Thursday, December 31, 2015

What happened 2015?

So, as you noticed, I did not really blog a lot this year, i.e. 2015.
Let me quickly recap what I was busy with in the last couple of month (lame excuse, I know).

In summer I changed job from Oracle to vmware. Still handling the channel/partner business, but now no longer for (boring) hardware, but for - to me - exiting software. The concept of the software defined datacenter - or SDDC for short - is something I really like. Virtualize everything. Move from on-premise to cloud(s) seamlessly... pretty cool I think.

Enough of the professional plug.
I still found time for some nice hacks at home.

I've been recording my electricity and gas consumption at home for years, nay, decades now. What started with a plain ascii file in the early 90s, turned in to a DB2 application on OS/2 (with visual REXX) , and then to a very rudimentary web application (against the same DB2 database) under Windows XP and 7. Over the years I slightly modified the web application to also be mobile friendly, so I could take my phone (Nexus 5 right now) or iPad and enter the data while I was reading the meter.
Did I mention that I'm a nerd and do this weekly? No?
Well perhaps I should.
Not very interesting from a hack perspective, is it?

So this year I decided to change this, and I

  1. created an Android app for it
  2. added the anyline meter reading to it (because I did not want to get into the OCR stuff myself)
  3. created a REST interface to my database (building upon the old web application I had), using Jersey.
Two really impressive things here. Anyline... check it out. Excellent meter reading SDK (and other OCR stuff) on iOS and Android. 
And Jersey, wow!! REST with the click of a button, yet you are still in full control. And also getting JSON and XML with the same code. Nice.

Now for step 4 I'll re-write the old web-app to a pure Ajax/jQuery/JSON thing, and will only keep the REST interface to the database.

And step 5, already started: I bought some NFC tags (from whiztags, thanks for the hint, Max). One will go to the gas meter, the other one to the electricity meter, and both are registered to my app on Android. So when I go near the meter, it will automatically open the app with the OCR scanner for the respective meter. Click, and done.

So that's the last half year - or so - in a nutshell.