ADS-B receiver – Want Better Results ? Give away technology. 

A raspberry pi I bought in a NYC vending machine and left in cupboard in Faridabad, India found it’s way to Los Angles, USA in 2016. I was a little surprised, as I have also left a unopened bottle of Bombay Sapphire which was untouched.

The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer about the size of a credit card.  My very clever cousin, Ankush, an avid aeronautical enthusiast turned the device into a ADS–B. I had to look it up too. Apparently ADS–B determines an aircraft position via satellite navigation. He told me that to buy a commercial device it would have cost him about $800-$1000 or more. This one cost him around $140 and it included dual band, weather and traffic reports.  On the ground trials produced traffic reports for a 60 kms radius but he is hoping to track 150+ when he finally gets the device on a plane.

He told me “It wasn’t a big deal. An hour. Just assembly and some tweaking. Need better spanners “!

London Metropolitan University. Digital Toybox 2016

Every year I get an invite to Digital Toybox the end of year London Met undergraduate show hosted by the fabulous Fiona French.  This has been the first time I have been able to go for a number of years. The quality has improved as the has the variety of games. Board games, 3d printing, robots as well as animation and game tech.

The stuff that inspired me to get back to my own digital toybox included

  • environmental robotic cars
  • gameboy retro games
  • 3d printing or lightsaber for the lightsaber academy

London Metropolitan University. Digital Toybox.

How to Attempt a Guinness World Record

On Saturday 13 June, The British Computing Society Women brought together 1093 people across 30 sites in the UK to attempt a Guinness World Record and promoted it as an Appathon. This is what I learnt;

Not getting your first choice can be good.

I signed up to the challenge late. Of course I did. So I ended up at The Crystal one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. Located in east London its somewhere I had never been before. They kindly threw open their doors to their cities exhibition which was fun.

Kids are programmingProgramming Class

With so many articles about skills shortage in the industry, to find myself in a room of kids and their parents who knew tons about programming, lifted my spirits.

I love programming

I had forgotten how much I loved this stuff. For the second time this year BCS had taught me a programming language and boy am I delighted. Continue reading “How to Attempt a Guinness World Record”

What WikiReverse Teaches Me

Some weeks you talk to your colleagues and watch a documentary and feel unprepared to understand the world. This was one of those weeks. Ross was back in Camden and the last time he was here he had helped me take baby cloud steps while he got started on WikiReverse.

Two and bit years later WikiReverse has been launched and this is what I learnt.

There is this thing. Its called the Common Crawl.

Really – you have crawled the internet again. Again ? Haven’t we been doing this since gopher was mistaken for a red squirrel and everything was still in black and white, or was that black and green ?

Unlike Ross I  wasn’t really that excited, when, back in 2012 Common Crawl, using Nutch, started dumping everything they found on the Internet into Amazon (AWS). Making it accessible for free (yes as in freedom).

But today I am much more interested in the Common Crawl project because…
Continue reading “What WikiReverse Teaches Me”

HTML 5 and CSS3 Tic Tac Toe

My Head of Creative Technology was visiting our Delhi team from Singapore last week and upon touching back down at Regional HQ set us the Challenge of creating a Tic Tac Toe game with nothing but HTML 5 and CSS3

So naturally I googled and got this


In the second post Rodrigo had decided to see how fast he can code a tic-tac-toe game. Crazy but it spurred me on. Its close to 43 degrees in Delhi and rising so while I am trapped in air-conditioning lets go…

I barely remember how to create a new file on my Mac with a html extension and then remembered the TextEdit can do that and very proudly I drop a file next to my Xamp folder which weirdly is the entire contents of my document drive at home. I start working my way through FromTheSprawl post and hit my first new thing. Its a nifty tag creating dynamic pallets using JavaScript. Immediately I think I am on the wrong lines but I double check the challenge, Javascript isn’t out.

But the tutorial is still going to fast for me. So lets break it down. I have single box canvas and when I hit on it I want it to do something. Anything.

function canvasClicked(canvasNumber){alert("hello world!"); }

Ok so now lets display something in the Canvas. Putting X ontop. Wait in the post the guys are drawing their X, W3C has an example that displays words.
So combining the two we get.

function canvasClicked(canvasNumber){ var c = document.getElementById("canvas1"); var ctx = c.getContext("2d"); ctx.font = "30px Arial"; ctx.fillText("X",10,50); alert("hello world!"); }
// ]]


So I got a call and went out eat sushi, soaked in the swimming pool. I came back and added all the squares for the game. Just in case you thought life in Delhi was dull.

