Indexing my movie collection

#FirstWorldProblems – having so many DVDs that you forget what you already own and end up buying multiple copies of the same movie.  While 126 movies isn’t a massive collection, it’s enough for me to sometimes forget what I have when I’m pillaging the $5 bins at Best Buy and Target.

To solve for this, I created a Google Sheets list of my collection so I could check what I have from my phone.  After typing all the titles into the list, I realized it’d be very easy for me to use the code I wrote for my DirecTV project to scrape additional details for the movies and create a nice, simple UI….so I did:

v1

What it does

  1. Using The Movie DB API, I pull several pieces of information about the film and store it locally: title, image, release date, rating, budget, revenue, runtime, synopsis, genres, cast, etc.
  2. Storing it locally reduces repetitive, slow API calls and allows me to cleanly add additional attributes like whether it’s DVD, Blu-Ray, Google Movies, Amazon Video, etc.
  3. Adding new titles is easy – I just type in the name and the rest of the details populate immediately.

 

There are two views: one shown above for desktop and another, more compact view, when a tablet or mobile device is detected:
v2

I’m not sure what’s next for this but it was a quick and fun project that connected my inner home automation and movie geeks.

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Home Automation and NFC Tags

NFC has proven to be a pretty useless technology for cell phones (unless you’re one of the people who use you Google Wallet/Apple Pay).  Nevertheless, I decided to buy some tags and play with them because they’re so damn cheap (just over a dollar each, depending on the type).

20161002_121409

One useful application of NFC tags is setting “scenes” using my existing home automation setup.  By setting a tag where I usually place my phone at night, I can trigger several events all at once.  When I play my phone on my nightstand, the following events are triggered:

  1. If it’s a weekday, set my alarm for 7:00 AM.
  2. If an alarm was set, the phone will adjust its volume and say “Alarm set to 7 AM”.
  3. Using the same text to speech, the phone will say “Goodnight, Kevin.”
  4. After pausing for a few seconds, it’ll POST to a simple script I wrote  and turn all the lights in the apartment off before setting it’s volume to mute for the remainder of the night.

It’s a simple way of automating my night time routine and is likely the most practical use of NFC tags with home automation (and it’s not super practical, at that).  If you want to recreate, here’s how I did it…

NFC Tag and App

I decided to go with the WhizTags brand because they boast more writeable space (888 bytes of writeable memory vs the standard 144 bytes). For reading and writing the tag, I went with the NFC Tools app. There’s no real reason for using this app – it just looked to be the most stable after a quick search.

Creating the Task

One of the benefits of the NFC Tools app is that you can export import json tasks.  Here’s the json for the task I noted

[ {
    "tasks.profile.name":"bedtime post",
    "tasks.profile.date":"20161002T101631",
    "tasks.profile.length":11,
    "tasks.profile.size":226,
    "tasks.profile.data":[ {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "5"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "53", "itemTask": "5", "itemDescription": "5", "itemHash": "16686621-29d1-46bf-80f0-2d8905abcfdb"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "0"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "819", "itemTask": "1", "itemHash": "b63e98a5-7385-4ae5-a71e-a76949092649", "itemDescription": "1 second"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field4": "true", "field1": "true", "field3": "true", "field8": "1", "field2": "true", "field5": "true", "field7": "false", "field6": "false"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "92", "itemTask": "f9", "itemDescription": "MON,TUE,WED,THU,FRI\nPerform the tasks below", "itemHash": "eb2223cb-c5a2-4d59-a1a8-961e1bb13dde"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field3": "0", "field1": "7am", "field2": "7"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "41", "itemTask": "7:0;7am", "itemDescription": "7am - 07:00", "itemHash": "ba40261a-84e3-437d-b1e4-b44dbc6e0b8f"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "Alarm set for seven am."
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "85", "itemTask": "Alarm set for seven am.", "itemHash": "02fc2b51-36ba-497a-adea-1620b5799d8c", "itemDescription": "Alarm set for seven am."
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "1"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "819", "itemTask": "2", "itemDescription": "2 seconds", "itemHash": "60c8cd67-00bb-4850-a5c2-cbe5883f3de4"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "1"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "90", "itemTask": "1", "itemHash": "78382993-811f-4692-b110-61ff20406731", "itemDescription": "Close your conditional block"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "Goodnight, Kevin."
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "85", "itemTask": "Goodnight, Kevin.", "itemDescription": "Goodnight, Kevin.", "itemHash": "acab1f45-d379-4af4-99f9-0ccb63db4ae3"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "2"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "819", "itemTask": "3", "itemDescription": "3 seconds", "itemHash": "37320287-c034-4742-a959-705ac3399800"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "0"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "false", "requestType": "53", "itemTask": "0", "itemHash": "d7a566bd-107b-4dae-aff4-f2ce832f06e6", "itemDescription": "0"
        }
    }
    ,
    {
        "tasks.profile.fields": {
            "field1": "http:\/\/hellokevin.com\/nfc\/goodnight.php", "field2": "status=false;"
        }
        ,
        "tasks.profile.config": {
            "itemUpdate": "true", "requestType": "110", "itemTask": "http:\/\/hellokevin.com\/nfc\/goodnight.php|status=false;", "itemHash": "e1e00d48-16fa-4942-9d9e-298b806a65c2", "itemDescription": "Request: http:\/\/hellokevin.com\/nfc\/goodnight.php\nPOST parameters :\nName: status \/ Value: false", "itemTaskExtra": null
        }
    }
    ]
}

]

The Script

The script used to turn the lights off is a modified version of this script, which I posted earlier.  Instead of controlling a single device, I simply added in all the lights in my home and added in the POST var.

