Hera goes on show

Today’s the day. It’s Yahoo Hack Day, Dundee 2011 and we’re all setting up our work. Groups of Third Year students are all running around desperately getting final pieces of code written and adjusted in time for their presentations. I decided I didn’t want to have a mad rush on the day so was up to 3AM in the labs last night fixing a major bug on Hera’s new website.

The weather gadget collects the local weather around Hera using Yahoo’s YQL engine. Unfortunately, with a site that refreshes itself every second came a slight problem. Yahoo doesn’t look kindly on greedy people and after just a few hours, andybarratt.co.uk had been blocked. A mad rush of refactoring changed the code so that it would only query Yahoo for updates every ten minutes.

Meanwhile, Hera was recalibrated so that she would run off batteries. My problem is this, while in her prototype stage, Hera uses WiFi to get a connection, this will be changed to GPRS in the future for flight but for this presentation, it’s WiFi using an Arduino WiShield. My problem? The WiShield feasts on batteries! After several minutes of use, a standard 9V battery is drained enough to cause the Arduino to crash with no hope of powering up again. I suspect I’m going to have to do this presentation using a USB cable connected to her with an explanation that in future, she’ll have bulky lead acid battery on board.

Otherwise, we’re ready to go. Go check out what she’s up to on www.andybarratt.co.uk/hera

Hack Day is a competition, with prizes. So I am competing. Feet away from me are my friends, Jane Wilson, Ross Warren and James Bennet who have also gone down the arduino/models road with a twitter controlled train set. I suspect they’re my main competition today. That said, I’m aiming to place and after all, I’m just an individual, Hack Day is meant to be a group work thing but then, I’ve never been one for working in groups.

Published byapbarratt

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