The Usual Tech Ramblings

Random Creativity...

Every now and again, I get on a creativity kick. It’s not always an artistic type of kick, just creative….

For example, right now I’m wanting to tinker with an Arduino. Why? No idea, just think it’d be pretty cool to knock some cool stuff together, like this. Okay, so I probably won’t monitor that cat’s water bowl with it, but it is a pretty cool idea. And it’s not just limited to doing that either, the list is pretty much endless. That, and I want to tinker with electronics again.

Then I have another itch at the moment… Monitoring stuff. Not sure why, but I’m curious about power consumption, and what uses the most in my apartment. So yesterday I picked up a Kill-A-Watt meter. Plug stuff in, and it’ll tell you how much juice is being used. But it’s not just limited to watching it… I want to record it, and as such, stumbled across a little modification to the device using a couple of Xbee devices, and some interesting hacks to send the measurements onto your computer. It’s interesting to find the cable box, whilst asleep, still draws 40watts, not terrible, but for a device that’s supposed to be asleep?

I still have my previous idea for the kitchen device, which I’ve currently got suspended in my head, especially as there are already a device floating around that covers some of the functionality… That, and I’m watching the CrunchPad, which looks like it’ll drop it nicely for the project, just need to write a UI for the software.

I’m also working on a project for work at the moment, completely unrelated to what I usually do, but it slips in with my general attitude of “I can do it”. I’m building a call stats board for the helpdesk. Yes, I know you can buy them, but currently sitting at $4k for one of the cheapest we found, and company has decided to tighten its belt on spending, it’s not one of the things they’ll approve. So with a little wireshark help, I sniffed out the traffic from the phone system, and I know how to talk to it to get call stats… Now to just build a small C# application to listen, and output to an LED display.

Oh well… maybe I’ll actually do some of this stuff… one day