interesting hacks with it, including a large screen version of Google Maps, and a four pane interface for comparative mapping.
Legal EphemeraThis is an embryonic project to collect interesting legal ephemera and tidbits (especially technology focused legal items) that I've collected over the years into one place.
Creative Commons LaunchOn December 16, 2002, I was privileged to attend the launch party for the Creative Commons, and produced a writeup of this rather historic evening.

Media Coverage
Cubatron on Make MagazineA set of pictures that I took of the Cubtatron, the world's largest 3D color display were featured in Make on Dec 11, 2005
Interview on The Screen SaversIn May, 2001, I was interviewed by Martin Sargent on Tech TV's The Screen Savers show, about a Beowulf cluster that I'd created from junked computer parts at the Alameda County Computer Resource Center. Some pictures of the first iteration of the cluster can be seen here
DARPA Grand Challenge robot snapshotsOn April 13, 2004, the photographs that I took during the first DARPA Grand Challenge event were featured on Boing Boing.
What's up with DoubleClick's Google AdWords-like ads?On April 13, 2004, a weblog entry that I wrote about then-independent DoubleClick producing ads that closely resembled the distinctive style of Google AdWords ads was featured on Boing Boing.
One Man's Trash is Another's GoldOn August 8, 2001, a documentary site that I created about dumpster diving for discarded high tech trash was featured in an article on the topic by the Christian Science Monitor.
Marrying Maps to Data for a New Web ServiceOn July 18, 2005, I was quoted in a New York Times article by John Markoff describing the recently released Google Maps API, and some of the creative uses that have been found for it since -- and slightly before -- its official release.
Cryptography for Game DevelopersI authored the feature article in the December 2004 issue of Game Developer magazine, which provided a high level, whirlwind overview of cryptographic techniques, including public key and symmetric cryptosystems, digital signatures, hash functions, strong authentication, and a few other miscellaneous topics.
Interview in Financial Times DeutschlandIn September 2003, I was interviewed in the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper by Niels Boeing for an article on next generation peer-to-peer networks, Notizen aus dem P2P-Untergrund.
English FT Deutschland interviewThis the interview which I gave to FTD, that formed the basis for my part of the Notizen aus dem P2P-Untergrund article linked above. This page is probably going to be more useful to you than the above link. Especially if you don't speak German.

Academia related
Distributed Operations for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission with the Science Activity PlannerHaving been involved for the past year and a half on a variety of 'enthusiastic user' levels with the Mars Exploration Rovers mission, I was honored to edit and suggest various improvements to this paper, which was presented at the IEEE Aerospace Conference 2005 in Big Sky, MT.
DARPA Grand Challenge - a pioneering event for autonomous robotic ground vehiclesAfter the 2003 DGC, two friends from the event, John Fulton and Joanne Pransky, contributed a journal article to Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Vol. 31 Number 5, 2004. Pictures that I took at the DGC appear in the article.
Privacy and Security in Library RFID Issues, Practices, and ArchitecturesI recently reviewed and contributed some editorial suggestions to this paper, written by David Molnar and David Wagner at UC Berkeley. The paper was presented at the ACM CCS 2004 conference in Washington, DC.
Anonymous Peer to Peer Routing ProtocolA short essay written in 2001, which proposed a P2P-based system for anonymously establishing a communications session with a network resource. The idea shares many similarities with the Naval Research Lab's Onion Routing scheme, and the CROWDS project of Rubin and Reiter.

AG-330 SR-71 Start CartsI'm privileged to have contributed several photographs of the AG-330 start cart at the Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale, CA to my friend (and former SR-71 crew chief) Leyland Haynes' excellent SR-71 web site.
Flickr PageRecently, I've been posting most of my photography on Flickr. Over the years, I've taken some interesting photos of the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft, historic aircraft at the March Field Air Museum, Palm Springs Air Museum, and Western Aerospace Museum in Oakland, CA, among many other topics.
2004 DARPA Grand ChallengeThe DARPA Grand Challenge is a robot event sponsored by DARPA, the research arm of the United States Department of Defense. Teams raced robots along a 147 mile course in the Mojave Desert, between Barstow, CA (near Los Angeles), and Primm, NV (near Las Vegas), and competed for a $1,000,000 prize. I was a volunteer at the event, and managed to get some excellent pictures of the robotic vehicles, locations, and people involved.
Wikipedia article on the DARPA Grand ChallengeA couple of photographs from the DGC gallery above appear in the Wikipedia article written about the DGC.

