Friday 23 June 2017

Mycroft: the open source Alexa

Mycroft AI is a voice assistant similar to Amazon's Echo/Alexa, with a speaker module that the user can shout instructions to.

In both cases the user can "wake up" the unit, and then ask a question or issue a command (e.g. "What's the weather like in Nairobi?").

But what makes Mycroft especially interesting to an old hacker like me, is that it is open source!

Thursday 15 June 2017

Chicks at play: RaspiCam 90fps

Our blue tit chicks came out of hiding a few days after leaving the nest, and now they are regular visitors at our feeders.

They need to learn the snatch-and-run technique, rather than spending too much time out in the open where they are vulnerable to predators.

Using a RaspiCam to capture video at 90fps results in slow-motion video and gives a better idea of their behaviour.

Thursday 8 June 2017

BirdBox2017: end of another season

It's been a very successful year for our blue tits, great tits and our two Raspberry Pi powered bird boxes.

The last of our bird box chicks left the safety of their nest yesterday, and so ends another season for us.

Out of 15 eggs in two boxes, 14 chicks got the chance to explore the world outside and potentially become food for sparrowhawk chicks or maybe the short-term plaything for one of the local cats.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Diaspora: just Facebook for teckies?

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the press this year about the vast amount of personal data being mined by social media companies like Facebook.

Diaspora is an open source, distributed, social media site with the aim of addressing the balance.

So what does Diaspora have to offer, and how can a competitor to Facebook expect to win over its user-base?