Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

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:

T-Shaped Time: Little and Often Plus Dedicated Bursts

There’s a common concept of having “T-shaped skills” – combining both expertise in a specific area (the vertical bar of the T) plus breadth of knowledge and exposure to a variety of other things (the horizontal bar).

I’m a believer in spending what I call T-shaped time on things you care about: combining both “little and often” with periodic dedicated bursts.

Switching to Atom Summaries in Octopress

I really like Brandon Mathis’s Octopress as a blogging framework.

One of the many useful features is the ability to mark a break-point in a post with a more comment, so the preceding section is used as a preview excerpt on the index page.

The Atom feed generated by Octopress uses the full post content. If you instead want to switch it to only display the summary excerpt (particularly useful if you’ve used it for content warnings) you’ll need two changes to source/atom.xml:

Leafing Through the Family Tree

Many years ago I started looking into my family tree. This was hard when I was too young to drive and the main way of getting information involved travelling to a likely location and poring through old records in libraries and churches.

Thanks to the wonders of digitised records, the internet, and an Ancestry account, it got a lot easier!

Some observations thus far: