Hobby projects

This page is about little hobby projects I’m working on.

Home automation with radio controlled power plugs

A while ago I created my own home automation project. I wanted to share this project with you guys so you start building this awesome tool yourself :-)

The goal was to:

  • Have the ability to remotely switch off/on electronic equipment
  • Be able to control this with my Android phone

In the steps below you will see how to build this project yourself.

Step 1: getting all the equipment


Step 2: hardware setup


Step 3: the code


Step 4: the fun!


Dynamic sun map background (for OS X)

Today I found an interesting website with sun maps:

Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth’s patterns of sunlight and darkness. The clouds are updated daily with current weather satellite imagery.

I thought it would be cool to have this map as a kind of dynamic background. The only thing I would need is a small script fetching the updated image e.g. every couple of minutes and then setting it as my cool new background.

I chose to write the script in python and because initial testing showed that the image is updated every 30 minutes, I installed it as a crontab entry which will execute the script every 1st and 31st minute.

In order to install it as a crontab it is sufficient to issue the following command:

$ env EDITOR=vi crontab -e

and then insert the following values (make sure you change the script location to your preference):

1,31 * * * * python /Applications/Utilities/background.py

The resulting script looks like the script below. Have fun!

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