Automating IR AC/Heater with Raspberry Pi and Google

Objective Automate my existing apartment climate control system by adding a remote web interface to pre-cool my room on my way home during the summer and easy scheduling to warm my room before getting out of bed in the winter. AC interface Most Japanese air conditioner/heater units use IR controls incompatible with Nest so controlling over IR was the only option. Unfortunately reverse engineering the IR protocol would prove to be challenging. These IR remotes are completely different than those for TVs and other appliances. Most IR remotes send single commands like "on" or "volume up" but these AC units are stateless, it's the remote that has the brains, so each time a button is pressed the remote will send the entire list of settings values.  For instance, if you just press the button to increase temperature+1 say from 24 to 25, the remote will actually send [power:on, mode:heater, temp:25, air-speed:2, air-diffuser:on, timer:off...] I won't go into detai…

Updated Raspberry Pi Timelapse Camera with Google Drive Upload

This is an update to my Original Raspberry Pi interval camera here
You can still use the old hardware but I'd recommend using the new scripts below

Changelog:New gdrive binaryCamera upgraded to v2Replaced fixed lens with M12 zoom lensScript updatesSplits uploads to drive directories by dayTries to fix WiFi connections when downGeneral cleanup HardwareRaspberry Pi B+ (or any other Rpi)Enclosure for B+Raspberry Pi v2 camera moduleHigh quality micro SDEdimax EW-7811Un WiFi USB Adapter (not required for Pi3 or Zero W)M12 mount 9-22mm zoom lens (note, find a seller selling the one with thread)Custom 3D printed lens mount with tripod screw holeAny cheap small tripod You'll need a display for focusing. The larger and higher def display the easier it will be to get a sharp focus. Setup the PiDownload and install Raspbian to the SD card normallyRun#raspi-configExpand filesystemEnable cameraSet timezoneChange passwordFinish (reboot)Setup WiFiOptionally setup LAN for static IPUpdate rasp…

Erato Muse 5 True Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Review

True wireless earbuds are liberating. Going back to anything with wires will be frustrating especially in the winter when the cables have to wind around layers of clothes.
These Erato Muse 5 exceeded my expectation though my expectations were set pretty low from reading abysmal Amazon reviews for similar devices. Overall these have improved my listening experience though not without a few quirks, some of which may be intolerable for average consumers.
Pros: Decent sound qualityOutstanding battery life even without recharging in the caseLightweight and comfortable enough for long sessionsAdequate mic pickupFade-in effect when resuming from dropoutsEasy to power on/offAutomatically turns off when chargingCons: Fitseal sleeves didn't fit. Your results may varyWireless signal needs improvementPhysical buttons are uncomfortable to use while wearingInserting into the charging case takes a little skillStill pretty large and obviousSpecs (From Bluetooth Specification: BT Vers…

My (failed) attempts to return my Samsung Note7

I'm writing this because despite all press urging users to return their Note7 devices ASAP, it's still impossible to return a device purchased in Singapore and likely many other countries as well.  While this is far from proof of anything, I'm publishing my record of events, specifically return attempts and Samsung's responses.

As of today October 14, 2016 (JST), Samsung SG's official statement continues to be: Samsung is in close discussions with telecommunication operator and retail partners, and details on how Galaxy Note7 customers can go about the exchange or refund will be provided soon. Timeline of events for my record are as follows. Some dates from adjusted for Asia timezone. August 19, 2016 - Preordered Note7s available for pickupAugust 25, 2016 - Initial reports of fire issues surfaceSeptember 3, 2016 - Voluntary recall starts. CPSC investigation beginsSeptember 16, 2016 - Samsung claims issue has been found and fixed.September 20, 2016 - Samsung a…

2016 Retina MacBook Pro Upgrade Wishlist

It's been a while since Apple had a major refresh of the MacBook Pro 15" Retina.  The last refresh in May 2015 included faster processor and SSD, new GPU and trackpad but nothing amazing.

Here's my wishlist for Apple's next refresh.

Upgrade the current Crystal Well (Haswell) CPU to Skylake for improved performance and battery lifeOption for up to 32GB RAMOption for up to 1TB SSDReplace magsafe, Thunderbolt, and USB on the left edge all with USB 3.1 C / Thunderbolt 3Keep the right edge as-is for using older USB A devices such as a mouse without an adapterUpgrade iSight camera to a wide-angle 4k one. Why? To support digital pan/scan @1080 and other software potential.

Oslob Whale Shark Diving, Philippines

Last month I took a trip to Cebu and Oslob, Philippines for an experience of a lifetime to dive with whale sharks!  The guide from picked me up at 5am from Cebu city and drove me the 3 hours down to Oslob.

After a quick breakfast and briefing at the dive center, we geared up and dove right in.

We encountered the magnificent giants less than 100m from shore where it's just about 7m deep. Unfortunately the visibility was low due to a recent storm but it was still astonishing and the photos weren't so bad.

The whale sharks appear everyday since the locals feed them from boats. That also explains why they're often pictured vertically like below. The feeding is controversial but guarantees they'll be around for guests who traveled a long way for the experience.

Simple Raspberry Pi Interval Camera with Google Drive Upload

## Note: updated version can be found here ## This is essentially my notes for replicating a Raspberry Pi timelapse camera setup I have but I decided to publish it for others to use as well.  It assumes familiarity with Raspbian so I won't go into details until the camera and uploading sections.

HardwareRaspberry Pi B+Frosted enclosure for B+ w/ internal camera mountRaspberry Pi camera moduleHigh quality micro SDEdimax EW-7811Un WiFi USB Adapter Total price ~$75 USD
I selected the older Pi B+ model because I had an extra and because the B+ enclosure supports mounting the standard camera module cleanly within.  Kudos to the person/team who came up with that idea.

Setup the PiDownload and install Raspbian to the SD card normally. I used the newly released Raspbian Jessie.Run #raspi-config Expand filesystem Enable cameraSet timezoneChange passwordFinish (reboot)Edit /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf to setup WiFi authenticationEdit /etc/network/interfaces to change wlan0 from…