Philips Hue DIYgne

Philips recently launched the Hue Signe. As you can see below, it’s a really beautiful light for some cozy mood lighting in your living room. Sadly, it’s also quite expensive. I wasn’t ready to shell out 270 euro’s to have one of these next to my TV. Luckily, with the Gledopto controller, you can connect pretty cheap LED strips to your Hue Bridge and control them with the same app.

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Retro Assistant Pi

You probably know about Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana, the voice-activated assistants from Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft respectively. These pieces of software on your phone or dedicated speaker in your home enable you to check your calendar, switch on the lights, check up on your commute before leaving or even better… hear the latest knock-knock joke. Google released the Google Assistant SDK, which makes it possible for tinkerers to build their own devices, and I used it, together with a Raspberry Pi 3 to build a retro-looking smart speaker. This blogpost is the full write-up of that process, feel free to use it to build your own! Continue reading “Retro Assistant Pi”

Photon water tank sensor

You might have read my earlier tutorial on how to measure your rain water tank with an Arduino. If you haven’t, this tutorial is based on that one and will assume some ground knowledge from that post. I’ll try to link back as much as needed to let this make sense. The Arduino worked perfect for a while, but it became a hassle to check the level under the stairs, a sensor connected to the internet made much more sense. That way, you can receive warnings when the level gets low or very high, and you can respond accordingly. I used a Particle Photon, a $19 internet-connected development board to achieve this, connected to IFTTT to quickly switch between outputs. Continue reading “Photon water tank sensor”

Arduino water tank sensor

All new Belgian homes are outfitted with a rain water tank (een regenwaterput, as we call it) these days. Which is a really neat way to save on water, since you can use it for things like flushing toilets or even washing clothes. However, at some point after a dry period, that water tank runs out and in our case that means our toilets are flushed with mud (I know, I should clean the bottom of my pit). Knowing when it’s close to running out on beforehand is quite handy and with an Arduino and ultrasonic sensor, you don’t have to go through the trouble of opening the water tank and looking inside for a rough estimate.

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My week on Joylent

Disclaimer: This post was written quite a while ago. Since then, Joylent has stepped up their game massively. They added a bunch of flavors, shipping is way faster, the powder comes in pretty bags, powder is much less grainy, etc etc. So if you find any dealbreakers in this post, chances are they have been updated since then.

Maybe you’ve already heard about Soylent, the American food-alternative that promises a quick, cheap way to gulp down all the nutrients you need. All you have to do is shake together their powder and water, until you have 2 liters of yellowish goo that replaces your 3 meals for a day. It’s been making a lot of waves in the media, with a bunch of people who think food is a necessary evil and love the idea, but also lots of people who think it’s ridiculous and hate it. I’ve seen The Verge review Soylent and one of them actually lived a full month on nothing but these shakes. Here’s a quick video of their experience: Continue reading “My week on Joylent”

Raspberry Pi Media Center

People have been finding the coolest ways to use a Raspberry Pi, the 35 dollar computer that’s been driving the geeks wild for a while now. I myself turned it into a media center and taped it to the back of my TV, making it easier to see TV shows and movies. I started writing this tutorial as a guide for myself, just so I could repeat the process easily, but I’m sure others can find it useful as well!

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Dropbox & Google Adwords

In een vorige blogpost ging ik reeds dieper in op het Dropbox platform, deze keer een leuke tip om het ten volle te kunnen gebruiken. Zo krijg je in een standaard Dropbox-account 2GB ter beschikking om bestanden online te bewaren, te delen en zelfs samen te werken. Dat is voor het bedrag dat je ervoor betaalt (niks!) een mooie deal, maar als hij vol staat is het steeds vervelend om je map op te ruimen. Zeker als je het ook binnen je bedrijf gebruikt voor het delen van bestanden, staat hij nogal eens snel vol (vaak met bestanden die uiteraard van niemand zijn). Mits een avondje tijd kan je het echter eenvoudig opdrijven naar 10GB en meer, met behulp van Google Adwords. Ik probeerde het uit en geniet nu van 10,25GB ruimte, zonder een eurocent betaald te hebben, ik deel graag met jullie hoe ik het aanpakte. Continue reading “Dropbox & Google Adwords”