Expanding the Home Dashboard

In the previous post, I outlined the Home Dashboard touchscreen for controlling lights, temperature/humidity, displaying Amazon Echo information, displaying who’s home (via bluetooth sniffing), and displaying what was being watched on DirecTv.  As this dashboard is intended to be a sudo remote control for my home, I thought it made sense to be able to actually control the TV with it.

Screenshot 2016-09-01 at 10.18.31 PMScreenshot 2016-09-01 at 10.18.09 PM

After a bit of tweaking and some UI work, the end result is a super-quick (HTTP response is ~30 milliseconds which feels nearly as quick as the standard DirecTv remote) interaction between device and DirecTv receiver.

From my home dashboard/touchscreen controller, I can select the title that’s currently playing to launch the remove control (pictured above).  You’ll notice that the touchscreen controller can do everything the standard remote can do, including guide browsing, DVR browsing, etc.

Home Dashboard using a Raspberry Pi

After creating a desktop home automation dashboard and, later, a live stream “digital picture frame”, I got the idea to combine the two into an always-on control panel that condenses everything I care about into a single kiosk which can sit on my end table or nightstand.

What it does

It’s essentially a condensed UI of the desktop version linked above which uses the same databases and processes.

  • Current indoor temperature and humidity (via DHT11 sensor)
  • If my Amazon Echo is playing music, it’ll display the artist, song, and album
  • If I’m watching TV, it’ll show the title, channel, and image/movie poster
  • Display unique icons for each person in the house (by sniffing for their phone’s bluetooth signal)
  • It’ll show the status of my lights (on/off) and update if that status changes (using the Wink API)
  • Through touch screen, allow me to control my lights in near real-time.

Materials Used

How it works

Much of this (temperature, humidty, DirecTv and Wink control) is covered in “The Foundation” post.  Specific to collecting information from the Amazon Echo, I use IfTTT and the Maker channel.  Each time my Echo plays a song, I POST to a script similar to the one below which stores the song in a MySQL database.  I can then query that, determine if the song is still playing, and publish it to the UI.

<?php
$conn = mysqli_connect(<credentials>);
if (!$conn) {
 die("Connection failed: " . mysqli_connect_error());
}
$song=$_REQUEST['song'];
$artist=$_REQUEST['artist'];
$album=$_REQUEST['album'];
$timestamp=$_REQUEST['timestamp'];

$sql = "INSERT INTO echo_history (artist, song, album, timestamp)
VALUES ('$artist', '$song', '$album', '$timestamp')";

if (mysqli_query($conn, $sql)) {
 echo "New record created successfully";
} else {
 echo "Error: " . $sql . "<br>" . mysqli_error($conn);
}

mysqli_close($conn);
?>

My Maker recipe looks something like this: IF then to URL

recordmusic.php?artist= {{ArtistName}}&song={{SongName}} &album={{AlbumName}} &timestamp={{PlayDateTime}}

Method POST.

That’s about it for the controller – quite simple and is probably the most practical project I’ve done thus far.

Using a Pi to measure TV habits

As noted here, I’m using the the DirecTV SHEF API and a Raspberry Pi to poll my DirecTV receivers every minute and store what they’re doing into a MySQL database. After ~6 months of storing that data, I thought it’d be interesting to analyze some of it.  After all, do I really watch enough HBO and Starz to warrant paying for them every month?

Channel Preferences

  • 25,900 minutes of TV watched (~2.25 hours per day…eek; still less than the national average!).
  • 2,612 minutes of that was recorded (10%).
  • NBC is our favorite channel (3,869 minutes watched, 15%).
  • E! is our second favorite channel (1,911 minutes watched, 7.37%). Gotta keep up with those Kardashians.
  • Premium movie channels (HBO, Starz, Encore, Cinemax, etc) were watched 6,870 minutes (26.52%) – apparently worth the money.
  • Premium movie channels were recorded only 571 minutes (lots of ad hoc movie watching, I guess).
  • NBC is our most recorded channel (479 minutes) followed by HGTV (391 minutes) and ABC (330).

Time Habits

  • Sunday is the most watched day (no surprise here) with 7,157 minutes watched (28%)
  • Saturday is the second with 5,385 (21%)
  • Wednesday is the least watch with 1,144 (4.4%)
  • April was our biggest TV month with 6,413 minutes watched (24.76%)
  • June was our lowest month with 1,197 (4.62%) — July is around 10%.  The excitement of summer faded fast, apparently.
  • 8PM is our biggest TV hour with 1,312 minutes (15.14%).  This is followed by 7pm (13%) and 6pm (10%).
  • 6AM is our lowest TV hour with 68 minutes watched (0.26%).  This is followed by 5am (0.49%) and 4am (0.90%).

