A month of tinkering

New Design

The original design wasn’t “clean” feeling and didn’t function too well on mobile or even tablet displays.  I changed that up a bit and the new design has a lot of transparent divs, bokeh background images, and some jquery to make actions a bit smoother.

new ui

Wink Integration Improvements

The initial integration of the Wink API wasn’t that great.  I was using PHP to trigger shell scripts which would then make the API call – quite messy and had several opportunities for failure.  This method also made a new request for a bearer token each time an action was taken so if I turned on three lights, I requested three unique tokens from the API.  I’ve since cleaned that up and now use a single token per session and the API calls are all made in a single PHP file.  This still isn’t the cleanest or safest way to do this but it works for my usecase.

While doing this, I also added the ability to dim some lights (such as the kitchen light which we leave on during the night).  The next step is to fetch the current state of the lights so that we can eliminate the on/off option and simply toggle it.  The problem with that is that the Wink Hub struggles to maintain accurate states for its devices.


Gaining my Wink bearer token for the session:

$ch_token = curl_init();

curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_URL, "https://api.wink.com/oauth2/token");
curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, TRUE);
curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_HEADER, FALSE);
curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_POST, TRUE);
curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, "{
  \"client_id\": \"<insert_here>\",
  \"client_secret\": \"<insert_here>\",
  \"username\": \"<insert_here>\",
  \"password\": \"<insert_here>\",
  \"grant_type\": \"password\"
curl_setopt($ch_token, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array(
  "Content-Type: application/json"

$ch_token_response = curl_exec($ch_token);

$ch_token_json = json_decode($ch_token_response, true);

Wink Control:


if(is_numeric($new_state)){$action="brightness";} else {$action="powered";}

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, "https://api.wink.com/light_bulbs/".$device_id."/desired_state");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, FALSE);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST, "PUT");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, "{
  \"desired_state\": {
    \"".$action."\": ".$new_state."

curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array(
  "Content-Type: application/json",
  "Authorization: Bearer ".$bearer_token.""

$response = curl_exec($ch);

if($new_state=="true"){echo "Turned On"; } else if($new_state=="false") { echo "Turned Off"; } else { echo "Light Dimmed: $new_state"; }

DirecTv Changes

I integrated TheMovieDB.org‘s API to pull images of the movies or shows that are currently on.  This currently works very well for movies but it often fails to find images for shows so I’ll loop back to fix that at some point in the future.  I also added in a link to view the title on IMDB for easy access.  An alarm was added to trigger a notification if the DVR is nearly full.

Mapping GPS Coordinates

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to push my phone’s GPS coordinates to my server and plot them on a map.  I’m using the SendLocation app to push the coordinates to a script I have setup to listen to the app.  This may, perhaps, help me locate my phone one day if I ever lose it.  For now, though, it’s merely something for me to play with.  I’m also capturing things like speed so I can view when I’m in transit.  Essentially, this traces my steps.


MQ2 Sensor (Gas/Smoke)

I added an MQ2 sensor to the PI and set it up to store the current state as well as send me a text message and email if it detects something.  Overall, the setup is pretty simple and certainly isn’t life-saving but does serve the goal of being able to monitor home while away.

Here’s my Python file I use which I simply schedule a cron job to ensure it’s monitoring frequently enough to be useful (note the loop of 20 and sleep of 3 seconds so it runs for the entire minute before the cron fires again):

import time, sys
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import MySQLdb
import smtplib

def sendemail(from_addr, to_addr_list, cc_addr_list,
              subject, message,
              login, password,
    header  = 'From: %s\n' % from_addr
    header += 'To: %s\n' % ','.join(to_addr_list)
    header += 'Cc: %s\n' % ','.join(cc_addr_list)
    header += 'Subject: %s\n\n' % subject
    message = header + message
    server = smtplib.SMTP(smtpserver)
    problems = server.sendmail(from_addr, to_addr_list, message)

GPIO.setup(11, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)

n = 20
def action(pin):
    print 'Sensor detected action!'
    db = MySQLdb.connect("","","","" )
    cursor = db.cursor()
    cursor.execute( 'insert into mq2(event) values("Gas detected")')
    sendemail(from_addr    = '', 
          to_addr_list = ['att phone email address'],
          cc_addr_list = [''], 
          subject      = 'Gas Detected', 
          message      = 'Elevated levels of gas or smoke detected.', 
          login        = '', 
          password     = '')

GPIO.add_event_detect(11, GPIO.RISING)
GPIO.add_event_callback(11, action)

    while n > 0:
#        print 'alive'
#        print n
        n = n-1        
except KeyboardInterrupt:

Other Changes

  • I’ve changed the interior camera to disable itself if anyone is home.  There’s no need for it to run if during that time and it also ensures an additional layer of security/privacy.
  • The date formats were updated to provide “friendlier” outputs.  I also added a time of day greeting for the active user – “Good morning/afternoon/evening/night”…
  • My favorite Google News RSS feeds were added to the left and a weather forecast link was added.  I also included a calendar with the eventual goal of integrating the Google Calendar API (I use Google Calendar quite heavily).  These are hidden by default in order to maintain the “clean” UI I’m going for.news.png