Kavita Kapoor’s amazing Tic Tac Toe game

Anyway taking out the alert box seems to break the whole thing but I shall ignore this and move onto creating the game logic. When I finally come back to this I am not sure if the computer is going to play or two humans. For now, it was straight forward task to create a variable which tracked if it was X or O turn.

At that point I played my game against myself repeatedly till bedtime and slept happy.

Uploading Video on Cisco EOS

My notes for uploading video on Cisco EOS platform. If the video is more than 100Mb  then you’ll have to use FTP to upload (which requires FTP login gained from contacting Cisco).

  1. Login to the Eos admin system
  2. On the top of the screen hit the ‘Library’ tab
  3. On the left hand side choose ‘Web Uploader’
  4. Choose a Group and Folder (I have everything set up into Default Group and Default Folder – but what would happen if I were organised?)
  5. Upload Media (navigate hard drive)
  6. Now I don’t enter a description and title (because it isn’t shown to the public)
  7. Once the red bar completes hit submit
  8. It appears in your list ready to use
  9. Next the video needs to encode – in the deafult list choose to make available on the screen
  10. Once done it sends you an email

My First Steps with Ruby On Rails

It is time I become acquainted with the Ruby programming language. It served me well on a recent project and my friends at Indaba Music love it.

Installation on a Mac

I did try the following, but I think actually you can go straight to the tutorial and follow the steps there.

  1. Download the latest zip file
  2. Unpack into a directory and move into your directory
  3. Open a Terminal
  4. cd from your home directory into the new directory  (cd rubygems-1.3.X/)
  5. run: sudo ruby setup.rb


It appears that Ruby on Rails has changed a lot between versions. So starting the server was harder than the Internet said it would be (as script/server approach has become defunct). So I spent some time getting confused by online tutorials, such as Apple. Installing XCode from the Apple Developer Center however was useful.

Learning Rails

I have found much more joy by following the tutorial at and a basics tutorial. Oh and my good friend jcn helped explain some stuff too.

Creating a Basic Form

Next I wanted to create a basic HTML Form where the Controller catches and processes the results. I got most of what I needed from an online answer. However I needed to know that creating the controller is done at command line using

rails generate controller Searches

and then place in the following code.

class SearchesController < ActionController::Base


def search

lookup = params[:lookup]

@models = Model.find_by_lookup(lookup)



And place in the following code for the view.

<% form_tag searches_path do %>
<label for="lookup">Lookup</label>
<%= text_field_tag :lookup %>
<%= submit_tag "Submit" %>
<% end %>

But the stumbling block for me was linking the View to Controller by placing the following in the config/routes.rb file

resources :searches

Drupal Logs and favicon’s

Where are my Drupal Error Logs ?

Weirdly I found them inside the Admin http://[domain]/[site name]/admin/reports/dblog.

However I don’t know where this is physically on the server.

How do I add a favicon.ico ?

I added the icon to both the root and the /[site]/misc/ location where I found the drupal favicon. Then remembered that I needed to refresh the cache inside the Drupal   /admin/settings/performance section

XBRL and UK accounts

The team at KSL Consultants who produce the accounts brought to my attention that by 2011 we will no longer be able to provide our accounts to the UK government in PDF format. Instead some scratching of heads occurred as we googled XBRL formats.

As a SME we of course had the immediate panic, our current software doesn’t produce such a format and will we need a costly systems upgrade, but this is just a new file format. We will probably just need a new version of whatever we are using or widget that creates such a file (bit like the PDF creating software for Mirosoft word). A quick search showed that isn’t actually anything on the market that yet so we shall be parking this decision till next year.

The cynical side of me was impressed by the adoption. The HMRC technology team  has created a great role for themselves and are now able to run across the globe working with the leading software companies to create a XBRL widgets. Lining up their next job in the process.  However I am not that cynical the benefits of having a both parties providing their accounts in a form that can be easily understood will be beneficial (as the Documentum case study will show).

However I was wondering if you are going to make such a widget especially for SME’s then lets take it to the next level and create a BOBBooks like integration. When I am doing my due diligence and judge a company on the quality of their website and the accounts. A glossy accounts is very impressive. It is considered so impressive that a charity I know in Glasgow received a donation from a leading city organization to create an glossy set of accounts. Therefore I would upgrade to a system that created my XBRL format file for the government but also something that formats beautiful looking accounts and sends it to the printers.

Anyway I shall probably have look again for a widget this time in 2010…