Friday, July 27, 2012

Renesas Promotion Board for RL78/G13

Yesterday I received my free evaluation board Renesas is giving out to promote their Rl78/G13.

Head over to claim your own.

They ship super fast. I put in the order at 4:25pm and had it before noon the following day.

Now to put it to the test...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raspberry Pi releases Debian Wheezy

It has arrived:
We are pleased to announce the release of our  first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by Alex and Dom over the past couple of months, and replaces the existing Debian squeeze image as our recommended install. Notably, it is the first official image to take full advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s floating point hardware for, amongst other things, much faster web browsing


Now to figure out if I can upgrade. Sounds like it would be worth the trouble to upgrade from scratch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chat on IRC!

MobileWill is now on IRC! Come check out the channel here:


Chat about robots, home automation, and anything electronics/cool.

I should be available in the evenings if you want to chat with me. If there is enough interest, we can do evening topic chats.

Kinect Sensor and Voice Control

In my previous post I mentioned that I had set up Microsoft's SAPI to implement voice control of my lights. For the most part, it works well with the tweaks I did with the grammar file, except that you have to train your speech. For what I want to accomplish that will be a large issue. I want anyone to be able to walk into my house and use the system. It should be a hands free system that doesn't make turning the lights on more complicated with having to use something like your phone (but that too, can be an option). I have been playing with the idea of using RFID/NFC but it still would involve always having your phone around; also, not everyone has a NFC enabled phone. So hopefully speech recognition is the answer. I did some searching for a good microphone that was good for large areas like an array microphone or something. Many of the prices were out of my budget. Plus, I'd still have the training problem. Then I had a thought, I have an array microphone already in the living room: the Kinect!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Raspberry Pi and GPIO Permissions

It works! Okay, back up a little. Getting a PHP web interface to talk to hardware proved to be rather difficult. You need root access to control hardware but the web service runs with minimal permissions. So how does one bridge the gap without compromising the system? The answer, very carefully. I found a few workarounds but they involved either using MySQL or the gpio-admin library that works from commandline or shell scripts. In my case I wanted to stay with using C programs with the wiringPi library being called from PHP. C is much faster to control GPIO and PHP gives me a web front end. Here is how I did it.

Raspberry Pi, CommandIR and Beyond

Now that I have had some time to play with the CommandIR, progress has been made. Of the two initial issues I have one left. The first issue is that LIRCD doesn't auto start even though it is configured in the hardware.conf. While researching, I came to the conclusion that LIRC isn't reading the hardware.conf at all. I made a change to it, enabling the listen option to try an Android app but it didn't take effect. When I manually start LIRCD I have to include the options at the commandline. This is still a mystery but I am working with support on it. The odd thing is the init.d service script doesn't seem to do anything.

TV with IR Emitter

Xbox S with IR Emitter

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Raspberry Pi and CommandIR

While reading an article the other day I had an idea formulate in my head. I have a older USB CommandIR Mini that has 4 emitters and 1 receiver. This would make a great use of the Raspberry Pi, a network based IR gateway. Originally it was only for Linux, but now it is supported in WinLIRC which I haven't tired.

Newer version of mine

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III Has Arrived!

The time has finally come. Yesterday at 2:58pm Pacific Standard Time, I received the call from Best Buy that my phone would be ready in an hour. I couldn't believe my ears, it was actually here! Good thing the call came closer to closing time because I wouldn't have been able to wait all day. All I had to do is head home, dump my data, and do a factory reset it with the stock ROM.

Monday, July 2, 2012

AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III in Store July 6th

News at last!

Keeping track of when and where the Samsung Galaxy S III will be available hasn't exactly been the easiest thing to do, but we now finally have one more confirmation for those who prefer to do their business at AT&T's stores. The carrier announced today that the phone will be available in-store on July 6th, where it'll of course set you back the same $200 on a two-year contract. That's also the day that you'll be able to order online with overnight shipping, if the whole pre-order thing isn't for you.
VIA: Engadget Mobile
SOURCE: AT&T Consumer Blog

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Accessories: No Phone

Just wanted to make a quick post about the status of acquiring a AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III in Pebble Blue. I have received the case from and a 32GB Micro SD card from MicroCenter, but I am still waiting to get the actual phone.

Smart Outlet: The Beginning

For a long time now I have been wanting to dabble in home automation but didn't have the avenue to design a system. After becoming familiar with microcontrollers over the last two years I have been mentally designing a system starting with a smart outlet. Recently, before the Maker Faire I was talking with a friend and having seen a few blog posts about some projects in the home automation field I decided to move forward. I now have sometime to work on this in between other projects, mainly waiting for some parts for my new Sbot 2 redesign. With some SparkFun gift card money I decided to pull the trigger and order some parts. I decided to build a 1 channel/plug smart outlet. This would be enough to develop a proof of concept and start to design a software framework. The parts arrived the weekend before the Maker Faire. Boy was I excited to get this project off the ground!

Sparkfun Beefcake relay