Windows 10 IoT Project

I’ve started a new project with my new Raspberry Pi 3. It’s a lighting project for the house that I’ve been wanted to do for quite a while. I really tried to find an off the shelf solution, but I didn’t see any out there unless I went with a full blown “smart house”. This seemed more fun anyway.

IoT LightingWhat I want to do is have multiple IR motion sensors in different areas on the outside of the house. When any 1 of the sensors are activated, the all of the outside flood lamps would come on for a prescribed time. I would also push a notification to a web service (likely Azure). I would the setup a website to manage that data. At least that’s the concept. I would add in time of day checks to determine whether to turn on the lights and I’m sure I’ll have sensitivity issues with the motion sensors. On top of that, I’ve got to wire the stuff into a real electrical system. There’s lots of stuff to deal with, but so far I’ve got the code working with the IR sensors and a relay switch.

I’ll post more about this as I progress with it.

Addendum: Special thanks to Mark Didelot for the info on the use of Arduinos for wireless sensors.

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Ends Soon

Windows 10It looks like the free upgrade offer for Windows 10 will be ending on July 29th. There were two holdouts in the house and I upgraded one (Connie’s Surface 2 Pro) of those this past weekend. I think Quinn is planning to stay with Windows 7. If you’ve been procrastinating, but really want Win 10 then now is the time to make your move.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, the latest version is my favorite so far. It really is a lot better than 8/8.1. The girls and I have appreciated the Xbox app that let’s up chat with friends online (whether on the PC or console) and I’ve been able to stream my console games to my PC. It’s very convenient. Stability is there and it has played will with my network.

The biggest downside so far as been the ever changing app lineup. It seems that DVD support now costs extra. The media center component is gone as well. The mail, music and photos have improved dramatically since launch, but third parties have been slow to adopt the Universal Windows Application platform. The good thing is that backward compatibility is good.

One good thing about the deadline is that if you are stay with Windows 7 (or 8.1), then the upgrade nag app will be removed after the deadline. Gotta love that. I know that you can remove it now, but most people haven’t gone through the steps to do it.

A Bad Facebook Day

I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook. It has its good points, but there are several negatives. One downside is that the social network provides one more way for thieves to try to take advantage of others. On Tuesday, I had my account replicated by an imposter that tried to scam people on my friends list.

It started with several people sending me messages on Facebook saying that my account had been hacked. I also had someone post on my wall and my sister even called me to let me know what was going on with my Facebook account. The imposter account had send friend requests to her and everyone else. She added the fake account thinking it was me and that’s when she got strange messages from that person (trying to defraud her). Okay, they had my attention. Step one for me was to change my password and lockout all other devices.

Continue reading A Bad Facebook Day

Election 2016

It’s been a crazy year and a half on the political side of things. I was currently registered as a Republican in Louisiana, but I believe that I’m turning over a new leaf. I’ll be moving on to an Independent registration here in Texas. The R “leadership” has been taking the party for granted for many years and I think this election cycle shows just how alienated the rank and file have gotten. It also shows just how wacky and out of touch the Ds are with reality.

I really liked about 70 % of the initial candidates vying for the R nomination (still do). Trump is not one of them. I don’t care for Trump as I think that his character is flawed. I do agree with some of his stances, but I really liked so many other candidates more. Oh well, this is what we have.

On the D side of things, there just aren’t many options. Just given the facts that are out there (admitted by Mrs Clinton herself) regarding the use of a personal server for email related to her government position, she should be indicted. At the very least, she should be ashamed to run for public office. At best, she’s unqualified with very little to show for her time in office except poor choices and ineptness. I find it hard to believe there aren’t more qualified Ds out there. Bernie is more qualified and I think he’s a better candidate. Shame that the system is rigged with the super delegates.

So will I vote for Trump over Hillary (or Bernie if even more crazy things happen)? This reminds me of a Louisiana governors race back in ’91. When it came down to a choice between a corrupt D and a racist R, I didn’t vote for either. The corrupt D won and later went to jail. For me, it was clear that David Duke was a racist. So does that mean that I will not vote for Trump? Actually, as bad as Trump may seem to many, I don’t consider him a racist (or corrupt). I think he is mean, narcissistic and petty, but I expect he would be tolerable as a president. You see Duke was clearly not fit, but Trump is just not that likeable (to me). On top of this, I now realize that the media will be watching Trumps every move and will be reporting anything that smells bad (perhaps making a lot of stuff up as well). If Hillary is elected, you can expect the national media to place softball with politics for the next 4 (or 8) years like the they have the past 8 years. So even if you hate both, you are still better off voting for Trump.

Personally, I think it is a too little, too late. We are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Government growth has reached a tipping point to where it will continue to grow until it collapses under its own weight. The Rs and Ds decided 12 years ago that the national debt (and more importantly the deficit) wasn’t a big issue. Until our political class does, we are headed in the wrong direction.

Happy Mother’s Day 2016

To my mom, Pat Callahan, thank you for your love and care throughout the years. Thank you for protecting us when we were little and doing everything that you could to see that we had what we needed.

To my mother-in-law, Gayle McReynolds, thank you for accepting me into your family and loving me like one of your own.

To my wife and the mother of my children, Connie McReynolds Callahan, thank you for your love and for your love of our kids. Thank you for investing your life and energy into their development. Thank you for all of the uncountable hours in caring for them and providing a safe place for them in the midst of a chaotic world. Looking back at our photos, I know my children are and have been loved.


Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.