SQL RESTian example in PHP

Here’s a PHP script that reads and writes from a SQL database. This example assumes you’ve got a SQL database account on the same machine that the script is running on. It also assumes you’re using a .htaccess file that looks something like this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /directoryname/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^.*$ sqlRestDatalog.php

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Mr. Data Converter

Mr. Data Converter is your friend. It’s a conversion tool to take tab or comma delimited data and convert it to a variety of formats: XML, JSON, ActionScript, PHP, you name it. Mighty handy if you have to take stuff from one place and move it to another.

Thanks to James Tu for the link.

Networked Bed Presence sensor

John Schimmel and I had a meeting with a friend the other day who has chronic condition, and is looking for tools to notify her family and friends of her activity at home, so she can live more independently. A lot of good ideas came up, making for a potentially exciting project that’d be useful someone we care about: a win-win situation.

One of the ideas she had was a bed sensor, which would let her family know whether she’s in bed or not, so they can call to either wake her up, or tell her to get some rest if she’s up too late. Inspired by Mustafa Bagdatli and Diego Rioja’s BedData project, and assisted by them, we thought we’d see if we could put something together quickly, connecting force sensing resistors to an Arduino and using an Ethernet shield to upload data to Pachube.  The project has not been tested in the field yet, but it’s working in the lab, and was simple to set up.  It may be a useful example for other sensor projects.

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Serial ports on an iPhone?

hc gilje posted some useful notes on accessing the serial ports of an iPhone. Bottom line:

Apple has not made it easy to let the iphone communicate with external devices. Basically, you need a jailbroken phone to do anything.

That said, his notes are useful for anyone who’s really really got to get at the serial port.

Other ways of getting sensors into the iPhone include Tellart’s NADAMobile, which uses the microphone input as an analog input, and Brian Jepson’s PhoneGap solution, which uses ethernet and an ethernet shield.

Using PepperMill to turn a motor into a sensor

Nicolas Villar sent me a sample of the PepperMill, a new sensor board he and Steve Hodges designed at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK.  It’s a nifty little board.  You attach a DC motor and the board can an output voltage when the motor is turned,  and analog signals telling you the direction and speed of the motor.  It turns a DC motor into a rotary encoder, of sorts.

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Rob Faludi just turned me on to CoolTerm, a serial terminal app for OSX and Windows. It looks like a nice addition, and is cross platform, which is handy for teaching; no need to reference different apps on different platforms. I’ve only tried it out a little, but so far, it’s nice. You can have multiple ports open in multiple windows, and you can see bytes in ASCII or hex. It’d be nice to see them in decimal too, but that’s just a wish.

Blog Housekeeping

I’m making some changes to this blog. I’ve been unhappy about the fact that all the code is static, not the code I use every day. Instead, I want a nice code repository, so whatever I write on my machine can be published directly, and if I update it, the updates end up here. I would also like syntactical highlighting of the code. And now, ta dah! It’s all done. Here’s what I did, for your reference and my own, because I’ll forget next time I need to update it.

So from now on, new code on this blog will look like this:

[include file="../../code/Arduino/helloTom/helloTom.pde" start="3" clean="true"]

And it’ll all be updated whenever I make changes.  Exciting, isn’t it?

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