Philips Hue/Lux Light Switch

October 30, 2014

I enjoy my new Philips Lux light (part of the Philips Hue brand, but not multi-color).  It is a low-barrier entry in to the home automation world — something I’ve been dreaming about tinkering in since my undergraduate years.

To start, I want to use it in the main fixtures in a room.  This means the switch that powers the fixtures should remain “on” to allow the Philips wireless hub to control the light’s state — on, off, or dimmed.  But, leaving the switch always on means there’s no easy way to control the light without using my smartphone — ick!

As simple as is it to replace a standard light bulb with a smartbulb, there aren’t any compatible products that are replacements for a standard light switch. Read the rest of this entry »


Robotic Camera Follow – SoloShot, Swivl, AIMe

May 29, 2014

Most of the live video projects I do includes a primary close-up camera tasked with following the key talent.

The skill involved in this is task is very simple.  It just requires someone to be attentive, panning the camera side-to-side as the presenter moves around.  It would be great to automate this basic motion.

Three companies have released products that do just that: SoloShot, JigaBot’s AIMe. Read the rest of this entry »

WUI for Computer Appliances

May 28, 2014

I’ve recently been working on a couple programming projects that utilize the RaspberryPi computer.

It’s a tiny cheap computer with a network port, usb ports, HDMI output, and an SD card.  With the right peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor), it can function like a normal computer.  But, it also works well as a programable “brain” for projects that utilize those interconnects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bonjour? mDNS/mDNSd? Rendezvous? ZeroConf?

May 28, 2014

ZeroConf is when a networked devices automatically configure itself on a network with the user doing zero configuration.  Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of it, which was formerly known as Rendezvous.  mDNS/mDNSd is the system name for the program.  See also: or

ZeroConf deals with three network concepts:

  1. Network Address Selection (“.local”/Link-Local Addressing)
  2. Computer Name Address Translation (Multicast DNS)
  3. Service Discovery and Broadcasting (DNS Service Discovery)

Ultimately, I’m interested in the third category — finding computers on the network that provide a service such as an SSH Remote Login, ProPresenter Text Stream, etc.; or, for alerting computers on the network to what services my device is providing. Read the rest of this entry »

Perl Grading

April 3, 2014

Our file server has a folder into which students “Hand In” files by dropping completed assignments into.  Within this folder, I move files into a folder for each assignment.  Any files not in a folder are new, and still need to be graded.

To prevent students from copying another students assignment, the Hand In folder is write-only.

The down side to this Read the rest of this entry »

CMYK vs RGB vs YUV vs 422 Color Images

February 8, 2014

If you’ve ever replaced the ink or toner in a color printer, you know the three colors Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta are used in various combinations to print any color.  On your computer screen it’s mixtures of Red, Green, and Blue.

Each tiny dot in a picture, called a pixel, has three numbers: How much red, how much green, and how much blue get mixed together to form the color of that specific pixel.  Typically the amount of each color is stored as a number ranging from 0 to 255.

On a computer, a picture is really just a whole lot of numbers representing the reds, greens, and blues of every dot in the picture.

Then, along came digital video… Read the rest of this entry »

Cable Management

February 3, 2014


For bundles of cable that won’t be let go again, we’ve used zip ties.

If a long cable is wound up, and likely to be unwound and rewound again, we have the reusable velcro ties.

Parallel runs of cable in the studio we hold together with translucent cable wrap.

But there is no simple solution for the cornucopia of usb, hdmi, sdi, network, and power cables strung to and from the various control room stations and the studio.

Typically the rat’s nest of cables goes unnoticed.  But, when something needs to be changed, or worse, when something stops working, ignorance quickly turns to frustration.

Read the rest of this entry »