The Hackaday Prize: Quarterfinalists

I personally want to congratulate and express my respect to the Greek team of SatNOGS that won the Hackaday contest.
Excellent work, keep it up! The fundamental ingredient of success: Collaboration.

T-shirt and sticker is fair enough for my personal effort :)

Nokia's firmware changing bluetooth mac address

I own a Nokia X6 16Gb, and the other day, software update remind me that a new version is ready for download.

I download and install it, and after that, I realise that bluetooth's mac address was changed!

Weird but true. The version is 40.0.002, with date 12-10-2011.
Does anyone else has that experience?

Nokia, why is that?

Introducing, the jReCo

After a lot of R&D and some user requests, I'd like to present the jReCo! A wireless home control station.

jReCo Description:
USB radio frequency transceiver that plugs into your computer and let you control remotely multiple devices that operates at 433/315MHz such as plug socket receivers.

Turn on/off your lights, radios, routers, hubs, fans, etc from your computer. You can automate anything that runs on electricity and can plug into a remote socket receiver.

jaNET Support:
  • Control almost any remote socket receiver
  • Control from anywhere in the world
  • Schedule your appliances
  • Receive/Transmit signals
  • Possible to develop your own application

jReCo is compatible with just about every remote control socket receiver in the market.
OS: Windows, Linux, Mac OS

  • Connection: USB
  • Range: ~30m
  • Power: 5V (USB powered)
  • Frequency: 433MHz/315MHz (Depending your location)

Some images can be found here.

If you're interested please visit Product page.


Once upon a time, I had subscribed to Microsoft Office Live to check it out. I didn't use it as a main tool since I found more convenient Google Docs. Anyway, I tried to login from my home computer which it runs Ubuntu 10.04 and Firefox. In my surprise I came up with this message...

To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

* Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista. You can download Internet Explorer from the Internet Explorer page.

* Mozilla Firefox running on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. You can download Firefox from the Firefox download page.

Original page

Come on Microsoft!

Iron man JARVIS meet jaNET

Update: Project jaNET has a home and a Facebook pageProject jaNET provides a framework that allows various components to communicate, controlled interactively by the user. This procedure aim to act like a digital life assistant (DLA) which I inspired by Iron Man's JARVIS.

Since I finished a digital photo frame (you can find some material here) with a reflective dielectric glass in front acting like a mirror when its turned off, I thought... hmm, it's a hidden computer, why limited just to play photos and not do more things like, checking email, get weather, controlling my room lights maybe temperature, or any other sensor attached in future, and generally stuff could assist me in matters of information? Then JARVIS came as a guidance inspiration, and the project jaNET began!

But no more talking, lets cut to the chase! I'll try to describe and explain some actions "she" can do at the present time and "drop some specs".

Let's take a look to the hardware used by the time. I use a Phidgets 8/8/8 usb interface kit, a MaxBotix EZ-1 Sonar Sensor and a Dual Relay Board.
Relay board is responsible for the desk lights and the sonar to entrap my office area. Software written in java, is stand alone for each unit and called from jaNET when needed. Update: I use also an arduino microcontroller and sensors to measure temperature, illumination and motion activity.

Beyond hardware I built a framework providing some actions as described below.
Weather check, email check, knowing my gps position, controlling room lights, desk entrapment and alert when someone approach, listening bluetooth devices and react as the configuration XML file instructs, setting wake up calls, listening commands from anywhere by a custom web service or email, sending email alerts, sending sms alerts and sometimes talking too much :)

I wanted to be cross platform but emphasized on linux. I decide to use Ubuntu, C# Mono and Festival Speech Synthesis. I also needed to be flexible in matters of user preferences so the framework and the parser designed so, that the end user configure it to his way. The default instruction set simplifies the actions he has to do! The concept achieved with an XML configuration file.
For instance, I have a built-in function, called %mailcount%, which returns the number of incoming e-mails as an integer. Then I describe a new instruction set "checkmail" in the XML file, something like "You have %mailcount% mail messages". So when I call this command, the parser interprets, trigger the function from the framework, get the value and finally announce it if e-mails fetched. I think it's very handy because you don't need to have programming skills to make it work for you!

You can preview some videos on my youtube channel and more cool things is on the way!

Samsung weather conditions

Is it possible to have 21 Celsius degree in Vegas with snow flurries?

Samsung marketing department probably know something that we earthlings don't! :)

This picture is from the official announcement of the new Samsung I9000 Galaxy S.

ASP.NET (C#) Contact Form

Probably the most common page at any kind of website is the contact form! There is a ton of examples on the internet but many of them are under payment, step by step generators, joomla extensions, php scripts which required donations etc etc and lots of things that frustrates the most simple but important way to get in touch or feedback a website owner.

After that waste of time and the lack of an ASP.NET contact form I started to build my own and use it for my website and my (this) blog.

.NET framework provides a class library simplifies the way we send e-mail and it packed under System.Net.Mail.

I won't describe the process but I'll give you this form as example and the source code for download. It's very easy to manipulate, all you need is to build it and edit the settings in WebAppConfig.xml file.

Then you can add an iframe to a custom page and code it like this...
<iframe src="" width=100% height=340px frameborder=0 allowtransparency="true"></iframe>
the result should be look like this...

Change between workspaces using HP 2140 accelerometer

HP mini 2140 netbook comes with an ST Microeletronics accelerometer and under linux kernel 2.6.27 we found a driver that supports it (LIS3LV02Dx).
With wmctrl and some scripting we can toggle between workspaces when we tilt the machine left or right. This is a useless script but it has some fun :)

First you need to install wmctrl
sudo apt-get install wmctrlbash shell script - Download#!/bin/bash


while [ $COUNTER -le 100 ]; do
    sleep 0.5
    POS=`cat /sys/devices/platform/lis3lv02d/position | awk -F "(" '{print$2}' | awk -F , '{print$1}'`
    echo $POS
        if [ $POS -ge 12 ]; then
            wmctrl -o 1024,0
        elif [ $POS -le -12 ]; then
            wmctrl -o 0,0
    COUNTER=$(( $COUNTER + 1 ))
UPDATE Sep 8, 2009: an approach in python - Download#!/usr/bin/python
import time
import os
while cnt <= 100:
    f = open ('/sys/devices/platform/lis3lv02d/position','r')
    data =
    ar = data.split(',')
    results = ar[0].replace('(',''), ar[1], ar[2].replace(')','')
    print results
    if (ar[0].replace('(','') >= '12'):
        os.system('wmctrl -o 1024,0')
    elif (ar[1] <= '-12'):
        os.system('wmctrl -o 0,0')
    cnt += 1
Note: Scripts will work when System/Preferences/Appearance/Visual Effects is set to Normal or Extra.