FitBark / Comb9 Integration

How to get a low battery notification and more...

I recently purchased a FitBark dog activity tracker. I always check now to see if there is some kind of API available with products like these, so that you can capture and use the data in ways other than the manufacturer intended - it turns out with FitBark there is. Although you might think the primary purpose of a device like this is to see just how much running around your dog does, you kind of already know that - though the ability to compare that to other dogs can either make you feel smug, or guilty. [Read More]

Energenie Integration with Python on a Raspberry Pi

Using pyenergenie to do Energenie automation with out need for the cloud

It is disappointing what IoT hardware manufacturers provide regarding software with their products. I don’t want to single out Energenie - at least they created a tremendous hackable radio board specifically for the Raspberry Pi. The ENER314-RT provides two-way communication with all Energenie products including all their power switches, energy monitors and radiator valves. This means that you don’t need to buy an Energenie Gateway MIHO001, and you also don’t need cloud connectivity and the worry that somebody might be snooping on your data. [Read More]

A Brief History of NetKernel

on extracting release data over nine year period

I’ve just finished working on exposing a complete change history for NetKernel for the period from the release of NetKernel 4.0, nine years ago. Previously our mechanism for publicly exposing this information has been solely through the, once weekly, newsletters. However that medium is unstructured which meant it was hard to get an overview of changes and check for specific releases for any particular package. Since the release of NetKernel 4, we introduced a repository approach to releasing updates to NetKernel. [Read More]

External Request Profiler

We’ve been working recently with a client, on a solution, revolving around crunching large volumes of data. The scale of data meant that even on a large cluster the computation takes many hours. The usual mode of operation for these compute jobs is to set them off in the evening, and return the next working day to see the results. I was working with them to capture some engineering figures and statistics to assess the performance and opportunities to optimise or re-design. [Read More]

My Experience Building an Alexa Skill

Headline: it is actually pretty easy

Back in November I attended a talk on creating your own Amazon Alexa Skill at Bristech. It’s been something I’ve wanted to play with for a while, so when Amazon had their Black Friday sale I couldn’t resist. I was pleasantly surprised by Amazon’s own tutorial using Lambda: Alexa Python Tutorial - Build a voice experience in 5 minutes or less. It really was quite simple and quick. Amazon have worked hard to make it easy for you to get a custom skill up and running on real hardware. [Read More]

Technical Debt and Entropy

I seem to find myself with a lot of unproductive time - time when I can’t be working on real problems - problems that need access to tools such as a coding environment, terminal, internet searching, and somewhere to capture notes. Situations such as walking the dog, driving, and getting simple chores done are examples of these times. Times like this though, are good for thinking, and recently i’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of technical debt. [Read More]

On The Beach

I’ve had a horrible ray traced pebbly beach scene framed on my wall for a long time now that I really wanted to redo. I’ve used a bit of free time at Christmas along with a major new release of Cheetah3d to do that. Here are a few of the things I created. [Read More]

Quadcopter Down

...and I thought software was hard

I spent a good few months working on and off on the drone. Almost every day I’d get a nice little package in the post from China with a component or such like in it. Unfortunately, the last few things I received still sit unused. After I’d solved the basic architecture of the drone system in as far as how to get easily updatable algorithms both on board and on the ground, things got harder. [Read More]