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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Higlights


This weekend…..

 

I’ve realised the truth that Docker is the future.   Please take a few moments to inhale docker.com

 

I’ve built a MS SQL 2016, in Docker, connected to from another Container running Swift.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

My First Amazon Echo Skill


So excited.   I've done it.   First Amazon Echo Skill, all up and running.   Will report back with full implementation details.   Super easy and really great result.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Caller ID on Raspberry Pi


So I have gotten myself another Raspberry Pi 1 Model B. (from eBay with case, power supply and 8GB SD for under £20).

I’ve plugged in an Edmiax WIFI USB Card.   Plus the star purchase a £4 USB Conexant modem.   This  is a good news, as this modem can decode UK caller ID signals.

NewImage

 

 So the goal is to broadcast who’s calling my home phone line and send who’s calling to my desktop Mac and various iOS devices.

The Pi, side of things took the longest.    I decided to use the common established and old (all good things for reliability) NCID package.   Getting this onto the Pi took the longest.

I ended up having to compile the source code, and then struggled to get the thing to start automatically.

In the end this was the best guide I found -

https://github.com/Phiplex/ncidhitta

I used the 1.4 version of NCID.   

Once up and running, I used another terminal window to telnet to my Pi on port 3333 to check that when my home phone rings the Pi was decoding (via NCID) the incoming caller ID information.

 You get something back like the following - 

NewImage

 

 

So good news,  phone rings the telnet window updates, with who’s calling.

 

The next step was to notify all Macs and iOS devices.     I followed the guide here to ‘borrow’ how they collected output from NCID for their own purposes...

https://jimtech.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/getting-ncid-working-on-every-device-possible/

 

My modification was to change the output command to curl a web request adapted to my own web server.

 

As discussed previously I have managed to get Safari and iOS push notifications working, so I utilised that and a database of device tokens and a database of phone numbers to names, to send and Apple Push Notification.

 

Net result,  phone rings.   All my devices go PING  and instantly display who’s calling -

 

NewImage

 

Click the notification and you can see/edit  (in Safari) the name associated to the number and see last calls -

NewImage

In iOS, it works similarly.

 

 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Safari Push Notifications - Working


So its taken me some time, but I finally have managed to enable Safari push notifications on my Bin Collections website. 

Take a look at http://binaryrefinery.com/bincollections

So now if you are a Mac user, using Safari and happen to live in the South Cambridgeshire area I can send you a notification when and which bin to put out.

I implemented the backend in ASP.NET using a handler to receive the messages that Apple pushes out as users sign up or remove themselves from the service.

Gotcha’s along the way.    Apple uses a restful API,  so you must get your handler to listen for all the relevant HTTP Verbs,  GET,POST,DELETE.

Once I got this cracked and assembled a push package things started to work!

 

Another thing to watch out for,  Apple changed the intermediate developer certs.   Make sure you have the latest set on your development machine before you start.  I didn’t, and my keys all didn’t get signed correctly.   Please look at - 

https://developer.apple.com/support/certificates/expiration/

 

 

If you have an error, and Apple sends you a log to your Web-service complaining about a push package.   I’ve found the only way to get things working again is to disable and enable push notification support for your website in Safari for the offending Mac that you tried to push the message too.

As well as sending weekly reminders,  I also send via push if you change any of your alert settings

NewImage

I implemented much of the backend using a database of which certificates and keys to use,  this should make it much easier to use Safari push for other projects and challenges.   This database also logs to a table any logging or errors that Apple reports back.

 

If your thinking about trying this yourself (I’m of course happy to assist).  Please read and re-read the Apple guides.     They do have everything there you should need.   I also have found apple Developer support first rate in guiding me through which now appears like stupid errors. 

https://developer.apple.com/notifications/safari-push-notifications/

Friday, February 12, 2016

CloudKit Server To Server


Now this is quite a big deal for me.

I spend most of my time in the land of enterprise apps (as you know).   Most of the effort it with building the infrastructure to have someones device talk back to one of our servers.    I get wrapped up with issues, about connectivity/amount of bandwidth I’ve got and what happens if someone goes offline.     iCloud has been a walled garden up until this point.   Its great for syncing your photos/documents etc.   but its a closed system for us Enterprise folks.  Now I’ve got the ability to use iCloud to also host my enterprise data.   I can pump data into iCloud;  securely.   iOS takes care of the synchronisation for me.

So use case.   I can take a bunch of data, say a price catalogue and some tables to store quotes.   Pump that over to iCloud.    Then my mobile app.  can just auto-magically just see all that data.    I can quickly just build a UI to take customer orders and let iOS just do its thing to make sure all the data just synchronises.      All I have to worry about is getting the data in and out of the iCloud servers.     This is where the pretty comprehensive and secure (well it looks that way) new API comes in.

So you can do this now,   and thanks to some kind help on the Apple Developer Forums,     + I can do this all from (our own walled garden) from c#.

