Looking to the future of EVE Metrics

EVE Metrics has become a disorganised, sprawling project. A year or two ago I set out with the idea in my head to build something like EVE Central, but for as much data as possible. I’m a data junkie in a way- I’m the sort of person who gets a bit of a kick from being able to see complex relationships between seemingly unrelated data and do that sort of analysis on a large scale. In short- <3 databases. I set out to do this with very little Ruby/Rails experience, a fairly solid MySQL experience after my earlier projects doing high-volume event logging using Garry’s Mod for Half-Life 2 to provide an audit trail for an FPS-based roleplaying environment, and a modicum of webapp experience.

What I hadn’t really considered was the market. Read on to read a short bit of background and find out where the site’s heading.

Continue reading Looking to the future of EVE Metrics

The £800 microswitch… and some other things.

OK, so fixing the other projector (an Epson EMP-50) was a little bit trickier than the first one.

Problem: It didn’t power up. No lights. Nothing. Nada. OK, I figured that was a power supply issue. Stripped it down to it’s component parts (left the optical engine and ballast), spotted the bad connection- this projector had been damaged by being dropped, and the whole frame had warped a bit. This connection, between the IEC connector on the side for power and the horizontal power supply board, had fallen out entirely. Reconnected and resoldered, and subsequently reassembled- and I get a ‘circuit error’ when trying to power up.

So, back to the disassembly. Took out the ballast unit on a hunch and spotted a microswitch which a service manual claims detects when the lamp housing is open. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work too well when the frame’s a bit bent, so I soldered over that on the mainboard. Reassembled, again.

Getting a little bored with the constant dis/reassembly at this point- and it still doesn’t start. Bulb struck, which was a great morale booster, but it then shut down and burned it’s fans at maximum for 5 minutes before turning off. Not too useful.

Poked around a bit and considered these symptoms were similar to what my other projector had- lo and behold, the fan on the smoothing unit is jammed! One of the support struts for the fan was snapped, and a quick spot of superglue fixed that in place and let it spin freely again. Reassembled, and bam! Working projector #2. I’ll post pics sometime.

All in all that’s two projectors for £0 which I’ve gotten working again with long remaining bulb lifes in each. Total resources required: Three screwdrivers, a Torx driver, three forceps (Seriously- best tool I’ve ever had for electronics work), some narrownose pliers, antistatic gloves and static control kit (to avoid frying the mainboard), soldering iron (Got a new Weller temperature controlled iron, which is doing great), approximately 4mm of solder, a dab of Loctite superglue, an IEC power lead and some spare time. Oh, and lots of caffeine.

If I get a chance tomorrow I’ll see about throwing a post up about some of the under-the-hood changes I’ve been making and have planned for EVE Metrics and other sites. I’m looking more seriously at a single-sign-on solution between all the MMMetrics sites (ISKsense, EM, AccVIEW)- but the question is, if I do a SSO solution why not make that a global SSO solution with OpenID support for pluging in other sites? More to the point, allowing centralised API key management between applications that need it (EVE Metrics would use this to store/retrieve keys) would be great- give application your MMMetrics ID, MMMetrics prompts you to give access to your account data to that site, optionally letting you provide one or more API keys to the site. Kinda like a badass Gatecamper 2 that doesn’t suck so badly. Thoughts?

Of OLAP and T3 (Plus more on projects)

Blimey, it’s been a while since my last post. I hasten to add that this delay comes only by virtue of the fact that I am exceptionall busy with various projects right now. I thought an update might be appropriate, in any case.

I’ve spent most of my time working on EVE Metrics. There’s some very cool, very powerful changes coming up soon; early Feb saw the introduction of much more accurate prices and indexes, with a newly improved algorithm for calculating the average prices of items. But even better is some of the new stuff coming in the next few weeks- notably the implementation of a fully-fledged OLAP warehouse for EVE Metrics, which will open up some very awesome possibilities in the long run.

Also under the scalpel this month has been the API system. EVE Metrics will support full and limited keys when it comes to the API. However, there will be a quirk; if you want to make use of other people’s API data, for example to see more detailed market analysis with transactions hooked in and so on, then you’ll have to share your data. This means if you want to benefit from other people’s data, you must reciprocate and share your data for the benefit of others. Your data will, in all cases, be used for global averages, but entirely anonymously; for example, the number of transactions per day on a given item may include data from your API, but nobody would know it. This system will hopefully encourage users to share data more often than hide it. I’m planning to make this an opt-out system, with the choice to opt-out given on the API key page as part of the form. It’ll be really hard to miss, and those who are paranoid or wish to hide their activity completely can check the box to opt out.

I released accVIEW a few days ago, and it’s had quite rapid takeup from corporations. It’s a service that lets you perform background checks on prospective new members to your corporation- the basic tool lets you view skills, characters on an account, and various bits of information like their corp details, CEO, and so on. The premium version (For the low cost of 150mISK) lets you see the applicant’s wallet journal (with tools to show suspcious transactions and filter the results), as well as their recent kills/losses.

EVE’s M10 expansion, Apocrypha, should be awesome. Tech 3 is going to be great- lots of people complain about the skill loss and the fact that it’ll make FCing a nightmare. Well, no. The skill loss makes sense, and provides an interesting new dynamic to EVE. FCing- well, those who complain about T3 making FCing impossible are evidently not up to scratch as FCs. It’ll give FCs a real change and challenge for the first time in years. The wormhole stuff will be an interesting thing to watch pan out- there’s lots ot potential there, and it could end up being a lot of fun…

Nexus is progressing slowly but surely; the large amount of data we’re gleaning via an API-scraping installation for Sc0rched Earth is helping no end with development, and we’re busy tidying things up behind the scenes and refining some of the interface to make more sense. Once I’ve gotten ActiveWarehouse’s ETL library working properly, my next step will be to break out Photoshop and my text editor- EVE Metrics, ISKsense, maybe accVIEW, and the new MMMetrics site (Which will be launched soon) are all going under the knife and getting a serious facelift. And then it’s on to even more awesome stuff for EVE Metrics!