During the course of the day I encounter lots of challenges, some of which take minutes to solve and others that take much longer. My goal for this section is to keep track of these challenges and their solutions. I will turn the longer ones into articles, while the shorter ones will stay as blog entries. You can expect topics to range from very specific programming challenges to broader topics like life.

Below is a list of the recent blog entries. You can also browse the blog by using the tags on the right side, or if you know what you are looking for then you can use the search box at the top right.

Designing for Health: Interview with Farhan Ahmad and Jon Keevil, MD [Podcast]

Dr. Jon Keevil and I had the privilege to talk to Dr. Craig Joseph on the Nordic In Network podcast about the journey of our last company, HealthDecision. Check it out!

Designing for Health: Interview with Farhan Ahmad and Jon Keevil, MD [Podcast] (

WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -ycparser in PlatformIO

Lately, I have been working on an ESP32 firmware using PlatformIO. I went with PlatformIO because it works quite nicely within my familiar Visual Studio Code environment. PlatformIO worked well for a few weeks until recently, when I started seeing the following errors.

WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -ycparser (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -uture (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -ryptography (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -configlib (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -ycparser (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -uture (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
WARNING: Ignoring invalid distribution -ycparser (/Users/thebitguru/.platformio/penv/lib/python3.10/site-packages)
Screenshot of the Python warnings that I was getting.

I haven’t touched Python in a while, so I wasn’t sure what was going on here. A quick Google search for these warnings with “PlatformIO” didn’t turn up anything. So, I had to dig deeper and search for general Python and PIP errors.

After a little searching, I found out that apparently pip leaves old package directories around if something goes wrong, and never cleans them up. These folders then result in these warnings. As suggested in the linked page, the solution was to delete all the directories starting with a tilde (~). Pip will then reinstall the missing packages as needed and the warnings will go away.

I can finally have a cleaner build output again! Now only if I can get the esp32_exception_decoder monitor filter to work again…

Logging Solo Cross Country Flights in ForeFlight

I have recently been training for my private pilot license. After learning the basics, I really enjoy using ForeFlight for tracking and planning. ForeFlight also makes it easy to track my progress towards the license. One of the requirements is to do a solo cross-country flight. When it came time to log my entry in ForeFlight, I couldn’t figure out how to do it initially. I finally figured it out and this blog post shows how to do it.

Read full post… “Logging Solo Cross Country Flights in ForeFlight”

Hiveon Pool Not Connecting?

I have recently started playing around with Hive OS. The miner kept failing to connect with the default setting in Hive OS portal. Sometimes it would say things like “Connection Remotely Closed by” and after some tinkering, it started giving some generic errors like “Operation canceled.”

Some errors that I was seeing..
Read full post… “Hiveon Pool Not Connecting?”

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Mandatory Update Required

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

I have recently been training for my private pilot license. As part of the whole experience, I also setup a simple flight simulator using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. It has been a good supplement for my training, definitely not the same experience, but it can help with better understanding VOR navigation and other similar concepts. I haven’t run the simulator in about a month and a half, and when I started it up I got an error message saying that there was some mandatory update that I needed to install from the Microsoft Store. Going to the store didn’t show any updates so I had to do some digging to figure our what was going on.

Read full post… “Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Mandatory Update Required”

Firmware Upload to ESP32 Failing Intermittently

Assembled Adafruit HUZZAH32 – ESP32 Feather Board - with Stacking Headers
Adafruit Huzzah32

I have recently been playing around with a side project that uses the ESP32 SOC/microcontroller, the Adafruit Huzzah32 flavor specifically. I am controlling a motor with it and use a ULN2003 to drive it. I noticed that when I connected the driver, I couldn’t upload a new firmware to it. After doing some troubleshooting and research, I learned that my pins were the issue.

Specifically, GPIO PIN #12 was the issue for me. It’s one of the strapping pins used for the different boot modes. I am sure there are ways to address this, but I ended up switching to a different and now I can upload firmware as needed.

Here is a link to the ESP32 datasheet for anyone interested in seeing more details.

Automatically Turning Off the 3D Printer

Ender 3 V2

I have recently been playing around with 3D printers. I wasn’t sure if I would like them or use them enough, so I decided to start with a common basic 3D printer: Creality Ender 3 V2. I was surprised to see how much I ended up using it. I wanted to turn the printer off automatically when it completed a print, but there wasn’t anything standard. So, I researched and put together this solution for my specific setup.

Read full post… “Automatically Turning Off the 3D Printer”

2D Drawing With a 3018 Pro CNC

The 3018 Pro CNC Router

I recently borrowed a SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-Pro CNC Router from a friend (checkout his site and YouTube channel!) to play around. After trying some general CNC, I wanted to try out using it as a 2D drawing bot. Yes, you can use a regular printer to print, but where is the fun in that?!

Read full post… “2D Drawing With a 3018 Pro CNC”

The Bots are Here!

I recently decided to build a new desktop computer for a new hobby that requires a powerful Windows-only computer. I thought I would spend 1-2 weeks researching, and then I should be good to buy and be done within three weeks. Was I wrong?!

Read full post… “The Bots are Here!”

CV19Assist Effort

In March of this year (2020), when the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was getting into full flux in the US, I, along with other volunteers, started an initiative to help with grocery and other essential item deliveries for at-risk population. With volunteer developers’ help, we launched right away. Later, we successfully concluded this initiative at the end of May once commercial services and grocery stores caught up to the delivery demand surge. This page hosts the last remnants of that effort, and the domain now redirects to this page.

See further details on the project page.