Announcement here

https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=02042016a

 

Code to follow


Monday, February 8, 2016

Album Art On Raspberry Pi


 

So some good progress.    I wrote a bit of python that reads the Meta-Data from Shairport Sync.  This gets me album art,  artist title etc.  

 

I can send this code to you, if you are interested.

Just to make the cabling a little neater,  I needed to make the Pi work upside down,  which resulted in me needing to rotate the album art image by 180 degrees.

The Debian Package ImageMagic takes care of all this.   I ended up with the python script saving the image out to a folder,  I then run the following command every time I get a new image

convert albumart.jpg -rotate 180 albumart.jpg; sudo fbi -T 1 -d /dev/fb0 -noverbose -a -u albumart.jpg > /dev/null 2>&1

 

This rotates the image and then using FBI output’s the jpg to the LCD screen.

IMG_2733

 

So I’m still working on making sure everything is stable,   but all works as described so far…

Thursday, January 28, 2016

£8 of LCD screen for Raspberry Pi w


So I got myself one of these from Ebay.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/311500923289?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Its a 320x480 screen that fits to a Raspberry Pi.

After a bit of digging (and fortunately) a backup of the Pi, pre and post installation, I got it working.

The screen came from China,   in just a bit of bubble wrap.

I’m interested in using the screen to display caller-ID and album-art for what’s play.    So a top word of advice.   When you get a screen like this,  take a photo of the back...

 

The back showed, that my screen was a version 3, of a Kedei 3.5 480 x 320 display.

 

This was the key.     I found that these screens are version dependant.

 

Someone kindly uploaded it and all the information can be found here.  

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=124961&p=852926

 

This is what I followed to get my display working - 

 

by impshum » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:11 pm 
I got one the other day and it was a v3. I installed Jessie and used the drivers the seller kindly gave me. I uploaded it here for future use: https://mega.nz/#!hhdCTCDZ!UXyyh17uZo3p0O95mNmkGrWjmCv7NUEaofx9-zqoGj0

Instructions from the seller (not in Engrish) were:

copy over the drivers to your pi (preferably to /home/pi)
unzip LCD35_show_v3.zip
cd LCD35_v3
sudo ./LCD35_v3

What this does is copy over a new kernel and the drivers then reboots.

When you update the system:
sudo apt-mark hold raspberrypi-bootloader
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Works a charm.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thanks Adam


Adam Christianson, picked up on my experimentation with HomeBridge last week.  Much thanks

http://www.maccast.com

Sunday, January 10, 2016

HomeKit in our house


In big news,   I now have Apple HomeKit working at home.    

 

Last night I was able to stand outside my house (outside of our WIFI range) and speak into Apple watch,  and say Hey Siri, Switch Living Room Lights on.      & the correct lights all came on.

This little achievement was due to the fact I had some Phillips Hue Bulbs and the older non HomeKit hub.    However,  I came across this really neat bit of software that works on  the Raspberry Pi.     Called HomeBridge.       

HomeBridge lets you turn HomeKit devices into ones that are compatible with the HomeKit system.   It acts as a bridge,  so HomeKit commands are understood by these devices.     Their is a fair amount of support for things like WeMo switches etc.

 

A guide to setup,  can be found here - 

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/apple/smartthings-raspberry-pi-homebridge-siri-homekit-controlled-smart-home.html

IMG 2711

 

Essentially,  because of the base work to get Apple File Sharing going on my Pi,   I had the ground-work in place.     Homebrige relies on Avahi,  which provides the Bonjour services for the Pi.

 

To get HomeKit configured and working on your phone.    You need to find yourself a HomeKit compatible app.   with access to the room/house accessory screens.     

This is what I used (Evo App) -

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/elgato-eve/id917695792?mt=8

 

The only tricky part of the process was to make HomeBridge start when the Pi, starts-up.    This was more down to my incompetence than hard to follow instructions.

 

So in summary.   I now have a £25 always on Raspberry Pi B.    (i.e the old one),   running - 

** AirPlay Music Streaming,  using ShairPort Sync

Screen Shot 2016 01 10 at 11 17 44

So,  that means I can send any audio from phone’s,  iPad’s, Mac etc.  to an amp and connected speakers.

 

*** I have file sharing for both Windows & Mac working.     I can use the Pi,     as a TimeMachine,  copy files in and out. etc.   Its slow, but it kind of works.

 

 

*** AirPrint, printing driving a label printer and PDF to Dropbox.      I can print from iPads, iPhones with ease.

 

FullSizeRender

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shairport-Sync


So I’ve just upgraded my raspberry Pi, from Shairport to Shairport-Sync.

So read back a bit, if you don’t know (and I’m sure you do),  Shairport turns Pi, into an Airplay receiver.

 

I’ve got to say,  Shairport-Sync is such a big improvement.   Its stable,  audio actually sounds better.     It doesn’t crash….    I’m just investigating using the meta-data so I can get a LCD screen displaying album art and a description of whats playing...

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Richard Jones