Category Archives: Gadgets

Trail camera – first outdoors test

Last night I packaged everything up in the trail camera lunch box and gave it the first outdoors test. The first thing it captured was this little guy!

I think there may still be a few things to sort out. The PIR sensor may not be very sensitive or the code may not be 100% functioning correctly (though it seemed to be in all other tests I ran indoors), as the videoing stopped before I would have thought it should. However, as the very first thing it captured was the hedgehog I am very pleased with the result!

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A PHP extension to control GPIO on the RaspberryPi – my BrightonPHP talk

A while ago now (back in February!) I did a talk about writing an extension using Zephir to interact with the RaspberryPi’s GPIO.  The extension itself wraps around the wiringPi library and it makes it really easy to write PHP scripts that send output and gather input from the GPIO.

Here are the slides (use left/right arrow keys to navigate):

Full-sized version of the slides

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Phpiwire: a PHP extension (written using Zephir) for controlling the Raspberry Pi GPIO

So it’s been a while since my lightening talk on Zephir and I realized I hadn’t really done anything to try to learn it a little more in-depth.  Coincidentally, I was recently going through a drawer and realized that one of my Raspberry Pi’s was in there just begging to be put to some use (seriously, I could practically hear it weep).  So I thought that the only thing to do was to attempt to write an extension using Zephir so that I could control the GPIO via PHP.  I mean, isn’t it obvious? Continue reading Phpiwire: a PHP extension (written using Zephir) for controlling the Raspberry Pi GPIO

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Tweeting on a button press with the Raspberry Pi

A while ago my door bell broke. So I did what any sensible person would; I decided that instead of buying a new one I would hook up an old bell I had to a Raspberry Pi and have the bell ring when someone pushed a button on my door. But then I though, “well, that’s a bit boring.  My doorbell should tweet me, too!”

The long and the short of it is that I couldn’t get the mechanics of the bell ringer to work but had a lot of fun with the tweeting side of things because it involved my first shot at doing some Python code. And the really good news is that it’s ridiculously easy to accomplish.

This was roughly my process…

Continue reading Tweeting on a button press with the Raspberry Pi

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MSC Executive Mobile Charger review

The other day I was asked if I’d like to review a solar charger battery pack for portable devices that comes from Mobile Solar Chargers. At first I was a little dubious because I’ve seen some battery packs and solar chargers that have been rather badly constructed/have a flimsy design and provide as much power a lemon-powered battery. But as I had just gotten a new phone that likes battery power, I thought I’d give it a shot… and I was genuinely happy that I did!

Continue reading MSC Executive Mobile Charger review

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