Monthly Archives: February 2012

Controlling the mains via the parallel port

Today I’m looking at controlling a 240V socket with the parallel port on my Linux desktop; this design can take the full 13A available and can control any device or extension lead with a 13A plug. I’m currently using it to turn lights and monitors off at night, but I have also used it in the past to check live weather reports and automatically turn a fan on. The only limitations to its use are the number of appliances with plugs and your imagination. Continue reading

Playing youtube music from the command line

Record collections certainly used to be nice, but sometimes it’s much nicer to have every song you can possibly think of at your fingertips. Youtube is a good source, but has several things holding it back; most significantly ads, playlists that don’t function as on-the-fly play queues and it cannot easily be operated remotely over ssh. Remote ssh control is useful because I’m often sat in a room with both my netbook and another computer with much better sounding speakers. I’ve overcome these problems by writing a ruby script. Continue reading