Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pausing Banshee using bluetooth proximity

In my continued efforts to control everything with bluetooth proximity, I’ve successfully nailed another target: Banshee media player. Banshee is the default media player supplied with Ubuntu and has some surprisingly useful command line arguments that allow it to be controlled from ruby scripts. I’ve written one that pauses banshee if I leave the room while something is playing and then resumes where it left off as I re-enter the room. Continue reading

Improving the aerial on a mini bluetooth dongle

I, like many people, have a soft spot for the online purveyor of tat that is ebay. When I wanted to add bluetooth connectivity to my desktop I went bought myself a miniature bluetooth dongle for about £1.50.
The miniature bluetooth dongle
It certainly manages being miniature and providing bluetooth connectivity, although the advertised 10m range is a little optimistic. After having troubles with proximity mains control due to a couple of dead spots, I got thinking about ways to improve the signal. Quite quickly I realised that the aerial was a good place to look. Continue reading

Revisiting parallell port mains control

Since my last post on this topic, there has been quite a lot of interest; this post is to cover some slight tweaks to the box itself and to include some extra details. I’ve added a second parallel socket to the side of the box and connected each pin to the corresponding pin on the other socket. This allows one socket to be connected to the computer and the other connected to further parallel devices. I plan to build several more similar boxes, which will be able to be controlled simultaneously from a single parallel port.

The socket box with the faceplate off to one side in order to show the connections. Continue reading

Using text to speech to announce new emails on arrival home

I’ve done some more tinkering with bluetooth proximity detection and have succeeded in making my life slightly more like a science fiction film. When I arrive home, my computer uses text to speech to greet me and tell me if I’ve got any new emails. This reuses the code from last week to detect the presence of my phone via bluetooth, with the slight alteration of tracking what the previous state was. We only want to trigger the announcement when the phone returns to the room, not the whole time the phone is in the room. Continue reading