This is pointless data but it’s always interesting to assess your own habits.  And if you’re wondering, it took roughly 60 minutes (0.23%) to query and publish this post :).

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.

dim.PNG

Gaining my Wink bearer token for the session:

<?php
$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);
curl_close($ch_token);

$ch_token_json = json_decode($ch_token_response, true);
$bearer_token=$ch_token_json['access_token'];
?>

Wink Control:

<?php
$device_id=$_GET["device_id"];
$new_state=$_GET["new_state"];
$bearer_token=$_GET["bearer_token"];

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_RETURNTRANSFER, TRUE);
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);
curl_close($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.

gps

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,
              smtpserver='smtp.gmail.com:587'):
    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)
    server.starttls()
    server.login(login,password)
    problems = server.sendmail(from_addr, to_addr_list, message)
    server.quit()

GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BOARD)
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")')
    db.commit()
    db.close()
    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     = '')
    return

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

try:
    while n > 0:
#        print 'alive'
#        print n
        n = n-1        
        time.sleep(3)
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    GPIO.cleanup()
    sys.exit()

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

The Foundation

Purpose

Let’s just get it out of the way now — there’s no true practical purpose or value in doing this.  I took this on as an experiment and opportunity to learn something new.

What is it?

Using a Raspberry Pi, some sensors, and a lot of Googling with trial and error, I took my first step into custom home automation (Wikipedia).  I can control lights, DirecTv receivers, some appliances, measure indoor temperature and humidity, determine who is home, and view indoor/outdoor webcams through a single UI.

Materials and Cost

Screenshots

image

 

image

Control

Lighting Control
Each tailed light uses a GE Link bulb which is connected to a Wink hub.  This allows for on/off control, dimming control, on/off scheduling, and dimming scheduling (such as gradual increases in brightness in the mornings).  Wink comes with a nice app but I opted to use their API so I could incorporate it into the custom UI/dashboard along with everything else.

Cameras
I’m using an old D-Link camera to gain outdoor views and the RPI camera for inside the apartment, I setup scripts to take snapshots once every minute and dump them into a MySQL db running on the Pi and also update the snapshot to include in the UI.

Weather Reporting
Outdoor weather (temperature, “feels like” temperature, humidity, pressure, and windspeed) is pulled from Yahoo! XML weather feeds.
Indoor temperature and humidity is polled every minute using a DHT11 sensor attached to the RPi.  Historicals for all of these are stored in a MySQL database with the intention of graphing these some time in the future.  I’d like to incorporate a Nest-style thermostat for indoor climate control but, alas, I’m a renter and don’t want to deal with that.

Who’s Home?
Using a Bluetooth dongle attached to the RPi, I poll for cell phones to determine who is home and who is away.  Every minute, I log the status of all detected Bluetooth devices so we can see who’s around.  This is also stored in a MySQL db so I can go back in time.

DirecTV Control
Using the DirecTV SHEF API, I currently poll the current program title, the channel number, the station ID (ie NBC or HBO), the program rating, whether or not the DVR is recording.  The API allows you to take full control of the receiver and do all actions you can with the remote but I don’t see much value in that as I can’t watch it while I’m away so why have the functionality…

Appliance Control
Using WEMO plugs, I can power on/off appliances.  This came in handy at Christmas when the outlet was located directly behind the Christmas tree.  At this point, though, there aren’t many appliances I want to control with the Wemo so I have a few of these sitting idle.

Automation and Availability

Amazon Echo Integration
All of these devices have been integrated with the Amazon Echo device either via Echo skills or via IFTT integration.  This allows all of the functionality above to be controlled via voice recognition.  There’s some trial and error getting these setup correctly but I think that’s mostly with the Echo’s voice recognition quality.

IFTT
With integration of IFFT, I can do any number of things if desired.  One of the more useful IFFT setups I’ve found is simply turning on the bedroom lamp ~8 minutes after my alarm goes off and gradually increasing the bulb’s brightness every minute.  Another possible option is to turn some lights on when the Pi’s bluetooth dongle detects that I’m nearby.

Web Server
In order to make this valuable, I installed Apache on the Pi and used ngrok to tunnel to localhost so that I don’t have to worry about the vulnerabilities of port forwarding on my router.  I have this forwarded over to a domain name I wasn’t using and added some .htaccess protection (among other things) to keep it private.

Future Plans

Living in a small apartment limits the value and the opportunities of home automation.  Things like adding reed switches to windows and door don’t make sense in my scenario as I doubt anyone will be climbing through my 7th floor window or trying to break into my door.  Some more practical things I’ll be doing, though, is adding a gas, CO2, and smoke sensor to the Pi so that I’m alerted via text message and push notification if the Pi detects any of those levels becoming elevated…better than waiting on the neighbors to call the fire department, no?  I’d also like to add a PIR motion detector to trigger the Pi Cam to start capturing video instead of still snapshots if motion is detected during hours that I’m normally away from home.  I’ve had some troubles getting the motion detector to work but I’ll loop back to that eventually.