First project: Do Not Disturb

Here’s my first project (and perhaps my only one, as it does the trick!).

Goal: inform my family what my “disturability” status is. Like mostly everyone, I work at home and there are plenty of times I don’t want to be disturbed. I want a status light with a few colors that lets my family see at a glance whether they should come into the office or not.

Kit: a raspberry pi, a Blinkstick Square, an iPhone and an iWatch.

Result: iPhone /iWatch shortcut calls a URL served by Node.js on the pi. I’ve got 4 shortcuts: “DND”, “Meeting”, “Welcome”, “Off.” the node.js script just checks what parameter is sent. Simple, in the end.

How I got there
It’s been a long time since I’ve done any technical projects, so I ran into every problem possible! Here is what’s noteworthy, in my view, especially in terms of feedback to the Blinkstick project!

  • I used a usb cable that was apparently only for charging, not for data transfer. I fiddled with the square on 3 different computers (3 OS’s) and got the same result (basically: nothing). Luckily @arvydas got me on track real quick. Suggestion: put this into a FAQ!
  • I installed the pip blinkstick package on the linux boxes. Unfortunately the main script was encoded for Windows and only worked after I ran dos2unix. Suggestion: fix that in the source package or put it into the FAQ!
  • I didn’t know how to use node.js at all, so I had to learn how to do that. Huzzah for learning!. By the way, the node.js sample here has a significant error, in that the variable is called “device” but the subsequent code uses “led”.

Easy peasy in the end. Thanks for setting this up!