Cool Thermostat Stuff

You may recall that we got a nifty new thermostat for Christmas. Since it is Wi-Fi enabled I can control it from my phone or computer at home or work. Recently I have geekd out and getting some logging going.

I needed a computer to periodically check the temp, but didn’t want to have to keep a computer on and running all the time. That would defeat the point of conserving energy. So I set my web server to poll the thermostat every 15 minutes for the inside actual temperature and set temp as well as check the weather for the outside temp and save that information. I was then able to set up some Google Docs action to set up a cool interactive graph that will display the data.

The amount of data will eventually exceed the limits for google docs. If I keep collecting every 15 minutes doing every 30 will cut that down without sacrificing too much trend data. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I also set cooking up another script that runs only daily and tracks the amount of time our HVAC system spent heating or cooling the house. It will also check the Forecast High and Low Temps for some comparison. Since it tracks time spent heating or cooling I don’t have much data for it. We only run the AC a handful of days each summer, so the best data will come this winter.

If anyone has this same thermostat, my work is shared on a Wiki dedicated to programming with them. HERE

400th Post

I guess this is a milestone. It would seem that I have done this for over 7 years now. That makes me really old on the internet. Before that I had one of those old-fashioned web pages. You may remember them when everyone wrote html in text editors if they wanted a web page.

Some other stats:
Posts: 400
Frequency: ~every 0.154 days
First Post: 4/29/2004
Themes: 4 (or maybe 5)
CMS Systems: 2

How to not loose a bookmark

I downloaded a book on our new iPad to read. I figure I will give this new-fangled eBook thing a try. It has been a  fine experience so far with only one big surprise. I put the book on my old iPhone as well as the iPad. I really don’t carry the iPad around too much, and thought it would be nice to have it on my phone for when I have to wait in line, at the doctors office etc.

The one thing that was bugging me was how to remember where I left off.

With a real book it’s easy: use a bookmark. eBooks can use bookmarks, but how am I going to keep them synced? Imagine having two copies of a book and when you put one down moving the bookmark in the other. Last night I remembered what chapter I was on, but ebooks don’t have fixed pages. Page-count  varies based on what font size and layout you use, so I thought I would have to skim around to find my spot. It turns out it was all in vain. iBooks (the Apple book app) will wirelessly sync your bookmarks, spot, notes, and highlights. Awesome.

Also I actually highlighted something yesterday. I never highlight anything, ever. I think this ebook thing might work out after all.

Google Reader

So in the past couple years RSS has exploded and brought with it things like podcasting and the like. The problem is that it is easy to have a ton of RSS feeds to keep track of. You can add them to your browser, a dedicated RSS reader, or even some mail clients. The problem I was running into was that I had almost 60 feeds that I kept track of and some of them would easily have 30 posts per day. Keeping track of them between multiple computers was getting to be a big hassle. I had to remember to add a feed to all the computers I used and then had to “read” them on all the computers and remember which ones I had already read. It was a pain.

Then I discovered Google Reader. It is web based and easy to use much like all the other google stuff out there. It also gave me one place to go to read all the RSS feeds and it remembers which ones I have already read.

I love RSS

I noticed today that Bob had updated his blog engine. I hadn't seen any updates in a while so I checked it out. I realized how much I depended on RSS doing the hard work of web browsing for me. No more checking sites for updates, now the computer does it for me and tells me that there are new posts. I (meaning the computer) probably watch 30 RSS feeds. That way I save time only looking at what I haven't seen before.

Apple Certified

Over break I took my test to make me an Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist. With no studying or preparation I got an 85%!

Now I can put this cool logo on stuff