HomePi – Raspberry Pi Lego House

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in Hardware | Posted on 25-03-2013

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One of the amazing things about the Raspberry Pi micro computer (apart from its price) is its ability to interface with other hardware. It opens up so many possibilities that used to be quite expensive and difficult to implement . As interfacing a pc directly with hardware is not something I have ever done before, I’ve come up with a project to learn some of the basics, I call it HomePi

The idea is to house a Raspberry Pi in a little Lego house, and attach various sensors to perform certain task, and maybe implement some sort of data logging and remote access into the project as well. My ideas for sensors and extra hardware so far are:

  • A temperature and humidity sensor
  • A light sensor, that will turn on a ‘street light’ when its dark. This will just be a single LED light enclosed in some Lego
  • An LCD screen to sit in the roof, to display various bits of information, such as the current temperature & humidity, date & time, RSS feeds, Twitter trends etc.
  • A couple of buttons to maybe change what the display is currently showing
  • An LED in a ‘street light’ that will come on when the lights are turned off
  • A motion tracker to see when someone enters the room
  • Maybe an RJ45 jack to interface 1-Wire, so I can plug in additional sensors if needed.

I have already decided on a bought some of the hardware I will need for the project:

  • For LCD screen I have bought the Adafruit RGB 16×2 LCD kit. This includes the actual LCD screen. The advantage of this kit (as opposed to just buying the screen on its own) is that it you only use the 2 I2c pins on the pi. Plus you don’t really use them as you can attach other things onto the I2c bus anyway. Check it out here.
  • With the LCD breakout sitting on the GPIO pins, I have also got an extra long header connector, so I can mount the LCD breakout on the pi as normal, but also have access to all the pins
  • A DHT11 temperature and humidity sensor
  • A light dependent resistor sensor
  • Plenty of cables to run the sensors and other devices

I have started work on it now, I’ll post some more info later in the week.

Creating Outlook Profiles for RemoteApps

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in Enterprise | Posted on 15-08-2012

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The Problem

Recently I have been involved in a project to roll out Microsoft RemoteApps, so users can launch applications on a terminal server via a website or shortcut. One of the issues we had was with a business application that was trying to send email out via Outlook.

The application was trying to open a new outlook email, but as outlook had never been launched before the application just hit an error as soon as it tried to send the email. I came across a few articles that pointed at adding a entry to the registry at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Setup\ImportPRF that contains a path to a prf file. When you set this path when Outlook first opens it will use this entry to create the profile based on the settings in the PRF file.

The problem I had was because Outlook was not actually being opened by the user, then the profile was never created, so they got an error. So in order to get around this, I decided to write a VB script that would create a Outlook object then launch the application. I would then use this as the application path in RemoteApp Manager to start the application.

The Solution

This is the script I wrote to launch my application:

Set objRegistry = CreateObject("Wscript.shell")
objRegistry.RegWrite "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Setup\ImportPRF", "\\server\share\settings.prf", "REG_SZ"

Set objOutlook = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
Set objNamespace = objOutlook.GetNamespace("MAPI")
Set objFolder = objNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(6)
objRegistry.Run "%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Progam Files\App1\App1.exe"

So, what is the script doing. First of all we create a shell object so we can write to the registry. Then we write the key to point at our prf file (obviously you need to change this to your relevant path, and if you are not running Outlook 2010 the reg path will be different).

Now we have that setting in the reg, we create an object pointing at Outlook. As we do this Outlook essentially ‘runs’ and sets its self up based on the info in the prf. We then just shell out to the application we want to run, and an Outlook profile should be available for the application to use!

SQL Reporting Services 2008 Spiting String

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in SQL Reporting Services | Posted on 28-04-2012

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Just a quick post about splitting strings in reporting services. I had a need today to split up an address into number/street/town that was held in one filed instead of the separate ones. I found a couple of things online about how to do it, but they did’nt seem to work on SQL 2008, so here is the solution:

=Split(Fields!Address.Value, ” “).GetValue(0)

The split function returns an array, so all we are doing here is splitting the address filed up based on a space, and then returning the first item from the array. In my case this was the house number,

Raspberry Pi – The Future!?

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in Raspberry Pi | Posted on 16-04-2012

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After quite a while waiting, today i finally managed to get my hands on a raspberry pi!

They have been all over the media recently, but in case you have been living under a rock, the ‘pi’ is a cheap, small ARM based computer. When I say cheap i mean cheap. $25 + tax + shipping. When I say small, i mean small, this thing is just slightly larger than a credit card, and weighs next to nothing. For your $25 all you get is the board, there’s no power supply, no cables, no SD card, just the board. Its a proper hackers bit of kit, and the fact that this thing is so cheap kind of makes it throw away.

The possibilities for this thing are huge, its (very commendable) target market is school kids, trying to get them back to the home game hacking ways of the 80’s, but it has so many other uses, especially considering you can fairly easily extend the hardware and use it to drive other devices. Hopfully as I get to grips with it I will post more info on here, but for the meantime enjoy some (rather sad!) pictures of me un-boxing the device!

Quick Note: The first time I booted to the desktop the display did not fit very well on the screen, follow this tip on the pi forums and it should help you out