Getting warmer

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

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

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

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.