Too busy to blog

I seem to have been far too busy to get any time for blogging lately. Actually, it’s the finishing off posts that I’ve been having trouble finding time for; I do still keep adding to the number of unpublished posts, with this selection boosting the number of drafts to 38:

  • Master Information Hub: Social Bookmark Search Transaction
  • My first Joggler app
  • Election results!
  • Icelandic Economy Bill
  • dub dub dub dot fail
  • Parking charge

Instead of finishing any of those off I’ve been…

…ordering a canvas for one of our wedding photos.

We’ve been married almost a year so it seemed like it would be a good idea to finally do something with some of our favourite photos!

The canvas has arrived, and looks great, but it’s still sealed in a back to keep all the dust off from…

…decorating the porch.

We have two front doors; one on the outside and one on the inside. I added the outer door not long after moving in to create small enclosed entrance hall/porch, which has been great for shoes, coats, assorted junk, and getting rid of anyone trying to sell something without letting out all the heat in the process. The old front door has needed a coat of paint ever since, but because I never look at the outside much I only painted the inside, until now. As a result, most of the house is currently covered in dust from all the sanding!

…playing with a new toy.

A bit of an impulse buy, but after gradually increasing the number of boxes I have plugged in all the time (ironic since it all started with the Current Cost meter!), I’ve cut down a few with a FRITZ!Box. Pretty happy with it so far: it’s a neat combination of ADSL wireless router, file/media server and DECT base station. Plus, thanks to a tip off from Jee Labs, @jthouse will soon be following @andy_house‘s lead and sending me an SMS if I miss any calls.

…not hacking the Joggler.

Apart from being in German, the FRITZ!Box media server works very well with the Joggler, so I’m still really happy to keep using the default Joggler software. For now that is: the Joggler appears to have been discontinued, and my question to O2 about creating Joggler apps seems to have vanished as well. I didn’t have much/any luck using Flash Develop, which is a shame because it seems to be a decent IDE, but Nick has been getting on pretty well on Linux. His Joggler music app looks very promising.

I have been keeping an eye on various Joggler hacks and the first one to have me seriously tempted, is Opera mobile running on the Joggler. I did briefly boot Ubuntu off a USB stick, but I don’t think it’s worth it just yet. On the other hand, Jolicloud does look like it might be ideally suited to running on the Joggler, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work. I’m still hopeful that someone will get Jolicloud booting on the Joggler though; any ideas?

Actually, I think Sony have got a much better idea of how devices like the Joggler should work with the Dash. Getting something like that running on the Joggler would be awesome.

…thinking about home automation.

@lauracowen sparked off some great discussions on the Homecamp group, and I definitely like some of the ideas in Ian’s blog post. I had a chat to Laura on Friday, and the idea of a ‘boost’ is probably a good starting point. I’m sure that would help lower my gas bill, although I’m wondering whether an even lower tech solution might work with my existing heating controls. We often turn on the hot water to top it up, but forget to turn it off again. So, since there is currently no boost button, I’m tempted to just get a basic timer to sit next to the controller to set a reminder to come back and turn off the hot water after a short period. Or I guess I could even use the kitchen timer that’s already in the microwave.

…visiting London.

We spent yesterday in London, mainly to see The Woman in Black, which was excellent. It was hard to work out which of the blood-curdling screams were from the audience and which were part of the production! We also had some time to visit the National Gallery, which brought back a few memories of art lessons.

See how much things have changed since I ruined Turner’s Ulysses deriding Polyphemus with an oil rig?!

…watching Inception.

Really enjoyed Inception although, now I think about it, it’s riddled with plot holes that I never noticed at the time. Guess that’s pretty normal for dreams!


I’ve also been posting on the MDM Workbench blog, so there’ll be fewer work related posts on here now. (Still figuring out how to decide which blog to pick for MDM posts.)


Not Mashed

Last weekend saw the second London Hackday, now called Mashed, and it was great to hear that CurrentCost mania is continuing to spread, with Rich and Dale’s CurrentCost Live project winning the Guardian prize! (See the presentation that led to fame and fortune on YouTube!)

Rich and Dale weren’t the only people from Hursley at Mashed, nor were they the only winners! Steve Godwin also had a winning entry with Twitter on TV. (No video that I can find as yet!)

I missed this year’s hack day but it looks like Mashed was another great weekend, even keeping up the tradition of opening the roof from last year! There were some members of team supernova back again and hacking though. Paul was interviewed about his project(s) on the day, and still had time to get Travel Streamr working. Jim’s call for Carbon Goggle helpers clearly worked and you can see the results in action on YouTube.

Mashed might be over but I hope that doesn’t mean the end to the projects it created. SLorpedo has certainly made one or two appearances since last year. Watch out for more CurrentCost, TV Twittering, Travel Streamr and Carbon Goggles in the months ahead. (I’m also on the look out for more details about the other projects, so leave a link if you have one.)

Update: finding a few of the twitter bots that got a mention to add to the tweetjects @jthouse follows. Also discovered that Carbon Goggles made an appearance in the BBC news article on the event. (25 June 2008)

House blogject/tweetject experiments

Now that I have my home server pretty much sorted, I’ve had a chance to start experimenting with a few ideas for what to actually do with it.

It’s already publishing CurrentCost data, along with several others, but it’d be nice to do a bit more. One thing that is definitely on my to do list is to hook it up to Twitter. Andy’s house uses Twitter to communicate, which is getting some interest. It’s easy to twitter something from a home server, although not quite so easy to make it interesting, or at least not way too talkative and repetitive. Plus Twitter is a fantastic way to get text message alerts from your house (and a million and one other uses).

The other thing I’d quite like is a nice web based dashboard to replicate some of the information on the CurrentCost screen, but it’s only a tiny home server and, while it does run XAMPP, there’s not much memory left afterwards. It would also be kind of nice to avoid any security holes by not running my own web server. I’ve done a few experiments and it looks like WordPress is the perfect answer: I’ve added a House page which I can update with Google graphs using The alternative would be to use new posts each time, which would be great to keep a history but that would probably fill up my weblog with even less interesting stuff than is already here!

Quite pleased with the results so far. Now I just need to actually automate some of it!