Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Connect Together Your Smart Home With Home Assistant

From my smart home user-stories:

For my home, I want a centralised abstracted event hub for connecting sensor/actor devices together, so I can separate “automation logic” from “interfacing code” – even better if the interfacing code is done for me!

Home Assistant handles this nicely.

Previously I’d been wiring things together in a very ad-hoc fashion. My “smart doorbell” had the logic to connect to Slack and SES to send me notifications, my cameras had similar logic replicated, et cetera. Event-handling and automation code lived on each device, and coordinating and managing it all was a pain.

Enter Home Assistant, which acts as a generalised abstraction layer and centralised event-bus between all the things.

You tell it about your devices (“components” – it has support for nearly a thousand), it provides you with a nice interface for manual control, and powerful but easy-to-write “automations” to hook everything together.

Packaging Django With Docker

I love Docker as a packaging system – almost everything I push to production nowadays is as a Docker image.

Occasionally in the #django IRC channel, the topic of “how to Docker-ise your Django service” comes up. Here’s the Dockerfile I use, taken from My Django Project Template:

2017 in Books

Some things I read in 2017, with some brief opinions/recommendations.

All categorisations are approximate at best and will probably cause some kind of contention.

Welshcakes, the Snacking Cake You Didn’t Realise You Needed

Welshcakes (or welsh cakes) are little fluffy circles of joy, around 1cm thick and 7cm in diameter, made from flour, butter, currants, eggs and milk, plus a little dusted caster sugar.

They’re light enough that you could easily eat an entire six-pack, but substantial enough that just one is a pleasant snack, and perfect any time of day or night.

Feature Factories and How to Avoid Them

I’ve used the term Feature Factory at a couple conference talks over the past two years. I started using the term when a software developer friend complained that he was “just sitting in the factory, cranking out features, and sending them down the line.”

The Wheel of Time

In 1984 Robert Jordan started writing The Wheel Of Time, a high-fantasy series intended to span six books.

In September 2007, when Jordan died, 12 books had been published with more still planned.

The series was concluded by Brandon Sanderson with another three books, coming in at around 11,000 pages and 4.5 million words in total.

It’s quite long.

Building a Smart Home: My User Stories

I want to augment my home with technology.

I can go out and buy commodity kit, except that mostly seems to consist of WiFi-connected lightbulbs that will DDoS the neighbours, and other tech that displays a woeful lack of security and/or interoperability.

I can plug in timer sockets before going on holiday then remove them on return, but that’s not especially convenient. I can buy plenty of “remote control power sockets” but they’re often controlled by unsecured broadcast radio that anyone could emit.

Fortunately in 2017 there’s plenty of available kit for me to DIY something better.

On that basis, here are some of my user stories for augmenting my home. They’re not necessarily novel or hard, but represent achievable things that will provide concrete improvements.

Suggestions of your own? Let me know!

My Favourite Talks

I often struggle to fully engage with a lot of conference talks. I like being able to consume things at my own pace, I read faster than I can listen, and I take in information better when it’s written rather than spoken.

Thus I’m often found participating in the hallway track, or sat right at the back of the audience on my laptop – I mean no slight to the speaker or the talk, it’s just that it doesn’t particularly work for me.

However there are some talks that have really stuck with me: