October 2008 Archives

Thank God for Siberia

I've never like trick-or-treating. As far as I am concerned it is an imported American habit (much like those ghastly school "proms" that seem to have sprung up every summer complete with screaming girls hanging out of limo windows) with little to recommend it. No doubt it has been imported through endless teen movies, although there doesn't seem to be the full follow-through

My recollection for Halloween is toffee apples, costumes, carving pumpkins (or in our family swedes because they were much cheaper), parties and ducking for apples - what was wrong with that? OK, I can't really take offence at a few tots dressing up and being escorted round knocking on doors in the hope of a handful of sweets. But more usually it's a gang of teenagers demanding money with menaces, the "tricks" being thinly disguised vandalism and any offer of sweets as treats being turned down with a sneer. 

So thank God for Siberia, or more particularly Siberian winds, because that seems to have done the trick and I've not been treated to any unwelcome visitors tonight.

Update: Oh Dear.

I invented this...

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It keeps happening. Every time I have a brilliant idea, a few days or weeks later I will come across something to find it has been done. But this time is different. I actually proposed doing something very close to this several years ago but it was rejected by my (then) employer's invention process as stupid.

Now that I have an increasingly automated home, it makes more and more sense to me, since it is much easier to localise a visible light transmission to a single room than an RF transmission. The downside is that such a transmission can also be blocked by clothes and other obstacles. However, I think this could be a viable solution to certain problems with presence detection and identity that some people have been trying to solve with RFID or even Bluetooth sensing.

And there is also the converse possibility. Imagine a configurable remote control device, some kind of portable touch screen or web tablet. Have each room have an IR beacon that transmits the room ID and the tablet receive and process it. The presented interface can now be very easily made appropriate to the room the control device is residing in. I can think of ways of mocking this up now.

I already have an IR TX/RX infrastructure provided by my ceiling mounted Idratek modules. This was obviously conceived for RC4/5 remote control purposes, but my devious mind is busy thinking up some other uses. One of the advantages of the Idratek system is that it is not a passive IR distribution system like, for example, Xantech stuff, but actually attempts to recognise frames and can process them. It can also forward unrecognised frames to Cortex. I'm not sure whether I am constrained to RC4/5 frames, at least with the current firmware, but even within that limitation some interesting possibilities spring to mind ...

... must read up some more on RC4/5 and IrDA, and find out whether the Idratek modules can do IrDA ...


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