Tech Update: Drift & Window Install + Twitter

Paul writes with great news that the Max patch he’s been working on for our window installation project can now capture audio, upload it to a server and tweet a notification. We’re meeting on Wednesday to discuss the next steps and to plan workshops for the winter!

Also, with Twitter, I spent a bus and train ride working on an overdue update for Drift. It’s now integrated with Twitter and you’ll be able to export your Drift through email. Hoping to release this soon.

Max Patch Updates, Creating Content for Tweet and Filenames

From Paul as an update to this project:

It’s coming along well, now it records the file, generates the link and creates the contents of the tweet. Next step is rigging up the uploading and actual posting of the tweet.

ATTC Calgary Day 1: Shortcuts for Urban Resistance & Algorithmic Walks

We’re in Calgary working with Truck Gallery’s CAMPER Urban Discovery project, doing a residency based on our “…and then the city…” (ATTC) research. Developed after a six-month community research project back in Windsor called, Save the City, ATTC was initially realized as two billboards in Windsor and an accompanying publication that looked at the cyclical nature of city narratives — the things that we’re told and the things we tell ourselves about the places we live.

We’re here for 10 days working to develop a practice that can begin to unfold the complexities of Calgary and how the people, architecture, infrastructure, planning policies, and connections shape this city. We’re interested in the largest sense in understanding locality in both its reading and practice, and Calgary is already proving to be a wonderfully curious research site.

If you’re in Calgary, you can catch us at CAMPER by taking a look at our schedule, and if you’re away, you can expect posts everyday on our process.

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Parsing RSS Feeds for the Arduino + LCD + PHP project

I’ve made some really great progress on this ongoing Arduino + LCD project over the last couple of weeks — some of the two larger hurdles are now out of the way, the results of which you can see in the video above.

Since the video was shot, I’ve improved the PHP script some more to ensure that the text is properly broken up over the appropriate lines on the LCD and I’ve also removed those strange characters, which were resulting from newlines in the Twitter RSS feed, I think.

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Working on the PHP Backend of the Arduino + LCD Project

I haven’t posted for a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on the ongoing Arduino + LCD project, which is moving along towards connecting external data to be displayed on the LCD screen.

The last bit of time I’ve put into the project has been focused on printing text to the LCD screen from a text file. It’s an easy enough process using a PHP serial class that I mentioned in the last post, combined with PHP’s basic file manipulation functions.

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Tweet-A-Watt

Tweet-A-Watt, measuring energy usage in real-time and uploading it to Twitter

Made from a hacked Kill A Watt, a device used to measure energy usage from a power outlet, Ladyada made this real-time Twittering energy monitor. The Tweet-A-Watt can be made for around $50, and would be used in each room—your office’s power bar would have one connected to it, your living room, bedroom, etc. Check out the Twitter feed, as it reports on the energy used around every 8 hours.

A great idea, and all the better that it came out of working with existing products to make them more functional. As with many visualization and data reporting techniques though, I find there’s a bit of a gap between seeing the numbers (for example, 134.0 Watts, 4133 Wh in last 24hr, 5510 Wh previous day), and understanding what the numbers mean. Is 4133 Wh in the last 24 hours good or bad? However, at least being able to track and begin to understand the relationship between your activities and energy usage is a step in the right direction.

[via Inhabitat]