Getting warmer June 26, 2011 4:29 am

The first part of my master plan is done.  I’m now able to get data from the thermocouple to the Arduino, then using a cron job on my Ubuntu netbook, read the data via USB, stick it in a file and upload it to a PHP script to store in MySQL.

The next step is to write some PHP code to return the data in JSON and an Android app to consume it.

Mintyboost Build June 25, 2011 5:43 pm

I cracked open all my electronics goodies and dove into the Mintyboost build this morning.

I had the build guide pulled up on my netbook while I built it.


Partially built


Let’s see if it works.  I ran the battery down on my Nexus One for a while.

Charging!  Success!

It also charges my wife’s Android G1.

Thanks Adafruit!  If you have a soldering iron and like building things, pick up a kit and make one yourself.

A couple weeks of bacon June 22, 2011 3:07 am

A few weeks back, I had the silly idea of making a lorem ipsum generator using types and cuts of meat instead of the standard Latin text. Some PHP code and a slightly modified WordPress theme later, Bacon Ipsum was born.

It went live on June 6th.  A few friends tweeted it, it got retweeted a few times and went viral a couple days later.  It even made it on Gizmodo.

It’s had 167k visitors since then and is still getting about 3-4k people a day.

Maybe I should make some t-shirts…  :)

Electronics Noob June 18, 2011 3:05 pm

Back when I was a kid, I remember taking an electronics class at a local community college as part of their “college for kids” program.  We were taught about voltage and ohms and resistors and whatnot.  Most of this I don’t remember, but I vaguely recall building a simple flashing LED light involving a battery, capacitors and resistors.

To satiate my need for learning and building things, I hit up Adafruit this morning and picked up an Arduino starter kit, a MintyBoost kit, some necessary tools (soldering iron, multimeter, etc), a few other components for future projects and an electronics book.  The tools were the most expensive part, but that’s a one-time purchase.  Should be fun!

At a high level, my ultimate goal is this:

  1. Read internal smoker and meat temperature when doing some BBQ smoking.
  2. Monitor temps on my Android device.

Seems simple enough, but there’s a few other steps involved:

  1. Build Arduino device with a thermocouple
  2. Write Arduino code to sample temperature data
  3. Transmit temperature data, probably via a connected laptop at first, wirelessly later.
  4. Publish temperature data to a Internet-accessible location.  I forsee some PHP/JSON/MySql here.
  5. Write an Android app to consume temperature data (timer, alarms for high/low temperature, notifications, etc).

I know how to do items 4 & 5 above.  The rest will be a learning experience that I’m looking forward to.

Is this overkill for BBQ?  Sure, and you can even build a PID controller with some fans for smoking,  but this gives me the chance to learn some some electronics.