Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Most Downloaded of 2009

Since 2009 is the first full year I developed applications, I thought it would be interesting to see which ones were most popular. I know 2009 isn't over yet, but the #1 app certainly won't be unseated by year's end. Here are the 10 most downloaded DoghouseLabs applications for 2009.

1. EventGhost xPL Plugin - 125 times
2. BlueTracker - 33
3. Blabber - 24
4. SageTV xPL Plugin - 20
5. xScript - 18
6. xPLSerial - 17
6. xEKG - 17
8. xPLAudreyTTS - 15
9. xPLGCal - 11
10. OSDBuffer - 9

Looking at the numbers, other than the EventGhost plugin, that's not a lot of downloads. Volume has never been my aim - these are things that I use in my home automation system and sharing them is my way of giving back for all the cool software and ideas I've benefited from over the past 15 years. I am surprised by how popular the EventGhost plugin is compared to all the other xPL apps. Also, I'm curious if anybody really uses the SageTV plugin besides me - as only one person has ever asked anything about it. Anyway, thanks for using my apps and reading my blog in 2009 and happy automating in 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New App: Noise

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but I admit that it's been a while since I last posted. I've been taking a break from automation stuff over the holidays, but I did work on something I've always wanted to implement...

Have you ever wanted to be automatically told that the baby is crying or the dog's barking? Introducing my latest xPL app, Noise. It uses your PC's mic (or possibly other input device), samples the input for a period of time, and issues an xPL sensor.basic message with information about the noise it detected, if any. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

xPL Tweeting

I'm not sure why this hasn't been done earlier, but it looks like I'm the first to integrate xPL and Twitter. It was really easy to do and only took a few hours. A lot of the time was just figuring out what API to use and investigating OAUTH. I ended up using twitterizer's API, which doesn't support OAUTH. That's fine because I want this app to run standalone without any user interaction required for login, which OAUTH requires. The downside is the tweet source will show Twitterizer and not xPLTweet. Twitter no longer takes registrations for apps that do not use OAUTH, so there's no free publicity for my app in your Twitter streams. Bummer.

xPLTweet grabs OSD.BASIC messages explicitly targeting it (ie doghouse-xpltweet.yourinstance). It grabs the text portion of the message and tweets that. That's pretty much all it does. A future enhancement I may do will be to monitor who you're following and issue OSD.BASIC messages when they update their streams, but it could be messy if you follow many active Twitterers.

In any case, you can grap xPLTweet here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Debugging ECM-1240 Setup

I've made some good progress on my ECM-1240 interface. It's a good thing I'm running it on xPLserial, where I can easily make changes to the script instead of having to recompile if it were an application. I found some problems in my script that caused it to miss a byte here or there and seems to be the source of the instability I was seeing. The current script has been running for 5.5 hours (since a power outage ended this morning) without having to reset the counters.

My script is no longer sending the readings over xPL, instead it's doing direct writes to MySQL. It was a pain trying to get ODBC working with XP Embedded, but eventually I did find an ODBC add on for HP thin clients. It doesn't say it supports the T5700, but it works anyway. Now, I'm updating power usage everytime it changes instead of whenever the xPL message was received.

As for this morning's blackout, it was quite a racket. I was awaken around 4AM to a symphony of beeping UPS's - 9 of them to be exact. I really need to open up a few of them and cut the buzzer wires. Some are really way too loud. I also discovered a couple with dead batteries. Good thing I got a couple more UPS's on Black Friday. It's actually cheaper to replace the low end ones instead of buying new batteries.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Random Progress

I was having some problems talking to the ECM-1240 through a virtual serial port and Lantronix MSS-100. It would occasionally lose its connection. I ended up deploying my leftover HP T5700 thin client, connecting it directly to the ECM-1240. I've got xPLSerial running on the thin client and it issues xPL messages every 60 seconds with the current power consumption. I'm still getting some weird problems with the ECM-1240 where the counters get out of whack on an Aux channel and exceed the usage on the main channel. This causes me to have to reset the counters and lose the cumulative statistics. I need to figure out how to work around this issue so I can get some valid full-day consumption readings.

I've also moved some xPL and xAP applications off my other 2 servers onto the thin client since it's not really doing a whole lot. It's chugging along at around 10% CPU utilization with about 5 apps running. I tried to run xPLSys on it, but it's crashing. There doesn't appear to WMI in the XPe build on the thin client. I may have to figure out a different method of getting the statistics.

Ironically, I've also been working on my automation interface GUI in expectation of buying some touchscreens. However, as the world found out yesterday, the Crunchpad died before birth. I was planning on buying several of those for touchpanels around the house. Hopefully, there will be some ChromeOS or Android tablets in the near future.