Archive for June, 2008

CurrentCost hacking – starting to identify appliance power usage

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I needed a break from work tonight, so went back to playing with the CurrentCost meter – a chance to try a few new things.

The objective
I want to make a start on identifying how much electricity different things in my house use. To begin, I’m going to start with a very manual user-driven approach:

Subscribe to updates from the CurrentCost meter, and when a significant change in usage occurs, ask me what I’ve just switched on or off, and collect that information to build up a record of how much electricity different devices use.

It’s already quite late, so I just wanted to hack a quick first version together. I decided to write it as a small Java app.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m publishing the CurrentCost readings to a small broker running on my home server. The plan was to write a Java application that uses MQTT to subscribe to updates from the broker.

Why? Because I’ve not used Java on the Slug before, or with MQTT. (Is that not a good enough reason? 🙂 )

I’ve written it as a command-line app, because it’s a quick way to run it from different devices around the house. (That is, by cheating 🙂 I’m actually running the app on the home server, using PuTTY / PocketPuTTY / SSH etc. to run it from my ThinkPad, PDAs, mobile, EEE PC, etc.).


Back at work… gradually

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Hurrah – after a two and a half weeks being stuck at home, the doc tells me that my back is well enough for me to go back to work tomorrow.

I’m not fully recovered – the estimate for that is still 6 – 8 weeks, so I’m been warned to take it easy for a few weeks. In particular, he made it very clear that I must get up and stretch my legs regularly, as prolonged periods sitting could set my recovery back.

screenshotUnfortunately, I know I have a habit of being a bit single-minded (some might say “obsessive” 😉 ) while I’m working, and often lose track of time. So I’ve thrown together a 35-line program to help make sure I don’t overdo it.

It will automatically lock my ThinkPad after 40 minutes, resetting the timer each time I unlock the ThinkPad again.