Software ports

Maestro for SGI IRIX 6.5.xMaestro is a Java application used to view imagery and science data returned by the 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers Mission. Maestro is developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and is a public version of the Science Activity Planner (SAP) tool used by the Mars Rover mission team. This port allows the software to be installed and run successfully under the SGI IRIX 6.5.x operating system for SGI systems. The port has been confirmed to work on SGI Octane workstations, as well as multi-processor SGI Onyx systems.

The Science Activity Planner, NASA/JPL's internal version of Maestro, was the recipient of the 2004 NASA Software of the Year Award

More information about Maestro may be obtained at http://mars.telascience.org

Big software projects
Planetary Data System Utilities PDS Utilities is a Java application that's intended to make handling and parsing PDS data files generated by the 2003-2004 Mars Exploration Rovers Mission an easier task. PDS data files have long filenames such as 1P136346286ETH1600P2550L7M1.IMG , which provide a great deal of coded information about the data contained within the file, but the filenames are annoying and tedious to decode on a manual basis -- especially when several hundred data files are involved.

The PDS Utilities simplify the task of understanding this metadata, by providing tools for translating the values within the filename into useful, human readable information.
Turbolift v2.0Turbolift is a lightweight application server that enables the easy, modular development of speech controllable and speech capable applications, such as voice controlled MP3 jukeboxes, navigation systems, address books, voice notepads, news retrieval and reading applications.
gnotext (link coming soon)gnotext allows text, audio, and graphical information to be 'placed' in physical space, and for the information to be read, added to, and modified by others, at the creator's discretion. The system is coded in Java, and consists of a server application, which provides access for clients to a MySQL database containing the 'notes', along with their associated metadata. The client application is also Java, and uses a network connection (802.11, GPRS, CDMA, satcom...) to connect to the Internet server, along with a GPS system to report a current location in order to retrieve appropriate information. A great deal of inspiration for the project was taken from the headmap project site.

Small software projects
worddistworddist takes a text file as input, and generates word frequency histogram data, and stores it within a hash table inside a pickle file. Words encountered are used as keys, with the individual frequency of occurence as values.
WMLGenWMLGen is a Python module that provides a set of functions that simplify the creation and management of WML for Python based WAP applications.
bmonbmon grabs battery usage data from /proc/apm, and writes it to a file in two column format. The first column is the current battery charge in %, and the second is the (estimated) number of minutes remaining. The info in the file can be graphed using a system such as Gnuplot, which may permit users to gain a better understanding of how their system uses the battery under a given process load.
genalgygenalgy provides a utility class and example application which demonstrate basic genetic algorithm concepts. The code is designed to supplement the Genetic Algorithms Tutorial provided on the AI Junkie site.
MP3ViewMP3View is a Python application to display and play MP3 files from a playlist, using a Cybiko PDA, or any VT100/TTY terminal.
dxfeldxfel converts 2D AutoCAD DXF files generated by the autotrace tool into 3D models, using color information within the DXF to generate elevation values. The tool was originally developed to build 3D terrain models from 2D images of the surface of Mars, as returned by the Mars Exploration Rovers.
pyfipyfi is a Python library which provides a variety of financial algorithms. I wrote it way back in 2001, Louis Luangkesorn at Northwestern contributed some additional code and fixes, and then it was somehow forgotten about. Matthew Scott maintained the project for a while, but I am now once again the maintainer of this code.
resizeA script for batch resizing images, using the ImageMagick tool. Both interactive and command line interfaces (e.g. resize.py original_image_dir resize_percentage output_dir) are available. Licensed under the GNU General Public License.
mwsynthmwsynth provides an interactive shell and command line interface that allows the rough specch synthesis of input text, by taking advantage of the online pronounciation features of the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

Over the years, I've authored (if somewhat sporadically), a couple of different weblogs. If you're so inclined, you can read them here and here and here.

"Mercy!" cried Gandalf: "if the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What do you want to know?"

Last updated 2009-12-27.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

The original landscape image on this page used to create hobbiton's title is by JE Thornhill, and is used pursuant to a Creative Commons license.