Stephen C Phillips

Sending Tado Data to Loggly


I’ve just had a Tado smart thermostat installed at home: it’s a clever device that controls the boiler, central heating and hot water and is linked to the internet. It has a room thermostat and takes account of the external temperature as well. You can control it from your smart phone or from the web app and, if you want, it will track your location so that when you leave the house it turns the temperature down and brings it up again in time for when you get home again.

I expect the web app and the mobile app are both in constant development and right now there are features only available in one or the other. For instance, you can only set the hot water schedule in the web app but can only see the historic temperature data in the mobile app (you have to turn your phone to landscape orientation to make it magically appear).

I wanted to see the historical temperature data on my computer instead of my phone so I had a poke around and have found a way to get hold of the data on one of my Raspberry Pis and send it to Loggly to graph it.

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Raspberry Pi System Logging and Loggly


I’ve already written about how useful Loggly is to log data from a Raspberry Pi, but like me, you may want to know more about how system logging actually works and what the extra configuration added by the Loggly setup script means.

This post explains how system logging works and how Loggly fits into it. It describes how the log files are rotated to avoid them filling up the disc and it also goes into a lengthy detour regarding how to encrypt the log traffic between your computer and Loggly, how all the encryption actually works and how you know you can trust it.

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Monitoring Broadband Speed with Loggly


I’ve been having trouble with the speed of my network at home and needed to check whether the broadband link to the internet was working as fast as it should be. To check this, you really need to make many measurements over time, as at different times of the day the performance will vary depending on how many other people in the area are using the same link. To check the speed, I have plugged a spare Raspberry Pi directly into the my Virgin Media Superhub via an ethernet cable and set it up to measure and report the speed every hour. I’m sending the data to an online logging service called Loggly so that I can access it and graph it easily from any other computer.

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BBC Radio on the Raspberry Pi controlled with a tiny web server


Objective

I wanted to be able to tune in to BBC radio stations on my Raspberry Pi and control it through my smart phone with an easy graphical interface.

In fulfilling this objective I got a bit carried away and wrote a small web server from scratch (as you do…) which was good fun, so in the spirit of helping people hack their Raspberry Pis I thought I’d explain how it all works. What follows is mostly an explanation of how web servers and web browsers work: it’s actually quite simple and interesting to mess around with. The actual software is useful and works well too!

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Children going hungry at Bitterne Park Secondary School


Please sir can I have some more time?

Please sir can I have some more time?

What follows is the text of a a letter sent to Bitterne Park Secondary School, Southampton on 29th September 2014.

Dear Mrs Trigger,

I am writing to you because one of my children was not able to eat any lunch last Thursday: a situation seemingly caused by inadequate facilities at the school. This is completely unacceptable. In discussing the situation with my three children I have found out about other aspects of the catering arrangements which also concern me. I am publishing this letter on my blog (http://blog.scphillips.com) in order that other parents may contribute their experience and so I am using the letters “T”, “F” and “R” to refer to my children in order to preserve some anonymity.

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Fingerprints for Food


What follows is the text of a letter sent to Bitterne Park Secondary School, Southampton on 24th June 2014.

Dear Mrs Trigger,

Re: cashless catering

I approve of the cashless catering idea in principle: it removes any difference between those who have free school meals and those that don’t. It stops anyone stealing someone’s money or losing their own. I should also note that I am not irrationally worried about the technology: I work in IT research and fully understand how these systems work.

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BBC Radio on the Raspberry Pi (v2)


This is an update to my recent post on this topic.

This page shows how to create a simple radio command to play and stop different BBC radio stations on a Raspberry Pi. Once set up, you can just type e.g. radio BBC4 to get your favourite station playing. This is useful for various reasons, for instance if you have a room with just an amplifier and speakers in then, with a Raspberry Pi, you can listen to the radio (and with other software your music collection). You can also listen to BBC 6 Music which you cannot get on FM.

Read more…

BBC Radio on the Raspberry Pi


This page shows how to create a simple radio command to play and stop different BBC radio stations on a Raspberry Pi. Once set up, you can just type radio BBC4 to get your favourite station playing. This is useful for various reasons, for instance if you have a room with just an amplifier and speakers in then, with a Raspberry Pi, you can listen to the radio (and with other software your music collection). You can also listen to BBC 6 Music which you cannot get on FM.

Read more…